Some days I'm just not motivated, and since we entrepreneurs must motivate ourselves, that can be problematic. I try to remind myself, the difference between who you are, and who you want to be, is what you do, but some days affirmations aren't enough and I need to get inspired. So I go looking for inspiration.
One of my favorite sources for inspiration are the stories of successful entrepreneurs, particularly people that have faced extremely challenging situations, then used those situations to create magnificent lives. One of my favorites for many years has been a woman named Kris Carr.
On Valentines Day in 2003 Kris was diagnosed with a rare stage 4 cancer, she was then faced with a choice, give in to the diagnosis, or fight, and she not only fought for herself, she now fights for all people with cancer, chronic illness, and those facing significant life challenges, she does so by sharing her story, and by being a "Wellness Warrior."
What's intruiging to me is that Kris shouldn't be a "Wellness Warrior", she shouldn't be an amazing entrepreneur, she shouldn't have created a documentary called “Crazy Sexy Cancer.”, shouldn't have written three successful books — “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips” and “Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor”, Crazy Sexy Diet, shouldn't have been on Oprah and lots of other TV shows, no, she wasn't supposed to do those things after being diagnosed with a rare stage 4 cancer that's untreatable, but she did all of those things and so so much more. Why?
In her documentary there is a scene from an old movie where the patient says: "What chance do I really have doctor? And the Doctor replies, "This is the time for action, rather than pity, you need to have the will to be cured." And it seems Kris has lots of will.
Shortly after that scene Kris comes on camera and says the advice she got for her slow growing cancer was to sit and wait. She says "Wait for what? There is no stage 5. When there are no answers you have to find your own." And while she seemed to be griped with fear, afraid she was going to die, she had the fortitude to not only find the answers, but to create an amazing a new life for herself. In the article from NY Times last August she stated "It was, ‘Go out and live your life.’ ” And what a life she's living.
Another great source for inspiration and wisdom is the book 50 Success Classics, by Tom Butler-Bowdon. In this book he chronicles some of the great success stories of all time. In the introduction he gives what I feel is one of the best definitions of why some people are driven to succeed, and it seems this is the spirit Kris tapped into after her cancer diagnosis.
"We desire success almost as much as we need to breathe. From the moment we are born we want to do more, get more, be more. While we may have a mental picture of success as striving hard toward perfection, in truth it is more natural. Success can be described as the courage to let out the potent dreams and potentialities already in us, simply to give them air. Most people don't do this because it seems dangerous, it is not routine. Yet those who have gone this way do see it as the normal path of life. It feels more like home, a place that everyone should experience. Sometimes the urge for more is drummed out of us by upbringing or culture, so you may have felt compelled to lower your expectations and settle for a less extraordinary life."
He goes on to say:
"Only you will know whether you have achieved your aims in life. Some people spend their life climbing up a ladder, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell, only to find it was against the wrong wall. This is why the term authentic is used: doing something or becoming something that expresses your full personality and abilities in the most noble way. Success is not an event or result in isolation, but an expression of the best within you. The world provides endless possibilities for making it more efficient, more humane, more beautiful. It's up to you to find your niche. Real achievement is not concerned with winning for the sake of it."
As Timothy Gallwey puts it:"Winning is overcoming obstacles to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached."
"You need to make a distinction between a compulsion to succeed for the sake of winning, and the desire for enduring achievements that will enrich your life and the lives of others."
Extraordinary life for the taking? If you are driven to express your personality and ability, and have the courage to let out the potent dreams and potentialities already in you, to simply to give them air, you can succeed in life just by trying, not just by winning.
Seems for Kris Carr it took a cancer diagnosis to move the ladder to the right wall, and boy has she climbed. She deserves all of the recognition that has come her way. Why shouldn't I move my ladder too? Why shouldn't I pursue the noble cause of building PuraKai into a viable business? Why shouldn't I follow my dreams and investigate my potentialities? Should I lower my expectations and settle for a less extraordinary life? I shouldn't. And neither should you.
To Kris Carr. You are a beacon of light!! Thank you for providing an example to me. Your courage to fight and battle your cancer diagnosis, your courage to follow your dreams despite insurmountable obstacles, your courage to find answers and heal yourself, your courage to help heal others as a "Wellness Warrior", gives me the courage to follow my dreams, despite obstacles that seem insurmountable today, I'm not waiting, like you said: "Wait for what? When there are no answers you have to find your own." So I'm moving my ladder to the right wall. And I will go in search of answers. Thank you for inspiring me.
Time to get back to work... Carpe Diem!