This above all — to thine own self be true…
The following is an excerpt from Money Success & You, a book by John Kehoe.
A recent national poll revealed that more than 80 percent of North America’s working population do not enjoy the work they do. This is a profoundly tragic statistic, considering that work consumes so much of our lives. Nor is it a good formula for success, because when you study closely people who are successful it becomes abundantly clear that their achievements are directly related to the enjoyment they derive from their work.
This really struck home for me while I was writing this book. Since this is a book about money and success, I decided to send each of my financially successful friends (those with assets over $1 million) a copy of the manuscript so that I could get their feedback. As I finished my list and was reading over the names, I suddenly realized that every single one of them had achieved their success in areas they enjoyed working in — one was in publishing, another was a jewellery wholesaler, one in law, still another in home renovating — and so it went. They had found their passion, devoted themselves to it and had prospered. Every single one of them was doing what they loved doing.
It got me thinking: Has anybody ever made a fortune doing what he or she dislikes? I thought about it for a while and you know what? I couldn’t think of anyone. Not one. This is something to seriously ponder if you presently find yourself trying to get ahead working at an occupation you dislike.
Do What You Love; the Money Will Follow
Lars-Eric Lindblad loves traveling. As he backpacked his way to some of the more exotic locations around the world, he thought of what he would do when he eventually returned home. Nothing seemed appealing; and then he suddenly had an idea. «There are probably others like myself», he thought, «who want to experience a more adventurous type of travel. Why not start a business to cater to their specific needs?» So that’s what he did. He started his own travel agency, Lindblad Travel, offering adventurous trips to offbeat locations-the Gobi Desert, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands. People in the travel industry told him he was sure to fail. «You can’t make money offering just adventure packages», they said almost unanimously. This was before exotic travel became fashionable. Lars was one of the first to venture into this field and succeed he did, in a very big way. And 500,000 customers later, his travel business is still booming. Here’s the lesson for those of you who wish to follow your dream: the real key to Lindblad’s success is that he chose something that he was excited about, something he believed in.
Peter Moore hated his job as a bank manager. Although he liked dealing with people, he felt stuck in his choice of occupations and felt he wasn’t using his talents to the maximum. He wanted more. Realizing that his people skills would be well suited to sales, he began thinking of a career in selling. But selling what? Then one day, as he was handling the affairs of a woman whose husband had recently died, it hit him. Why not sell life insurance?
Peter’s experience as a bank manager had given him experience in dealing with families who are left without proper financial support. He believed absolutely in the service and excitedly began researching all the available companies to see which ones had the best policies. When he had made his decision, he approached the sales manager and told him what he’d done and why he wanted to sell life insurance for them. He was given a job on the spot.
Within one year he became one of their top salesmen, and eventually he became their district sales manager for the entire West Coast. He succeeded because he found something he could do with conviction. Something that felt right. He found his passion.
Stephen Sandler thought his grandmother’s mustard was the best in the world. Nothing else he had ever tasted even came close. Everyone else who tasted it at his house said the same. Then, one day, he had a wild idea. «Why not bottle it and sell it?» But then came the doubts. «There are already lots of brands of mustard available. I have no real business experience. There’s stiff competition for shelf space. Why would they give an unknown a chance?» And there were hundreds of other reasons why not to do it. But Stephen genuinely believed his grandmother’s mustard was better than anything else available, and this thought kept nagging at him. So he decided to give it a try.
He made twelve jars, had some labels printed, and went to visit several local delicatessens. He told them he already had a company that produced the mustard and offered them a free jar as a sample. Much to his surprise, Stephen received an order for 120 jars from one of them.
«At six jars an hour», he laughed, «I didn’t think I’d ever get through that first order.» He started by making it in his own kitchen and eventually the operation took over the house. Then he had to move to larger premises. Sandler Mustard is now sold in delicatessens all across the country and his small company, just barely out of its infancy, is now worth over $2 million. Stephen Sandler found his passion — mustard — and he made it his livelihood.
