I spend a lot of time coaching entrepreneurs whose businesses aren’t where they want them to be. What I’ve found is, oftentimes, these entrepreneurs want to be successful but aren’t willing to do the hard things to get there.
We see people like Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, who is now a billionaire — she makes it look so easy! But her path to success wasn’t easy. She did hard things to get to where she is today. Sara found a problem that wasn’t addressed in her industry and solved it by creating women’s undergarments that sucked you in and didn’t show through your clothes. Over the course of 14 years, she created a billion-dollar company and set an example that many other women entrepreneurs have followed since. I wonder how many people had a great idea like Sara did, but weren’t willing to grind for 14 years? She chose to do all of the hard things and it paid off.
Sara used $5,000 in savings that she’d earned from her job selling fax machines door-to-door to start her brand in 2000. Over a decade later, her company was earning 20% profit margins on nearly $250 million in annual sales. In October 2021, Sara sold a majority stake in Spanx to a private equity firm with a deal that valued Spanx at $1.2 billion. She sold 80% of the company, meaning she accepted a $960 million cash-out. Not a bad outcome after a $5,000 investment!
We all want to start a business and watch the money roll in, but that doesn’t happen day one. I coach my clients to do the hard things first so they can create a proven process that takes their business to the next level. You have to put in the hard work and long hours before you can see the fruits of your labor.
In order to have a successful business, you have to have success in other areas of your life as well. If you aren’t happy in your personal life, chances are that unhappiness will spill over into your professional life. The goal is to be your best at work and at home. Many people have the personal goal of getting into better shape, but as you get older it become much more difficult. The good news, however, is that it is possible — you just have to do hard things to get there. It takes a lot of discipline to commit to a healthy lifestlye and say ‘no’ to bad habits. If you choose the healthy path, your body will change, your mind will become more clear and you’ll get stronger. But it takes doing hard things to get there.
You should never stop trying to do hard things. I try put myself in an uncomfortable situation physically, mentally or at work often so I can continuously improve myself. Last year I starting taking challenging hot yoga classes once a week that pushed my body to the limit. These classes are super intense, but I feel so amazing afterwards. At work, I’m committing to going live on LinkedIn once a week to talk about my podcast. Being on camera is an uncomfortable thing for me, but it’s a great exercise in being brave and putting myself out there. And it’s paid off — many new coaching clients I get are from LinkedIn. It’s hard for me to go live, but it’s totally worth it. That’s why I’ll never stop doing hard things.
Doing hard things is what will separate you from everyone else. Do you want to make more money? Make time to do the hard things and do them every day. Do you want to lose weight? You know what to do — create healthy habits and stick to them. Pretty soon they will become a part of your routine and you’ll start to see amazing benefits from doing hard things.
Here are some of my biggest pointers for doing the hard things:
- Get to the office a little bit earlier than you usually do. Use this time for personal development, planning and reading up on the latest trends in your industry.
- Make sales calls every day, even when you don’t feel like it.
- Solve customer service complaints and learn from them.
- Move your body every day.
- Meal-prep healthy lunches so you don’t make bad choices and lose momentum in your work day.
- Say ‘no’ to sugar and processed foods.
- Let go of the employee who doesn’t contribute to your company’s culture.
- Distance yourself from negative people in your life who don’t support your goals.
What are you going to add to your personal and professional life that’s hard? Adding some challenge to your personal and professional life will only make your stronger. Do something hard every day and you will succeed at whatever goals you set out to reach!