I’ve always believed that what’s earned is sweeter than what’s given. Do you agree?
I’m obsessed with earning things, even to the point of avoiding help sometimes (I’m trying to change that). I just never wanted to be the guy who “made it” because someone gave it to me.
I want to earn my dreams.
Just watch the average Christmas or birthday gift opening session and you’ll see what I’m talking about. While there will always be some exciting gifts, most gifts I’ve seen (or given) have been set aside with a brief “thanks” and fail to make an impact.
That’s how life works too. Earning something matters:
Students who pay for their own college usually don’t get drunk every night.
Business owners who build their companies typically lead them better than those who inherit them.
Employees that earn promotions usually care more about their work than those who get promoted due to nepotism, intra-office relationships, blackmail, etc.
Nearly 100% of people who win the lottery blow it all and end up poor.
In nearly every case that I’ve seen, the people who earn something always cherish it more than those who are given it.
I want to cherish my life.
Reality Meets Ideology
In reality, rarely does anyone accomplish anything 100% on their own. Believe me. I learned this the hard way trying to do too much alone.
In almost every case we are in our current situation because of others.
However, this fact doesn’t mean a collaborative life has to be meaningless and empty because we didn’t “earn it” every inch of the way. The above principle still applies. The way we feel a sense of accomplishment is when we effectively use what we’ve been given to accomplish more, push further, and find a way to slice the daily bread that’s been given to us.
In this metaphor, we may not earn “the bread”, but we do earn what happens when we slice it, cook with it, and use it to do something amazing. In other words, just because someone gave us the bread doesn’t mean we didn’t earn the french toast, bread pudding, or club sandwich we just made.
Earning is a mindset.
If you care about your employees, family members, or friends…help them earn something. Don’t just give it to them. That’s the best gift you can give.
I want my children to live a fulfilling life of meaningful achievements and I think it starts when they’re young. Today, my wife and I gave our 4 year old daughter her first bike.
However, she had to “earn it.”
She did extra chores, weeded the garden, hauled hedge clippings, and helped dad with a commercial (below). When she saw the bike that she earned, it may have been the sweetest moment in her entire life!
Success! Accomplishment! Earning!
Her hard work paid off. Now she’s got a taste for hard work, winning, and her shiny new bike.
Tonight my friends, I urge you to keep slicing your own bread, make those around you earn it, and cherish your life.
Even though I’ve had people laugh at the idea and tell me it’s too much, I stand by my view of the 8pm Warrior world.
I know self employed warriors suffering from serious health conditions because they have no health insurance. Some are losing their homes to foreclosure. Others have lost their families, their friends, or the business they spent their whole life building.
Some have died.
All were chasing their dreams and holding on to their passion for a better world, a better life. It’s in their blood. It’s what they do.
For those still limping along in this economy while wondering, praying, hoping, and dreaming…I get it.
Before I share my own ultimate goal in life, let me explain my “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting logic.
Small, vague goals don’t work for me. I’ve watched what happens when organizations or people set specific goals that are bold and it does something special to them. When JFK declared to the world that we would land a man on the moon, it captured the attention and imagination of billions of people.
With focus, pride, and hope, a nation poured its passion into a project that just a few years before would have been seemingly impossible. In doing so, we not only inspired generations of young children, but also invented many things we use today.
By setting the bar so high, we became better for it. It defined us as leaders, inventors, and pioneers.
When challenging NASA to land a person on Mars, President Obama called the moon landing “…an endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge, of our technological prowess, of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems.”
I only get one life, so for my one goal, I needed to choose something big…something that would inspire me, push my boundaries, and lift me up to be a better person.
Here goes nothing…
My ultimate goal in life is to give away a billion dollars.
I have this deep desire to use my life to make a big difference for other people and I think a billion dollars put towards some amazing causes ought to do it.
Some of my closest advisers think I’m losing it. They gently remind me that a billion dollars is a LOT of money since I started from nothing and just took a beating in this economy. It’s hard to disagree with them, but after wrestling with this one I just can’t shoot any lower or I’ll lose my inspiration.
Since I hear some snickers from the back of the room, let me explain. Here are five reasons why I choose the “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting approach and this goal in particular:
1) It explains who I am
My ultimate goal serves as a personal brand promise. It says that I believe in something bigger than myself and that I like an epic challenge (also that I’m a little nuts).
It’s clear that I like to dream big dreams and chase them down. When partnering with me, I’d like people to know that I’m chasing something bigger than myself.
I’m not driven out of selfish ambition. I’m giving my life for others.
2) It’s big enough to capture my imagination and dedicate my entire life to it
I need a big enough challenge to keep my attention and drive me forward. This goal will most likely be the thing I chase until my last breath, giving me plenty of time to focus, strategize, and build towards it. No changing gears, message, or personal brand. This goal keeps it simple and focused. This is it. My whole life is on the line.
