Sacrifice comes before Success……even in the dictionary!

My colleague, Abe Oliver, and I were involved in a short training of prospective mentors on Saturday morning.

As I observed the introduction and looked around our mini auditorium, I was reminded that these men and women from Rotary International know what it means to sacrifice. After all, not everybody willingly gives up 3 hours on a Saturday morning as a lead into further volunteer work.

I thought I was quite original in devising the phrase, “Sacrifice comes before Success…even in the dictionary”.   Sadly, when I consulted our go-to encyclopedia (Google), someone had already come up with it!

Yet the thought still has considerable merit. Here are 7 things I have either observed or personally experienced where sacrifice preceded progress:

  1. Always learning. My former boss, Allon Raiz, founder of Raizcorp – a successful business incubation model, reads thoroughly and deeply. He has “sacrificed” much time watching TV in order to invest the same in always learning.
  2. Quick answers/solutions.  In our modern quick fix and the instantaneous world, we often look for life hacks and instant gratification. In some instances, however, we need to sacrifice immediate gratification and instant solutions because the process of waiting brings out character aspects that simply don’t develop overnight. Perseverance, patience, and grit are not bought over the counter of convenience but earned over time in the ongoing school of life.
  3. Social time. One of the world’s best violin players practiced a principle of benign neglect towards social activity whilst she gave herself to her violin. Saying no to a perfectly acceptable practice (going out) for a season, yielded huge dividends in her traction.
  4. The good vs the best. We should always be willing to sacrifice what is acceptable and good, in order to make way for the best. As Tim Duncan quotes, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
  5. Personal investment. Debbie Ncube, the founder of Eden’s all-natural products (Peanut butter), reflects how she needed R10 000 for equipment. She “sacrificed” a personal investment to fund the equipment. Five years later, she now has equipment exceeding R1.1 million on her balance sheet.
  6. Your ”baby”. Entrepreneurs are rightly protective and proud of their idea, or baby. It is seldom the case that the idea reaches the market place without many iterations from the original. In receiving feedback from the market around their idea, entrepreneurs should guard against being so protective of their precious “baby” that they are unwilling to sacrifice the original in order to grow to the eventual idea that enters the market.
  7. Security. I am mindful of some entrepreneurs who have sacrificed regular paychecks, sane working hours, and limited stress to commit to the entrepreneurial journey. They know there is no plan B, but what lies ahead is far more compelling than the familiar and secure present. They have not been silly in taking on the risk but have rather been willing to mitigate the risk as they move towards their chosen dream.

Sacrifice is never appealing, but made easier if we see the WHY of this opportunity cost.

– Steve