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Dear 2018 Graduates, you and I have certainly grown up in very different environments, and I’m not going to pretend to know your personal goals or expectations. Still, I remember what it was like to be twenty-something: I loved music, I loved adventure, and I took the task of working on my abs so seriously, it probably qualified as my first job.

But today, two and a half decades later, my priorities have shifted.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by Millennials on my staff whose spirit I truly delight in. They have those gifts all young people have — moxie, a sense of humour, excitability, imagination, impulse.  And they are not just dreamers, they are also some of the scrappiest, most resourceful people I know.

Millennials have so much excitement constantly competing for their attention. If I have an urgent assignment for my Millennials, I don’t email them,  I just send them a text.

My point is, when you’re 22, life is fast, the music is loud, your teeth are white, and the options are endless. It’s an era of go-go fun and invincibility, a carnival of life. But that focus on fun eventually shifted rather radically for me when a different force took hold of my life, a force that’s the primary catalyst for making something — anything — of yourself out there.

Before all else, you’ve got to find your passion.   

I woke up late to my passion in life, I regret nothing, but I should have done it sooner.  Passion is a force that awakens you. Passion blows the lid off of your imagination, your capability and your drive. It shakes your mind free from limiting beliefs and breaks your old patterns of thinking. Passion is what gives you a sense of purpose.

Achievers with youthful exuberance can do almost anything they really have to do, but trying to make yourself do something is an energy that will never last.

Passion wakes you up to something in life that you desire so strongly that you no longer have to push yourself to do anything. You now have a different kind of drive, a force that pulls you forward.

If someone asks me, “Peter, what is the single most valuable secret to success in life? How do I live life on my terms and have choices, and become the best in my field?” I’d tell them that every great leader I’ve ever had the privilege to work with — whether they are a politician, an athlete, a musician, or a business savant — got there using one force above all others.   And that force is hunger.  A relentless hunger that is as strong as the will to breath.   If somebody pushes your head under the water for 1 minute, how much are you going to fight to come up for a breath of air?   Pretty damn hard right?   I’m talking about that hunger to breath.   Once you understand it and embrace it, nothing can stop you.   Because at the point, the only thing you want to do is breath, that focused attention, who’s going to stop you or get in your way at that moment?  Nobody!

What’s the difference between passion and hunger?

Passion is first gear; it will get you going, but hunger is the ticket that will take you there.

It’s human nature to get excited about big dreams; it’s easy to spark the fires of passion, especially when you’re young. But sooner or later, when it comes time to get the job done, suddenly, our level of excitement wanes because we’re all afraid of one thing: failure.

Here’s what’s great:

Hunger will destroy that fear of failure.

Hunger will drive you through it. Hunger will be your resolve. It is the force that locks you into a commitment, it fastens you to the outcome when you’ve decided upon a result and you won’t sleep at night until you achieve it.  Hunger is irrepressible.  But with that hunger, you must have goals in place for that hunger to chase.   You must have a target, you must be like a hunting dog, chasing a rabbit.   And no matter what you come across, a bear in the woods, a stream you can’t cross, a tree you have to climb… whatever it is that you have to go through, your prize is that rabbit.   And nothing must get in the way of getting that rabbit.   And when your goal has been met,  you set your eyes on another goal, another rabbit and you chase down that rabbit, no matter what.   Don’t lose focus, because it is that focus, that moves you forward.   Remember, to pick the rabbit my friends and you won’t lose.

It’s not enough to be passionate about a result. You’ve got to want it so badly that you become uncomfortable when you’re not getting it.

And that my friends, was my mentor moment.

-Written by Peter Berner (CEO Job Planet)