There’s no doubt success changes lives. For better and for worse. Everybody loves a great rags-to-riches story. But nobody wants to be the star of one that leaves behind a trail of destruction and regret.

Compromise gives birth to regret. Your journey is filled with decisions and opportunities to move forward and succeed. The tricky part is that the journey doesn’t always follow the script right? Compromise and sacrifices are inevitable. And it’s a fine line between compromises that are worth it, and those that hurt us.

Here are 10 compromises never to make on your journey:

1. Your Uniqueness.

Don’t let emulation turn into imitation. It’s been said a thousand times– find a mentor, connect with a likeminded community, emulate and learn from those you look up to. The problem is, you can become so likeminded that you lose yourself. Uniqueness becomes uniformity. That different angle you bring to the game is left behind.

It’s amazing that there isn’t anyone in this universe like you- exploit it, not erase it. Don’t compromise on being different.

2. Your Passion vs. Profit.

The guaranteed door to financial reward will present itself. But if it requires you to set aside your passion before entering, it isn’t worth it. Money without meaning doesn’t bring fulfilment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking small jobs for the quick and easy buck, but when it comes to anything of substance- something long term, it’s gotta be driven by something you absolutely love doing. Compromise on profit, not your passion.

3. Your Health.

The all-coffee meal-plan should set off some alarm bells. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are easily forgotten in the daily hustle. But they are integral to our success. These compromises will quickly bite you in the backside– when your immune system is weak and you’re stuck in bed.

Nothing wrong with snacking and eating on the go, but choose nutritional ‘real’ food instead of running by the fast food joint. Exercise and sleep are crucial for your brain. You know the ideal amount to function well– it could be 6 hours of sleep, and 20-minutes a day of exercise. Whatever it is, don’t compromise on it.

4. Your Family.

There is always more work to be done. If it comes down to squeezing extra hours in the office or playing with your children, set aside those hours for the family. You’re not going to be able to buy back your kid’s childhood. And don’t compromise on the date-nights you set with your spouse.

5. Your Honesty.

It’s easy to justify little white lies. But they alway snowball. Whether you are sharing statistics, numbers, and connections, don’t put honesty on the line to get ahead. Lying may get you one step forward, but that toxic inner conflict brings you three-steps back.

Don’t put a healthy inner self– your personal standards and integrity– on the line.

6. Your Vulnerability.

Ambitious people are born with a cape on. But it’s good to take it off once in a while. If you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable and susceptible to mistakes and failure, you set an impossibly high standard that only hurts when you fall from it.

As you step out to take on the world, remember sensitivity and vulnerability open up helpful road signs for your emotions. Don’t shut off your emotions from being teachers in your life.

7. The Hard Road vs. The Easy Path.

Don’t compromise on your doggedness and grit in favour of safety and comfort. The funny thing is, when you choose the tougher route, you get to enjoy greater comfort. The bigger the risk, the greater the reward. Hard work has gotten you where you are now, don’t start compromising and looking for the easy path.

8. Your Sense Of Humour.

In a dog-eat-dog world, maintaining a sense of humour will be crucial– if not for success, most definitely for sanity. Haters will enter the picture and it’ll take every ounce of strength not to email and comment on what you think of them, and their mother.

You can be focused, driven, and determined, and still find time to laugh at life. You’ll either have to laugh, or pull your hair out at times. The former is recommended.

9. Giving back.

No doubt one of your initial motivations was to add value to the world and others. As you build your audience, more people will want your time. All of a sudden you’re too busy– for anybody. Mentor someone if you get the chance, take some time to give some free advice, send an encouraging email in the midst of all the busy work.

10. Celebrating.

Work hard, play hard right? More like work hard, no play for most people. Don’t compromise on opportunities time to stop and smell the flowers.

I flew out to beautiful San Diego to record an interview. I’d heard amazing things about the city. But I didn’t get to experience any of it because I just had to get back to my office to make edits and get the post live. I’m kicking myself for not taking an extra day to see the city.

Hustling and being productive are essential in this business. But when life experiences present themselves, make room for them and welcome them. That post can wait one extra day.

The body can endure compromise and the mind can be seduced by it. Only the heart protests. The heart.

– Jeanette Winterson


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