If you fail enough times and fake it long enough, you’ll eventually make it. If you do a whole bunch of gigs, sooner or later they’ll add up to something. In the meantime, grow your social-media presence, build your personal brand, keep improving yourself, follow the rich and famous, and stay positive.
That's what passes for common wisdom these days. And words cannot describe just how idiotic it is. If entrepreneurial success is your goal, it’s bad advice, every word of it. It’s exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.
Look, if you want to be just like the opportunistic parasites who write that sort of self-help style nonsense but have never actually run a real company, produced a genuine product, developed an expertise, or done a single thing to help anyone but themselves in their entire lives, be my guest.
But if you play small ball with your career, your business, your life, then the best you can ever hope to achieve is small results. And when I say small, I mean small. I mean struggling to make ends meet, having no real purpose, and waking up one day and realizing you’ve wasted precious years with only regret to show for it.
If, on the other hand, you really want to build a career or a company you can be proud of, you need to raise the bar – not just a little, but a lot. You need to raise the bar on those you take advice from. You need to raise the bar on your goals. And most important, you need to raise the bar on what you expect from yourself.
That sounds good, doesn’t it? I know it does because it’s what we all want. We all want to do great work. We all want to be proud of our accomplishments. And we all want to lead a purposeful life, reap the rewards of our efforts, and be financially secure and independent.
The irony is, you’re making things way too complicated and setting your sights way too low for any of that to happen. If you want big things out of life, you have to set your sights high, set big goals, and keep it simple. There are actually only five steps to accomplishing that.
1. Have faith in yourself.
First, you have to believe that you’re here for a reason. You have to believe that, once you find that single purpose, it will suit you like perfect-fitting clothes that look and feel like they were made just for you. You have to have faith that such a thing exists and, if you make the right choices, you’ll find it.
2. Find work you love doing.
You have to get out from behind the computer screen and work in a place where you’ll meet enterprising people and be exposed to new opportunities. That’s where you’ll find that one thing you’re uniquely cut out to do. That’s where you’ll find work you love doing. It may take a while, but you will find it.
3. Focus on being the best.
When you find that one thing, you need to focus on being better at it than anyone. You may need to go back to school and work at it for quite a few years, but if you stick with it, you’ll keep getting better at your craft, building better products, and delivering better service. If you’re smart and savvy, you’ll rise above the pack and beat the competition.
4. Face your fears, overcome obstacles, and stick with it.
You’ll find plenty of like-minded people who are also passionate about their work to partner with and advise you along the way. And because you believe in yourself, you’ll be strong. You’ll face your fears and the challenges that inevitably befall any great pursuit, and you’ll persevere. And if you do great work, you’ll reap the rewards.
5. Always look forward to the next big challenge.
Someday, many years from now, you’ll be sitting in your office, and it will suddenly occur to you that you’ve done quite well for yourself and money is no longer an issue. In fact, you’ve been remarkably successful. But then, you love your work so much that you will always look forward to the next big challenge. After all, that’s what you live for.
In case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a successful entrepreneur, executive, or business leader, now you know. It’s never about doing a lot of little things but about being the best at one thing. It’s about setting the bar high. It’s about expecting big things of yourself and others. That’s what leads to success in the real world.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.