What If You Are Asking The Question Completely Wrong?
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One of the questions most frequently asked to those of us who have made it is, “What is the secret to success?”


Wouldn’t it be nice if it could be boiled down to just one answer?


Look no further, here it is!


The background story for how this came to mind took place during a recent two-week stay in Germany. You see, my mother turned 80 and my sister and I threw her a fancy birthday party. While I was there I visited my dad, who passed away eleven years ago, and my favorite aunt, who lives in the little historic town of Pfarrkirchen located deep down in Netherbavaria where people often still wear traditional clothing. My cousin also lives there with her daughter, 18-year-old Stella. There is just something about Stella that touches my heart. She grew up without a dad (like my daughter) and she has always gravitated toward my own micro family of two. Stella has big dreams of coming to the US, traveling, and finding her place in the world. But she doesn’t know if she has what it takes to make it happen. So, she asked me how I did it.


My answer is surprisingly simple: I never wondered IF I could do it, I only wondered HOW.


Let’s take a look at what that means for you, your goals, your career, and how it can help you get through whatever you are facing.


First, get over it—”it” being any task that’s got to be done. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for everything. Stop wondering if you LIKE it, or if it is FUN, or if you FEEL LIKE it. If it needs to be done, get it done. Get it done first before anything else. Nike was right, just do it.


Second, be clear about what your objective is. Is it lots of money, is it to live your passion, is it to be able to travel around the world as a photographer without going broke? If you don’t have the answer to what you want, turn the question around to eliminate what you don’t want. For example, if you don’t want to work 60 hours a week to make corner office, then what is the opposite of that for you? Perhaps what you do want is to work from home 30-40 hours and make enough to pay your bills and sock a bit away for retirement.


Third, you’ve got to let go of preconceived notions and trite statements that I hear day in and day out. They are: I am broke, I can’t afford it, it’s too hard, the photography business is hard, running a business is hard, no one is looking for the style I do, I am too old, I don’t have enough experience, or one of my favorite empty statements: I am trying (you either do or you don’t, trying is useless).


All careers that are worthwhile are hard work. Most “overnight success” stories are a lot like my own 13-year journey. You just don’t hear about the failures that lead us to the point where opportunity knocked on the door.


At the end of the day, it is simple. Someone before you has taken an idea and turned it into gold. Someone before you has risen from living on the streets to creating a huge fortune. Someone before you has immigrated to another country, started from scratch, and made a huge success out of him or herself.


So it must be possible for you, too.


Now the question is only, “How do I find my success?”


As for Stella, I could see there is a fire in her that is ready to ignite. She is looking for her how so that when she is ready to leave home, she’ll already possess the secrets of her own success and she’ll never question if it’s possible or not.


The secret to success is having a clear idea of what you will do to reach your goals and not letting tired excuses hold you back. I wrote a series of five blogs recently (starting with this one) that can help you get started. Let me know how you are going to pursue your next step right now.

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