One of my military leaders was a great storyteller. At the time, I was spending a lot of nights in a helicopter with a team of Americans. Some of those nights were long ones, so our leader helped us pass the time by talking about our missions, and why we were doing them. Those talks had the potential to be pretty boring, but his stories had a way of giving me goosebumps. He made every mission feel significant, even if we were doing something as simple as taking pictures. In fact, his words were so inspiring, I felt like even if I weren’t being paid, I would still be up there, doing whatever we were doing that night.
Why did this man evoke so much commitment and loyalty? Because he showed us that we had a cause. By the time he’d finished talking, we already felt like we were making a difference, just by sitting in that helicopter. And our leader was right—what we were doing did matter, but we didn’t realize how much until he found the words to express it.
After my perspective changed, my attitude improved almost automatically. Now that I had a cause I understood, I had something to work towards. I felt committed to accomplishing a task that would better the world, and that was more motivational than anything else could have been.
Just think about it. In World War II, were soldiers fighting to earn money? Not a chance. They were fighting for freedom, a greater cause that provoked passion, commitment and a sense of duty.
I’ve carried that lesson with me as I worked to build my business. Even though some days were incredibly tough, I was working towards a cause that kept me motivated. And my cause wasn’t money, either. More than anything, I wanted to give my wife a way to stay home. Most mornings, she was in tears as she left for work, in anticipation of being mistreated by her co-workers. So there was nothing more important to me than helping her out of that situation.
Although, realistically, I needed money for her to stay home, I wasn’t visualizing dollar signs when I went to meetings every day. I was focused on my cause—giving our family a way to live, grow and learn from each other.
Once I found my cause, my work wasn’t so hard anymore. I started having fun, because I was able to picturing the life I was working for. The more I pictured it, the more excited I got. And the more excited I got, the harder I worked to achieve my goals. Eventually, even the rejections got easier. I began to focus my efforts on helping others, and each small success brought me a sense of excitement and achievement that kept me going until I was able to help someone else. And now? I’ve achieved that family-oriented lifestyle I was working so hard for. And it’s all because I found my cause. What’s yours?