Despite the negative connotations, we all make sacrifices. For example, reflect on the years you spent in college. You might have gone out with your friends on Friday night — but never during finals week. Here are ten deliberate sacrifices you must make if you want to be successful.
Fast forward to being an adult. If you want to purchase a new vehicle or home, you need to make some financial sacrifices, like skipping an exotic vacation. When starting a new business, you may not see your friends or family as much.
Here’s the thing though, these were deliberate choices to reach your goals. While not exactly fun, you’re probably not in pain over this.
“Not all pain and suffering, however, amount to sacrifice,” explains Gianpiero Petriglieri is an HBR piece. “The difference is not just philosophical,” but also is practical. “Sacrifice might be hurtful and exhausting, but it is a conscious choice.”
“Suffering is the result of feeling that we cannot slow down or else we will be shamed and lose control,” adds Petriglieri. “Sacrifice makes us who we are. Suffering keeps us captive.”
“When putting our bodies through hell at work, at least for a while, is worth the rewards we get and the contribution we make, it is sacrifice,” he states. “But if you can come up with many reasons for hurting at work, but see little purpose in it, then it is not.”
Moreover, these sacrifices are usually temporary. They will also change to align with your priorities over time. And, even though not pleasant, they can also help you build confidence, resilience and maintain your motivation.
With that in mind, here are 10 sacrifices that you will make at some point in your life if you want to be successful and productive.
I am in no way advocating that you surpass sleep. Your mind and body need a good night’s rest to recover and recharge. In fact, a lack of sleep will destroy your productivity.
I am saying that sometimes you aren’t going to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you’re a parent, then you’re well aware of this fact. But, you also know that it’s temporary, and you will eventually get back to a somewhat normal sleep routine.
The same is true when it comes to your work life. You will have tasks or projects that require you to put in 12 hour days. You will definitely stay awake at night thinking about your next move like your a Bobby Fisher level chess player.
So, while sleep should be a priority, you also have to be real. There will be some long nights when you’re only going to get a couple of hours.
Bear with me here as this might seem like a broad topic. If you’re married or have children, then I’m a firm believer in a family comes first. Simultaneously, you might have to scrap a two-week vacation and replace it will a long weekend instead.
But, I’m really talking about those relationships outside of your inner circle. It would be great to catch-up with a friend from college. But, if you already have a packed calendar, that might have to go on the back burner until you have the availability.
Networking is obviously a proven way to grow your business. However, if that’s preventing you from reaching your goals, you might have to scale back. For instance, instead of weekly get-togethers, make it a monthly occurrence or focus on online networking.
And, above everything else, remove toxic individuals from your life. You know who I’m talking about. These are the folks who drag your down or aren’t respectful of your time.
3. Evil Urges
Get your mind out of the gutter! These are unhealthy habits that are holding you back. For instance, you can look at your phone whenever you receive a notification or stay way pat happy hour with your colleagues.
I’ll be honest. We’re all guilty of slipping up every now and then. And I don’t think that you should be too hard on yourself when you do. But, that’s different than making this a recurring issue.
If you want to be productive and successful, then you need to take care of your health. You need to decline those late night functions. You need to ditch mentally unhealthy habits like perfectionism, comparisons, catastrophizing the future, and blaming others.
Being afraid isn’t always a bad thing. Fear, after all, can keep us safe, force us to live in the present, and can even be exciting. However, when left unchecked, it can interfere with your happiness and paralyze you.
While it’s natural to be afraid, like when taking the leap to start your own business, you need to overcome it. There are several ways to go about this, like understanding and embracing your fear. Others have found visualization, role-playing, or questioning the fear to be helpful.
If you’re really struggling with this, I strongly suggest you reach out for help. You could speak with your support system or seek out a mentor. There’s also no shame in working with a mental health professional as well.
Stress just won’t prevent you from reaching your true potential. It can also literally kill you. No wonder it’s been dubbed the silent killer.
As with fear, stress is a natural part of life. But, you can’t let widely grow out of control. Instead, you need to maintain your stress by using techniques like properly:
- Regular physical activity.
- Spending time with close family or friends.
- Offloading some of your workloads.
- Breathing exercises.
- Identifying triggers and eliminating them.
- Using essential oils.
- Slowing down and celebrating your accomplishments.
What does that have to do with sacrifice? Well, when you feel like you’re on the edge of burnout, you might need to take a personal day. Work will have to wait until you attend to your own well-being.
“Before 2008, I was playing golf three times a week,” writes entrepreneur and best-selling author Grant Cardone. “What was I thinking spending time on the golf course, or anything for that matter, when I could have been spending time getting my financial house in order. I had gotten distracted and entitled, had started to rest on my laurels, and put my family at risk.”
“I know life is not just about work and money but notice how many people are not having much of a life because of work and money,” adds Cardone. “I decided to master my work and my money, and if my golf game or social status suffer, so be it.” As he concludes, “It’s all right if you sacrifice fun today for freedom tomorrow.”
At the same time, hobbies can help you hustle. The reason? They are non-work activities that can improve your mood, help you find inspiration, and develop problem-solving skills. The key is striking a balance.
In other words, if golf is your passion, hitting the links three times a week when you’re trying to start a business won’t gel. But, you could cut back to just once a week. Or, you could get a putting mat and practice your short game during a short break.
7. Other People’s Opinions
Asking for advice and feedback can come in handy. Both can be used to help you gain fresh perspectives and ideas. At the same time, don’t harp too much on what others think.
As Richard P. Feynman said, “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”
Last weekend it was cool and rainy. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting much time outside. What’s more, I had a hectic week and just needed a day to veg.
I don’t do this frequently. Sometimes you just need a day to lay on the couch and watch Netflix. But, I also admit that this is a huge time-waster.
On a day-to-day basis, you should avoid these time thieves. In addition to television, other time-wasters would be getting sucked into social media feeds, unnecessary meetings, and bulky to-do-lists. Determine what wastes your time and avoid them as much as possible.
By all means, be proud of your accomplishments. After all, you’ve earned it. At the same time, don’t pride consume you.
You still need to hold yourself accountable when you slip-up. In my experience, failure is one of the best ways to learn and grow. And, more importantly, sometimes, that means doing things that are beneath you.
For example, you might have to pick up a side gig until your business takes off. Even then, there might be tedious takes that you dread. I’m talking about responding to emails, bookkeeping, or literally cleaning-up your workspace. You might be responsible for these tasks until you have the resources to delegate or outsource them.
Until then, you need to squeeze them into your packed schedule. One simple way to do this would be through batching. In this case, you would set aside a small block of time each day to clean out your inbox or declutter your work area.
10. Worrying About Being Productive 24/7
Wait. Isn’t this counterproductive? Absolutely not.
As opposed to obsessing about productivity, you should focus on being intentional. In other words, instead of maximizing every minute and working 80-hours a week, focus on the vital few. When you do, you’re dedicating your time and energy to what’s truly important instead of the unnecessary.