«People whose whole objective is making money, usually don’t.» says Jerry White, professor of entrepreneurial studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. He should know. He’s made it his business to study successful entrepreneurs and to teach others their winning ways, and the one message that came through loud and clear in his research was: Find a product or service you can believe in passionately, because without this you will not succeed.
What is your calling? To what areas are you best suited? How can you find a livelihood that will nourish and fulfill you?
You start by simply believing in yourself. Take stock of your assets, your strong points, and then see how you can best use them. Very often it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps us in positions we don’t like. If this is the case then embark upon a daily program designed to build self-confidence. Make this your first priority, and once this is achieved, your perspectives too will change.
Who am I? What are my possibilities?
You may think of yourself as a parent or spouse or in terms of your present job or profession, but that is only a part of who you are. Beyond this what are your possibilities? You have talents and strengths. You have natural inclinations towards certain subjects, while others have no interest to you. You have activities that bring you pleasure and others that you disdain. In fact you are quite unique, and this uniqueness can be your compass. Trust it and let it lead you.
Remind yourself that you possess a powerful subconscious mind that will guide you. Go to it daily, instructing it to bring you the answers you are looking for.
- Write down all the activities that give you pleasure.
- Write down your mental assets and strengths, your past and present accomplishments.
- Write down choices that you would make for yourself if money were not an issue and careers that sound interesting regardless of whether you think you have the talent or opportunity to pursue them.
- Open up your mind to options and possibilities. Dare to dream. There are no boundaries except those that exist in your mind. As media tycoon Rupert Murdoch said, «Fortune favors the bold.»
The choice of how to make a living is perhaps the single most important of all our decisions, yet it’s often the one most neglected. Sometimes we feel we have to take a job because of financial needs, or we are steered into a career because it has «excellent prospects,» when really our heart isn’t in it. This is unfortunate and totally unnecessary when you realize how many options are available to you. Certainly in any given period of several months or even several years you might have to work at something you don’t enjoy to make ends meet, to pay off debts or just to get started, but new opportunities will always present themselves to you if you are open and receptive to them. Don’t ever sell yourself short. You deserve more than just a job.
No amount of money, no matter how much it is, will ever compensate you sufficiently for remaining in a job that is drudgery and robs you of your spirit, or one that prevents you from fulfilling a dream. As the old saying goes, «In your haste to make a living don’t forget to make a life.» Be bold; forge off in a direction that you have a passion for.
That’s exactly what Dominic Chang did. An avid golfer, he often felt guilty about putting golf ahead of his family, and he suspected millions of other golfers felt the same way. So in 1992 he quit his job at the Bank of New York, where he was a senior vice-president, to follow his instinct and passion. He raised the money to open Family Golf Centers Inc. The basic tenet of his business plan: Encourage golfers to bring their spouses and children along with them to the centers. Have party rooms, snack bars, restaurants, miniature golf, so that it is exciting for everyone to come, male, female, young and old. His first center was a big hit and was soon followed by others. Now his company has gone public and Dominic’s three million shares are worth close to $100 million. Not bad for six years worth of work, or should I say six years of passion.
Everyone has his or her own specific vocation or mission in life. It cannot be replaced by something else, nor can someone else do it for you. Everyone’s task is to discover his or her uniqueness and find an opportunity to implement it.
Life is filled with choices and opportunities, so follow your heart, your instinct. Find something you can be passionate about and devote yourself to it. This is where your personal fulfillment as well as your contribution to the world lies.
Joseph Campbell says it well: «Your whole physical being knows that this [following your passion] is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting there for each of us, and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.»
«Every calling is great when greatly pursued,» said Oliver Wendell Holmes. Whether you’re selling life insurance, designing buildings, managing a company, writing a book, marketing new products or cutting hair, find the passion and excitement in it. If you can, you will succeed like you never have before. Follow your dream. Trust your instincts. Find that something you can believe in passionately and give it your all. Do what you love; the money will follow.