July 14, 2021
Anyone that's achieved anything great knows it comes with struggle. If you didn't struggle, you wouldn't appreciate it. To justify why we have to go through hard things in order to grow, aka that struggle, there's a phrase I coined. You have to dig through mud to get to the gold. This struggle or the hard times is really growth happening on a small scale. That growth compounds and you end up achieving what you set out to achieve or learning a valuable lesson that helps you in another area of life. The challenge is being able to continue on the path of personal growth or the area you're looking to succeed in despite not seeing immediate results. In order to grow, you need to get comfortable digging in the mud until you find gold.
During the California Gold Rush a period that lasted from 1848–1855, people fled to the west. Around 300,000 people to be more specific. You know the saying, "if people are looking for gold sell pick axes". The process of finding gold is relatively straight forward. Head to a river or stream, then start digging and sifting through the gravel, water, mud and rubble. Every river has gold; however, some have more than others.
When your goal is growth, while staying true to our gold metaphor, you have to navigate a lot of rivers and sift through a lot of mud. In reality, you never know when you’re going to hit gold, but if you keep going and keep trying, your chances increase.
Those who grow and become successful don’t stop rolling in the mud. They get use to sometimes finding and not finding gold and realize It's a cycle that repeats itself. When you fear the mud, fear getting dirty, you push yourself away from the opportunity to gold. Gold being success, money or however you measure reaching a goal or particular outcome. But let's not forget the role luck plays...
Before Kevin Spacey became problematic, his character in House of Cards was nothing short of amazing. There’s line he mentioned that always stuck with me. Success is a mixture of preparation and luck.
The cycle of finding gold, navigating tough times, and reaching your goals, share the same sentiment. You increase your chances of success when you do the work. But you can’t underestimate the power luck plays in expediting the process. Luck finds those who continually take action and stick through things regardless of how tough or dire they seem.
I consider myself fairly lucky. But my luck is a lagging indicator of following my curiosity and doing the work. It’s a result of digging in the mud for months and years at a time before finding gold. Luck is you forgetting about the work you've done.
For example, maybe you pitch a 100 clients and hear no’s across the board. You hear so many no’s that you start to expect them but you know that if you stop, your chances of landing a client are 0. Then, all of a sudden, the perfect client with enough revenue to last you a year, gets closed. You and others around you think you instantly got lucky. The reality is that you’ve been digging through the mud and preparing for this opportunity for as long as you've been pitching.
The formula to finding gold is luck + doing the work + consistency. There's no way around it. Before stepping on the path to entrepreneurship I use to think like most people, sometimes you just get lucky. It wasn’t until stepping out on my own that I realized I created my own luck. Luck combined with getting comfortable in the mud, I ended up finding gold.
But like anyone that finds gold, you know that In order to find more gold, you have to stay in the mud. The quicker you’re able to enjoy this ambiguous and gritty place, the more likely you’ll be successful.
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