Four years ago, I went through one of the most difficult times of my life. I’d recently given birth to my third child. I was breastfeeding up to 6 times in a night. My husband was working night shifts. I was also trying to get my writing career off the ground. I would often feed my daughter and type with the other hand. I had broken sleep for months on end and still took my other two children to school on time. I made many sacrifices to follow my dreams. And every single one of them have paid off in the end. If I hadn’t made those sacrifices, my writing career wouldn’t be where it is today.
In order to achieve what we really want in life, we have to make sacrifices. Here are 8 things successful people sacrifice for their success.
I am often asked how I juggle being a mother of three young kids, with work and study. I often jokingly respond with, “Lots of coffee.” But in reality, it’s how I make use of time. Truth is, there are so many things to do in a day – it’s not about having enough time, it’s about making use of your time. We all have the same 24 hours and we all have the opportunity to use our time wisely. When we sacrifice time, we’re prioritising a certain task over another one. That task and all the others we accomplish – are the key to our success.
I write to-do lists every day and I stick to them. I set my own deadlines. I try my best not to procrastinate. But if I do, I don’t beat myself up about it. Negative self-talk and thinking, “I wish I had more time” simply takes away the time you still have! You can think, “I only have 20 minutes to do my work.” or you can think more positively, “I have 20 minutes to do my work. If I use this time wisely, I’ll be 20 minutes closer to finishing the task.” If we don’t make better use of our time and achieve our small goals, then we’ll never achieve the bigger ones that are most important to us.
My family has always been on one main source of income. Although my writing pays, it doesn’t provide us with the stability of a second income that we require. In order to follow my dreams, we are sacrificing stability and leaving ourselves with unpredictability. There are weeks in which we earn more money than others. There are weeks in which I have no articles to write and others in which I have two to write several every day.
It’s not the most ideal way to live your life, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to move my career forward. Successful people have to deal with instability, financial or otherwise, and their life can feel like a rollercoaster. But the good news is, roller coasters go down but they also come back up. If we don’t risk instability, we’re giving up the chance to make our lives better.
3. Personal life
I have been happily married for almost 7 years, but we’ve had our challenges. There are times where I have sacrificed time with my husband to finish an article on time. There are times where I postpone a playdate with another mother to a more convenient time. When we are determined to succeed, we have to make changes in our personal lives – in our friendships and our relationships. It’s not about neglecting your loved ones – it’s about working around your personal life.
Each one of us has their responsibilities and sometimes we simply have to compromise with other people. If we don’t learn to say ‘no’ or give up a night out with friends to study/work, we are the ones who suffer. These are the moments in our life when we have to think of our needs, be sensitive to our loved ones’ feelings and hope that they’ll understand that we need to do what’s best for us.
There are nights in which I plan to take a break from writing and I fall asleep on the couch. As much as I’d love to be in bed cuddling with my husband, I know that things will not be like this forever. When I’ve had a much needed nap, I wake up feeling very refreshed. It’s late at night, everybody is asleep and I’m feeling energised. Some nights I really push myself but I always try my best to sleep 6 hours a night. And if I can’t, I make up for it another night.
Sometimes, no matter how productive you are during the day, you need those extra hours at night. Without those extra periods of peace and quiet, you may not be able to get everything done. For those wanting to achieve success, the rewarding feeling they get when they’ve accomplished their task always makes the reduced amount of sleep worth it.
The reality is, when we’re determined to achieve our goals, we might start to neglect our bodies and our minds. We start to eat less healthy, do less exercise or maybe reduce it to none at all, we might even put our emotional and mental health at risk. It may not be the most ideal thing to do, but those determined to be successful know that it’s only a temporary solution.
We may not be able to put our full attention into our physical, mental and emotional health but we have to be aware of when our body is being overworked. Successful people may start to neglect parts of their life in order to improve other parts of their life. But this can only last for a while. Sooner or later you have to live a healthier life or you’ll regret it in the future.
6. Quiet times
My life is pretty jam packed at the moment. I’m often rushing around trying to fit everything in. My husband and I want to move to a bigger house. We want to give our kids more room to play in, more room to entertain their friends, a more comfortable house for them to grow up in. So this is why my life is so busy at the moment.
I work from home to support my husband’s income. I study from home so when our kids are at school full-time next year, I can have the qualifications to look for a job. I always keep in mind that I need to cherish the moment, but I know that I need to plan for the future as well. Successful people know that the busyness will not last forever.
There are days when I’m feeling more stressed, tired and overworked than on others. There are days when I question whether what I’m doing is really worth it. But I know it is. Working hard towards our big goals in life was never meant to be easy. These goals and aspirations for the future are meant to test us, challenge us, and help us to realise how badly we really want them.
Maybe your family and friends call you crazy for working so hard. But you need to do what’s right for you. Don’t forget to take breaks, to relax when you really need to, to take time out for yourself. But know that in those temporary crazy moments, you are a step closer to having what you truly want.
8. Immediate desires
There are so many things that each of us wants right now. Things that might encourage us to procrastinate when we really shouldn’t. We might want to do something simple like check our Facebook feed. We might want to do something more significant like buy a new car. But the question is – what is most important to us? We have to make the choice between our immediate desires and the needs that will propel our dreams forward.
Fact is, it’s not wrong of us to have these immediate desires, these temptations to choose the ‘easier’ option’. It’s normal to feel that way. However, when we sacrifice what we want right now, we are saving our time and energy for something more important. Something that will bring us one step closer to our real goals. Something we truly want, not just something we want right now.
Maybe we don’t want to sacrifice our time, stability, personal life, sleep, health, stillness and sanity. Maybe it just feels too difficult. But I’ll tell you right now, I’ve sacrificed every one of these things at one point or another. I wouldn’t have gone from writing on a personal blog to working as a freelance writer/journalist, if I had chosen the easier option. I wouldn’t have grown as a person if I hadn’t made those sacrifices either.
If you want to be successful and achieve what you really want in life, you’ll have to make sacrifices. But when you reach the end of that mountain, you’ll be so very glad that you never gave up the journey.