Chris Gardner is a self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son. His story was shared with millions when his first book, The Pursuit of Happyness was made into a blockbuster feature film starring Will Smith.
Mr. Gardner, who recently released his second book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, sat down with Concrete Loop to share his beliefs and tips on how to claim ownership of your dreams and achieve your full potential.
In your book you speak about “Finding Your Button” could you elaborate on that?
· Gardner: You have to ask yourself, what is it that ignites that part of yourself that makes you love what you’re doing so much, you’d do it for free? That’s what you should be doing with your life — that’s where you will find success and fulfillment. Do what you love and love what you do. Harness the power of your passion. My honest to God feelings are that if your button isn’t engaged on the job, a paycheck isn’t enough. It may not be enough that you’re good at something or you make a terrific living at it. You deserve to love what you’re doing so much that you lose sleep because the sun can’t come up early enough in the morning for you to do your thing, whatever it is. And this is why I came up with the The C-5 Complex.
THE C-5 COMPLEX
· You have to be ‘Clear, Concise, Compelling, Committed and Consistent’ when trying to reach your goals.
You also speak about The Empowerment Zone in your book. What are some steps we can take to find the power within?
· Gardner: Back to what I was speaking about when I said you have to be inspired within. You have to ask yourself the following questions:
“What is it that you hope to accomplish?”
Sounds simple, sure, but you must be able to articulate this to yourself and others CLEARLY. Vagueness or ambivalence can be the kiss of defeat, if not death, in some pursuits and are often why some folks get lost in their efforts. Being clear allows you to see your plan unfolding in your own mind, and then communicate it so that others can see it too.
“How did I get here?”
Now this is kind of a trick question. Because it requires you to come to terms with the fact that even if you didn’t set your GPS for this destination and would rather be anywhere else than here, you’ll be moving into a higher gear if you can admit that for the most part, “Well, okay, yes, I drove myself here.” And if you can’t admit that yet, you are not ready yet to take ownership of your choices — and that’s key for getting ahead. Stop blaming others. We have to choose to own the actions we take. This includes not only the joys and victories, but the mistakes, failures, disappointment, hurt, and insult that we encounter as well.
“Are you bold enough to go back to basics?”
This is how I test if I should really take a chance — if it’s worth it to me. If you’re bold enough and resilient enough to go back to basics, you’re probably ready to venture out where you’ve never gone before. If you are considering veering off on that road less traveled know that your energy, passion, joy, dreams, and desires will be on the line. Are you ready to take the long view, understanding that success will come and go, that you’ll be down and up, flush and strapped? With the ebbing and flowing, are you prepared to be constant with your own persistence? If so, go for it.
You were recently in New York speaking at the Master Card Financial seminar and you made a statement that stood out to me; ‘Net worth does not equal self worth.’ What motivated that?
· Gardner: When I was pursuing my passion, money of course wasn’t my main objective. However, wealth was a byproduct because I was so tenacious in my pursuit of my passion. It was never solely about the money. You have to realize and come to know that money does not equal happiness. When you are doing something you love to you, you should be willing to do it for free.
Motivational quotes by Mr. Gardner:
“It is okay to fail, it is not okay to quit.”
“The cavalry ain’t coming you’ve got to do it yourself.”
“Marching to the sound of your own drum is one thing, but I’m talking about having your own band.”
For more information on Chris Gardner make sure to visit his official website and also pick up his latest book