Saying Yes and No To Experience The Life You Want

There are so many stories of “be cheap now, so you can ball so hard later” throughout the history of business. Probably 1 of my favorite stories is Phil Knight and the Nike swoosh. The Nike logo is 1 of the most iconic, yet minimalistic logos in the world. It’s 41st anniversary was actually yesterday! It’s symbolic of the upper echelon world athletes, overpriced apparel, and crossover appeal.  But the smaller story that I love is that the Nike logo only cost Knight $35! That’s astounding when graphic designers today are charging that PER HOUR! Later on down the line after Nike blew up, Knight furnished the designer, Carolyn Davidson, with an undisclosed amount of Nike stock. I’m sure it’s in the 7 figures realm.

Photo credit: Don Ryan

In addition to that, 1 of my favorite quotes by the legendary Steve Jobs is “It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

As I’ve gone through the various stages of crafting my perfect career, I’ve worked alongside mentors who are methodical and deliberate in every decision they make. In my field, it’s a by-product that you work long hours with very little personal time. Last year, I worked at a sports agency that represented the top athletes in every single sport on the globe. This age of athletes is multi-faceted, so my agency fielded requests hourly; everything from treatments for commercials that needed approval to addressing trade/signing rumors. It was taxing and often times, I felt that I was doing the work of a minion. Despite the sumptuous perks, I still felt like that “something” was missing. It took me a year to figure out what that was.

When you have an entrepreneurial spirit that’s fueled by a specific vision, you cannot live in the confines of a corner office. We often sacrifice our energy on chasing the life we want instead of strategizing on how to make our current life work for us. I came across a set of articles today that solidifed where my thought process had evolved to. Too many times we fantasize and aspire to reach a widely accepted marker of success that isn’t aligned with our individual reality. It’s normal to look at other people in your field that have the life you want. You observe what they do/have done to get there and try to make similar adjustments in your life to get there. But you don’t take into account what sacrifices and risks they had in order to reach what they deem as their arrival to success.

1 of my favorite versatile bloggers, Slim Jackson, posted a piece today about lifestyle changes and attaining freedom. In it, he talks about the lifestyle change he’s embarking on that will get to that point of what he defines as success. And I could relate to most of it, even down to the smoothie introductions. But the commitment to changing your lifestyle (for the purpose of embodying your idea of success) begins with knowing it’s okay to say NO. Many people guilt themselves into doing things, going to events, having meaningless conversations that conflict with their personal goals. And if there’s 1 thing I learned in this last year is that your life has to be lived forward on your terms! You are the only 1 who will have to experience the outcomes of the choices you make. So whatever sacrifices you choose, always make sure they will get you to the end point that you want; not where people tell you you should be.


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