Brandon Lee


Cheap Margaritas, Queso and a Question that Changed My Life

“Well, Brandon, what do you really want to do when you graduate?”

I remember it so clearly. It was a great question. It was also the first time it hit me that I wasn’t clear about what I really wanted to do with my life.

Dr. Phil Salem, the man who asked me that question, was my advisor in graduate school. It was the beginning of my 2nd year and I had to decide what I was going to do for my thesis.

We regularly had grad student happy hours with our professors. When he arrived, it seemed to me that he headed straight to me, sat down next to me and blurted this question to me.

It was a question, and subsequent conversation, that would change my life.

Until this point in my life I thought hard work and degrees were going to “make me” successful. I was conditioned by the education system and our culture to go to school, get good grades, work hard and get a good job was the formula for success.

Bad news, as you probably know, it’s not accurate nor true. Life happens and it is never a straight line of growth and happiness. Working hard does not guarantee success. Hope is not a great strategy either. Neither are a great compass for your life.

“Where Your Focus Goes, Your Energy Flows”

(not sure who originally said this. But, I say it all the time)

Dr. Salem was trying to help me gain clarity on my thesis. What he ended up helping me was get clarity on my dreams and passions. It would forever change my life. I didn’t walk away from that conversation with clarity on my life.

I probably walked away with a hangover from happy hour margaritas with free chips and queso. But, I also walked away with a new perspective on my life. What do you REALLY want to do with your life?

I am not sure what it was about this particular conversation that jolted me to take it much more serious. Maybe it was my age and the fact that I was a year away from finishing my Master’s Degree. Maybe it was my respect for Dr. Salem and him asking me this question that made me realize the importance of the answer.

It may have just have easily been because I had the right mix of cheap margaritas after Taco Bell (which was about all I could afford in grad school. Praise God for the $.49 value meal)!!

I learned 2 BIG lessons that day which would change my life forever.

  1. Growth & Success DO NOT just happen with hard work and education.
  2. Clarity & Intentionality, while no guarantee, WILL lead to greater success and greater happiness in your life.

Keep coming back and I spend the next few weeks sharing on The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. My friend and mentor, John Maxwell wrote one of my all-time favorite books. It is foundational for anyone’s life who desires success.

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