Your value is determined by how you feed families
We all have different ambitions. Some of us have an idea of what we would like to accomplish in our careers and we have different metrics we use to measure how close we are to achieving these goals. One aspect of my career that I’ve been thinking about recently is how I want to measure my own success.
I used to think that my annual income was the best way to see if I was making any progress. After two years of working professionally, I saw how stupid this was and how chasing money wasn’t leading to any fulfillment. I decided the best way to reset this way of thinking was to quit my dream job and move to China. The plan was to live there only for a year and then once I found my answer, return home. However, as the old saying goes, “man has a plan and God laughs.”
I’ve been living abroad for a year and two months now. As of writing this post I have now moved to South Africa where the adventure continues.
I still haven’t found the answer to, “what’s the best way to measure my success?” Yet, I feel like I’m getting closer. I’ve been thinking a lot about how my own work affects other people. Not necessarily how my work directly affects my clients but, how it affects people in my team. I used to think that becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t for me, but maybe it is time for me to revisit that idea and stress-test it against something new that I want to pursue—feeding families.
The moment I realized I was a working adult
I have always had this desire to make my family proud, to have an impact, and to receive recognition for my work. These can be dangerous chips on my shoulder if I don’t manage these desires correctly, so I have begun to think about how I can channel these desires into something practical and attainable. That’s when I started to think about the importance of having food in my house, of being able to work to keep those I live with well-fed.
I was never able to sustain a job during college. For whatever reason, employers didn’t see me as a viable candidate. The first job I did get, I quit after eight days of working because I couldn’t stand making burritos all day for $8 an hour. My second job was working at a mall selling watches and it was extremely boring.
It was only after I graduated and I got my first marketing job that I started making a decent income. And I only noticed how this income changed my life when I was able to not only buy groceries for my family—I actually had extra money to spend on myself. When you grow up in a household where there’s only one parent, this becomes a huge milestone.
One easy way to measure success could be by “stacking plates”
I think that when I realized how much money I was making, that is when I started chasing the wrong goal. I was seeing my future in the wrong way. As I mentioned before, I wanted to chase money and that kept me from being happy. Now I want to chase feeding people, feeding as many families as I can. This doesn’t mean I want to start a non-profit or volunteer, I still like the idea of working for money. However, I want to expand upon what I am currently doing.
I’ve started to think that it may be a good idea to start a business (once I know what to sell) in order to grow as a professional. My personal ambition is to have a team of around four to five people to start with and have the company make enough money that all of us don’t need to worry about our monthly expenses.
In the ideal scenario, everyone working with me would be able to live comfortably. We no longer have the need to look at their current bank balance before going out to buy groceries. I’m sure there’s a whole list of different reasons why people start businesses, I guess this one just so happens to be mine. And who knows, I may get other reasons that make this decision seem logical and practical, or this may be the only reason why I want to start a business.
Our impact in the business world comes from how we help others. The more useful we are, the more successful we can become. If for example, I’m able to feed five households by creating a small agency, I think it is safe to say I’m on the right path. I don’t know though, I think this is something I am going to have to still think about.
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