Ask 10 entrepreneurs about the secret to success and you will get 10 different answers. Many point to being visionary, focused or the smartest person in the organization. What if you are none of these?
This was my thought this morning as I was waking, sore from a recent long run and depleted from a long week. I struggled to get out of bed and get on with the grind.
Then my six-year-old daughter rushed into my room — it’s spring break — with an enthusiasm that was palpable and contagious. She needed help finishing an art project she started the night before.
I realized something important at that moment. She had a compelling reason to get up — and I had nothing that motivated me.
I understand and embrace my weaknesses. I am not the smartest, most organized or the most charismatic person I know. I have always relied on my tenacity and passion for achieving goals I had set.
But these traits — and any for that matter — are useless without purpose, and my purpose has apparently drifted.
If you feel like you have the drive to succeed, but have been struggling to find your way, ask yourself about your purpose.
Be honest about your purpose.
Just like understanding your strengths and weaknesses, finding your purpose requires being honest with yourself. If you believe your purpose is to make your family proud, but you know deep inside that they will never be satisfied, maybe you need to be honest and find a new reason to achieve your goals.
When you look back at all the effort, sweat and tears that you will pour into the short time we have, what will success look like in the end?
Remember that the most important person in this exercise is you. Nobody is looking out for you except you, so your purpose should be for you — nobody else.
And just because you prioritize yourself does not imply that you will dismiss everyone around you. If you are not healthy and happy, you cannot expect to make those around you so.
Own your purpose.
Once you know what your purpose is, never be ashamed of it. Create a mantra, write it in your journal every day, print and hang it in your office, or tattoo it on your forearm — henna tattoo.
The point is that you should be proud of your purpose, and if you are not, you haven’t identified the right one or have not articulated it correctly.
As someone who has been driven by entrepreneurship, I have found myself struggling with the idea of teaching at a university. I have always wanted to teach, but I always thought it would be later in my career.
The honest truth is that it is a different kind of challenge that I have really enjoyed. It has given me freedom to pursue other intellectual interests while having a real impact with other aspiring business leaders. More important, I have had more time for my family — I even started coaching soccer.
I set this honest truth as my purpose this morning, which prompted me to open a tab and reflect here. This exercise reminded me that it is only with purpose — in addition to the copious application of tenacity and passion — that you can find the will and energy to rise from your sleep and make the most of your day.
Now it is time for my coffee and painting assignment from my daughter.
How do you find purpose? Please share your thoughts with others in the comments below.