Don’t get me wrong, the overall premise of that is well and good. Ambition is a wonderful quality to possess that will get you far in life.
I for one was head over heals for the notion of shooting for the stars. It didn’t matter how big the objective – if I wasn’t dreaming big then I wasn’t trying.
The problem with this is something humans throughout history have had difficulty grasping though: Restraint.
REWIND TWO YEARS
Around this point in time I begin to really embrace this shoot for the stars notion. I had plans to become the highest rated employee at work, plans to start a coffee business that would change the world, plans to establish passive income streams through multiple investment sources, and this is on top of attempting to be the best husband and father possible.
I was shooting for the stars.
I wanted to be the best in everything and I was determined to do so.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?
I became the best at nothing.
I didn’t become the highest rated employee at work. Although technically started a coffee business at the beginning of 2013 the actual launch of the business was delayed till 2014, and those passive income investment streams have been more like time sucking life leeches which paved the way to less quality time with my wife and kids.
On the flip side, there were a lot of good things that happened as well. Even though I wasn’t the highest rated employee I still received a good rating. Despite the delays we still got Mission Arabica off the ground. Those passive income pursuits taught me how to build websites and give me confidence in sales and marketing. I would even say that today I feel closer to my wife and kids than I ever have.
Do I regret my decision to shoot for the stars?
But I think I could have gone about it much better.
WAIT A SECOND???
SHOULD I OR SHOULD I NOT SHOOT FOR THE STARS?
Well… Yes and No
You see, there is another similar quote out there which states, “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you will land among the stars.” The notion is that when you reach for something so high and lofty, even if you don’t achieve your goal you will still have accomplished so much that you are still a success.
By shooting for the stars… or moon… or whatever you want to call it, I gained more valuable knowledge and experience than my undergraduate and graduate studies combined. By that measure, my ambitious reaching paid off.
I failed to understand the true cost of my pursuits and as a result I didn’t accomplish my actual goals, but rather just reaped indirect benefits of their pursuit.
TIME AND MONEY. MONEY AND TIME
Being an accountant, I of course examine the monetary implications before pursuing any opportunity.
But what I didn’t consider is how pursuing each additional star so to speak would impact my attempt to reach the other stars I was already pursuing, or even more importantly, how it would impact my family.
In reality each new star I took on, limited my ability to successfully reach my other stars. Additionally it placed more burdens on my wife in the terms of housework and childcare than I ever imagined. I was under the impression these pursuits would only effect me. Going into it, I didn’t realize I was actually putting a heck of a lot of extra burden on my wife as well. [Thankfully my wife is very gracious with me 🙂 ]
BACK TO THE START
Remember that terrible word I mentioned at the beginning?
Yeah… even while typing that word I could feel all fun rush out of the room.
Everything within me wanted to just let my ambition run wild. However, like a car without a break, unbridled ambition will only get you so far before you crash.
Ambition is a wonderful thing, but since coming to my senses on the cost of ambition, I now ask myself a few questions to make sure I can afford the price of admission:
- What are the monetary costs involved with this pursuit and can I afford them?
- How much time will it take me to accomplish this goal with excellence?
- What will I be sacrificing to obtain that time?
- How will pursuing this opportunity impact my family?
If I ask myself those questions I am in a much better frame of mind to recognize whether I can pursue an opportunity or not – which in many cases (whether I like it or not) forces me to show a great deal of restraint.
In turn though, this better enables me to achieve the goals I already have in motion before spreading myself too thin.
SHOOT FOR THE STARS? NO… SHOOT FOR THE STAR
So in coming back to the title of this article, I love the notion of ambitious thinking and stretching oneself to accomplish great things. Yet speaking from the experience of these past couple years, I would much rather now pick out one star, set my sights, take my shot, and hit it with everything I have than just spraying ambition across the heavens and hoping something will work out.
Does that mean you shouldn’t target multiple stars? Not necessarily, but better to set really high goals on a couple items than to try and reach every star out there otherwise you’ll end up no where.
With this in mind, I’m excited to have a fresh perspective in pursuing my family, my job, and of course… Mission Arabica.
SO THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS
I am really curious to hear your thoughts though too. Do you or a loved one tend to overextend yourself/themselves? If so, how do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below.
Lastly, please do me a quick favor. If you enjoyed this article, click this big share button and tell your friends to check it out. It means a lot to us and I am curious to hear their thoughts too. Thanks!
P.S. – Did you hear about the Kenyan coffee we recently released? I have a friend that owns a coffee shop and he is SUPER picky about his coffee. When he tried it though he sent me this text saying: “Oohmygoodness Chris! It was SOOOO GOOD!”… “The coffee was absolutely bonkers!”… “It was so sweet, smooth, and complex!”.
So if you haven’t tried it yet, you can pick some up here: Kenya Coffee
We only have a limited quantity available though and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So don’t miss out!