Episode 104: 5 Things to Give Up to be Successful

Do you ever wonder what the secret to lasting success would be? In this episode, Jimmy shares things you must give up to be successful.

Episode Keys

  • Being persistent in growing as a person to reach levels of success you thought were never possible!
  • By allowing others to decide your future you are not realizing your potential.
  • How Elvis Presley became and international superstar.
  • When you should give up the act of making excuses.
  • The importance of taking responsibility for your status of life and grow from there.

Podcast Transcript

You know those times when in life you have just made an excuse because you couldn’t do something in a manner you wished it to be done? Or how about worse than that, you ran across someone that gave you an excuse for not accomplishing a task you wish to conquer? Hey, this is Jimmy Williams. Good morning! What a beautiful Monday as we got spring now in full bloom. Oh, I tell you, the weather may be rough outside, but it is sun-shining in my heart today, just seeing that sunrise from the east, birds are singing. It is a beautiful day on hand.

Hey, I want you to take this time, enjoy this episode today, look around you and just see how good life is. I often come on here and I start out this episode of the podcast telling you about the great things in life and so forth. I don’t want to tell you today. I want to show you today how great things can be. Just look around you when you’re stepped outside of your buildings or your homes. Look at those trees, not yet quite budding out, but they will be blooming with leaves before long. Flowers will be puncturing out of the ground, growing, ready to look beautiful as that’s all they do, their whole purpose in life.

But today I just want to take a few moments. I want to share with you five things you must give up if you wish to be successful. Now, I’m not going to define success. We each must find within ourselves what success means to us. But I am going to tell you, these five things will keep you from accomplishing what you were meant to do or be on this planet. I have seen it throughout my entire career. I have even experienced these five that we’re going to share today. So a lot of people say you got to start these New Year’s resolutions. You got to have new goals. And I am, as you all know, a goal fanatic. I do not start my year with nothing on my plan. I start that year with these goals in mind that are going to stretch my mind. It’ll help maybe strengthen my body. It will create in me a bigger, better, bolder person than I started the year.

This is what goals should do for us. We should not be sedentary. We shouldn’t just be happy with where we are today. And I don’t mean that you can’t be content. I’m talking about we should not settle that this is all that life has for us. The most successful people, Bill Gates himself, multi-multi-billionaire with a B, decided that he wanted to do something even bigger with his life than create one of the largest software companies in the world. He set out to help create vaccines that would change the lives of an entire continent. He and his wife set up a foundation, and then asked other billionaires across the globe to pledge their assets to this foundation so that they too could share in the opportunity to change the lives of millions.

But some people make success look easy. All we see is the front stage of their lives and never the grueling 23 hours a day stressful climb to the top of their industry. I’m not talking about the suddenly rich technology whiz kid. I am speaking of the quote, build it from the ground up, type of entrepreneur, who not only realized success in his or her own right, but also brought others to a heightened level of life with them. Today I will share with you these five things that you must give up to become uber successful, as you define success.

So first, to start your path to success, you must give up excuses. I know what you’re saying. You’re already going, “I don’t even have time to do X or Y or Z because I’m so busy.” Again, bingo, excuse. Too often we blame other criteria on our reason for failing or reaching a lower level of success than our potential dictates. When you forgive yourself, let go of the past, and move on, you first realize you didn’t change the past. It is still your past. But rather you learned valuable lessons from it and grew as a person. The growth you realized manifest itself into creating your bigger, better future.

A single mom, living in her car with two children, battling depression over a sudden loss of her mother, while she’s living on welfare in her car, decided she wanted to be a writer. Failure after failure, she kept striving, kept working, kept climbing and clawing until one day she received a positive answer from a small publishing company. This publishing company would print her first ever novel. A book about a fantasy story involving the protagonist, a little boy. Now, little did she know at that moment in her life she would change forever. Of course, so many of us have heard this story, and if there were ever anyone that could give excuses for their particular stage of life, it would have been this person. But instead of looking at the reasons for excuses, she sought the purpose for her life. She knew she was destined and meant for bigger and bolder things to do than to live in a car with her children.

Of course I’m talking about J.K. Rowling. She is one of the most successful authors of her generation. Her net worth today is estimated to be more than a billion dollars. Her secret for success was shared in a commencement address she gave at Harvard University. She said, “Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized and I was still alive. And I still had a daughter whom I adored. And I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Whew. Man, just gives me goosebumps listening to that. Can you imagine what these graduates at Harvard University left their commencement exercise thinking? This lady didn’t have nearly one-tenth of the support these students had from a major prestigious university, and she became the best of the best for her career in writing. Starting today, do not allow yourself to offer excuses. You are persistent and you will create the future you desire by looking forward in life and not backwards. You see, only until such time as you realized that you must take the responsibility for the day and disown any right or entitlement to making excuses. So the first thing that we must give up if we are to be successful in life is we must give up excuses.

