Just like that [Insert snap of the fingers here], I was inspired. That arrow of advice hit my bullseye.
Nearly 20 years later, countless deals signed and an office full of professional awards and letters of appreciation, I am thinking back on that moment and reflecting on the professional advice I received at 22 years of age. As I reflect on it, I am asking myself, knowing what I know today, what professional advice would I give myself as I took the first steps of my career journey?
Below is some of that advice.
Make a Plan
One of my first thoughts is, there is more than one way to summit the mountain of success. What worked for me may not necessarily work for the next guy. What worked for the next girl may not necessarily work for me.
Throughout my career, I have come to realize the criticality of planning. Whether it is planning for the day, the month, the quarter or the year, making a plan is the first step towards success.
Part of that plan includes defining success. As I mentioned above, there is more than one way to summit the mountain of success, so to achieve it, you should know what it looks like, feels like and tastes like to you personally.
Another lesson I have learned is that failing to plan does not necessarily mean failing to succeed. Without a plan, you may achieve tremendous levels of success while with a plan, you may encounter defeat after defeat. But looking back on my nearly 20 years, the trend I recognize is that I have more wins (successes) than losses (failures) when I took the time to create a plan.
Establish a Network
Have you heard the expression, "it takes a village to move a mountain?" The expression implies you need help to achieve your objective. So, if your objective is to succeed, you need help to achieve it.
Let's face it Nate, regardless of what you thought at 22, you didn't know nearly as much as you thought you did. Now, I'll admit, back then, I scoffed at the person who suggested that indictment, but as they say, hindsight is always 20-20.
Any success I achieve today is with the help of others, my "network," which includes business mentors and industry advisors, colleagues and employees, my wife and my friends. Whether they know it or not, my network shines a bright light on my path towards success.
The sooner you realize it takes a village (network) to move a mountain (success), the sooner you will begin to realize the success you aspire towards.
Nearly 20 years later, "the key to success, is to never be satisfied" still echoes in the halls of my mind and fuels my ambitions. While my ambitions have changed over the years, as they likely will for you too, the fuel or the driver has not.
Let me make one thing clear, recognize and celebrate your wins and your successes. Doing so provides you the much needed burst of energy you need to dig back in, face the next setback and to keep moving forward.
Countless times throughout my nearly 20 years, I, and others around me, have lost focus by celebrating too long and suffered major setbacks, some resulting in terminations, because we got caught up in the satisfaction of the victory.
To avoid the same pitfall requires acknowledgement and determination. Acknowledgement of the win and what it means to the short term and long term goals. And determination to not get caught up in the success or failure In front of you, recognize it as a waypoint towards your destination and to continue moving forward, towards your summit of success, regardless of what those around you are doing.
The journey to your summit of success is a long, winding road that will certainly include countless setbacks. At least mine has. But with a plan, a network and relentless determination, you will certainly summit your mountain.