I heard something recently that really took me aback. At a business conference, the CEO of a prominent financial company said this: “The biggest trap in our society is that most people end up getting really good at doing something that they absolutely hate.”
Most people end up getting really good at doing something that they absolutely hate.
Have you been there? Are you there now? I know I’ve had instances in my career where I have resonated with that statement.
Which led me to asking myself this question:
Why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it because I truly want to do this, or is it because society/someone else says I should do this? Because society says I should want this?
This isn’t some new concept – it’s called “knowing your why” in the circles of entrepreneurship and personal development. Just ask Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
However, this post is not about “finding your why.” Frankly, I’m really sick of that question. Because we all have big whys – to provide for our family, to give our children a good life, to give back to society, to have healthier lives so we can live longer, etc. But then how come, with all these huge whys, most of us never really accomplish our goals? It can be as small as getting fit and committing to going to the gym 5 times a week, to as big as making $1 million this year. Either way, statistically we still don’t do what it takes to fulfill our whys.
Traditional thought usually has this response to why we don’t fulfill our goals: Bad habits. Self-doubting beliefs. Laziness. Not trying hard enough. Quitting too soon. Plain and simple, you just didn’t want it bad enough. You weren’t willing to do what it takes.
But what if that’s not it.
Full disclosure: My entire life I have agreed with mainstream society. That if you don’t make it BIG, then you just weren’t that good enough. You didn’t work hard enough. You’re lazy. You’re not successful. Because at the end of the day, I truly believe in today’s world you can make anything happen – it’s 100% all up to you. There are enough success stories out there about people who came from absolutely nothing and created the life that others can only dream about.
But recently I had an epiphany – it’s exactly that: All up to YOU.
If you don’t know what you truly desire, what you truly desire out of life, you will always find yourself unsatisfied, going in circles and wasting precious time. What do you think about when you’re all alone and there’s no one there to influence your thoughts or feelings? This is your truth. Because whatever goal you’re currently trying to hit, or business you’re trying to start, ask yourself: Is this coming from me? Or did someone else convince me that this is what I should want? Do I want this because I want this, or do I want this because I’m supposed to want this? There’s a big difference.
As human beings, I think most of us are very impressionable whether we want to admit it or not – our surroundings, our peers, our backgrounds shape what we see in this world and what we see for ourselves.
Example: Many times when I speak to a medical professional, more often than not, one of their parents or close family members also come from the medical industry. Maybe they come from a family of doctors. You could say this for many other industries as well. Let’s look at this way: If your father is a doctor, you probably have a higher chance of following in his footsteps because of the picture that was painted for you from a young age, along with the guidance and support given by your family.
But what if that same person had grown up with a father who never graduated high school? Do you think they’re more likely or less likely to become a doctor? Be honest. I’m not talking about exceptions to the rule right now.
What I’m trying to get at is most of the time, the careers we think we want are based off of someone else who has that career and their influence in your life. It may not be a family member – it could be a mentor, friend, spouse, religious figure, etc.
Do you ever wonder what you would really want to do with your life if you had been completely isolated from ALL societal influences? And just how great you could REALLY be?