Are you doing something you love? Or, are you doing something just to make money? These critical questions shaped my entire career and changed the way I approached business.
Here are three lessons I learned as an entrepreneur about how to pursue your dreams with purpose — or your “why”– and passion in mind.
Don’t do it for the money
If I had one piece of advice for future generations, it would be not to concentrate on the dollar signs. Social media will tell you that entrepreneurship is flashy, that it will make you a lot of money. In reality, if you’re not doing what you love every day, then it doesn’t matter how much money you make.
As I advanced in my career and got older, I began to genuinely despise the idea of people being motivated by money. For me, your passions must fuel your career. So often people ask me what business they should start that will make them more money. In reality, there’s no magic playbook. Figure out what you love doing every day and then ask yourself how you can make money doing that. You’re going to spend half your life working, you may as well do something you love and the money will follow.
When I first started out, I faced my fair share of challenges and stagnant business concepts. And, for so long, I believed my worth came from the amount of possessions I had or the money I brought to the table. When I found something I loved, everything changed. I mean everything — my leadership style, the way I talked to people, the energy I put out into the world, the dedication and focus I gave to employees and projects. And the list goes on. I stopped chasing money and realized my calling was to help others. At the end of the day, I want to have people say, “you had a positive impact on my life.” That’s the legacy I want to leave. That’s my North Star.
I’ve discovered that my “why” is in the desire to change peoples’ lives. And I never would have found that calling if I had focused on money.
Learn the art of the hustle
We are constantly surrounded by the idea that we must play it safe. After all, our path is already laid out for us: go to school, get a degree, get a job, pay your bills, get married, start a family.
Stability is the goal right? That’s why so many people get jobs just to pay the bills. When people get up in the morning and go to work, they say it’s for the money. But money is a result, not a purpose.
Those who have found their reason for showing up know that it doesn’t come without a little work. Entrepreneurs are some of the toughest people I know. They hustle more and work harder, all in the pursuit of what they love.
Not ready to be an entrepreneur? There are many ways to still hustle and align your purpose with the work you do. To begin, identify what you love doing. If you’re not sure, keep trying. Don’t be afraid to pivot. Then, find a company whose values and mission align with yours.
The reality is, hustle is about commitment. Commitment means maintaining loyalty to a cause or task you said you were going to do long after the mood you set it in has left. Ultimately, commitment leads to action. Are you committed to finding and working on your why every day?
Overcome your fear of failure
Along the way to finding your why, you’re going to fail. That’s just life. Knowing you will fail shouldn’t scare you. Rather, it should make you want to take the risk and learn from each situation.
When I launched some of my companies, someone asked me if I was worried about failing. The answer was simple: the only thing worse than failing is never trying. I would never be where I am today if I didn’t take chances and educated risks.
Entrepreneurs take a lot of shots before they find one that sticks. Some of the greatest entrepreneurs have shut down businesses. They have mastered loss and gain and moved forward to the next challenge without any emotional hesitation. They can identify if something is viable or not.
If you find yourself in a position of failure, know that this isn’t the end. It’s a reset, a place where you can learn. Take what you can and start fresh with your passions guiding your way.