The second thing you must give up is allowing others to decide what you can and cannot do. Now, I am not saying to become a rebel against what are the accepted norms of society. That is not what I’m saying. I’m talking about you as a person allowing others to tell you what you can’t do. Many reasons exist for your friends to rationalize you are incapable of achieving greatness. But the primary reason is that they, your friends, will become the failures in life. They are so afraid that you will climb to a height higher than they, that they wish to bring you and keep you down to their level.

Now, I’ve heard it said by Jim Rome that you become the aggregate of the top five people in which you spend your time. Now, I don’t want to point fingers, but look around you and look at your date book and see how you’re spending your time and with whom. If you’re spending your time with the people that are not soaring with the eagles, then you may wish to revisit who you spend time with each week. You will have achieved the uncomfortable, the challenging, and the impossible in their eyes when you become successful. Many do not want to pay the price of the tuition of success, but wish to walk the stage and don the cap of graduation.

There was a man who desired to be a singer. He came from very humble beginnings and lacked the support needed to become a great singer. The only problem was no one told him that. No one described to him, “The fact is, you just don’t have the means. You don’t have the clothing, you don’t have the support.” You see, he had only one vision in mind, and that was to become a great singer. Well, the man took odd jobs and even drove a truck for a while to feed his family and pay the bills until his singing career had an opportunity to take off. He took music classes and promptly failed them. After one of his first singing gigs, he was told by his manager, “You aren’t going anywhere son, you ought to go back to driving a truck.” This did nothing more but burn the fires within him to be even more successful.

The man knew in his heart that success was within him if only he persisted in the process. He even auditioned for a vocal quartet and was told he couldn’t sing. His style of music, though, finally caught on. And he became a successful artist with such a worldwide reputation that he literally couldn’t go anywhere in the world that he wasn’t recognized. By not listening to the naysayers, by not listening to the friends with such limited talent and the excuses they provided, Elvis Aaron Presley became a superstar. The rest is history, but he is still one of the top artists’ earnings per year on the planet. He has been dead for many years, but his music continues to live on and royalties are still paid to his estate. That is what you have within you if you simply give up allowing others to tell you what you can and cannot do.

The third thing I wanted to ask you to give up is probably a difficult one for many of us. It was difficult for me, I’ll be very honest. I struggled with this younger in my life than I do now, but it was one of those things that I had within me of being raised with very modest means. Now, I never went hungry, but we just didn’t have any extra money to spend. But I will say that what happened to me was wanting to change. I was wanting to elevate the strata that I lived to a much higher plane in life. But there is no such thing as perfection. One of the hardest habits to break was this ideal I had of perfection. I always had passion to be the best, but I also picked up a bad habit that all the things I created, performed, or attempted, had to be perfect.

I want to tell some and on me that you are going to laugh at, but it wasn’t a laughing matter to me. I was so driven as an elementary school student that I never made less than a 100 on any test of any subject that I had taken. I’m talking about from the time of the first grade through the fourth grade, I could not allow myself to make less than a perfect score. My mother one day recalls a story where I came home and I was just in tears. And she did not know what had happened. I just simply threw my books down, and we didn’t have book bags like you do today, we just had books that we wrapped a belt around basically to hold them together so we could carry them. And no, I’m not 100 years old, but I’m just saying we just didn’t have book bags. But I came in, I threw my books down on the sofa in the house and just ran to my room. Disheartened, down, crying, and my mother couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

So I just told her, I said, “I just can’t go school anymore.” Well she thought, she said, for a moment that there was a bully in school, or that someone had mistreated me in some way from the school. And that was all far from the truth. None of that was actually what happened. I simply told her, “Look in my books and look at my paper,” from – don’t laugh – spelling, of all things. And she pulled out my spelling paper and noted at the top it only said 98%. And it had a big A written in red on it. My mother again was confused. She called me into the living room and said, “Son, you got to sit down here and we’ve got to talk. What has got you so upset?” And I said to her, “Don’t you see what happened?” And she said, “You got an A. You got a 98. That’s as good as it gets.” And I said, “No, Mom, a 100 is a perfect score.”

She quickly gave me a lesson that you must learn when good is good enough. Now I’m not saying to give subpar performance and settle for mediocrity, but I am saying to you that you must not allow yourself to be derailed in life from the utmost success by trying to be perfect in everything. Other than my wife and daughters, I know no one on this planet that is perfect. When we realize that our efforts are enough to move the needle forward on life, in other words, to make progress, we can delegate the remaining portion of any project that we have going to another person to continue to develop that project while you move on to that next level of life. So the key here is, give up on the thought that you must be perfect in all aspects of life or any aspect of life. That is not what serves us well.

