You’ve no doubt heard that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Very simply, big things are not accomplished in one day… or even one week or one month.

I know plenty of entrepreneurs who get stuck in short-term thinking and doing. They’re in a continuous loop of getting out of bed every day and thinking, “What do I have to accomplish today? I have to do something today. I want to have a big day today. I have to close out this week in a big way.” It’s as if every hour of every day of every week was a make it or break it moment. Not only the wrong way to grow a business, it will drive you to levels of stress and a lifestyle that is anything but enjoyable.

Now don’t get me wrong: There is nothing wrong with that sort of positive thinking, and having daily goals is a good thing; however, those daily goals have to be the result of much bigger thinking and planning. You will never build your business one day or week – no matter how epic that day or week might be – at a time!

So, you must start thinking longer term. Think about the two or three really big things you want to accomplish this year. Maybe it’s 50 percent growth in revenue, opening a second location, launching a new product or service offering to complement what you already do. The choice is yours, but you have to think big! Nobody in the exclusive “Top 1% Club” got there by thinking small and playing small ball.

With these big goals in mind, now determine how you can go about making those a reality. What steps do you have to take? As with any big project, always start with the end in mind. Then work backward to determine the steps needed to get you there. Once you have that vision and understand the route you need to take, now you can set your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks to reach your big goals. Now when you get up every morning, you don’t have to ask, “What am I going to do today?” You’ll have a clear and strategic plan about what you need to accomplish today and this week that is leading you toward your epic goal.

When you focus on the little, short-term things that aren’t part of your plan to reach your big goals, it makes everything small. You can certainly do big and epic things, but you can’t achieve them in short periods of time. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone – including you – was put on this earth for mediocrity. We are all created for great things. Each one of us has the potential to create great things, but only you can convert your potential to be great into something amazing and fantastic.

Think about a packet of wildflower seeds. They sit unopened in the packet, representing potential to become beautiful flowers. Left unopened, these seeds can exist that way for decades – sealed in a pack existing only as “potential beauty.” Everyone has “seeds of greatness” inside them, but like actual seeds, there are certain things needed to convert the potential into field full of flowers:

1) The seeds have to be taken out of the packet (their current secure comfort zone) and placed in soil – a dark, dirty unfamiliar place.
2) They have to be watered and the soil turns to mud – yuk!
3) Temperatures now go down at night and it’s cold.
4) The sun comes out and it’s hot, but the seed can’t see anything yet and feels all alone.
5) Fertilizer gets dumped on it – what a smell!
6) Add more water until it starts the process of pushing out of its shell. It can feel the sun and warmth, but it’s still dark and horribly uncomfortable by itself in unfamiliar territory. If you were a seed, I believe this is the time and space at which you most begin to feel your dream coming alive, yet it’s still not there – frustrating.
7) Once it breaks the surface and starts to unfold its stem and leaves, everything begins to improve! I imagine this must be like an entrepreneur getting their first sale.

As an entrepreneur, your journey will be like that of a seed: You won’t go from the pack to greatness unless you go through the mud and the dark alone, being fertilized, and having a bit of a crappy existence – for a period of time. You can’t escape going through the work if you want to be great and create your Dream Business and dream lifestyle.

In hindsight, I now think of my first year in business, where I literally had no revenue, as my year of being put in the ground, watered and fertilized, and made uncomfortable and questioning why I left the warm and safe packet. But thankfully I did, and I endured the months of unpleasantness because my business truly has blossomed into my beautiful field of wildflowers.