Getting the Motivation to Live Life in Crescendo!

There’s an old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb:  Only one, but it has to really want to change. Isn’t this true of almost anything?

Melissa and I recently dined with a global venture fund CEO whose firm manages the money for several of the richest people in the world. His name is Ziad Abdelnour. He was graced with family connections and wealth in Lebanon but walked away from all of it after his father threatened to disinherit him unless he agreed to an arranged marriage. Moving to the United States with $8,000 in his pocket, he was driven to prove that he could make it on his own. He was initially rejected by Wharton Business School, but persevered with the admissions officer and finally won admittance. Upon graduation, he persuaded Drexel Burnham to hire him, where he ultimately became one of Michael Miliken’s top deal makers.  Today, Ziad heads an exclusive firm called Blackhawk Partners, creating wealth for its exclusive billionaire clients through global deals. Ziad has far-exceeded his father’s wealth and father, and certainly has a long way to go in his career. How did he achieve this pinnacle? He really wanted to prove himself.

This week I volunteered to speak at the career day at the University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus (UCW). The Woodlawn community has one of the highest poverty and crime rates in the state. UCW’s goal is to place 100% of its graduating seniors into college—and it’s likely that they will achieve their goal. Neighboring Chicago Public Schools have high-school dropout rates over 50%. I asked each UCW student what their dreams were after they graduate college. Even sophomores articulated clear visions of becoming anything from engineers to fashion designers to neurosurgeons. More importantly, many had action plans to pursue related internships to form the network they would need later on. After I suggested that they consider LinkedIn as a networking tool, many immediately registered. I would bet you that many of these kids will make it. The primary reason—because they really want to.

So what’s your “can’t-live-without” goal? I’m not telling you that achieving it is going to be easy, but I’m suggesting that it is going to be worth it. When you want something badly enough you’ll live your life in crescendo in order to achieve it.

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