There comes a time in the life of most entrepreneurs when the challenges seem overwhelming. You've suffered one setback after another and you seriously think about throwing in the towel.
You question yourself. Maybe you don't have what it takes after all? Maybe your breakthrough idea just isn't realistic? Maybe you should quit now rather than continue to make a fool of yourself? Self-doubt leeches into your heart and soul. Despair begins to take over.
It happens all the time. But I'm here to tell you why you should never ever give up on your dreams. Consider these six reasons.
1. What's the alternative? If you give up now what are your options? Where are you going to be in life? Adrift? Aimless? Imagine how that is going to make you feel. Perhaps there's a particular product or service you've launched that is plainly not going to be "the one." Regard it as nothing more than a detour on your journey to success. We all get sidetracked from time to time and, although you don't know what it is right now, there's probably a good reason why Opportunity #1 didn't work out. But you'll realize the reason why when you succeed with Opportunity #10 or Opportunity #20. Take a look at billionaire author, J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter series. She was rejected 12 times, before she finally got her first chance. Perseverance paid.
2. Mistakes happen. There's not a straight line to success. You're going to hit bumps in the road that at the time feel like mountains. But you can get over them. In fact, making mistakes is virtually a necessary part of building a business. If you're not making mistakes you're not experimenting. You're not trying new approaches. You're not going anywhere. They key thing is to make sure that you learn from the mistakes.
We've all heard stories about famous figures in history who failed numerous times. Abraham Lincoln, for one, who failed to win several positions before becoming president of the United States. Walt Disney, for another, who had to close businesses en route to worldwide success. And, just last year, while most Americans were relaxing on Labor Day, 64-year-old Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the shark-invested waters between Cuba and Key West--some 110 miles--without a cage for protection. She succeeded at her fifth attempt in 35 years. But she says that she learned something new from each of her failed efforts. Can you imagine what it takes to make that physical and mental journey? Failure is a necessary part of the journey, but it's never the end, until you make it.
3. You need passion in your life. If you give up on your dreams you're living a life unfulfilled. I can't imagine not being passionate about something. Do you really believe you can build a large company and help tens of thousands of people if you have a wishy-washy approach and don't feel strongly about your personal endeavor? If you don't have a mission, if you don't have a purpose, don't you think that's a waste of why you were placed on this planet? Live life with a purpose and you will never be bored. Absolute, conviction is everything.
4. Anything can happen. Don't give up today--because the breakthrough you need might happen tomorrow. All of the hard work you have invested in yourself will pay off in the long run. It may well be that you're running in a marathon while you were hoping it would be nothing more than a sprint. If you're at the point of giving up, give it another shot, this is what "Hail Mary's" were made for. And then do the same thing again the very next day.
5. The joy of success. Most of all, don't surrender your precious dreams because one day you will achieve them. And, when you do, the ecstasy will make all of the agony so worthwhile. Imagine being able to celebrate with your family and friends who have been rooting for you. Just think about the pleasure you will all feel. Crossing the finishing line and winning your personal goal is a sense of accomplishment that's almost indescribable. So go for it and don't quit because you certainly don't want to miss out on the experience of savoring it.
6. Proving them wrong. Last but not least...don't give the naysayers the satisfaction of seeing you give up on your dreams! There's nothing wrong with wanting to prove them wrong. It's quite common to have people in your life who are the dream-stealers. It might be colleagues or business acquaintances or even, sad to say, family or friends. They are negative influences, sowing seeds of doubt. I'll never forget the moment I was trying to raise capital for my previous business BlueLithium. There was a general partner of a big firm who lectured me for 10 minutes and said, "Your chances of success are pretty much zero." Of course, that spurred me on all the more and I can't help but wonder how he felt when I sold the company for $300 million a year later. I was delighted to prove him wrong. Cheers to those who doubted you because eventually they will want to be part of your team.
Dreams are essential for an entrepreneur, and with determination you will achieve them. The road is never an easy one, but it's absolutely worth it.
Your dreams are only awake if you are.
--Gurbaksh Chahal is CEO of RadiumOne, an enterprise advertising platform based in San Francisco.