After finishing college, I moved to Dallas, the “big city” compared to where I had lived, with a goal to “make it big.” I had no real plan, no connections, and no money. I knew two things: I was broke, and I had to change that. I was determined to make something of myself.

Self-belief is important, but just because you believe in yourself and your ability to make things happen doesn’t mean the cards will magically fall into place. Those first few years were rough. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in having a job, but because I wanted to live the story I’d want to read about someday. I believed I could do it the right way—without cutting corners—and show people that if you believe in yourself and commit to your craft and dream, you can achieve it. As a result, even in college, I didn’t make a resume in resume writing class. I told the professor, “My Plan B is to make sure Plan A works; I don’t want a fallback plan.” He respected that.

Fast forward, I was still broke. Every morning, I’d wake up trying to figure out how to make something happen. This isn’t a rags-to-riches story, but I want to impress upon you the power of belief. I knew I had to make something work, and I believed I could—I just needed to stay in the fight long enough for an opportunity. So I got creative. Back then, Craigslist was big. It was an online message board where people bought and sold things. There was a free section where people would give away items. Every morning, I would peruse the free section and look for people giving away books. I’d collect those books, then take them to Half Price Books and sell them. It wasn’t glamorous, but it kept me in the game. It wasn’t much money, but it bought me what I needed most: time.

You can make it. You really can. What separates those who live the life they want from those who don’t usually comes down to reaching that critical intersection of “this is too hard” and “I still believe in me.” Those who exit often live a life of regret. Those who continue to believe in their dream ultimately make it a reality.

Just remember, winning isn’t always about being the best; sometimes it’s about holding on the longest. Stay in the fight. You got this.

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Thank you for reading this edition of Shark Bites: Midweek Lessons for a Stronger Mindset! If you enjoyed these insights, be sure to listen to the Shark Theory Podcast, where Baylor Barbee dives deeper into the topics that matter most for your personal and professional growth. Tune in for powerful episodes designed to inspire and elevate your mindset.

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