This next area of giving up is a difficult one. I will tell you that there are some people that will come up with this attitude, that must be given up, and blame everyone or everything for all the hurt in their lives. Now if you would, do me a big favor. Sit down if you’re listening to this podcast in your vehicle and pull your car over for a minute. Look in the rear view mirror, or if you have a mirror up on the sun visor, turn it down and look at yourself in that mirror for just a second, and say in that mirror, “Starting now, I am fully responsible for all things that happen to me and around me in my life.” Let me tell you, until such time as you can say that to yourself, you will continue to blame others and take responsibility for nothing that goes wrong. You must give up this blaming of others and take this responsibility.

So what if life hasn’t been as easy for you as others may have experienced it? Listen, that’s just how things work in life. One of the greatest lessons my father taught me is only this: never think life is fair. Life is what you make it, and then how you experience it. You can see people that have a paltry income but have success and happiness in their hearts. And I have seen some of my clients that are very, very wealthy, millions of dollars, and they’re the most miserable of people you’ll ever meet. I’m not saying that everyone with money is miserable. What I am saying though, that when we blame others for our state of life, we simply are missing an opportunity to grow.

I’ll never forget when the tax system in our country of the United States at one time had a 92% effective tax rate. Now, folks, that’s a marginal rate that for every dollar over a certain limit of income you made, you kept eight cents. Now that would be disheartening. I’m proud we’re not to that point today. But what happens is many times people will get up after they’ve seen the year that they failed to accomplish their goals again and say something like this, “I would have been successful, but for the government, but for the economy, had I hired the right people.” They’ve got an excuse and they’ve got a blame for everyone but the person that could have made all of these negatives turn positive, and that’s themselves.

I’ve been blessed to know many people during my life and career and not one of them had life so easy that it was free of heartache, difficulty, or trying times. That’s just how we learn in life. And do this for me, understand that you need to take an appreciation for the benefits you have in life. I’ll never forget, we first started our business, our company, I worked 3,300 hours. Now folks, that’s a lot of hours. I literally worked 20 hours a day, no vacations. I was killing it and I was exhausted. But I look back on that year and I go, “Had I not done that, I wouldn’t have taken the growth curve that we’re on today.” And that’s been years ago. The point I’m making is, I don’t know that I’d recommend it to anyone, but I learned from it. And it taught me some wonderful lessons in life about not blaming others, to take responsibility for ourselves.

Well, the fifth and last thing that you must give up to be successful will be relationships that don’t require you to grow. I’ve mentioned this on previous episodes of this podcast, but there are certain people that you simply must let go of in your life. These are people that are not helping you grow intellectually, spiritually, or financially in any manner that you desire. Now, I’m not saying you should immediately stop all of your friendships that don’t help you grow. But I am saying you may want to limit your time considerably with these individuals. There are certain people in my life that literally drain me of energy while having a conversation with them. You know these individuals, they hijack the conversation topic and turn it around to be something about them. Then they tell you everything that is wrong in their life. Or perhaps it’s the type of individual that talks negative about your career, your sport that you enjoy, the state of health that you’re currently in, whatever.

It is more empowering to you to spend time with leaders, visionaries, and optimists. I seek out people who challenge me to grow as a person while allowing me room to learn on my own. Learn to be a student, not a follower of these great successful entrepreneurs of the past. Great people of the past have learned lessons the hard way that you and I can easily learn by reading a book. You must take the opportunity to look at the relationships you now have in your life and determine, “Is this someone I could spend a day with, or perhaps someone I may only need to spend 10 minutes with?” There are some people I could go spend an entire year with and leave revitalized from that meeting. And there are some that I could spend five minutes with and be completely worn out. So let’s look at our relationships.

So these five things that you must give up this year… We’re just in the first quarter of 2021, and what a crazy year it’s been the last 12 months. But I don’t want you to look backwards. I want you to do something great today in your life. Give up something that helps you grow up and get the bigger, better, bolder life you deserve. So first, you must give up excuses. You must also give up allowing others to decide what you can and cannot do in life. Give up thinking perfection is the only way to perform. Stop blaming others and give up that blame and take responsibility for yourself in your life. And lastly, look at your relationships and give up those relationships that are not equally rewarding you both or supplying you with growth that you so desperately yearn.

Success, as I said, is defined differently by everyone. To me, success is not about wealth. No, success to me is the freedom to do what I want to do when I wish to do it. If I desire a vacation in Europe in a five-star hotel, success equips me to do so, but it is not the money that creates my success, but yet the life I lead in helping others as I grow in my life. You see, money is not the end all of life, but rather an empowerment of life. It’s an enabler. This can be a positive and a negative. If you wish to reach a higher plane of life, you must feed on the positive, powerful, and pure nutrients of life.

It’s been an honor to bring these now 104 episodes of Live a Life By Design. One of the greatest things that I get to do each week is share some insights, a positive word, a story with each of you across the globe that hopefully inspires you to become a bigger, better, and bolder you. So this week, your challenge is to choose one of these five limiting actions and decide now that you will give it up. Go ahead, live your life by design.

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