by Mark Albion
people who put their dreams in a little box
and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course. I've got
Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a
to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are
great dreams, but they never even get out of the box…"
– Erma Bombeck
Another call for career advice.
We meet. Janet (pseudonym) has a problem at work. Mostly
with the politics. Maybe she should work in a smaller
company, I suggest. She responds that she loves cabarets
– to sing, to direct, to market the productions. She
does it in her spare time.
But…Janet went to Harvard
then Wharton. She has worked at Fortune 100
companies before and after business school. Well into
her 30s, she is single with no debt. Her response to
some suggested job changes: "I like going to
parties and telling people I work at a brand name
company. And if I did this [cabaret] full-time, I would
probably make $20-30,000 less. Hmmm. (I raised my
eyebrows.) I guess I need to work on this stuff, huh
Janet has not let her dreams
out of the box.
Another student just graduated
from Columbia. Michael (pseudonym) has a dozen years of
finance experience. He sends me his business school
master's thesis, a book on life guidelines. It is
entertaining, witty and promising.
I meet Michael in New York.
Single, financially solid and talented, he clearly can
do just about anything he wants. I comment positively on
his writing. I mention that I know work for him right
now writing columns. He loves to write, but "no one
has supported me and writing my whole life. How could I
"How could you not let
your dreams out of the box?" I think to myself.
takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams
on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or bad
That's where the courage comes in."
– Erma Bombeck
I can feel my head nod as I
listen to Michael. I too loved to write as a child. At 8
years old, I sold my stories door-to-door: 3¢ for a
one-page story, 5¢ for a two-page story. My substitute
for a paper route. What neighbor would not buy these
adventure stories from a little boy?
But the word out was:
"Your stories are great, Mark. Now, what are you
going to do to make a living when you grow up? You
should know that it's almost impossible to make a good
living as a writer."
And I listened too well. Not
until I was 45 years old did I recall my passion for
writing and get the support from a heroine of mine to
"use your gift and make a difference."
your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
– Matthew 6:21
Dozens of MBAs each year tell
me about their desires to work in the arts, launch a
venture fund, open a restaurant. It is not a discussion
of Internet start-ups – the current path to riches,
today's digging for gold in the Wild West. No, it's a
monologue from the heart.
Work from the heart is for
those who can remember what they really wanted to do
when they grew up, before the world told them to grow up
and do what they are expected to do with those pedigrees
and marketable analytical skills.
Most other MBAs are not sure
what their passion is. It lies buried beneath years of
growing up, conformity in school, following the socially
expected unitary path to the top.
You know you've got to have them.
You know you've got to be strong.
Whisper them in my ear –
Will they stay?"
– Song lyrics
"It was the most amazing
sensory experience. What a feeling! Better than
aromatherapy. There we were in Buffalo, New York, mixing
600 gallons of spring water with 100 pounds of
peppermint to make the first commercial batch of Honest
Tea’s First Nation Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea.
"The whole room was just
tingling. I felt it in my skin. George [the brewmaster]
couldn't even look into the tank as his eyes were
burning with the peppermint.
"I wanted it to work for
so many reasons. Not just because it was an organic,
satisfying tea with a great taste, but because of all it
meant to me. It came from our partnership with the Crow
Native Americans, who believe that peppermint aligns
your spirit with the world's spirit. The creation of
this product did that for me: it was in harmony with
what I always wanted to do – to be – as a child, and
how I wanted to use my talents to make a difference in
you can do or dream you can, begin it:
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Seth Goldman went to Harvard
College and Yale school of management. He had brand name
jobs. But he somehow was able to bring his dreams to
market, so to speak, in his early 30s through his
company called Honest Tea.
How did Seth do it when many of
us find it so difficult to do? Consider four tips,
introduced by four sequential quotes from Nelson
Mandela's 1994 Inaugural speech (words from "A
Return to Love," by Marianne Williamson):
1. Believe in
the Brilliance of the Child
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
Gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God..."
"It's critical as an
entrepreneur to feel you can do anything," Seth
Couldn't you do anything
as a child? Seth carried that confidence with him to his
company, Honest Tea. One of his most interesting
self-deprecating lessons is: If a sign says 8-foot
clearance, it means 8 foot, not 10. (Seth learned this
lesson trying to drive the Honest Tea 10-foot truck
under an 8-foot clearance – "We'll make it!"
