Worth Fighting For

The importance of pursuing happiness, ‘mission statements’, and my journey to find meaning between 9am and 5pm.

Pursue Happiness

Early in my career, someone told me that I should truly love my job. Not because it will make me famous, not because it will make me rich, and not because it will earn me respect. I should love my job because I believe in what it stands for. I should love the job because there will be plenty of tough times, long nights, and testing moments throughout my career. It’s during those times I will be reminded that’s it still and always will be worth it, because I love what I do.

Tough times happen, but if your happiness is a product of how much you love your job those tough times, long nights, and testing moments are fleeting. True happiness will come from your passion for the work. Problem is, finding it takes courage — it takes real sacrifice. I’ve seen first hand that it’s much easier to be motivated by artificial forms of ‘happiness’ - a form of ‘happiness’ that requires you to compromise real satisfaction to achieve artificial goals.

“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness”-Thomas Jefferson

I’ve found that many are driven by this notion of their happiness being dependent of: money, self worth, respect, ego, etc. The problem with these goals is that you’ll never have enough, and you’ll never truly be content. Especially if your happiness is reliant upon them.

Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed and been guilty of prioritizing this artificial happiness over true happiness.

I now realize that believing your happiness will come from truly caring about what you do is how you develop a love for your job. I’ve found that contributing to something bigger than your own personal gain is the foundation for that true happiness. This notion is something I’ve seemed to have lost over the past year, a notion that I once embraced during my time at Facebook and Nike.

The Importance of a Mission Statement

Looking back on the companies I’ve loved working for, I loved them not for the money or the brand name — I loved them for what they stood for. They stood for something much more than short term goals like popularity or immediate profit.

They had a goal/mission to change the world.

Passion for a mission is something I’ve missed dearly over the past year. When I think about the companies I’ve loved being a part of, contributing to a pure purpose, being part of a grand ambition supersedes any short term gain for me. When a company has a pure and powerful mission, people align to that vision, and the internal culture of the workplace reflects that. The culture then reflects one of passion and empathy. I’ve found — sometimes the hard way — that the culture always resembles the mission.

The biggest question I’ve asked myself as of late is, “If I achieve certain artificial goals, what will continue to drive me? What will keep me passionate?”

The answer is purpose.

Purpose means contributing to a mission statement that’s larger than financial gain, respect, fame, etc. Contributing to a mission statement that’s ambitious and driven by goodwill pushes you through the really tough moments. Moments that make the artificial goals irrelevant. Contributing to a purpose that’s larger than you will provide you with the happiness you seek, and the fulfillment you strive for.

The importance of a “Mission Statement” isn’t just to tell everyone what you plan to do, it’s to remind yourself what you’re fighting for.

Fight For Something

When you love something, you fight for it. When you believe in something so deep, you fight for it. When you know your success will be a byproduct of your own happiness, you fight like hell for it.

You owe it to yourself to find something to fight for — you owe it to yourself to be truly happy.

I’ve helped create an “open and connected world

I’ve brought “inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world

Today I begin my journey in helping every person in the world “belong anywhere

That’s something worth fighting for.

I had no intention of writing this. Not because I had nothing to say (trust me, i’ve always got something say), but more because I didn’t know how to say it. I wanted to share my journey in finding happiness, the shame of taking wrong turns, lessons i’ve learned from the mistakes, and how I prioritized what’s important in life.

How could I share something so valuable while feeling so embarrassed that I was taught such a tough lesson?

I decided to write this because life is short. To me, life is one big experience — and every second counts. Life Isn’t about what others perceive of me, it’s about what impact I had on people’s lives. It’s about taking risks, experiencing everything, learning from mistakes, and helping people. I’ve been criticized by my peers for taking “too many” risks, for not being happy with what I have. I’ve been applauded by those same peers for being able to share what I’ve learned from taking “too many” risks. I decided to write this not for the people that will criticize me, but for the people struggling with the same things I did. I want them to know there’s always someone thinking the same thing you are, dealing with the same things you do. You’re not alone.

So whether 10 people or 10,000 people read this — if this resonates with just one person — i’d like that one person to know that they should always choose to be happy, fight for something worth fighting for, and worth someone like you fighting for it.


Dedicated to Justin Taylor (@TheSmarmyBum)