— SmarterCX (@SmarterCX) June 4, 2018
It doesn’t seem possible that 20 years ago this May I was walking for my undergraduate diploma. I remember calling my father in a panic a few days before graduation, realizing I didn’t know what a mortgage was or which day I was supposed to file my taxes. I had learned my social security number by heart but didn’t know the first thing about how to financially make it in the real world. My job prospects were slim with an Exercise Science degree so I opted for graduate school on the West Coast as a means of expanding my horizons and increasing my street value, all the while trying to prolong the inevitable collision with the real world.
A year later I had stumbled across a used book store in San Diego and picked up a tattered old copy of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. During the course of reading my first book for pleasure that wasn’t assigned by a professor, a whole new thirst for learning and possibility opened up for me and I began a 19-year journey that has been a thrill ride of fulfillment and self-discovery. Some of the best lessons from my experience are below, and I wish you your own amazing journey of life, love, career success, and self-discovery as you build your life one brick at a time.
You must first lose yourself to find yourself
Along the way you will seek and find mentors, icons, and other professionals you admire for their skill, career arc, or financial trappings. You may even long for a relationship or family life like they have. It will be important for you to model and learn under their example. What I found out along the way, however, was that I had to lose myself in becoming far too much like them at times, in order for me to arrive where I am today. To achieve a true sense of self-awareness, I couldn’t truly learn who I wanted to be, until I lost that sense of myself unintentionally. The key is to remember that, even when this happens, there is always a way out. You can always hit ‘reset’ and get back to your center. You will keep the skills you learned along the way and the mastery achieved.
Success is not wanting anyone else’s life, period.
Several years ago, in the midst of a tremendous financial meltdown in one of our businesses, everything seemed hopeless. I had this moment of clarity that despite the failure, turmoil, stress, and fear surrounding me and my wife, I wouldn’t have traded my life or my path for anyone else’s in that moment. It felt insane to feel that way at that time given all the variables, but I was grateful to be playing the game and grateful that this would be just part of my story. Up until that moment I had chased all the other markers of success (leasing luxury cars, homes, etc.) but from that moment on, it all shifted. I wanted my life. I wanted my story with all the good and bad and in-between.
Work with the Law of Compensation
Just like the law of gravity, you don’t have to like it or even be aware of it for it to work. The Law of Compensation is no different. It’s based upon the combination of these three simple things. 1) The need for what you do 2) Your ability to do it and 3) How difficult or easy it is to replace you. Nobody owes you anything, but you’ll be compensated handsomely when you fill a need better than anyone else, and it’s hard to replace you with some other person or thing. Keep this in mind as you navigate your career.
The learning has just begun
For new grads: you’ve just spent 4 years learning how to learn. That’s the best gift college has given you. Now you must take it up a notch. We live in the most exciting decade of rapid change and possibility in the history of humankind, and it will require ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers’. Your love of learning must be cultivated. Study everything that turns you on. People, places, philosophies, business mechanics, podcasts, etc. You have it all at your fingertips and the world and business leaders need more people who can learn in real time, execute, and are reliable.