My family and I were enjoying a vacation at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos a few years ago. There were 11 of us, my sisters, their husbands and my six nieces and nephews, Nikhil, Nilesh, Anisa, Ela, Lucia and Karina. The first 3 were all 15.
As my sister and I were walking up from the beach one morning, we saw Nilesh running wildly around the pool area heading to the other side of the park. Before we knew it – Nikhil grabbed his T-shirt and ran full speed ahead following him.
Then we heard the news: Lionel Messi, the ultra-famous soccer player, was visiting the resort with his family and was hanging out at the other pool!
My nephews and nieces, die-hard soccer fans, proceeded to spend the next 2 days following Messi and his family around (keeping a respectful distance of course). We couldn’t pull them away. They were in awe.
About two days later we were all sitting at dinner – and Messi’s family of about 12 was seated one table next to ours. Immediately the energy at our table shifted. The boys stopped eating entirely and everyone kept sneaking glances over to his table.
My Dad – who is a long-time entrepreneur handed all the kids pens and pads of paper from the hotel and encouraged them to go and get an autograph. Immediately my sisters started to protest – worried that the kids would ruin his dinner. They were rightfully worried about disrespecting his privacy. I didn’t know quite what to do as I understood both sides. I wanted the kids to get the autographs, but I also didn’t want them to interrupt a family dinner.
To appease the situation, my Dad told the boys to wait until Messi was finished eating. All the adults left the restaurant to head back to our rooms and sit by the beach in the evening.
The kids waited patiently.
As soon as Messi’s family was done eating – Nikhil and Nilesh bee-lined over to his table. They asked his protective bodyguard for permission. And they got an autograph! Lucia followed close behind and was too shy to go up to him alone. So Nikhil put another piece of paper in front of Messi and said, “Will you sign this for my cousin?” They all got autographs. Today those autographs hang framed in their bedrooms.
It would have been so easy for the kids to give up – especially since their moms told them not to do it. But they didn’t. They left their comfort zones and got exactly what they wanted.
This is a skill that is so important for entrepreneurs – being so committed to what you want that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. It’s what made my father build such a successful company. It’s what has led me to grow more and more every year.
But it’s never easy – and there’s a part of you that repeatedly resists it. What makes it possible is having total clarity around your bigger vision.
And understanding that often the path to get there includes walking through the discomfort. Here’s to getting comfortable being uncomfortable!
Photo: flickr, Philophoto