Find Your Why

Find Your Why blog post image

Find your why to feel fulfilled in life. Passion may get your attention, but it’s your purpose that sustains you in fulfilling your calling.

We discuss how to find your why on The BIGG Success Show today. Here’s a summary of that discussion. This show was inspired by a commencement speech by Madison Industries CEO Larry Gies, given at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here’s a summary of what we discussed:

It’s graduation season. We love this time of year. So many young people passing into adulthood. The excitement of new beginnings. Hope for the future.

We love commencement speeches. We are often inspired and challenged by the messages delivered from the brightest minds in the world. We’ve covered commencement speeches before on The BIGG Success Show. For example:

Coke CEO Byron Dyson and the lesson of the five balls, Georgia Tech, 1991

Tom Hanks on fear and faith and success, Yale, 2011

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on the power of imagination, Harvard, 2008

Steve Jobs on being crazy enough to change the world, Stanford, 2005

Larry Gies and George KruegerToday, we’re going to talk about the best commencement address at the best school – Larry Gies, CEO of Madison Industries, speaking to the Class of 2019 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – on how to find your why.

We’ve known Larry for about 25 years. He’s a true entrepreneur, building his $5 billion business one acquisition at a time. He treats his people like people, not drones. And he and his wife, Beth, have given away millions of dollars, including a $150 million donation to the University of Illinois – the largest in its history.

So here are our takeaways from Larry’s commencement speech, 3 lessons on how to find your why.

Connect the dots to find your why

Where are your education and experiences leading you? Pull together the pieces of your life to discover the essence of your being.

It’s difficult, if not nearly impossible to predict where the dots are leading you. We’re told to get over the past. But you have to look to the past to connect the dots. In Steve Jobs’ famous commencement address at Stanford in 2005, he said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.”

What is your destiny leading you to? Look back to see your future!

How has your past prepared you to serve others?

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Larry Gies Commencement Address University of Illinois 2019
Image Credit: University of Illinois

Write your eulogy to find your why

Larry asked his team: How do you want to be remembered? He admits, it sounds kind of dark. But it’s a tremendously useful exercise. It’s an exercise also recommended – as part of Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind – by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*.

Through this lens, for most people, Larry says return on investment suddenly isn’t so important. In fact, it’s NOT about money. It’s NOT about money goals. It’s NOT about stashing away some fixed amount of money in your retirement portfolio. Money may follow, but it doesn’t lead.

What makes you feel fulfilled? Don’t work your whole life away waiting to find meaning when you retire. Find your why and do it now

Don’t expect it to be easy

We felt this was a very important point. Larry says that just because you find your why, it doesn’t mean it will all be easy.

Easier perhaps, but not easy.

Easier to push through. Because when things get tough, it’s your purpose – not your passion – that will carry you through. And that leads to BIGG success!

BIGG Takeaway

Passion provides the spark. Purpose keeps the fire burning.

Here’s to your BIGG success!

George “The Professor” & Mary-Lynn
signatures: George & Mary-Lynn
Co-Founders, BIGG Success

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