As my last semester of college rapidly approaches I am hit with a mix of utter fear and immense uncertainty. Ever since I was in elementary school I’ve had the distant goal of graduating from college. That personal goal was manifested by my parents and instilled in me before I really understood what college was. It was always certain that I would earn a bachelor’s degree. I didn’t have a problem with that. Everyone I knew growing up that was “successful” (had new cars and a cool house) graduated college. However, neither of my parents earned a degree, and I never realized, because they were successful in my eyes. As a naive child, I only knew what they allowed me to see. We never went without, but we lived paycheck to paycheck and I never noticed. They wanted more for me and without being overbearing, they instilled a thirst for education and success.
Everything I’ve done in my life has led up to these next few months. Graduating college seemed decades away as a child, but it came really fast. It feels like I just graduated High School, but here I am sending in my application to graduation in May. In the past few years, I’ve planned out what I expect my life will look like after college.
I started looking at what cities have a good cost of living/salary ratio and what kind of climate I would be comfortable in. I looked on LinkedIn for jobs within digital marketing that I qualified for even if it was far too early to apply. I sought out apartments that would fit into my nonexistent price range and imagined living in them with my friends I planned on moving out west with. But as the months flew by and May 2016 became an actual date on the calendar, my plan began to change.
I recently had the opportunity to listen to Stu McGowan speak about his life and his view of success. He explained much like me, a lot of children are conditioned to view success as being educated and gaining financial stability. However, Stu taught me that this is just one form of success. There are many forms because success means something different to everyone. It is vital for people to find their’s and what motivates them towards that success. Stu made the point that for a lot of people money is their motivation to reach success, but when they reach their success, it is often 2-dimensional and unfulfilling.
Stu gave an example of his daughter having the opportunity to move to San Francisco where she would earn the most money as a marketing professional. Surprisingly, Stu’s daughter chose not to because she is not motivated by money, but instead she moved to Asia because adventure is her motivation. Hearing this story caused me to do some serious self-reflection because my plan was to move to San Francisco and get a job in marketing. It made me question my motivation.
Is my motivation money or do I just want to experience San Francisco? Am I limiting myself based on where the most money is? I never thought that I valued money very much and I definitely didn’t think that it was my motivation, but is it? I have always envisioned myself having a nice house, maybe a nice car and traveling a lot and those things do cost a lot of money. This made me ask myself if I actually want those things, and if I didn’t have them, would I be happy?
The answer is yes. I know that I can be happy even if I don’t end up driving a new luxury car or I don’t live in a large house. That means that money is not my motivator or what I’m passionate about. What is? I am passionate about understanding why people do the things they do through marketing. As long as I am following that passion, doing the things I love around the people that I love, I will be happy.
Now I am left to make some of the biggest decisions of my life. Where will I start my career? What will I be doing? Where will I be living?Who will I be living with? I don’t have answers to most of these questions, but that’s okay! I still have time and even if I still don’t know the answers on graduation day, it will be okay! Plans fall through and new one’s form, but as long as I am following what motivates me, my passion, I will be happy. 🙂