We all have our own goals in life. Whether it’s starting your own business, reaching a certain milestone in your career or more personal goals like living a healthier lifestyle or finding the right person to settle down with, it’s in our nature to constantly strive toward things that we want to achieve.
But sometimes, working toward the things that we want in life can feel exhausting, and we could use a little pick-me-up when it comes to keeping that fire lit. So to inspire you to keep chugging along toward whatever goal it is that you’re aiming for, we asked a few people to share how they reached their greatest goal—and their stories are seriously inspiring!
Read on for the ways that these 13 people achieved their biggest goal in life, from starting a successful business to finally finding true love and everything in between.
Find the right business partner.
“When I set out to start my business, I was in search of someone who possessed my same passion for helping small businesses. Knowing that my chances of success would be far greater if I surrounded myself with people who believed strongly in this mission, I spent more than six months searching for the perfect co-founder. Our shared passion for empowering small businesses made my co-founder Aaron Severs and I perfect partners, and most importantly, guided our path to creating a company that would help thousands of business owners drive success and achieve their goals.”
-Corey Kossack, co-founder and CEO of Frederick
Do your homework.
“I always knew I eventually wanted to own my own business, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about ‘next steps’ that I began to pursue ideas I was passionate about. After exploring a few of my other concepts, I ran with my idea of affordable fine jewelry. First I did some market research and further refined the concept, including what kinds of designs I wanted to make. I spent the next year working on mockups, design layouts and market testing. Then I took a stab at creating my own website, but I realized a few months in that the market demanded a more nuanced website, so I started working with a freelance developer to help create the vision I had.” -Tisha Vaidya, founder of Pratiksha Jewelry
Have a good idea, then make it work.
“I lost my mother to melanoma when I was just 23 years old. At the time, I didn’t have many resources at my disposal, but I knew that people who put in the mental energy, not just the physical, follow their goals from theory to mission accomplished. And that’s what I was prepared to do. Successful entrepreneurs take an idea and turn it into something that’s not only powerful, but meaningful, too. That’s what I think I’ve done with the the Pan-Mass Challenge, which raises money for lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon. It’s taken a lot of hard work to grow the organization to its current level of success. For the first 10 years, it was a small cadre of volunteers supporting my full-time commitment and figuring it out day by day. Now, we have an organization with a volunteer crew of 4,000 and a professional staff of 10, and we get to do something that truly fills our souls year after year: raise millions for cancer research.”
-Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director
Find a solution to a common problem.
“Funny thing is, I never set out to be an entrepreneur. I would have considered it the least likely thing for me to become, given my non-competitive personality. However, I do have a character streak that will make me fight tooth and nail for things that I believe will solve really important problems. That’s how I ended up being one of the founders ofMemoryWeb. As a parent, I had hit some serious roadblocks when trying to organize and enjoy the gazillion digital photos we had taken of our two boys. No single solution out there answered all my near- and long-term needs to manage, preserve and enjoy photos. Plus, let’s be honest, the thought of how much hands-on effort it would take to gather and tag thousands of photos sucked the very life blood out of my soul. So when my husband and I saw a better, more joyful way to tackle this problem, I was all in.”
-Nancy Desmond, co-founder of MemoryWeb
Don’t take no for an answer.
“When I was 20, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. The biggest thing that helped me to recover and get back to my normal life was the belief that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything, regardless of what other people might say. Right when my classmates were all graduating from college, I was still finishing chemotherapy and having my final surgery. My parents, doctors, friends and mentors all encouraged me to rest and take at least another six months to recover, but I knew if I didn’t go back to graduate college that year, I never would. Since then, my life has been a series of experiences in which people tell me that something’s probably not possible, and I, respectfully, prove them wrong. From graduating with honors, to working for Senator Claire McCaskill on Capitol Hill, to eventually starting my company,Unbound, to help change social norms with a team of incredible women. Every step of the way I was told that my goals were impractical or overly ambitious, and with every step, I chose to ignore those assertions and trust my instinct instead. It is this unyielding resilience and trust in our own abilities that allows women to build professions and careers. Every time someone tells me, ‘No, you can’t,’ I look them straight in the eye and say, ‘Yeah? Just watch me.’”
