The first question you should ask yourself before starting a business is, “Why? Why should I bother? Why do I care about success?” Usually the answer to “why” involves a “who.” Who am I doing this for? Is it:
• To honor my mother/father who has given so much of her/his life for me?
• To support my spouse whom I love deeply?
• To raise my children who are my constant inspiration?
• To become a leader in my community and contribute to the success of others?
• To contribute to the world’s great achievements in science, art, or medicine?
• To praise God by becoming the best that I have been put on this earth to be?
Everyone has a different “why,” so it is crucial that you determine what yours is. It should be something positive and deeply meaningful, like the above examples, not something negative, egotistical, or purely material, like the following:
• To prove that I’m the best!
• To get revenge on my enemies
• To get rich
• To become powerful
I’m not listing these to be judgmental. After all, we all have those reasons, too. We all have someone we would like to prove something to. We all want material things, power, and prestige. It’s only natural. But if those are your primary reasons for seeking success or if materialism and egotism are your only motivation for doing so, very soon you will find yourself just as unhappy about going to work every morning for yourself as you would be if you were working for someone else at a low-paying job. These reasons are just not enough to keep us going and, ultimately, they don’t provide happiness. They won’t make a mogul out of you. If you don’t know what your inspirations are, sit down now and work that out; you need to bring your “why” clearly into focus.
Once your “why” is clear, then what I call the “I must …because” becomes a driving force in your life. For instance:
•I must be fearless in business because I want to set an example to the kids in my community that purpose and thinking outside the box actually pays off.
•I must always follow ethical business practices because the reason for my success is to honor God and my family.
Just a note: Personally, I find it very important and helpful to let God in when I think about my “why.” Most people have some concept of a higher power, and when making big decisions about the direction your life should take and the reasons behind taking risks to achieve success, you will find that keeping God and your spiritual path in mind will be very helpful as well.