The Honduran Dream
Written by Nicholas Yanek, MBA Candidate Class of 2023
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question often asked to many children, including to the younger version of me. But there are so many of us who grapple with what our life pursuits should be well beyond our childhood years. It’s difficult to follow one’s calling, but perhaps it’s even more difficult to find it to begin with.
There are many outside forces influencing the decisions we make regarding what we should or shouldn’t pursue. Many times the focus is on making more money, gaining prestige, or another quality to be deemed “successful.” However, these are all in the eyes of someone other than ourselves. It should be up to us to decide what constitutes success.
What’s made me reflect on this important topic is the experience my team and I had while working with farmers across Honduras. Our project focused on improving the farmers’ position in the cattle value chain and assessing growth opportunities for their operations. A few farmers shared that their goal is simply to maintain where they’re at -- they’re happy with what they currently have: stability and a healthy family. This reminded me that a life purpose perhaps shouldn’t be to chase money or power. Stability is worth cherishing and a work-life balance is worth maintaining. I always viewed following your passion more as a professional pursuit, but there’s so much beyond that in our personal lives to consider.
To further assess the aspirations of the farmers, we asked “what do you want your kids to do when they’re older?” Our team expected the farmers to say, “take over the family farm.” After all, nearly all these farmers are multi-generational farmers, some up to the 4th generation. However, without failure, the farmers responded every time with, “I want my kids to follow their passion.”
Antonio started his farm from nothing…no land, no cattle, no house. He moved to the United States for twelve years to save enough money before returning to Honduras to build his farm. We told him that he was “living the American Dream!” starting from nothing and building his own business that is. However, he responded with “No, I’m living the Honduran Dream, because I came back.”
My time in Honduras reminded me that I’m on the right path because it’s my path. While I was expecting to learn about the cattle industry in-country, I didn’t expect to gain the wisdom around life choices and dreams for future generations.These moments in Honduras showed me the value in pursuing one’s passion. If you’re passionate about your work, you’ll be fulfilled, dedicated, and happy, which is the pinnacle of success. The farmers of Honduras understood this and it’s something I couldn’t have been more grateful to be reminded of.We expected that Antonio would want his children to continue with the farm as well, since it took so much for him to build the farm. Yet, to our surprise, he said, “This is my dream. I’m doing this so my kids can have better opportunities than I did. I’m doing this so they can have a better life.”