I used to joke that I must be the first person to graduate from Vanderbilt University without ever finishing a book. I was the quintessential “Cliff Notes” guy. That all began to change when I realized that my success in business was inextricably linked to the value we could create for our clients and candidates. All of a sudden, the theory and exercise of taking tests for a grade gave way to the realization that my earnings and financial success were directly tied to how to provide great products and services and stand out from the crowd. In other words, if I could learn how to do this better than the next guy, I could be successful. For me, learning needed to be about achievement, it needed to have a financial and career payoff.
I have a son who recently graduated from High School and I see him taking that same path and approach to life that I took at his age. Both he and I can find many things that we are passionate about, but the motivation HAS TO BE INTRINSIC for either of us to give our best effort. To say the least, we are not IDEAL students who conform to memorization to get the best grade happily.
We are all born with unique talents and interests, and anyone who has the opportunity to identify those talents and then invests in themselves can achieve success beyond their own expectations. I am living proof! But, we also have to grind on a daily/weekly basis to see the how of what we are doing and not just the why. Certainly the why we do what we do is well documented and matters a ton, but how we go about achieving efficiency and value creation then becomes critical. My advice, to a younger self would be, find your passion, but know that hard work and EQ/IQ and many other factors such as luck are equally important to growth. Stay humble, hungry and there truly is no finish line, no matter how bad our mind tries to convince us otherwise.