Disruptors Disrupt: Forging Your Own Path

Following your passions isn't easy.

Walking path

One of the saddest things I see in the professional world is people who entered their career journey for the wrong reasons and hate their job. Even though they may have accomplished all the dreams they had when they entered the workforce, they still feel unfulfilled. Despite their success, they feel unsuccessful — because they had been basing their life on other people's views of success rather than defining their own.

So many people base success on what they think they should want, or what society tells them they should do, rather than pursuing what they really want. For many of us, we are told that we should aspire to the highest paying job or the career that will get us the most notoriety... and if that makes you happy, by all means, go after that. But so many people, myself included, have dreams and passions that will haunt them if they never pursue them.

One thing I realized early in my career is that people do not like disruptors because, simply put, they "disrupt" and everyone else is affected. That's the nature of disruption. Change is not easy for most of the general public to handle, but that doesn't mean you should quit. Everything, from cars to computers, disrupted society at one point or another and now we can't imagine life without many of those innovations that came about from people doing the disrupting.

The first step to carving your own path is to create your own definition of success. This can be anything from the size of your commission checks to the number of people in your organization. The most important thing is that you own it. Once this is set, it's time for you to start working towards your goal — no matter what obstacles you come across.

One mistake that I see a lot of people make as they work towards their goals is that they neglect to ask for help. Collaboration is one of the most basic human things — from the dawn of time, we've created societies of people all working together to thrive — so thinking you have to do everything on your own is the worst mentality you can have. At the end of the day, results drive progress. Don't be afraid to ask for help to get those results.

Similarly, you should be taking advice as it comes your way. Of course, you don't need to take every piece of counsel offered, but you take every piece that resonates with you. Sometimes, this may take you off course, or force you to rethink your strategy, but if you're still thinking about guidance someone gave you a week later, this is probably for the best. Sometimes disruptors need to be disrupted too.

Following your passions isn't easy. You'll naturally face a lot of adversity, but it will all be worth it at the end of the day. If you come out of a fight unscathed, it means you weren't fighting the right opponent. An easy win is great, but it's not memorable. The fight you win, despite a black eye and a broken rib, is the one that you'll remember forever. Nothing feels better than defeating the opponent you've lost to dozens of times — and after the 20th time, it may seem hopeless, but when you win on the 21st try, victory will never feel sweeter.

So, sure, go into the boring job your friends and family think you should want if you want to spend the rest of your life wondering "what if." Or carve your own path. I promise you, you may regret it a million times but, one day, you'll get to say it was the best decision of your life.

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