He got crunched.)
He grew up with high parental
expectations of what he could do and learned the
importance of giving back to others. He never forgot the
expectations or the responsibility. And throughout his
nonlinear career path, they gave him the support he
needed to use his gifts in his own way – beginning
with his own lemonade stand and a passion for mixing up
all types of concoctions.
2. Dream Big
"…Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around
Famed psychologist William
James argued that "the great use of life is to
spend it for something that will outlast it." That
is, go for big dreams, big causes, big transformations
that span generations. Like Dr. Martin Luther King,
Seth wanted it all. He first
wanted to be an artist, always had an interest in
politics, traveled the Russias and Chinas, saw the
importance of management, and looked for a way he could
combine all his interests with the opportunity to have
an impact on others through business.
There was never a this OR that
attitude; it was always this AND that. If you have a
dream, why should you need to give anything up to go for
it? His material needs had become patterned more after
the peoples he spent so much time with overseas, so that
made it easier for him to reach for what he really
wanted, being content with fewer material comforts (like
a portable tape player as his home sound system).
3. Focus on What
Resonates for You
"…We are born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone..."
What bothers me about the
stampede to the Internet is that many are doing it for
the financial opportunity, not because it is what they
feel passionate about.
In business school, Seth and a
classmate developed a biotech product. He was excited
about writing the business plan, wining venture
competitions, and even getting financial backing to
launch the enterprise. But when it came down to it, the
product – for senior citizens – while socially
useful, did not get Seth personally excited. "You
gotta love your product, personally." He moved on.
A few years later, after
creating their first teas with leaves from around the
world, he was making that American, pre-Revolutionary
war tea in Buffalo, New York. It was not only the
"not-too-sweet" product he and his friends
wanted to drink themselves, but also it is sourced and
developed with an economically disadvantaged Native
Like a little kid, Seth
tingled. We should all be blessed with these moments –
it's the stuff of a life worth living.
4. You Make the
World Around You
"…And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."
A friend of mine used to say,
"Mark, be careful what watering holes you hang
around. They will become you, and you they."
Whether we spread our light as a candle in our world or
reflect it as its mirror, I believe we are surrounded by
much of what is in us.
Throughout his career, Seth
surrounded himself with people whose values he resonated
with and people who could teach him. He gave and they
gave back. When Seth needed a seasoned brewmaster, he
found George, who was still recovering from a divorce.
George got the job and found a much needed home in
Seth's house for those first six months.
Do you think he is loyal to
Seth and the company?
When you do what aligns with
your energy, that inner harmony seems to attract others
who can help you as you help them. That's how dreams
come true. Just as they did when you were a child.
what you have always wanted to accomplish.
Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny
everything is clear and everything is possible. They are
to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to
to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a
mysterious force begins
to convince them that it will be impossible for them to
destiny.... To realize one’s destiny is a person’s
only real obligation."
– Paulo Coelho, The
Dr. Mark S. Albion ©
Copyright September 1999. All Rights Reserved.
Article was written
for Cruel World (formerly Career Central), a unique free
job lead and career management service that helps
members easily and effectively find the job of their
dreams. Become a member @ http://www.makingalife.com/partners/careercentral.cfm.
Past articles found at
If you are interested in learning more about Seth
Goldman or Honest Tea, please go to http://www.honesttea.com.
Mark Albion, New York Times Best-Selling author of
"Making a Life, Making a Living" (2000, Warner books and
audiobooks), spent nearly twenty years at Harvard University
and its business school. In 1993, he helped launch Students for
Responsible Business (now Net Impact), an international not-for-profit network of MBAs committed to a better world.
More information on Mark's activities can be found at http://www.makingalife.com/drmark/drmark_press.cfm.
Encouraged personally by Mother Teresa in 1996,
he began the ML2 E-newsletter, which as of December 1999 had over 2.5 million subscribers in 87 countries.
Mark also writes a monthly career e-column for Cruel World
and Fast Company. Mark's writings, online seminar with
University Access, coaching network, and free job profiling/placement can be found at