Have you ever met someone who had everything in the world—money, fame, independence, respect—and yet was deeply unhappy? Imagine, if you will, a young boy …
At the age of eleven, he decides to start his own Internet-based business. It rapidly grows, and at seventeen, he’s made enough money and built enough credibility that he drops out of high school to focus on it full time. But at the age of twenty, he realizes that it’s not fulfilling.
That’s not just a story. That was a reality for Peter Szabo, founder of LeadEvo. His story, and the lesson from it is a great example for any entrepreneur that feels like they don’t have meaning in their lives.
It was fairly easy for Peter Szabo growing up. He had a good family, a nice life. They were comfortable. Until his parents got involved in a mid-level marketing scheme, and the family’s finances collapsed under the weight of collective debt.
Their standard of living was dropping, and the seminal moment was when Szabo couldn’t afford to buy the shoes he wanted to buy. He knew he had to do something. But what could an eleven-year-old do?
It didn’t take long for him to find out. He watched a movie called The Secret and thought to himself, “I can do anything I set my mind to.” At that point the young boy pulled up Google and typed in five words: “how to make money online”.
At first, he was only making pennies, but as he began to grow comfortable with what he was doing the money began to roll in. The sneakers he’d been trying to buy weren’t out of reach anymore—but the business continued to grow. “I was surprised,” Szabo says. “I thought it would go well, but didn’t expect it to take off as fast as it did.”
Creating a Viable Business
Peter began to grow tired of selling stuff for other people, and as he looked over his business he realized something: social media marketing was what was making him money, not the selling he was doing. “Social marketing, especially on Facebook, was something not a lot of people were doing at the level I was, even as a teenager,” he says. “It was clear that this was an avenue I could really succeed in.”
And succeed he did. At the age of seventeen, Peter Szabo was making a hundred times the average salary in Slovakia. It only took six years. He’d made $1.5 million. He dropped out of high school, began to travel the world, and devoted himself to his business full-time.
People were interested in having the young millionaire come and speak at functions, next to leading lights from all sorts of industries. Standing on stage next to John Travolta or Matthew McConaughey, flying to exotic new countries, seeing the world … it was heady stuff for a young man just leaving his teen years.
Meanwhile, his company was still growing, adding employees and building a client base. At twenty Szabo had made millions and helped clients make tens of millions, mostly on Facebook. He’d rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, gotten attention from both the media and the public, found the love of his life and written a #1 Amazon bestselling book.
Something was missing, though …
All the money, all the accolades and all the independence in the world wasn’t sitting right. At the end of the day, there was a hole that couldn’t be filled. He began to search.
A New Purpose
“I had been driven by one thought to that point,” says the still boyish-looking Szabo, now twenty. “How can I be good enough? It was consuming me because I had to come to the realization that this wasn’t a constructive goal. It was hurting me in ways I didn’t really understand at the time.”
Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote about this driving force in a way that’s appealed to entrepreneurs for ages. “Striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man…This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can only be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning.”
Peter was trying to find something, anything, that could fill that meaning.
One day in Australia, Peter found himself at a Tony Robbins event called “Date with Destiny.” Through that, he realized something: he’d been focusing so closely on building a better life for himself that he hadn’t spent time thinking about building a better life for other people.
“That day hit me hard,” he says. “I’ve been given so much, and now I want to pay it forward and give back. I was focused so much on whether I was good enough—using that as the driving force for everything I’d accomplished—and there was no fulfillment in it. I realized at that event that the universe loves me and loves us all, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And understanding that gave me new focus: trying to make things better for all of us, not just trying to make money out of fear of being nobody. And that’s how you can both achieve your wildest dreams and find fulfillment.”
Szabo’s not alone in this desire. Social consciousness has become much more of a focus among entrepreneurs. The difference in his case is how young he is to have that realization—many realize later in life.
Socially conscious entrepreneurs aren’t just looking to make a quick buck, get in and get out. They’re trying to make the world around them better every time they touch someone else’s life. Are you thinking about making the world a better place in your business?
It’s not just good business—it’s the right thing. The more influence you wield, the more impact you can have on other people’s lives, and the more ethical responsibility you have to make sure you’re leaving a mark.
Even if you’re not necessarily motivated altruistically right now, try it out. There are legitimate reasons that having a socially conscious business is better for you and everyone else.
Chief among them is that people actually care about what companies do. Social responsibility is a competitive advantage. You might find that once you’ve tried to make your business act in a more ethically responsible way, there’s a feedback loop.
Happiness begets happiness. Good begets good. And when one business devotes themselves to making the world better, it affects everyone.
Peter joins countless others who’ve realized that—have you?
* Image Credit:
– Featured Image, Pexels