What drives you? I know what drives me: having the best possible experiences so that when I am old and look back on my life, I will be proud of who I am and what I have accomplished.
What holds you back? One thing that held me back before I began achieving my goals was worry. Worry that my goals were unattainable. Worry that the goals I set out to achieve were misguided. But what I realized was that the world gains nothing from somebody holding back from achieving their dreams because they are worried. The last thing you want to think when you look back on your life is, “I wish I didn’t worry so much.”
I have created a simple mindset to combat the worry in my life. I take this philosophy with me wherever I go. I call it SD²: Stop Dreaming, Start Doing. SD² is a recipe anyone can use to worry less and do more. Imagine how much the world can gain from your achievements. Imagine how fulfilling it would be to look back and think, “I’m glad I stopped worrying and began achieving my goals to make myself, and thus the world, a better place.”
SD² puts the focus on what success means to you individually and how you can achieve it. It has already pushed me to the point where I can spot not just individual achievements but categories of achievements that will bring me what I consider success and satisfaction.
Here are five achievements that I believe everyone would appreciate looking back on when they’re old.
1. Push yourself to your physical limits.
The average human can run much farther than they think they can. Sure, practice and pacing play into the ability to run long distances, but until you get out there and start running, you’ll never know how far you can go.
When I turned 30, I realized that my spare tire was a little more “spare” than it used to be. At first it bothered me, but I’ve always been a resilient guy, so I put on a brand new pair of running shoes, sprinted down the block… and came right back home, hunched over and sucking wind.
It wasn’t my finest moment, but I stuck with it. Each time I ran a little farther, a little harder, until finally I was clocking good times on miles and feeling better than ever, enjoying the best shape of my life. I started running half marathons, then full marathons, then an Ironman competition.
Running changed my life for ever. I became a happier person and found myself with the strength and desire to achieve more. It reminds me of the maxim, “If you want to help others, you have to help yourself first.” Running helped me learn that if I pushed myself, I could achieve almost anything. I began thinking of all the other things I could accomplish, not for my own personal gain, but for those who don’t have the ability to go out there and reach their full potential. I decided that I needed to find a way to bring that freedom into the lives of others.
2. Help a lot of people at once.
If we want to make the world a better place, we have to make sure our achievements aren’t all about us. No one ever looks back on their life and says, “I wish I had been less helpful.”
The Texas Freedom Run was my way of turning up the volume on my physical accomplishments, but for a good cause instead of just personal gratification. After learning about child sex trafficking at a presentation by a Love 146 representative one Sunday at church, I decided to take action. I wanted to use my new-found running abilities to make a positive impact on the lives of children who are trapped in a corrupt, spirit-breaking situation. I wanted to do something big for these girls and boys who deserved what every child deserves: opportunity.
I put together a fundraising campaign called the Texas Freedom Run and ran across Texas.
It wasn’t easy, but the Texas Freedom Run was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done next to raising a family. I pushed myself farther than ever before and raised over $200k in professional services rendered, radio ads and dollars sent in, all to fight trafficking. And I covered the state, east to west, in only a month. It’s something I’ll be delivering a speech about later this month (at TedXLSCTomball) and discussing for the rest of my life.
3. Connect with the masses.
Some of the greatest things ever accomplished were only possible through the efforts of many. We are stronger together than we could ever be working alone. It’s great to take matters into your own hands, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Collaborating with people all over your city- even all over the world- is something easier than ever to do, and worth taking advantage of.
The Texas Freedom Run got a ton of publicity, and it felt good to generate that kind of attention for a worthy cause. #TheHook generates publicity too, but for a different cause: the cause of promoting good business and branding so small business owners can find success. By helping professionals and founders learn what they need to know, we help keep the Houston economy strong. The cool thing is, the show is a free resource. All people have to do is tune in at 4 on Saturdays on KPRC AM950 or catch the podcast later. No matter where you are in business or what you want to learn, #TheHook is one way to learn alongside thousands of business owners just like you in one of the most prosperous cities in the United States. That’s pretty hard to beat!
4. Start at least one business.
Starting a business means pursuing a way of making a living that is independent of the usual ways people make money. Most of the world works for business owners rather than owning a business. The feeling of creating something of your own stands out as a way to do something different and new in your life.
My first business was BrightBox, a company I took to Inc. 500 levels twice. I still own BrightBox, and hold equity in a series of other partner brands, including ShowBox Exhibits, ShadowBox Talent, and OntoBox Training.
But you don’t have to start a huge, successful business to feel some level of satisfaction for your efforts. Just the process of starting something, of making something all your own in a way that can stand on its own two feet will make you feel good about the world.
5. Write at least one book.
Everyone has a story to tell. According to writer Joseph Epstein, 81 percent of Americans- approximately 200 million people- feel that they have a book in them — and should write it. That’s 200 million people who think writing a book is worth doing, and that’s just in the United States.
Late last year, I had the honor of publishing my very first book, Your Spot on the Mountain (YSOTM). YSOTM was inspired by an issue I noticed with a lot of my fellow business owners: they don’t know when to stop. It takes not just drive and motivation but a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, and even some of the wealthier, more successful owners seem to have a problem blocking out everything but their main goal. Then they achieve something big and look for the next thing without considering what “victory” really looks like.
More recently, I finished my second book: The Brand Map (A Step by Step Guide to Building Powerful Brands). I was pumped to finish it; it details my years branding companies and taking them to the top of the market, and it was awesome to be able to share the key to making big brands happen.
(The Brand Map launches in November. Join the JasonArcemont.com mailing list today for updates!)
I hope that this list inspires you to go out and work on your achievements. When you stop dreaming and start doing, you might just surprise yourself. You might surprise the world.