-Polly Rodriguez, the founder of Unbound
When you know something isn’t right, explore other option.
“One of the best things I did for my health was to clean up my eating habits. It made a huge change in my lifelong allergies. Ever since I was a child, I had terrible daily allergies. Oftentimes, I didn’t know if I was sick or if I just had bad allergies and wondered if I should go to school or not. I would be on allergy pills, nose spray, an inhaler and, later on, allergy shots two to four times per week. All of this barely helped! There were many days where my runny nose woke me up, so I would reach over first thing to take an allergy pill. After eschewing meat and dairy products, and going on a simple elimination diet for a year, I was able to curb my allergies, and I’ve been off daily medication for years. I’m grateful that after all these years, I’ve been able to combine Western medicine and holistic solutions in a way that yields results. Finally, I feel great!”
–Jessica Steinberg, health coach
Embrace what you’re good at.
“I thought I was going to be a drummer in a rock band, then a professional athlete, and then a chemist, but fitness? Never. I’ve worked out since I was a kid and I was really good at it, but it wasn’t until a buddy confronted me at a local gym and told me about the strength and conditioning program at school that really changed the way I thought about fitness. I’d been working out for 10 years before I started interning as a strength coach, and it blew my mind. I thought I knew so much, but I knew next to nothing, and that intrigued and challenged me. Once I started diving into the science behind strength training, I was hooked, and I wanted more information. I was mad that I didn’t have this information when I was putting all those hours in the gym and now I get to share it with others. It’s all about changing lives. It’s powerful and fulfilling.”
-Jason Walsh, founder of Rise Nation
Tackle your fears all at once, head on.
“I truly believe that success is drenched in sweat. However, that was not always the case with me. Most people wouldn’t believe this, but I used to be really shy. I always had this deep feeling to be a positive leader and do more, but I held back from going after my goals because I cared what people thought or ideas were too scary or hard. After a series of events my freshman year of college, I decided I had enough and it was time for a change. After getting my health and fitness in check, I signed up to become a group exercise instructor the same time I got a leadership job where I had to speak in front of a group of people on a weekly basis. Basically, I conquered every fear I had and I loved it. I discovered that fitness, when combined with leadership skills, makes us unstoppable. I thrive off of a good challenge and a healthy dose of sweat fuels my success. That’s why I created Cardio Sweat Party. We need an escape that challenges us in a healthy environment. Cardio Sweat Party is the most fun sweat session you will have. The choreography makes your brain smarter. Not only does it strengthen your memory, it also improves your creativity, productivity and overall health. We move forward, back, up, down and to the side. Kickboxing helps us to be strong and dance helps us to feel free. The music isn’t half bad either.”
-Michele Gordon (a.k.a. Miss Motivational), creator of Cardio Sweat Party
Find a way to share what you love with others.
“My life changed the day I discovered endorphins. I was 14 years old when I went on my very first run. I ran 10 minutes and by the time I got back to my driveway I was huffing, puffing and beet red. I thought I was dying but I will never forget how I felt: exuberant. Like everything was okay in the world, and after years of struggling with depression and body image, at age 14 discovered I could feel strong, confident, positive and happy. I discovered exercise. I became a certified personal trainer right when I graduated college. My mission: to make everyone feel the way I felt that day I went on my first run. I loved personal training and working one-on-one with clients to make them feel empowered, strong and balanced. I knew I could help so many other people combat depression, stress, anxiety and achieve balance in their lives. So I wanted to create a workout that left students feeling great physically and also great emotionally. I wanted to see students happy, smiling and very sweaty after each workout. This lead to the creation of HIIT IT!, my high-intensity interval training workout for people of all ages, shapes, sizes, genders and athletic abilities. I believe in fitness for all and my goal was to create a happy, healthy, positive and supportive environment completely free of judgement for everyone to sweat in.”
