As Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich gave the commencement speech to the class of 2014 at Clark University he talked to students about the path he chose and how it wasn’t necessarily the “right path”.
He asks the graduating class, “What really matters in creating a successful career and a successful life?” If you were asked this question by a coworker, friend, or family member right now, do you know what you would say?
Ron Shaich goes on to tell three different stories about learning how to define what truly matters to reach your goals of success. If you are able to define what it means to be successful and what that looks like, you have increased your odds for success. We don’t always know where we are going or what will be on the other side of that hill but, if we know what our passion is then no matter what path we take, it’ll be right. Read his entire speech Here.
So, how exactly do you figure out what brings you joy and ignites your passion? Look around you, look to the people whom you love, look inside yourself and quietly listen to your heart beat. Listen to your soul and your passion will come. Don’t ask yourself, “What am I good at” instead, ask yourself what gets me fired up, what makes me feel better about myself, and how can I make a difference in the world?
Mr. Shaich suggests that instead of doing a post-mortem near the end of life where we analyze our decisions and try to make sense of the choices we’ve made, do a pre-mortem. This is where we look into the future and imagine ourselves looking back on our lives, evaluating our decisions and what was most important to us. In most cases, it won’t be money or objects.
Ask yourself today, what can I do to be successful in life (personal and professional)? I suspect you are already on the way there, more so than you would think.