This originally appeared on The Good Men Project
My days and nights are consumed by one thing: how to make it pop. There is not a moment that goes by that I am not thinking about how to get my writing and myself in front of people. It is a constant cycle of ideas, triumphs, failures, out-of-the-box thoughts, and strategies. There is another word for it: The Grind.
The Grind requires anyone who is an entrepreneur or has an idea and wants to see it come to fruition to work on it 24/7. Every day I think about what I can do to move closer to my goals. How the next piece can be tweaked, written clearer, and presented better. How I can increase my readership, discover what catches people’s attention, and new topics that are of interest. The wheels turn all the time. Life has become a non-stop brainstorming session.
The Grind isolates you from your social life and possibly your family. People may call you to hang out, go to dinner, have fun, but you can’t. “I’m working on this project and I don’t have time right now. Maybe next week?” After declining a few social functions, the invites start to come in less and less. Your friends who work 9 to 5 don’t understand the ambition and sacrifice that it takes to reach your goal. You may miss out on “all of tomorrow’s parties” but that is the cost of the Grind. Romantic relationships may suffer as well. Date nights may get canceled or rescheduled and your partner may see less and less of you. Unless you have a mate who is incredibly understanding and supportive of your passion and secure in your relationship, it could fall apart. I wish I had an answer for you, but for those that are working towards something bigger that requires all of your focus and attention, your dating life could be put on hold, indefinitely.
The Grind can make you doubt yourself. “Am I making the right decisions? Is this good enough? Should I give up?” You are constantly looking at your goal from different angles, scrutinizing every detail, obsessing over the smallest of things. You may ask yourself, “does this work?” Reluctance to move forward may come over you when you see others become successful and you are not. That small voice in the back of your head called self-doubt may creep in, telling you, “you’re not going to make it.” Ignore it and continue to move forward. The Grind is not easy; it is a confidence-testing journey that has taken down the best of people.
The Grind is a long non-stop process. There are no overnight sensations. There is work: lots of it that consumes most, if all, of your free time. After I work 8 to 10 hours I day, I come home and write for a couple hours four to five days a week and sometimes I think that is too little. Weekends are always reserved for creating. Friends that are artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, etc. have sacrificed sleep, eating, and even health to keep working and moving.
The Grind is a marathon – a thought comes to mind and is cultivated and grown. Ideas are scrapped, tossed, recycled, ripped up, and recreated. This process can go on and on for years. I have realized that everything that I write can be changed, discarded, or put aside. Nothing is ever permanent until it is finished. One thing about the Grind is that you can’t be afraid to take an honest look at your goal and possibly start over. I spoke with friends who closed down their company because it wasn’t profitable. When I asked if they were disappointed about it, they shrugged and nonchalantly said, “Kinda, but I don’t want to waste my time on something that isn’t working. We will just move on to the next idea.” That was inspiring. Failure is just temporary.
The Grind is your life. If you are like me, you will always reach for the next goal, become excited about the next project, happy to create something new. You are always working on something and will never stop. At one point I had contemplated not writing. I had doubts about myself, so I asked a friend, “What if it didn’t pop” or “I don’t become successful?” He looked at me and said, “What else are you going to do? What if you are close and give up? If you don’t write, what are you going to do with your life?” I thought about what my friend, an entrepreneur that has been in many failed ventures and is now very successful, said and realized that this is what I do. I am forever on the treadmill. The Grind is my life.