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The Unsatisfied are the Successful

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For me, one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done was writing my first book, Changing Course.

Not only did I enjoy the process of coming up with the ideas, structuring them and then writing the book, I also loved the whole process of being involved in the publishing world and then launching the book with lots of press interviews, conferences to speak at and book festivals to attend.

If you’ve had this great sense of achievement, have you also had the consuming feeling of ‘what’s next’?

Good. Looking back on my own entrepreneurial life, I realized that a lack of satisfaction had actually been a positive thing.

I have always been ambitious and enjoyed the buzz and excitement of trying to achieve success.

Yes, I’ve had difficult and challenging times, but I have never been bored.

And, when I did taste success, I did feel satisfied for a while.

But that feeling started to fade quickly, and I was driven to get involved in new things, as I wanted to feel satisfied again.

I have found a common denominator in what drives entrepreneurs.

No matter how successful they have become, they are always looking for the next project or business to get involved with.

I know entrepreneurs who have built up large recruitment companies, sold them for a lot of money and then one year later founded a new recruitment company and started the whole process over again.

When I talk to these people, they all share the same thing – they are not satisfied with what they have achieved so far in business.

They all think that the next company or the next deal will finally give them the feeling of satisfaction they crave.

But they eventually discover that it doesn’t, and so off they go again.

A successful entrepreneur knows that satisfaction is what drives them, as they are constantly trying to achieve it.

Striving for satisfaction means that you have a clear purpose, a belief in what you do, a vision that you stick to and plans that you are excited to carry out every day.

That is why searching for satisfaction will make you successful as an entrepreneur.

It is one of the main things that will make you driven in everything you do.

Even though I have lived in Scotland for well over 30 years, I still support England when it comes to rugby.

When I was growing up, one of my heroes was Brian Moore, an English hooker who was capped 64 times between 1987 and 1995 and went on two British and Irish Lions tours, winning five test caps.

So, in 2012, I was delighted to hear him being interviewed on the radio about his life and the book he had just published.

He seemed to be very successful in everything he did.

However, the stand-out part for me was when he said he had been ‘driven’ in everything he had done in his life, but that he did not see himself as successful.

He then went on to explain what he thought being driven was all about:

You can be super ambitious, but still not be driven.

Because super ambitious people set their own goals, and when they get there they are happy with them.

Driven people are not happy.

They think they will become happy because they think, “if I just get that or I just achieve that, then I’ll be fine.’”

And when they get there they find it is not what they thought it would be and there is something else.

It is about being driven, not ambitious.

Being ambitious is easy but being driven is difficult because it takes a lot of energy, commitment and sacrifice to achieve something.

Crucially, at the end of the day, when you get there, you know that you might feel satisfied for a while, but it will end.

So you will be driven to move on as a new thing surfaces, and for a while that will motivate you like nothing else.

If you recognize all of this and accept that it is an integral part of you, then use it, value it and be grateful that you have it, as it will help you in so many ways in your journey as an entrepreneur.

Neil Francis

Neil Francis

Author | Consultant

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