Every morning on my drive to work, I pass a gas station that predominately displays the current lottery jackpots on their store windows. As the numbers grow into the tens of millions of dollars, I often wonder to myself what I would do if I won the lottery (I guess I would first have to buy a ticket for that to be possible).
After reflecting on this question, I realize that I would keep doing what I’m doing now. I truly love what I do—helping others grow their businesses, improve their leadership, and change limiting behaviors. I know I have had an impact on many leaders and businesses, and would probably expand my efforts further if I won the lottery. I might not be so stressed about future revenue streams and day-to-day operational issues, but all in all I would maintain the path that I’m currently on.
My dad lived by a motto, “life is short; make sure that you enjoy this incredible journey.” I remember talking to him four months prior to his death, and he said that he had no regrets and was ready to go whenever the good Lord was ready for him. I think his motto and that conversation with him truly impacted how I have chosen to live my life, which includes running a business that positively impacts other people’s lives.
This got me thinking of many business owners I’ve come across over the years who dread what they are doing, feel trapped in their role, and believe they have no other option but to continue to do what they’re doing. They’ve lost their purpose, or the ‘why’ of what they’re doing, and are sluggishly pushing along to make ends meet in hopes that one day they will ‘hit it big’ with their business or maybe even the lottery. Their days pass into months, their months pass into years, and before they know it they look back at their journey and wish things could have been different. And yet they still seem stuck or unmotivated to pursue their goals.
How many individuals live in this state of unfulfillment? I would anticipate many—consider all the best-selling books and seminars that are focused on helping people try to discover what they want and what’s holding them back in achieving their desires. I would venture to say most people get stuck because of time, money, and behaviors. They are not really ready to change themselves in order to achieve what they want, and they may not be patient enough, or persistent enough, to carry through their plans to achieve their goals. Others may feel that they are already working so hard just spinning their wheels, without making any progress towards where they want to be.
Then there is money—often one of the biggest blockers that individuals credit with preventing them from doing what they really want. (If only they had “this” amount of money, they could quit their job and start a business, or they could do what they really want to do.) Yet, many times these individuals don’t want to make any sacrifices to achieve their goals—like drive an older car, go out to dinner less, save money, etc. Their desire for the goal exists if it is easy, but not if they have to makes changes to their lifestyle. They hope to win the lottery to achieve their dreams, rather than take risks in order to begin the journey which will most likely require sacrificing aspects of their existing lifestyle.
Rarely do you see a lottery winner living their dreams—in fact, they often lose most of their money within their first five years of winning, because winning the lottery doesn’t give you the tools to live your dreams.
If you’re day dreaming about winning the lottery so that you can do what you really want to in life, or grow your business to that next level, maybe you should take a hard look at your life and start making changes now. Evaluate what you really want, and what changes you might need to make in order to achieve the goals you desire in life. As my dad used to say, “life is short; make sure that you enjoy this incredible journey.”
This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services.