Saturday afternoon we’ll have nearly 20 family members joining us as we celebrate the college graduation of our son.
He’s our first to graduate and we’ve been counting the days.
But the road to Ethan’s degree was complicated and often quite frustrating.
In the fall of 2014 as a 20 year old college junior, he asked us if he could leave school. Not to quit – but to get a fresh start and try college again somewhere else.
It wasn’t an easy time nor an easy decision and I honestly felt like a huge failure as a mom.
It hurt tremendously when people said things about his decision and how we as a family decided to handle it. But we felt that the only thing we could do was trust that this was the best decision for him.
He quit Marist in December of 2014. Moved home with us. Commuted to the University of Rhode Island, part-time and got a part-time job.
A few months later he got accepted to URI and moved onto campus full-time. A semester later he moved home choosing to commute and dedicate himself to the fastest and smoothest path to graduation.
We watched. We waited. We worried and we hoped.
And slowly he began to figure it out.
It took two more semesters before he found his major.
He commuted to both the Providence and Kingston campuses – sometimes in the same day.
He took 5 classes a semester – many at night.
He took winter and summer classes.
He completed three internships in a year.
Alone – he mapped out an accelerated plan to graduate.
This Saturday, Ethan will put on his cap and gown and walk proudly across the URI stage to accept his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development & Family Studies (with a concentration in Family Finance).
It may have taken him five years to graduate but he’s got more pride and confidence in himself than anyone I know.
So why am I sharing this story?
Well…because in Ethan I’ve learned more about what it takes to succeed (often times against the odds).
As entrepreneurs we live between failure and success every single day. Straddling the fine line of “Am I going to make it, or should I quit?”.
There are moments we wake up and wonder if the work we do today really is making a difference in the long run.
Times when we don’t want to write another blog post or newsletter feeling like it just won’t matter.
Times when we don’t want to host a webinar or event because it feels too scary or too big to manage or handle.
Times when we don’t want to ask for a speaking gig or attend another networking event.
But all of these things, if done together and done under a strategic plan – can help us reach our ultimate goal – a successful, profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business.
What impressed me about Ethan’s plan to graduate was his unwavering devotion to reaching his goal.
When he started he had no idea what he wanted to do. He had to make all new friends. He had to commute 45+ minutes a day multiple days a week. He had to remain disciplined and focused. And in the beginning it felt nearly impossible to do it.
But month by month as he made progress we saw his confidence grow and him get closer to his goal. Not a day went by where he didn’t believe he could graduate.
Today, no matter where you are….please think about this for yourself. Please think about staying focused, clear and dedicated to your goals. If your niche isn’t right – change it. If your marketing isn’t working – fix it. If you don’t have an advisor who’s supporting you – find one who will.
Stay the course and trust yourself.
One of the smartest things you can do is read about how successful entrepreneurs do it. Adapt their habits. Start thinking as they think. Don’t make excuses, make a plan.
Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs. Those who make it are willing to do the work. They’re willing to figure it out. They’re willing to stay in the game – even when they feel exhausted, beat up or unable to do it. But they keep going.
They set goals. Break them down and figure out what they can do on their own or who they should bring in to help them support their journey.
Don’t go it alone and don’t give up. Be that Underdog who rises to the top. I know you can!
Now I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you. Where do you sometimes get derailed? What do you do to help yourself achieve your goals. Who inspires you to stay the course? Let me know in the comments below!!
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