I’m a romantic. I love Valentine’s Day because it gives me a reason to go above and beyond to show my bride how grateful I am for her. I hear a lot of people saying that Valentine’s day is all about commercialism, and while I can see where they are coming from, I choose to look at this day love as an opportunity; an opportunity to celebrate our 20+ years of marriage, romance, and teamwork. Because it’s not easy y’all. It’s not easy to take two imperfect people and put them together for a lifetime. It takes work. But anything worth doing, anything worth having, takes work.

Our passions and our dreams and our businesses are the same way. If they are truly what we were put on this Earth to do, we will find a way to make them happen. We will fall down 9 times and get up 10. We will accept that things will not go as planned, will take longer than we hoped, and require more of us than we expected, and choose to move forward anyway. Kind of like marriage, right?

I can often find a lot of parallels between my love story with Antoinette and the way I encourage and motivate people to reach the next level in business. The first time I saw Antoinette, it was at a college party. She was, by far, the prettiest girl in the room and I made it my mission to find out who she was. After the party we went our own ways, but I did not give up trying to figure out how I could make her see me.  I made it my personal mission to be intentional about seeking her out, with a unique mixture of hope and confidence that this would work, that “we” could work. The stars aligned and we started dating, and the more I got to know her the more I wanted to get to know her. The deeper I fell for her, the deeper I wanted to fall. This is the fun, passionate, exciting chapter of a relationship, where we had nothing but hopes and plans for our picture-perfect future. This part is what we often think back on when things are hard. When things are hard in our marriage, I remember back to the beginning when I was discovering this new relationship when it was all I could think about and all I wanted, and I was relentless in my pursuit. It helps me to look at the big picture and remember my “why.”

If you’re in this chapter of your business development now, you get it. If it’s been a while since you’ve been consumed and on fire for your dream, be intentional this week about thinking about the good ‘ol days. The days when this dream was just an idea. When the budget is tight, or contracts fall through, or when success is taking longer than you hoped, it can be easy to throw your hands up and decide this was not a good idea. But don’t. Think back to what got you so excited about this in the first place and focus on that. This is your “why,” this is what will keep you moving forward when it’s too hard, too stressful, too exhausting.

Once you’ve discovered your why you must actively live it. This means saying no to the things you think you want to make room in your life for the things that you need. Living your passion means making sacrifices and compromises in order to turn your dreams into a reality. If you want your marriage to thrive, you must surround people who want your marriage to thrive. The same goes for your business. You need a team of people to call you out in love when you could be doing better, and encourage you when you’re on fire. A married couple benefits from the wisdom and community of other married couples. While your single friends are fun, they aren’t in a place to help you strengthen your marriage. The same goes for your business. You can’t expect to get to the next level if you surround yourself with people that are perfectly content with mediocrity.

Valentine’s Day may be a day where we spend too much money on chocolate and jewelry, but I love it. I love the idea of a whole day dedicated to celebrating love, and the work and effort it takes to make it work. I love the idea of honoring the woman in my life who has encouraged me to pursue my dreams but kept me grounded at the same time. Valentine’s Day will come and go, but my love and commitment and dedication to Antoinette will not.

This is how we need to be when it comes to our next-level dreams. We need to use every day as a day to celebrate our accomplishments, work to be better, develop better habits and rituals, and make a choice to pursue our passion with everything we have. Not just when things are good.

I hope that this week you can reignite the fire you have about your business and make a choice to live it intentionally. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be perfect, but I can promise you it’ll be worth it.