Chapter 3Finding your why

‘Without a purpose, nothing should be done.’

Marcus Aurelius

I remember standing on a platform at Melbourne’s Parliament railway station one evening after another day on another long-term consulting gig aimed at ensuring a large, heavily funded listed company complied with its regulatory obligations. This engagement, like so many before it, was plagued with politics and was painstakingly slow to progress. Often our recommendations to clients would go unheeded and we’d end up making the same recommendations the following year. Each day I found myself standing on that same platform and wondering to myself, ‘What did I actually achieve or contribute today?’.

I was in my late twenties and I hadn’t yet connected enough dots to truly know what I wanted to do, even though it was 10 years since I had to make the dreaded decision in high school. You know the one: ‘So, what do you wanna do with your life, kiddo?’ As if a 17-year-old has the requisite life experience to make such decisions, especially back in 2000 when information and people were nowhere near as accessible as today.


At 27, I lived for the weekend and what made for an alcohol-fuelled reprieve from the monotony of management consulting. I’d pursue the opposite sex in nightclubs not only to satisfy primal urges, but to feed my otherwise underdeveloped sense of self-worth. I’d do all the little things ...

Get Employee to Entrepreneur now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.