-Daphne Yang, personal trainer and creator of HIIT IT!
Let what you’re looking for come to you.
“I dated a bunch of guys in my 20s. Looking back, in hindsight not all of them were sociopathic serial killers. But like 88 out of 89 were. I even wrote a book about it, The Russian Drop. As I approached my late 20s, I realized, ‘Wait? Why am I wasting my time in the back of bars with these randos? Why don’t I waste my time in the back of bars doing comedy for nobody?’ So I forgot about dating and dove into comedy at full speed. Four years in, my life was pretty perfect. Until I met a (shudder) comedian who I (gross) fell in love with and then we (TMI) got married on the beach in Costa Rica four years later. And now we’re (vomit) each recording a comedy album on the same night at The Wild Project on Sunday, November 20. Barf.”
-Vicky Kuperman, comedian and author of The Russian Drop: Love, Hate & Revenge In New York City
Take a leap of faith after you’ve tried it all.
“After many failed relationships, I tried some online dating sites with no success. I even flew out to Georgia to meet someone I met online and was totally catfished! I rekindled a romance with an ex girlfriend from 30-plus years ago, only it turned out that she was married. I was looking into speed dating right around the time I met my current wife, Stacey, so I never followed through with that. I first met Stacey at work. Of course, I found her very attractive but unattainable, due to her age (I was 49 at the time, and she 24) and the fact that she had a boyfriend. Fast forward four months later to Christmas Eve. I noticed Stacey was upset at work and hated to see her that way on a holiday. I decided to pay her a surprise visit at her house after I got off of work. After spending the remainder of the evening with her and her entire family, I realized there was something special going on between us. I soon let my feelings be known to Stacey, and she reciprocated. Shortly thereafter, we became a couple and I haven’t looked back since. I’m glad I waited this long to get married because I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else. She was worth the wait!”
Learn from your past mistakes.
“Being a single mother of two and working full time with another part-time job leaves very little time for a social life. So I did what any modern single girl would do: I tried online dating. I had to sort through a lot of weirdos, and then I met Roger on Christian Mingle. We both loved ice cream and sleeping with a fan all year round, and we mentioned the same random corny movie at the same time. Emails graduated to IM, which graduated to phone calls and finally we met in person. He lives in another state, but traveled down during winter break to meet me. It went so well that we got our kids together the next month. We were a great family from the start, but the distance, time and finances took a big toll, and after about two years, we ended it. After that, I went back to the Internet and met every weirdo who walked the planet—from a guy who was married five times who told me my hair wasn’t dark enough for him to an Elvis impersonator who, just like Elvis, would not give up his side chicks. Two years later, I get a random text from Roger, asking if I would ever consider us again, and get married like we should have. I told him I wasn’t sure, that and things would have to be different. I let every insecurity I had out to him and tried to push him away. But he stayed. He was serious. After two years of trying to push him away and postponing our marriage twice, we’re finally going to get married some time next year. Here’s the thing about dating post-divorce: It starts out like high school. All the goofiness and silliness. But in the end you’ve got to realize that people make mistakes, and if they are smart, learn from them. I did, and so did he. We are better people for them and better for each other.”
Humor your friends every once in a while.
“I was married and had two kids, but stayed single for 15 years after my divorce because I didn’t want to bring just anyone into my son and daughter’s lives. But my friends were concerned that I was working too much, and not happy in love. I had two beautiful children and didn’t think I needed a partner. I had a nursing career, a home and children. I had a good life. I didn’t want to get married again. But then, my friends and I all went out to the Woodlands, and I met my (now husband) Tim there. We literally talked all night. In meeting him, I found that I had been missing the truest of love of my life. He completed my family, and he became my best friend. I fell madly in love, and we’re still in love nearly 13 years later. I honestly thought I would be just fine without this love. It turns out, I was wrong.”
Written by Danielle Page.