For example, would you be terribly disappointed if it took you ten years to achieve one goal? Probably. But that’s exactly how long it took Kyle Kroeger, Founder of Black Bear Media, to achieve his dream of living in Amsterdam.
As a bright-eyed college student, Kyle visited the vibrant city of Amsterdam and decided he wanted to live there – either as a nomad or remote worker. However, it took him an entire decade of saving, investing and taking on different roles to finally reach his goal.
I wanted to know what this experience meant to Kyle and how it influenced his approach to goal setting.
The journey towards your goals
In many of my recent blogs, I’ve touched on the importance of enjoying the journey towards your goals as opposed to simply focusing on the end results. It was refreshing to see that after reflecting upon the past ten years, Kyle shared a similar perspective.
Kyle: “The Amsterdam dream has been a huge goal for me since my college days. Fast forward to over ten years later, and I’ve now moved here from Minneapolis, working with a completely remote team. It’s been quite a satisfying journey to get here, but it really unlocked a lot of things and experiences for me.”
There are so many people out there expecting a quick sprint to their goals (guilty!). We’ve been wired to expect instant gratification in all spheres of life, and this attitude often plays out in our approach to goal setting. But sometimes, it takes hard work, persistence and an incredible amount of patience to get there.
Like myself, you’re probably wondering what Kyle was up to during those ten years. As it turns out, he spent them slowly building and laying the foundations for his big dream.
Building a safety net
Kyle: “In order to build towards my Amsterdam goal, I did have this ambition of working in finance, investing and harvesting money for the future. So, I worked in a number of different roles – starting from the client side in investment banking and going into the corporate side, and then I went into private equity. As the years rolled by, I realised that I really wanted to work for myself and dance to the beat of my own drum.
So, I decided to give that a try too, and it resulted in some very challenging moments. I had to save, sacrifice and make some really tough decisions. All of that helped me build up a small nest egg, in case things were to go south. I also tried out a few side hustles like marketing and SEO to get a feel of what remote work was like.
So, in essence, I spent a lot of that time pushing myself and making some tough decisions to actually reach my final goal.”
One key thing about Kyle’s story stood out to me. If you have a long-term goal in view – especially one that requires you to switch your career – be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices. In many cases, this may mean passing on a shiny new car for an older, beat-up model or making other financially savvy decisions like Kyle had to do.
This way, you’ll be able to build a nest egg or what I like to call a “sleep well at night” fund that allows you to fully chase your dreams without worrying too much about the future.
Slow and steady wins the race
So far, we’ve talked about Kyle’s ten-year journey to Amsterdam. I wanted to know if his experience had taught him anything about the slow and steady approach, and how that plays into his business goals.
Kyle: “I run a content business, and it takes a long time to actually make money in this industry. This approach [taking it slow and steady] certainly helps you arrive at some realisations.
Going slowly and testing the waters helps you realise how long or how much effort it takes to reach certain milestones. On the other hand, diving headfirst has its risks because you could have false expectations if you haven’t planned it all out. You may be thinking: ‘We’re going to grow super fast and raise capital’, and before you know it, you’re back at your old job sooner rather than later.
So, I think going slowly and developing some of that knowledge in advance can help in so many different ways. At worst, it may turn out to not be what you thought it was, and that’s okay. Just use the opportunity to pivot.”
Whether you have your eyes set on a business goal or a personal one, Kyle’s advice is one to keep in mind. When you take a gradual, pragmatic approach towards achieving your goals, you’ll have more realistic expectations, and you’ll be able to take the necessary steps towards achieving them. That’s how you truly win.
Has this blog inspired you to apply more patience and reflection when it comes to reaching your goals?