Will I fail?
3) If I fail, I will still make a difference
I believe that life is about the journey, not just the destination. If I’m going on a journey, I want to be traveling towards something amazing. It makes the hard parts easier.
Also, I don’t like to fail, but if I only give away $700 Million there will still be lots to celebrate. One cannot have a focused ultimate life goal like this and not have other achievements along the way. When people are pushed to be their best, good things happen well before the final goal is reached.
4) It is motivating
I used to be the development director of an inner city school in Milwaukee and we were able to raise about $2 Million and build a school that changed the world for hundreds of kids. Some of those kids are headed to college now. That experience changed me. It feels good to give, and it feels great to make a difference in the lives of others. It gives profit a new meaning.
5) I’m able to include others
I cannot do it alone. I will need others to join me, so I’m going to start a foundation and gifts from others will count towards my goal. My wife, kids, family, friends, and others who care about this goal will be able to take part in changing tens of thousands of lives. If I achieve my goal, it means others have too. I’ve always believed in teamwork and I can’t wait to travel down this road with others.
It begins now.
Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m going to need all the help I can get.
I only meet in person to build a stronger relationship. There’s just one small problem.
Emails, texts, tweets, and Facebook mobile allow us to be at a meeting, meal, bar, or date with a person and still communicate with others who aren’t there. Because these messages go with us everywhere our phone does, they are hard to ignore. Luckily, they can be fielded discreetly and quickly.
But should we do it?
The world is rapidly changing and some questions haven’t been fully asked and answered. I think it’s time. Some younger folks don’t even understand how to build face-to-face relationships anymore.
Have we forgotten how to focus on one person at a time? I know I do sometimes…
Some of my online relationships are just as important as my local ones, but is it possible that frequent interruptions of live conversation or “talking and texting” actually cause damage to a relationship? Would it be better not to have the dinner at all?
Does a distracted dinner create resentment?
I think it does!
It might be hard, but we need to draw a line in our heads when we enter into a live conversation. It’s much different than twitter or email where people can wait a few seconds for a response. Humans aren’t geared that way and I don’t think they ever will be.
We meet in person for a reason. These days you can just email, call, or Skype someone if you want to talk. We meet with people to build something stronger.
So let’s do it!
For successful “in person” relationships, your attention has to be all or nothing.
Each one of us is unique. No two 8pm Warriors are the exact same size.
I’ve worn a one-size-fits-all hospital gown in the past and it wasn’t a great fit. Probably not the first choice of apparel for many people…
Many other “free” things only come in one size too:
Baseball cap giveaways
Drink trays at the theater or drive thru
And many others
However, I have yet to find a “one size fits all” life.
The problem with “one size fits all” is that it usually means “this size fits no one”. In the end, no one really wants it. It doesn’t fit.
The same goes for life.
So then why do so many people base their happiness on how well their life compares to others? Why do some parents drag their children down the same path? Why do some children strive to be just like others? It doesn’t work.
No matter what anyone says, you must follow your own heart, do what you love, chase your dreams, and find the one life that fits you.
Unlike my Mother’s Day post, I can talk about Fatherhood with some level of authority. I understand that there are many different models of parenthood, but these are thoughts from my perspective as an 8pm Warrior with a wife who works from home.
Fatherhood is tough for me.
I think Fathers in my situation have an impossible mission to be role models in a modern world and have their young children understand or love them equally. Maybe that will change with time (my kids are 2 and 4), but it’s something I think about often and I wanted to see what other 8pm Warriors thought about it.
Here are my options:
Do my best, push my limits, and make a difference in the world (8pm Warrior option)
Get a typical 9 to 5 job and have more time to focus on my family
Either way I feel like I lose.
If I choose the second option, there isn’t much to take my attention away from family on weekends or evenings. Sounds good, but my problem is that I don’t think I’d be doing my best. I’ve got a ton of energy and ideas, so doing less than my best doesn’t seem like a way to set an example for my children. Furthermore, in this era I’m not sure a 9 to 5 job would be a secure position. If you want to be secure, you’ve got to be irreplaceable.
That’s hard to do if you ignore your work on evenings and weekends.
That’s why I chose the first option. Consequently, I see my children for 15 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the evenings before they go to bed at 8pm. I’m with them on most weekends, but I’m distracted many times. Yes, I do take vacations, but in the past they were often combined with light work such as the Clear Medical Solutions annual company cruise and other events where I was speaking.
Consequently, my kids prefer my wife in nearly every situation.
If they’re hurting, hungry, sad, tired, or just want a hug they always choose my wife over me when given the choice. In some situations, I’m not even an option.
Luckily, my wife is an amazing mother and I’m confident that my children are growing up to be warriors in whatever field they choose. So maybe I just need to stop whining and be thankful.