How badly do you want it?

[blockquote text=”“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.; – John Maxwell
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Someone recently asked me what the most common issue is that I encounter during my marketing coaching sessions with small business owners, and they were surprised by my answer.

I think they were expecting me to say something like, “spending large amounts of money on ineffective advertising” or “not having a marketing budget”. What I actually said was:

“Many of small business owners don’t have a strong desire for success and can’t visualise what it means to them personally”.

What did I mean by this?

All of those sales targets and business goals you record in spreadsheets and discuss at weekly meetings don’t mean a thing if you don’t have a strong desire to hit them.

And the only thing that creates desire is when we know why we want something.

Most small business owners tell me:

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  • I want to make more money
  • I want my business to succeed
  • I want more clients
  • I want financial freedom
  • Etc, etc


However, when I ask them, “So what does that really mean to you?” they don’t have a clue what to say!

I’m not rubbishing the above answers, mind you. It’s just that there’s no driving desire behind them. A driving desire is one that you can visualise and it allows you to answer the question:

“What are you willing to do to get it?”

If you want to make more money, you need to know why. If you want your business to succeed, you need to know why. And so forth!

If you have a driving desire that you can visualise, you won’t give up as easily. You will be more willing to invest in learning and growing.

So here is your homework:

Write down or say out loud what your definition of success is. Be specific and personal and try to best describe what success looks like to you.

Instead of rattling off some random numbers that sound good but don’t really mean anything to you, think about what would make it all worthwhile. Why do you want to make more money? Why do you want certain outcomes for your business?

Your answers could look something like this:

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  • “I want to earn enough so that I only have to work 3 days a week and can afford help around the home, leaving me with more time with my family”
  • “I want to pay off years of credit card debt”
  • “I want to grow my businesses so that I can sell it in a few years’ time and do some further study”
  • “I want to be able to pay for an overseas trip for me and my partner”


Write your answer down and stick it on your office wall, or tell someone you trust. Expressing your desire will instantly make it more real and you can look at your answer or consult your trusted friend when you need a reminder about why you are working so hard.

My priorities have changed over the years and so has my definition of success. Today, I have more faith in my abilities and as such am able to think bigger and expect more of myself. Lately, I’ve become increasingly fond of that feeling you get when you are so close to something on your ‘list’ that you can smell it. That feeling makes it all worth it!

Once you have your own definition of success, don’t worry about what others think of it. It’s yours. And it will be the motivation you need to get you and your business to the point it should be at.

What is motivating you to succeed?

2 thoughts on “How badly do you want it?”

  1. I really like posts like these as they prompt me to review my goals (based on my desires and definitions of success). I learnt a while back to ignore what others think of my ‘success’, each to their own.

    I like how you’ve drilled deeper into more than just listing facts and figures, getting to the ‘why’ … this will take thought and getting in touch with real core reasons for doing what one does.

    Thanks for the insight-inspiration, Phoebe!

  2. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you found the questions insightful. They are only effective when they are used and I know that’s why you are reaching your definition of success!

    All the best,

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