2. Commitment

Now that you can see it, you know exactly what it looks and feels like, and you know what you have to do daily to realize it, you must commit to achieving your vision. This may seem obvious, but not everyone who decides they will do something actually commits to it. Without commitment, goals become optional. Commitment is unwavering. Commitment requires sacrifice. Commitment means you will do anything and everything that is necessary to achieve the end result (without hurting others, of course). Commitment means you are willing to endure the pain and anguish that you will inevitably encounter on your journey to achieving anything substantial. Commitment can never be casual. Casual decisions and undertakings fade away along with the action to realize them. Casual becomes comfortable and comfortable does not push past pain and struggle. Comfortable gives up. Comfortable never wins.

As business owners, you know you will be placed in uncomfortable and unpleasant situations, and undoubtedly be stretched, not just from being pulled in so many directions while running your business, but stretched mentally, physically, and emotionally. You will encounter situations that will test your will, your patience, your hunger, and your faith. If you made a commitment to yourself that you will achieve your vision, there is only ever one action. Keep pushing. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep grinding. It takes grit and persistence and you have to be willing to get uncomfortable. Embrace the struggle. Where there is no struggle, there is no growth.

Commitment also requires patience and faith. If you keep doing the right things and taking action towards your vision, you can expect good results, but it will not happen overnight.

There is a story of the Chinese bamboo plant. Whether it is accurate or not, it is an inspirational metaphor for success in business and life. So the story goes, the Chinese bamboo plant does not grow steadily like any other tree or plant. Once planted, the bamboo farmer must keep watering and fertilizing the seed, never seeing anything sprout from the ground for 4 years. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the bamboo breaks the surface and grows at an astonishing rate of 2 feet per day, reaching heights of 90 feet in just 6 weeks. If, at any point, the farmer stopped watering the seed, it would never break through the surface of the ground. The bamboo farmer is patient and has the ultimate faith that his consistent effort will bring his goal to fruition, seeing no results for 4 years. That faithful consistent action eventually brought him a thriving bamboo with explosive growth.

You can see the clear correlation of this story to life and business. As exciting as it may be to see immediate results and experience instant gratification, it is important to understand that there is a gestation period from the time the seed is planted to the time of harvesting the fruits of your labor. That span between the seed and the fruit is the consistent persistent effort. As with the Chinese bamboo, you have to continue to put in the work, fine tune your skills, hone your craft, give to the world, and contribute to society through the work you do and the products and services you provide.

If at any time the bamboo farmer took shortcuts or decided that he didn’t feel like watering the seed, or quit watering it entirely, the bamboo may never break the surface. You cannot expect results if you adopt a mentality of taking shortcuts. I am all for efficient action and, of course, with time and experience, things become easier. But, thinking that you can get without giving or bringing true value is a mentality that will never create longevity.

Commit to YOUR Chinese bamboo and keep watering it every day.