The Struggle: What It Means When You Hit a Wall

The Struggle: What It Means When You Hit a Wall

“Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

Most people don’t realize how hard it’s going to be when they start a business.

What matters most is if you are willing to continue during the struggle, when there’s nothing clear that says it’s going to get better, or that it’s going to work at all.

That is the essence of entrepreneurship and building a business.

Recently, I spent a few days with some really, really smart people.  All of these folks were serial entrepreneurs, and really amazing business people.

One of them starting explaining to us that for him, when he started his second business, there was this moment where he realized that the things he was willing to do in his first business, was something that he almost felt should just come easy, should just “work,” should just happen the second time around.

Think about when you’ve had success in life, built multiple businesses, taken on a new project or started a new business… you just assume that it’s going to be easier than the first one. Right?

Now that you have all of this experience, knowledge and created all of these relationships, you think that whatever you do, it should be three times faster and that much easier.

What he explained, however, is that the struggle always exists.

There are different phases in starting a new project, and the struggle is the longest one.

He said that most repeat entrepreneurs, or people who have had success in the past, give up during the struggle.

They have forgotten the amount of willingness, energy and frustration that they put up building their first company that made them successful.

They forgot what a struggle it was, and they don’t feel like doing it again, so they give up or do something else.

I thought that was just such a powerful message and idea to apply to your business, your life or whatever you are doing.

Think about when you started your first project. You went through the struggle and you put in the hours.

If it’s the second or third time you are building a company, or are starting a major project, remember that if you feel like you’re struggling that it’s normal!

For me, I started off as a developer. I know the amount of hours that I put in, reading every book (I spent over $5000 on books!) and learning about programming, websites and data bases.  I spent weekends, and Friday nights, staying up till 2 or 3 in the morning just coding and testing and learning.

Now if I ask myself, “Would I be willing to do that same level of struggle?” – the answer isn’t always “Yes” because I forget.

I forget the hours and sacrifice that I put in the first time.  That’s why I want to remind everyone about the struggle cause we’ve all had it.

I’ve built five companies now and I just sold my last one.  This conversation around struggle really helped me to understand that when the struggle comes on, beware!

A lot of times in life, especially when you’ve been successful in the past, and you’re onto your next big project or company and you hit a wall, that’s the time that you want to double down and realize that that is what it is.

Right now I am working out with a personal trainer – a certified kettlebell trainer.  I don’t know if you know what kettlebells are, but essentially it’s lifting and swinging these big weights.  It’s very primitive.

I wanted to find out the top ways to have the most longevity in my life, and it turns out that kettlebells are that 80-20.

It turns out, If you can master 3 or 4 moves, then it is essentially the most efficient, effective and powerful way to increase longevity in your life.

So I am working with this guy, and for some reason I can’t get my kettlebell swing to work (what’s called the hinge). We’ve been working on this one technique for 5 sessions already.

Each time I go into the gym, I am determined to make it happen and I am still missing the mark.  I’m frustrated.

It’s the same idea as “the struggle.”  I have to remind myself, “Dan, don’t be so hard on yourself because it’s just part of the process!”

If it’s hard, you are going to go through the struggle and you’ve got to remember and remind yourself that it’s part of the process.

I thought that it was such a powerful message and I wanted to share that with you guys today.

So don’t forget, what you went through to be successful will be required again in the future if you choose to do it again. Don’t give up.

I am challenging each of you to live a bigger life and live a bigger company!

Do you have any struggles that you are going through now?

Have you ever been in the situation where you have had success and then when you were doing it again – and struggled – you gave up?

Or did you push through, knowing that was what it was going to take?

I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below.

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  • Michel LeBlanc

    Great post! After spending 12 years building a successful residential neighbourhood, we started to work on a new venture with Commercial properties. We though it would be easy. Far from it. The same struggles were there. Now with 3 years into it and going through the struggle, the walls are being pushed down. It will feel that much better on the other side.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      It’s never easier 🙂 / it’s just bigger. Every level is tough… we just get to play a bigger game. That’s the lesson I learned. No matter what I decided to do, if it’s new – there will be “The Struggle”… now I’m ready for it and can put my head down and push through!

  • Timi II

    Thank you for your videos Dan! My project is a rock climbing gym and with that to introduce a new sport and socializing venue to the town. I wasn’t sure what is the next step after the business plan’s finalized but since you came into my life, I am full of with new ideas and I know what I’m doing and I can’t wait to be in the struggle. Cheers.

  • Joel Ogunsola

    Great talk and extremely relevant in solving todays dilemas as regards been an entrepreneur…
    Thanks!

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