This may sound overly simplistic, but the secret of success is to find what you love to do — and do it! I’m not necessarily talking about doing what you do at your current job or limiting yourself to something you are already an expert in. This exercise is intended to get you to identify what truly makes you happy. It is simple logic. Someone that is happy with what they are doing will naturally generate more results than someone that isn’t. When one gets to the core of who they are they instantly set a direction in their lives that will positively change it forever.
The vast majority of people never take the time to figure out what truly makes them happy. They get up, go to work, eat dinner, go to sleep, etc. over and over again until they retire. It is astonishing at the number of people I’ve met that have taken the attitude that when they retire they will be happy and enjoy “the good life.” Sadly, the vast majority of retired people never get the chance to do what they thought they would. All too often they don’t have the money, their health has deteriorated or time has simply ran out.
I was fortunate that early in my life I knew I didn’t want to fall into this work/sleep/work/retire/die pattern. If you are reading this then it probably doesn’t fit you either. So what does all of this mean? How do you find that thing you love to do? And how can you make money doing it?
Finding that thing we love can be easy for some and quite difficult for others. I’ve found a good way to shift your paradigm is to lay in bed at night when the kids are tucked away, the spouse is asleep, the house is quiet and your head is clear. Then let your mind float off and imagine if you could do anything what would it be? Don’t think about the kids, don’t think about what you did in school, don’t think your job, don’t think about being physically handicapped, don’t think about needing money. Simply let your mind wonder until it lands on something that makes you smile. Could it be fishing? Is it a race car driver? Do you like working with wood? Do you like building things? Do you like making people laugh? Do this for as many nights as it takes until you start to come back to a common theme.
The next step in the process is to make a list of items you are good at and things you are not that you believe will help you transition your life into doing what you love to do. The idea here is to start transferring that big picture idea into an actionable list of things you can do and areas where you need to improve. You have to be realistic if you are going to be successful. If you want to be a doctor you need to be good in science. If you want to be a winning race car driver you need to know the mechanics of how a car works in addition to knowing how to drive one.
In my particular case, the essence of what makes me happy is being creative, bringing things together in innovative ways (e.g. people, technology, company’s, etc.) and building something that makes my Company, the industry, the world, etc. better than it was when I started. The help others be successful helps me be successful principal.
Of course saying I want to make the world a better place and doing it are two completely different animals. To get to this point in my career has not been easy. I have dedicated my life to being the best I can be in everything I do. I have spent countless hours learning as much as I possibly can about business, finance, technology, developing interpersonal relationships, communication, law, engineering, sales, customer service, etc. When I run into something that I don’t know I take whatever time I need to develop myself into being a subject matter expert in the area. Putting these pieces of my life together has helped me become a recognized expert in a number of multidisciplinary areas. And this expertise has helped me become successful in my career. Life long learning is like putting strong links into a chain. The more you have the more versatile it becomes.