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For our founder,  discovering personal whys came through a series of quiet moments while visiting family abroad.  Here’s his story as transcribed by our team:

“It all came upon me one summer.  All it took was 3 weeks, a trip to Russia, and time to think. 

Much of what we ask you to consider as part of this program comes from personal experience.  It may sound cheesy, but I had a personal mission statement at the age of 22.  I even printed and laminated the thing so that it would fit in my wallet.  Growing up, I wanted so badly the freedom and choices that money afforded.  I decided early in life that I would get after it no matter the effort required.  

By modern standards, we were wealthy by the age of 31.  Actually 31, 4 months, and 7 days.  I know because I counted.   I can still remember achieving wealth, looking myself in the mirror, and saying – WHAT NOW?

This question propelled us to achieve more and 3 weeks before leaving for Russia we celebrated another big milestone.

Excited to get there?  You bet.  Fulfilled?  Not even close.

Deep in the pit of my stomach, I knew something was wrong.  We were both still employed, but could have quit our jobs at any time to travel the world.  We had passive income from our rental properties and financially, life looked great.  But sitting on that plane from Calgary to Frankfurt for the initial leg of our journey was uncomfortable.  I tossed and turned like a toddler trying to fall asleep with a fever. Life felt uneasy.

Questions started to wash over me.  Why was I doing all of this?  What was the purpose?  Was this really making me happy?  Starting out, I sought to escape employment for a life of freedom and adventure.  I had hoped to elevate myself above the proverbial 9-5 in search of fulfillment, excitement, and passion. By all measures, we were there, and it sucked.  I didn’t recognize it yet, but my lack of personal whys was contributing to this feeling.  

Transplanted in Russia, I had plenty of time to read, think, read some more, and be alone with my thoughts.  After 13 days of allowing my mind to relax from the everyday stresses we left behind in Canada, I was ready to think deeper.  What if this emptiness was really just a lack of clarity?  Clarity around purpose? For me, answering the riddle all started with a question:

“Why are you pursuing wealth and what's the point?”

Immediately after asking the question, ideas started to pour from me.  Maybe it was the mental clarity afforded by dropping my cell phone (no service in Russia), being removed from work, or near total isolation (remember, I don’t speak Russian), but something clicked.  Here’s what flowed from pen to paper:


I want to be able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.


The world is a big place and I want to see it all.  Life should be an exciting adventure.  I want to drink fully from the cup of life.


Being docile has no appeal to me.  I want to push myself to achieve what only a few others imagine possible.


Offering security to those that we love is personally rewarding.  Reducing their anxiety and stress about money is important to me, and allowing them to indulge with us is fun. 


At the end of my life, I want to have known that I did something of significance.  Wealth provides the freedom.  Freedom allows me to take advantage of these opportunities.


Why not live to the fullest until the end?  Having the wealth to make it all possible? Always growing excited about what is to come.

Without knowing it at the time, I had crafted my own personal whys.  It took me until the plane ride home to realize and understand this.  You see, many of my core values can be found in these six simple statements, but it took another series of questions for me to realize that real passion might be found in something more simple.  I started to look at the list again.  Then for a third time.  Then a fourth.

I recognized a simple truth.  The trendline demonstrated a continued focus on prioritizing major moves - something that every business and self-help book had taught me.

Here’s the problem.  We had achieved the major moves, twice, and still felt unfulfilled. 

I committed to myself that there must be something more.  On that long overnight flight home, I searched for the answer and found it.  Much of the credit goes to a simple, yet profound book that I was reading at the time – The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar.  In the book, he describes in absolute clarity the distinction between drive and passion:

“Drive pushes you forward.  It’s a duty, an obligation.  Passion pulls at you.  It’s the sense of connection you feel when the work you do expresses who you are”. 

He goes on in more detail to say, “Don’t be mistaken.  Following your passion is not the same as following your bliss.  While passion is a front of expressive, creative energy, it won’t necessarily deliver pleasure and contentment at every moment.”

This was the key I had been searching for the entire trip.  More importantly, it became the focus of my work as I look to expand upon the principles presented in the book.  You see, for me, it was incomplete.  It didn’t go into detail about HOW I could define my personal whys, so I took on the challenge.  My method for going about this was simple.  I broke each descriptor into a category and asked some simple questions.  The results put me on a path to being pulled more into life each and every day."

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