As I reflect over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize there are some things in life I thought I would have accomplished by now. However, my priorities changed.

When I was young, I dreamed I would be married coming out of college, make lots of money, own a house and have nice cars. Basically, I wanted the American dream. Fortunately, real life stepped in.

The reality is I have a loving wife, a son who adores me, a job I love and our basic needs met. We don’t own a house, have the coolest home theater, the latest gadgets but, that’s OK, we’ll get there one day. It is more important to me to be happy and have a happy family.

I’ve found that if you follow someone’s time and money, you find their priorities and in their priorities, you find their purpose. What I mean is this. If I wanted to make a comfortable living, the advice I received from many was to work 60 and 80 hour weeks. That would provide money for the nice stuff I thought I’d like.

I quickly decided the people around me mattered much more than nice stuff. Being a family man is more fulfilling than being married to my job. While I love programming and helping others with a financial plan, I love my wife and son more.

So, what do I do differently? For starters, my family time is protected. If I’m going to need to sacrifice family time, it must be rare and short lived. I love coming home from work and having time to play with Zeke before dinner, eating dinner as a family and being an integral part of Zeke’s bed time routine. To see Zeke’s face light up when I come home brings joy. To me these are more important than climbing the career ladder.

I also think working in your passion is part of the equation. I have a passion to help others and a passion for technology. I’m drawn to work that combines the two. That is why I worked for almost years at Children’s Home Society of Florida. That is why I moved to work at Dave Ramsey’s company. Both of these companies have a mission to positively change the lives of those they serve.

I’ve also worked in a plain old J-O-B job. I hated it. I was unhappy when I wasn’t working and didn’t want to be at work. I was constantly stressed about the progress of my projects and whether or not the customer was happy enough with the work to continue being a client. I quickly found myself not working in that job. I was not living. Sure I was breathing but, I was hardly alive.

What I have found is that true happiness is not something that comes from living the American dream. Happiness is experienced as you live out your calling. What is God calling you to do? Discover what that is and chase it.