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Launching Your Personal Search for Success

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Fran and Matt discussed the life and teachings of Richard Shell, a professor at the Wharton Business School, who wrote the book Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success. Richard didn’t graduate from college until he was 37 years old. Prior to being a professor, Richard was a painter, a plumber, and a carpenter. He even had a religious experience in the Far East before coming back and realizing that he wanted to be a teacher.
In his book, Richard offers rich insights into deep questions about the purpose of business. Fran felt compelled to ask Richard, “Is it okay to like earning money?” Richard responded, “Yes,” because if you’re providing a product or service that somebody is willing to pay for, that validates your credibility. Making money, achieving success and receiving validation become a part of who you are once you realize that your purpose in life is to help other people.
Richard talks about the power of negative emotion in his book and about how when we’re driven to anger, the key is not to allow that anger to dominate our emotions. When bad things happen, we must take that negative emotion and turn it into something positive. This relates back to the importance of transparency and the power of telling the truth. Even though the other person might not want to hear what you have to say, it’s important to be forthright with other people.
What is success for you? A lot of people live in a world where success is measured by what other people think. At the end of the day, we want to be recognized by somebody for what we do. For Richard, performing meaningful work is the true measure of success, which is why he has always followed his passions throughout his career. Many successful entrepreneurs give their wealth away because they enjoy what their work and want to give back with the money they’ve earned.
When you can bring value to someone by solving a problem, you should be happy. When you can make a living off of doing what you love, it’s even better. Find out what’s meaningful to you and how you measure success. It’s okay to make money, but you must engage others with a sense of transparency by telling the truth. Determine how you’re going to help other people. With success, we cannot forget our mission to help others and give back to the community.
Published: September 3, 2013
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