What it Truly Takes to Be an Outlier

The level of commitment required to be an outlier — to be elite and exceptional — is something that goes beyond what I believe most people are willing to give. 

The reality of it is very unrelatable to a lot of people. Many people will say they believe in moderation and balance, and that’s absolutely fine. If you are living the life that you want, you are satisfied, you are achieving all the things you want to achieve, and you’re happy, I’m not going to knock that. I think that’s wonderful. 

But usually what is required to hit the most elite levels of success is a full, all-in commitment. 

A great example of this is elite athletes. They dedicate their lives to what it’s that they’re doing. Some people will say that is unreasonable, but if you were to look at the top players in any sports league, they’re not practicing for a couple hours a day. They practice three hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, and another three hours in the evening. That is how they become the elite. 

They do that for certain seasons of their life. I mean, quite literally you have seasons in sports, but this can also apply to seasons in our lives. 

It doesn’t mean you are going that hard for a lifetime, but sometimes we have to make certain compromises or trade-offs to achieve the things we want to achieve. This doesn’t mean you’re going to be an absent father or mother, but you may have to be for a certain period of time based on what the mission requires. 

My wife Jessica and I were fortunate in that we made this upfront commitment early on before we had kids, which has made it much simpler. Now that we have kids, we can spend a lot of time with them. But if we were in the early building phase of building the organization with a four-year-old and with a two-year-old, it would be incredibly difficult. We would probably have to miss their gymnastics and karate events, because at that time we were working on this business 24/7/365. But we frontloaded that so that we could build an organization that could be more self-managing — that can have more capacity, more support, more help — to not require us day in and day out.

It allows us that freedom, which I think is the goal of any entrepreneur. 

But if you don’t make that commitment and if you don’t ever create those things, then you’re in the middle, which I think is the worst place to be. You don’t have the freedom and you’re dissatisfied. You can’t spend your time how you want to spend your time, but then at the same time, if you’re in the middle, you’re not making progress in the way that is necessary to then create that freedom. 

So you’re just stuck. You’re not really there for your family. You’re kind of there, but you’re not fully present. You’re also not fully committed the growth of the organization, so that stalls as well. It’s like you’re in no man’s land. You’ve got to pick at some point. 

It doesn’t have to be forever, but making sacrifices for at least a season is a necessary aspect of success. I don’t want to sugarcoat it. If someone’s figured out a way to do this 40 hours a week, and they’re able to achieve everything they set out to achieve — they’ve achieved entrepreneurial freedom, all their team members have incredible growth opportunities, they’ve got long-term career paths, the’re dominating their market, they’re achieving all measures of success that are important to them — then wonderful. They’ve figured it out. If that’s you, send me a letter. I would love to know how you did it. 

But if that’s not the case, then you either have to accept the outcomes from the efforts that you’re putting in or just don’t complain. 

Usually what happens is people have their ambitions, but their efforts and their actions don’t match those ambitions. 

They have ambitions of they want to live in X type of house. They want to be able to spend their time this way. They want to be able to be with their kids. They want to be dominant in their market. But they are waking up at like 9 AM. They’re in the office a few hours a week. They’re always taking vacations

And they wonder why they never have any money and why they’re stressed out. They wonder why they’re not able to make the investments that they want to make. 

They’ll trying to have it all — and you can have it all, but it requires a long-term mindset. Things have to be also about tomorrow. Not everything has to be about today. 

It’s difficult, but you have to strike that balance. You don’t want to be miserable, but you must understand that there’s going to be a time when your future self will look back on the decisions that you’re making today, and your future self will either thank you or look back with regret.

Live in such a way that your future self will thank you.

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