PhD. Doctor of Philosophy. Dictionary.com defines PhD as, “…the highest degree awarded by a graduate school, usually to a person who has completed at least three years of graduate study and a dissertation approved by a board of professors.” I thought about obtaining my PhD, but after completing my master’s degree in business management, I was done. No more degrees for this guy! Now it was time to get paid! That would have been nice. If it actually happened. Oh, well. More on that in future posts. PhD. You want one, don't you? The prestige. The honor. The juice. No, not that kind of juice. I’m talking about clout. Respect. Pull. How cool would it be to have a PhD?! All of your hard work would be worth it, right? It better be. Because you’ll have to put in a ton of work to obtain your PhD. But you know what? Based on my definition of PhD, I reckon that some of you already have your PhD. I know you're saying, “Eric. Eric. Eric. You’re a funny man! I’ve got my high school diploma. I did a couple of years at State, but I didn’t finish. So, once again, thanks, but you’re wrong, bud.” Even if that's not your story and you've got more degrees than a thermometer, you're going to earn more. More PhDs. That is, if you're really living life the way you should. I’m serious. I'm telling you, some of you already have at least one PhD. I’ll prove it.
Are you a business owner? Or maybe you’re highly respected at your place of employment. Maybe you’re finally pursuing your ever-elusive college degree. No, I got it. You’re walking in your calling. Your destiny. See. P-H-D. Many of you have one. Where are my dream-builders? They’ve got PhDs. Dream-builders know. Business-builders. You know. Anyone who's ever had a dream and worked on bringing it to fruition knows. PhDs ain't for the faint of heart. It's messy stuff. It's dirty stuff. PhDs are costly. Are you ready to pay? Better yet, are you able to pay? How do you know? How do you know that this, this PhD that you’re about to pursue, if this is it or if it's just something you dig quite a bit? I’ll share one way for you to know. If you let go of it, but it won't let you go. That's one way to know. In truth, there's no perfect answer. You're probably going to have to try many things before you find it. Trial and error? Probably in the beginning. But at some point, you'll be drawn towards your natural gifts. Strongly. You'll flow effortlessly in them. Some of you may already know what they are. You may know exactly what your it is. If so, good for you. However, for most of you, it's going to take some digging. Some experimenting. You're going to have to dig your hands in the dirt. Why? Because 50 years from now you don't want to look back and say that you didn't get in the car.
I can hear you again. You're saying, “Eric. Are you sure you’re talking about a PhD?” Dear reader, I assure you that I am. Stay with me. I’m going somewhere. The traditional meaning of PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, is one type of PhD. I’m talking about the other PhD. Passion. Hurt. Destiny. You are passionate about this thing you’re doing and pursuing, right? If so, then you know that passion hurts. You're going to have to dig deep, because passion hurts. Passion requires sacrifice. And you’re passionate about this thing, right? If so, you know that it also requires hope. It requires dogged pursuit. What's that? Ever seen a dog chase a squirrel, rabbit, or another dog? Maybe you’ve seen a cheetah chasing its prey? Especially a cheetah chasing its prey. Furious. Relentless. Great speed. Stride for stride with its prey. Tenacity. Exhaustion. That's the kind of pursuit passion requires. And it hurts. It's why many folk give up on their dreams.
Let me explain. Think about the things you've pursued or are pursuing passionately: new job, back to college, college for the first time, starting a business, restarting a business, career change, a man, a woman, your kids. Any hurt in any of those? Exactly. Why? Because your destiny or at least a part of your destiny may be or is in there somewhere. In it. In them. Maybe it’s their destiny that you’ve been called to help them find and fulfill. Regardless, to walk tall in your destiny, or help someone else reach and realize theirs, you have to be willing to sacrifice the short-term pleasures for the long-term rewards.
I’ll share a quick story with you. When I first got my dog, Bruizer, I was taken completely out of my comfort zone. The entire experience was new to me. The biggest challenge (there were many)? Knowing when he needed to go out to do his business. Housebreaking him. It was really pushing me to my limits! I/We had to figure this out quickly or one of us wasn’t going to make it! See, I'm a "sign guy". No, not that kind of sign guy. The kind who puts up motivational signs around his home, office, and even in the car. I type them up, print them, and hang them. Back then, one of my signs said, "Short-Term pain for Long-Term gain". I had to sacrifice my easy way of life, cleaning up after myself around the house and learn to tend to his. Short-term pain. Now? We're old pros, Bruizer and I. That short-term pain turned into long-term gain.
Bruizer at 3 months old
Why? Passion. I was passionate about him and his success. I was passionate about getting this right. I was passionate about keeping my house clean. Because I was so passion about it, it cost me. Not financially. Although, that was an aspect of it. But how many of you know that that's a small piece of the pie? Right. Back to the point. It cost me. It “hurt.” I remember asking myself, “Why is this happening? What was I thinking?” "Somebody make it stop!" "Make it go away!" Passion. Hurt. Sacrifice. 10pm. 2am. 6am. Those are the times that I had to take Bruizer out if I was going to help him be successful at this housebreaking thing. In the dead of winter of 2008-2009. Bitter cold. Lots of snow and ice. See, you may think I'm smart, because I write and have a couple of degrees. Sike! Fooled ya! Smart folk don't buy non-housebroken (yes, I make words up) puppies. In the winter. In Ohio. See not very smart. :-)
But that little guy who had me up in the wee hours putting his lil’ paws on my boots to keep them warm, he was a part of my destiny. But I had to make some sacrifices. I had to be more concerned about his success than I was my lack of sleep. I had to hurt. I had to be passionate. “So, Eric. Your destiny was housebreaking your dog?” No. It's part of what led me to my destiny. Speaking. Teaching. Writing. Coaching. Challenging. Changing lives. It also taught me: What I'm capable of. What I'm able to withstand. That experience was a part of my destiny, because it brought me here with you today. To challenge you. To charge you. To begin equipping you. To help you find your calling. Your destiny. To tell you that, "Even when you don't fit, you're fit". You like that, don't you? Good, ‘cause it’ll be coming soon in a series near you! :-)
Seriously, though. It is usually the case that during those times you're the most fit. By the way, anytime you don't fit you should get excited! Why? Because you're about to grow in major ways! You'll be tested. You'll be tried. However, if you stay in the fire, you'll find out that you're fit for the purpose. Passion. Hurt. Destiny. PHD and PhD. Because, in the end, oh, you've become quite philosophical. And you’ll feel as though you've earned many doctorates. In Passion. In Hurt. In Destiny. You'll have suffered. You’ll have counted and paid the cost. All that'll be left will be for you to take the stage and collect your hard-earned PhD.