During the past eight years, I learned that personal success includes more than simply being wealthy. In fact, I was at my most confused and least fulfilled as a 24-year-old self-made millionaire. When I first graduated from college, I valued success strictly in monetary terms. My short-term goals were exclusively devoted to improving my financial status and living conditions. In May 1996, I joined a small Internet startup, hoping to learn fast in a dynamic environment. The company succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. A year later, it went public as one of the most successful IPOs at that time. Suddenly, at the age of 24, I was a multi-millionaire.
Being rich brought financial freedom to my life, along with unexpected challenges and frustrations. At first, I relished my good fortune by indulging in previously unattainable items, like clothes and a great car. Yet once those tangible things were easy to obtain, they lost their luster.
While becoming a millionaire satisfied my short-term goal, it didn't change who I was or give me any much-needed direction. I felt lost for a time, uncertain of what I wanted to achieve with my life. I also felt powerless, as my financial future was tied to the volatile ups and downs of the stock market.
I eventually realized that the power of my success wasn't what I could buy but what I could offer to others. I started a soul-searching process, rigorously analyzing my goals and aspirations. I knew that life held more meaning than just acquiring more money. I was inspired by others who used their gifts and blessings to discover their life's purpose and pursue their own unique path. I became committed to finding mine. I developed new hobbies, such as running and tennis, pushing myself to my physical limit. By...