In 2009, I was double majoring in finance and accounting. I wasn’t torturing myself with these majors because I wanted a career in either field, but because they were high-paying majors and I thought they would guarantee me a stable career and a decent life.
Because I wasn’t passionate about it, I sucked. Even though I was studying finance and accounting, I spent most of my time playing with an entrepreneurship business simulator program instead because I loved it. I dropped out of college twice before realizing that my heart just wasn’t in it and it showed in my performance. Finally, I changed my major to entrepreneurship.
Figuring Out Your “Why”
Your “why” is the reason you’re doing something. It’s what motivates you to work hard and keeps you happy and satisfied with what you’re doing. It helps you persevere when times get tough, separates you from competitors and helps you prioritize your passions.
You may be extremely gifted at math, but if you aren’t passionate about it and ready to spend years of your life studying and working through equations, you probably don’t have what it takes to be a mathematician. Just like I didn’t have what it took to be an accountant or finance professional.
I knew I loved business and entrepreneurship, but I didn’t know what my specific passion was until years later. Thankfully, you don’t need to wait until you get in the “real world” to figure out what you’re passionate about. You can figure it out now.
Fast Forward to Find Out
Have you ever wanted to fast forward through rough parts in your life to see how things turn out? Well, I’m going to ask you to do just that.
Imagine you are 65 years-old and your best friend (wife, college friend, business partner, etc.) throws you a birthday party. A large group of your friends, family and co-workers are all there. The person who threw you the party goes up to give a two-minute speech about what you’ve meant to them, the workplace, the community and more.
Take out a pen or open up a word document. Write down what this person would say about you. Don’t stop until you’re truly satisfied with what they’ve said using your imagination.
Once you’ve finished, I want you to look carefully at what you wrote. Did you help others, make a big impact on people’s lives or make a ton of money? What this person said about you at the age of 65 is what you want to accomplish in life. In case you’re curious, here is what I wrote when doing this exercise:
“Michael Luchies is a caring person who genuinely wants to help others. He’s a loving husband and an active and supportive father.
He takes the time to listen and help others, even when he has nothing to gain. Michael has helped thousands of entrepreneurs in one way or another. From guiding them through obstacles to making valuable connections by introducing them to others, he’s always more than willing to selflessly give away his time. Because of his efforts, many businesses were able to get their start and others were able to grow – creating a better and more fulfilling life for the founders, their employees and those they serve.”
Notice that the person speaking about me in my imagination didn’t say anything about being rich, having a lot of fancy things or even starting and growing a large business of my own. Through this process, I learned that I’m not motivated by money, but by helping others, specifically, other entrepreneurs.
Take note of what you wrote and what you didn’t write. Now that you know what you want to achieve over the next 45 years, what can you do to start turning that dream into a reality? Share your story in the comments below.