Amish to Entrepreneur: Esther Schmucker’s Universal Model to Success

Briana Spears (Left) talks to Esther Schmucker (right) about her life after leaving the Amish lifestyle.
Briana Spears Contributing Writer “How many of you have ever been on a job interview?” Esther asked. “Don’t you just hate when they say, ‘So tell me about yourself?’ It’s really hard to answer that question, if you don’t actually know who you are.” Esther Schmucker of Lancaster, who is a TV personality and the famed star of Amish Mafia and Breaking Amish, shared her entrepreneurial journey with students during an entrepreneurship course taught by Professor Debi Dunn. Schmucker not only shared her personal experiences of growing up Amish and the impact of her decision to leave, she shared her triumphant journey to becoming true to herself, her brand, as well as her personal values and ideals. Students were then given the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the now motivational speaker and entrepreneur. Schmucker is a professional speaker and continues producing reality TV shows in New York City. Schmucker raised the idea that often times we fail in taking the time to think about the things that truly define who we are. Growing up Amish, her entire life was planned out for her. With only an eighth grade education, Schmucker was trained how to be a housewife from the day she was forced to leave school. It is very hard to discover who you are when you have always been told who it is you should be. “One day it hit me and I got so scared; that’s when I realized I didn’t want this life,” she said. “That’s when I made the choice. That night I packed all the clothes I could fit and I left. I did not know what I wanted to be but at that moment, I knew I didn’t want to be Amish.” Schmucker, now in her early 30s, is now on the road to figuring out who she is and more importantly, who it is she wants to become. After being approached for Breaking Amish three times, Schmucker finally accepted the offer. It was through this wonderful opportunity that she would discover a new passion: traveling. Eventually, Schmucker went on to reach great success in the TV industry. Soon, however, she found that she just did not feel fulfilled. “I was young. I had all the money I wanted and more. Finally, I could do whatever I wanted but it just didn’t feel like enough. Although I had it, I did not know how to obtain it. I wasn’t ready for it.” Ask yourself, why it is that people have money and all the success in the world but they are still unhappy. The answer is quite simple. It is because we do not live in our purpose. Very rarely do we realize how unhappy we are because we get used to covering up and putting on a facade. It is important to consider whether you are the person you think you should be or even the person others think you should be, or the person God destined you to be. Once you evaluate who it is you are living for, you can cease to live for other people, change the way you think, and in time, how you see yourself. Pose the question, “Is what I am doing, something I can continue to do for the rest of my life?” If your answer is no, you are not doing the right thing. You have merely attempted to make right of something meant for right now. You have to know what it is you want and why you want to pursue it. We each have our own ideals and differences in what drives us. We must stop choosing careers based on the ideal of financial stability because we often pick jobs that we lack a passion for and in turn are not happy. Eventually, you will lose your passion to do anything at all if you continue limiting yourself to a salary. Wealth isn’t monetary but rather a state of being. Often, we make the mistake of thinking we lack because we are looking at what we don’t have–not what we do. We place limitations on ourselves, and our paths to success, because of fear. You must build yourself up and get to a place of understanding that you are more than the limitations placed on you, even monetary ones. Whatever part of your life you are lacking in tends to be your area of focus. “It’s hard to live beyond and look beyond your reality but you have to,” Schmucker advised. She went on to say, “Being thankful for what you have will cause more to come to you”. “Wanting to be an entrepreneur is already a great mindset because there’s no one placing a dollar sign over your head. You determine what it is you want to do and what you make. Once you figure out what you want, you have to align your lifestyle with your income. The thing is, you must know what you want to make and know what it will take to get that.” Only you know what you are capable of achieving. The importance of knowing your why cannot be stressed enough. If you cannot speak to your why, you will not be able to fulfill your purpose. You must live in your purpose, on purpose. Once you identify what that is, you must understand that pursuing your passion will come with a cost. It is also important to be mindful of who you share your vision with. You cannot share your vision with people who have a limited belief system. People will not see your vision or understand your dream but they are not meant to. It is yours to see, understand, and fulfill. We often determine our values, capabilities, and self worth based on what people tell us and eventually believe what is told to us. Choices are based on belief systems and the idea of self-efficacy: who you believe you are, and can become. At some point you must take responsibility in asking why you allow others to deem your value and more importantly, how you view yourself. As she ended her speech, Schmucker left students by saying, “Be you and live for you. We do not have to explain our flaws or where we fall short. In living for yourself, be sure to fill your mind with things aligned with what you choose to do. Whatever you do, be committed. Whatever you believe you can achieve. It takes up to forty days to create a new belief system but once you do, you must be repetitive and consistent in your thought process in order to obtain success.” Students saw just a glimpse of what to expect from her during the Success Summit at the Lancaster Marriott, Saturday September 29 from 12-4 p.m. Click the link below for more information on how you, too, can hear Esther’s story at a discounted student rate of $18.99, using code Students0510