What are you willing to give up for your success?

What are you willing to give up for your success?

What are you willing to give up for your success?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As entrepreneurs, I think most of us have found that building a successful business requires some sacrifice. In fact, I’d say that anything you want to be successful at — whether it’s mastering a sport, learning a new skill, getting in shape, or having a great relationship — requires some kind of sacrifice. The key is to make sure you don’t make stupid sacrifices for your success, but make smart ones.

Running just about any business, especially in the beginning, takes a lot of time and energy. It’s about taking some risk and, for most of us, a lot of personal and professional growth. You quickly learn that you have to give up something to give your business what it asks of you if you want to succeed. And that’s where the sacrifice comes in.

In the excitement and stress of building a career or business, it’s easy to sacrifice everything for that purpose without barely noticing. You get so wrapped up in your vision and make it a reality that you sacrifice many of the things that really matter in life. Unfortunately, I have seen far too many people who have sacrificed everything, achieved great success and then feel totally miserable. That’s not really a success for me.

You must consciously choose the sacrifices you make. Of course, it’s great if you can do this from scratch. But even if you’ve been an entrepreneur for decades, I invite you to take a look at whether the sacrifices you’re making today are stupid or smart.

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Start with your values

Ignore your business for a moment and think about everything else you really value in life. These are the things that give your life meaning, that make it all worth living. At the end of the day, if you lost these things, you would be full of regret (one of the worst emotions to feel). It could be your health, your family, your ethics, your spirituality, your contribution to your community. It could be listening to great music or appreciating great art. It could be your connections with friends or staying politically active. What you truly value will be unique to you and your life.

Then look at those values ​​and rate yourself from one to 10 (one is “I’ve completely sacrificed it for my business” and 10 is “I’m still living that value completely”). Honestly, unless we’re really in tune with our values, most of us rank somewhere in the middle or at the bottom of the scale.

Time and energy

This one almost always hits first. Achieving anything requires extra time and energy from us. We all have 24 hours in a day, and running a business usually requires a lot of them – much more than a 9-5 job. Outline your typical week and note what your time is spent on. Now look back at your values.

Did you steal that extra time you need for your business from something that really matters to you? And don’t kid yourself that you’ll spend more time and energy on those things if you become successful. Some of the things you really value, like your kids or your health, may not be around by then.

So, if you don’t spend enough time and energy on what’s important to you, where could you get it? Personally, I found that I could get up an hour earlier to do my exercise. My family is also a priority, so I end my day at 5pm every night so I can make dinner for them. In order to do that, I need to ensure that I am extremely efficient and productive during the day.

A trainer I know travels a lot. So when he gets home, he gets up and makes breakfast for his kids, takes them to school and picks them up in the afternoon. He only works when they are at school and is completely focused on them when they get home. That’s why his kids don’t blame him for being away on his business.

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Plan your offer in advance

The key is to plan your sacrifices in advance instead of sacrificing standard parts of your life. Look at your regular schedule and think about where you could find the extra time and energy for your business, without sacrificing the things you value most in life.

You may decide to stay up later when the kids are in bed to get to work. Maybe you’ll stop binge-watching on Hulu so you can hit the gym. Maybe you give up that second round of golf each week to spend more time with your partner. You may leave the office for a few hours to watch your child’s soccer game and come back later. You may be sacrificing some money to get additional help for the business. You might stop micromanaging everything in your business and actually delegate more responsibility to others. We all have areas where we spend our time that we can adjust. You just have to decide what’s right for you.

You will always have to sacrifice something to build a business or achieve something extraordinary in life. But giving up what you value most isn’t a good trade-off. Make sure you make smart sacrifices by giving up what doesn’t matter for things that do.