When building a career and choosing an industry, it can be tough to find a sense of purpose right away. We sat down with our Chief Strategy Officer, Patrick Farley to learn more about his journey to find his why.
My life has been a combination of trauma and a bit of getting in my own way, adding one unbelievably beautiful mishap, and topping it with some fortunate circumstances. I won’t go into detail about these areas other than how they helped guide me into education. You would have never guessed I would end up here. I was the kid who spent most classes watching every tick of the clock, not realizing it made the class feel three times longer. What did I know at that time? I wasn’t engaged (other than math), and didn’t have the attention span to sit there and listen to someone talk. My mind constantly wandered as I considered playing sports and who knows what else.
As I graduated high school and was going to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I ended up with a business degree, but more by default than through passion. After four years of college and many student loans, I had yet to decide what to do. I aimlessly applied, interviewed, and took the first job offered to me. I was not passionate about the job and certainly not to my daughter’s level. When she was 11, there was news of a serial killer, and her response was, “Dad, I wonder what happened to him as a child to make him do that.” It is no surprise she went into psychology, specifically working with children. My beautiful mishap is now a child psychologist at a middle school, living her passion.
I didn’t realize until later that we find our passion at different times and for various reasons. I often joke (well into my late 40’s) about what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goals were success and happiness, which meant financial stability, and chasing happiness as if it lived outside of myself. Success came at 47 when I sold my first business, yet it wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. Rather than a deep exhale and an “I’ve arrived” feeling, it was more like a “Did I sprint my entire life to get here?”
Upon reflection, I realized how much my focus was on the supposed endpoint rather than embracing and enjoying the journey. I struggled to understand my purpose and, as a result, became extremely depressed. After marinating in my depression for what felt like an eternity, I could finally muster up enough energy to make one decision. That one decision was to take the time and focus on me, Patrick Farley. So, I ventured off to the jungles of Costa Rica and started my journey. After a bit of time, tears, and beautiful souls I met along the way, my mental well- being improved significantly.
Following this deep-dive personal journey, I still felt void of my purpose. As I talked with one of my best friends, he asked me, “What is your WHY?” My response was, “My WHY?” He then took me through an exercise I had done many times for different companies. Whether it was my brand or helping another brand, I prided myself on connecting the soul of the brand to its founders. After all, how would consumers know your brand if it weren’t living its authentic self? It was so intuitive to me when it came to building brands, yet when it came to myself, I never considered how important this might be to my success and happiness. After a roughly two-week exercise, I arrived at my WHY – to inspire meaningful change through self-discovery and my passion for cultivating deep, authentic, and loyal connections.
Shortly after this exercise, it was no mistake that my WHY collided with Elevo. While I have known co-founders Chris and Nick for years, we never arrived at the same business intersection together until a little over a year ago. As of today, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences with Elevo to help them grow. I am equally grateful for the individuals I have interacted with and learned from, and the culture within the Elevo family. We understand that education is more than just the classroom. Transforming the well-being of students so they look forward to coming to school is the driving force, the mission of Elevo. It requires all of us to be aligned with the same goals if we are to have a positive impact on students, parents, educators, and the communities we serve. I am so thankful to be a part of the Elevo team!