From a college dropout to a $20 million plus consulting empire at the age of 27, Sam Ovens’ entrepreneurial success story speaks for itself. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Sam and pick his brain on the mindset of a serial entrepreneur who effectively rose from nothing.
Through Consulting.com, Sam is using his accumulated entrepreneurial know-how to give back to newcomers. In fact, Sam boasts well over 10,000 consulting clients through his firm, including over 450 six-figure consultants and a few fellow millionaires.
But where does Sam’s success stem from?
To start a successful business, “losing yourself” is a must
To start our conversation, I posed a question to Sam that I and many others in our space struggle with. That is, to what extent should we change personally to make our professional goals and ambitions fit into our lives? Is it acceptable to “lose ourselves” in pursuit of greatness?
Kasteler: Let’s say I’m not at a place in my life where I want to be. Personally and professionally. Should I “lose myself” in pursuit of my goals?
Ovens: The western world has many phrases like “Be yourself” and “Don’t forget where you came from,” right?
The “self” doesn’t exist: it’s merely our own tendency to cling onto an identity built up from stories based on the past. That’s why I believe that “be yourself” is merely a myth.
That’s part of the problem with western philosophy: we believe we are something when we aren’t anything. The only question that really matters is “Who do we want to become?”
Kasteler: That’s quite the question.
Ovens: Yeah. The answer isn’t crystal clear and it shouldn’t be.
People love their preconceived narratives about themselves. Detaching yourself from a narrative based on the past is like losing your identity. You don’t want to let go of that story because it feels like you’ll disappear.
Let me give you a straight answer: go ahead and lose yourself.
If things haven’t worked out for you so far, it’s most likely that it’s your preconceived ideas about yourself hold you back.
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Kasteler: Sounds like you took the ultimate risk. How did your friends and family respond? Was there a lot of push-back?
Ovens: Oh, absolutely. Everybody I knew said things like: “A business owner? That’s not you.” They reminded me that I had failed at accounting: how could I possibly start a successful business?
By far the biggest challenge I had to face was losing myself, my character and the narrative of who I was. I was shy, awkward, clueless, poor, horrible at managing money and had no idea how the world worked.
I felt like a fraud. An imposter. A fake. And you can damn well bet I was inauthentic. I told everybody that I was going to start a business but I had no idea what I was doing.
Kasteler: How did you keep going in the face of so much doubt?
Ovens: It wasn’t easy but I persisted.
Before I knew it, I had broken through the first barrier and something was different. I felt like a new person. People started saying things like: “Wow, you’ve really changed.” Then I realized that the old “me” was gone.
Fast-forward to present day and I can hardly recognize my old self. It’s unbelievable.
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Kasteler: How can I apply these principles to my own life to figure out exactly who I need to be?
Ovens: If your personal narrative is becoming too narrow and uncomfortable to live in and you constantly dream of becoming something greater than you are, then you are at the right place.
I have a quick list of six mental must-dos for anyone looking for a change now.
- Understand that nobody had defined you. You are not who you think you are
- Understand that the real question is not “Who am I?” but rather “Who do I want to become?”
- Understand that transformation, growth, improvement and change is 20 percent tactics like Facebook ads and sales funnels versus 80 percent forgetting who you are to make way for who you can become
- Feel like an impostor? Good. Do more of what makes you feel like that and push harder
- Pay attention to your mindset: it will seriously change your life. I have about 5,000 testimonials to prove this in regard to my own program
- Do something bold. Move into a new house or apartment. Leave the country. Quit your job. Whatever you need to do
Once you accept these points, you’re on the right track.