Blog | Entrepreneurship, Personal development

The Entrepreneur’s Mantra

The life of an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. But if you know why you do it, you’ll never stop working for it

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Lisa and I are often asked about our “why.” As in, how did we discover it. How did we know with 100% certainty what it was.

It’s different for everyone. For many, it’s when they hit the proverbial “rock bottom.” That is definitely the case for us.

As I have written about before, our journey to running a successful addiction and treatment center was anything but easy. We had false-hopes mixed in with an unlikely solution to finding the start up capital we were seeking.

But our “why” was never in question.

We knew we had our “why” after I hit rock bottom. Or, rather, when we hit rock bottom. There wasn’t any question because I knew it and was pulling my girlfriend (and now wife), Lisa, down with me.

The Curse That Turns Into a Blessing

I had no one else to blame but myself for my addiction. It was a responsibility that rested solely on my shoulders.

After I completed my treatment, and we began to build Journey Healing Centers (and then Warriors Heart) addiction and treatment centers, I always had a reminder with me.

Any time we faced adversity, all I had to do is remember the discussions I had with Lisa and how much pain I caused us both before I decided to enter a rehab center for my addiction to alcohol. Those memories brought with them pain that felt like we were going through it all over again.

We used those painful memories to fuel our desire to help free others from the shackles of addiction.

But we weren’t licensed counselors, nor did we have the drive to become one. We knew with our knowledge, experience and drive that building a business to facilitate those who can help on the front lines was going to be our best bet to help those in need.

Instead, we took on the responsibility for funding, hiring/firing, and daily operations of running a healing center.

“There’s More Work To Do”

Last month, I discussed how we found our investment capital. We had our space but also the mortgage payment due every month to pay for it and the loan payment to Arvis, our investor. In addition, we had employees who depended on us for their paychecks, the guests and family members staying with us. We could feel the weight of our decision growing by the day.

Our goal was to pay back Arvis for the entire loan amount, including interest of 8.25 percent, within 12 months. We had some extra equity set aside which helped for a few months, but the clock was ticking.

In addition to finding a business license and hiring the professionals required to run the facility, the physical location still needed to be completed. That’s where I spent the majority of my time while Lisa was tending to our first born, Haley.

There wasn’t a day that went by for months where we didn’t look at each other and think whether or not this was a good idea. And it was after three months of this that Lisa had to take a part-time job on the police force. To keep our lifestyle as it was, we needed for Lisa to make this additional sacrifice while I continued to get our business up and running.

It was during these stressful times that I kept saying to myself, “There’s more work to do.” Over and over and over I would repeat that mantra in my head.

When I was completing a 12-hour grind at our new business location, or Lisa was picking up Haley from her parents after a 12-hour shift with the police force, that’s all we had to keep us focused on our mission.

For months at a time, this new career as an entrepreneur was testing us in ways we didn’t think was possible.

And so it will be with you.

There will be days you will simply want to stay in bed, but you know you can’t.

You’ll remember your why and carry onward anyway.

That’s what entrepreneurs do.

After all, there’s more work to do.

If you want to read more about our story, grab a copy of our book The Social Capitalist.

Original publish date: April 29, 2019

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