When I started my business right after graduating university, I dove in head first. I had big plans for myself.
I'd heard one of my mentors say, "Anyone can be a millionaire in three years." As I studied what she did, I could see that it was indeed possible.
I dreamed of jet setting around the world, leading high-level masterminds and global speaking tours. Some of the young online entrepreneurs I followed were already creating five- and six- figure launches. We started our businesses around the same time so I knew it was possible for me to.
A couple of months in and I was constantly devouring the next best strategy to take my business to new heights. I read dozens of books, took more online courses and hired a coach. I did all of these things so that I could move faster.
I pushed harder. My hours got longer and I started working evenings and weekends. I was in the same room, all the time, trying to implement more and more of the strategies that others were doing.
I was making solid progress. My website came together. Clients started coming it. I created my first products. I could do this!
"In a few months, I'll be on my way to Paris! I'll rent an apartment there and live it up!"
"This is your year, Anita. Go for it."
I pushed myself to work harder and harder.
At the same time, my emotional life was in turmoil. I was constantly thinking about business. I dreamt about writing emails. I thought about social media during yoga. I felt like I was going to explode, if someone told me to try one more hot strategy. I started to unravel.
What once was a little nudge that said, "You can't keep working 24/7 like this..." and spiraled into a monstrous, "You can't get out of bed!" Literally, I could not get out of bed. I was terrified to face the day with my never-ending list of things to do.
Finally I had to take a good hard look at what I was doing. What's the point of having one million if I don't know how to enjoy it?
The first thing I had to look at was my intentions.
Am I setting these huge goals for the right reasons?
Am I setting goals based on my heart's truest desires?
At one level, I do desire financial freedom, physical freedom and (OK, fine) -- recognition. I knew it was possible to be a 20-something millionaire and I wanted that to be my title. I wanted to be on the cover of magazines and be featured in Forbes.
When I looked deep inside, however, none of those things fulfilled me. They were just titles.
Unwittingly, I had ditched the corporate rat race and started to run in the entrepreneurial rat race. Instead of job titles, I was vying for entrepreneurial glory. But if I was killing myself in the process, what's the point?! I had to admit, I was depressed, stressed and constantly anxious.
It's not about where you are going, its about HOW you get there.
I took a good, hard look at my life and realized that I needed to find a different way of doing things. Maybe it would take me a little longer to reach $1 million, but at least I would be alive.
I started to give myself more space. More free time to take walks. I stopped forcing myself to do things that I hated. I focused on the next right step ahead of me, instead of trying to catch up to others. I could breathe again.
At the end of the day, if I have a million dollars but I'm tormented inside with worry, then there's no point.
Today, I make a pact with myself. I let go of my desire to make $1 millions ASAP, and instead focus on growing my business in a way that is meaningful to me.
I know now that the $1 million will come when I focus on being of service to people, in a way that inspires and uplifts me.
If you've got big dreams, it means that the universe has big plans for you. You don't need to force yourself to fit into someone else's mould of success -- whether traditional or untraditional.
As long as you keep taking steps forward, you will get there. It's your journey. Do it your way.
Now I want to hear from you! Have you been yourself to accomplish big goals and "keep up" with the joneses? How can you do it differently so that you enjoy your process and your journey? Leave me a comment below!
Anita Wing Lee is a Transformational Coach, Award-Winning Speaker and Networking Mentor who guides ambitious millennials & aspiring changemakers to harness their passion and become brilliant, fearless leaders.
Anita landed multiple, epic, travel internships in university, travelling to 21 countries by the time she graduated by mastering the art of networking powerfully and authentically. She is now committed to showing other how to create Freedom Careers, getting paid to do what they believe in and love.
Watch her FREE 3-part video training series: How To Network To Land ANY Dream Gig
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more