☕ saturday mornings - January 28, 2023
perseverance, persistence & how to find your dream job
Happy Saturday Morning!
I hope you’re having an excellent start to your weekend.
What I’ve been up to:
I've been busy with school, reading, writing, and connecting with new and old friends. I'm so grateful to get to meet people who follow the newsletter and have amazing conversations.
On Friday, I did my monthly review. There’s a concept in aviation called the 1-in-60 Rule. A 1-degree error in direction will cause a plane to miss its target by 1 mile for every 60 miles flown. My monthly review is a way to reflect on the past 30 days and make any necessary course corrections to avoid flying off course. You can see the prompts I use here.
Here's a recap of the most interesting ideas I've explored this week.
Pour yourself a hot beverage and enjoy.
✍️ Quote I’m pondering:
Steve Jobs on the value of perseverance:
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
📚 Book passage I loved:
If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up.
When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say, “Huh?” Persistence—it’s a cliché, but it happens to work.
The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit.
This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections.
Be dogged! Keep hitting that door until you bust it down! I have accomplished almost nothing on the first or second or even the third try—the breakthrough usually comes late, when everyone else has left the field.
― When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub
💡 Idea from me: The Proven Path to Your Dream Job
In September of 2018, Bill Gurley stepped up on stage at the McCombs School School of Business to deliver a welcome speech.
As he looked out at the eager MBA students, Gurley shared a simple message that, in his estimation, made all the difference between success and failure. He called it Runnin' Down a Dream. In other words, how to succeed and thrive in a career you love.
Runnin' Down a Dream
"A dream job is a career where you have an immense passion," Gurley began.
"Life is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Most people take one career path," he continued. "If you only have one shot, why not do what makes you most happy?"
Gurley then told the story of three men he deeply admired: Bobby Knight, Bob Dylan, and Danny Meyer.
Each is a luminary. Each found their dream job. And you can't help but notice they did it the same way: pursuing a single obsession with effortless intensity.
After sharing each story, Gurley explains that he noticed a thread that wove through each and every one.
He distilled his findings into five principles. Five rules to follow to run down a dream.
1. Find Your Passion
"Pick a profession about which you have immense passion," Gurley said. "A deep personal interest."
"Nothing will make you more successful than if you love doing what you do. You will work harder than anyone else because it will feel like fun."
"You can't fake it," Gurley warned. "Somebody else out there has a deep passion for whatever career path you're going down. If you don't have it yourself, they're gonna smoke you."
To know whether or not you're pursuing your dream job, ask yourself: Do I enjoy the work? Everyone loves to win, but do I love to practice?
You'll know it's your dream job when you love the preparation, not just the glory.
2. Hone Your Craft
"It's important to be obsessive about learning in your field", he continues.
"Hone your craft. Constantly. Understand everything you possibly can about it. That requires you to keep learning over time. Consider it an obligation and hold yourself accountable."
"Strive to know more than anyone else about your particular craft."
"You can't make yourself the smartest, but you can be the most knowledgeable. It is possible to gather more information than someone else," Gurley asserts. "Information is freely available on the Internet."
"You have zero excuses if you're not the most knowledgeable person in your field".
3. Develop Mentors
"Take every chance you can to find somebody to teach you about the field you want to excel in."
"Treat them with respect," Gurley adds. "Ask them all the questions you can. Debate things. Learn from them. Document what you hear. Share it with others."
"Try to get mentors interested in your development and success".
How? Check in with them. Stay connected. Send updates.
Get them to feel like they're invested in you and are a key part of your success story.
4. Embrace Peer Relationships
"Develop deep relationships with peers that are on the same journey," Gurley advises.
"Have discussions and debates with peers. This is how you learn. It will help you hone and innovate your ideas."
"Always share best practices."
"Success is not a zero-sum game. If you think too competitively, you will fail. The activity of sharing with peers will lead to so many positive things that will help you succeed."
"Celebrate peer accomplishments as if they are your own."
5. Always Be Gracious and Humble
"Give the majority of credit to mentors and peers that helped you," Gurley finishes off.
"Send letters, send gifts, send thanks. Show appreciation".
"You get what you give, and you get more by giving more. When it comes time, pay it forward."
The Dangers of Not Dreamin'
Clayton Christensen, a strategy professor at Harvard, wrote an essay reflecting on what his MBA classmates were now doing with their lives.
They were highly successful by any societal standard. Executives at renowned consulting and finance firms like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, managers at top Fortune 500 companies, or successful entrepreneurs. Many earning enormous amounts of wealth.
"Despite such professional accomplishments," Christensen wrote, "many of them were clearly unhappy."
They were swimming in money, but starving for meaning.
"Behind the facade of professional success, there were many who did not enjoy what they were doing for a living."
There's a mythological reward you're supposed to receive if everyone considers you a success. It doesn't exist. Validation is like sea water for the thirsty.
There's a lot more honest joy to be had from taking pleasure in the work itself.
"There are a determined few who never lose sight of aspiring to do something that’s truly meaningful to them," Christensen continued.
"But for many of us, as the years go by, we allow our dreams to be peeled away. We pick our jobs for the wrong reasons and then we settle for them. We begin to accept that it’s not realistic to do something we truly love for a living."
"Too many of us who start down the path of compromise will never make it back."
The golden handcuffs of a corporate job are too light to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken.
Which Dream Will You Run Down?
Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.
If you don't know yet what that is, the most important thing is to figure it out.
Follow your genuine intellectual curiosity. It’s the best foundation for a career. Aspire to be paid for your unique knowledge--knowledge you develop that’s authentic to your nature and interests.
If you can, work will feel like play.
Someone asked Tom Petty, whose song Runnin’ Down a Dream inspired Gurley's talk, what career advice he'd give. He replied:
“Do something you really like and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I am concerned, that is success.”
(You can watch Gurley’s full 60-minute talk here)
❓ Question for You:
If I had $50M in the bank, how would my day-to-day change?
The closer you can get to "not at all", the more you know you're on the right track.
📸 Photo of the week:
This week I read Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins.
Then I re-read it. And I wrote down all the best ideas I want to remember and return back to. It was that good.
If you're interested, you can check out my highlights and notes here.
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Much love to you and yours,