September 14, 2016 / ACT WITH PURPOSE
September 14, 2016
It was nearly three years ago when we first sat down in a Purdue campus coffee shop to talk about the ideas that would later come to comprise our book, Be More.
Sitting at a wobbly table together with only about 10 words, a few crude drawings scratched out on a couple pieces of paper, mutual trust, and knowledge that we would always push one another—that between us, we’d get this thing done.
Looking back, we laugh a bit at how naïve we were. How little we knew about writing a book was exceeded only by how little we knew about publishing one. But in less than two years’ time, we had done both.
Knowing that our subject matter was important, needed and timely became a great motivator. Gallup reported recently that 71% of millennial employees aren’t engaged at work. And that number isn’t solely a reflection of a particular trend among that age group either. Gallup’s multi-year report State of the American Workplace uncovered similar findings among all workers.
Be More also grew from Todd’s recognition of (and frustration with) intelligent, successful and highly competent people’s inability to answer the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? We know instinctively that the number of people who want more out of life greatly exceeds those who are able to articulate what that means.
Together, those two realities—lots of people who want something more from life and lots of people who weren’t meaningfully engaged in their current jobs—defined our purpose. We set out to create a practical, useable and accessible guide to help people learn to say what getting more out of life means in their lives—and that’s what we did. Our guide aims to unlock the untapped potential of people who will propel economic growth, ingenuity, prosperity and even happiness.
At the end of the day, we didn’t make Be More because of an acute, pressing need that suddenly emerged in the world. The ideas that it’s built on were part of Todd’s thinking and informed by conversations he had with coworkers from years before we even met, not because the story had magically become more compelling.
We created Be More because we know that it may not be the smartest or the most talented among us whose achievements are the most impressive. In fact, we contend that it may very well be those who learn early to answer the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? Helping people learn to find their unique answer to that universal question is deeply meaningful.
Our book began without an agent or a publisher. After completing the first draft, it seemed that the truest thing to do was to listen to the lessons from the book—to control its evolution, to put this story into the world ourselves. When you set a goal and find a special intersection of skills, values and passion, there is no part of “it’s hard” that merits giving up. That’s when it’s time to dig deeper and push harder.
Once you decide what you want to accomplish in your life and what mission you want to achieve, it’s time to put action behind those thoughts, ideas and words—it’s time to act. But first, you have to find the resolve that will power those actions. We became authors and publishers in exactly the way that things happen every day, with the first step that matters most of all.
We just decided to.