Strategy 1 – Stack The Bricks
Literally, three years ago, if I told you I’d be where I am now, I wouldn’t have believed you.
And you know what’s funny? I’m not even crushing it yet or doing that well.
I can’t wait to see where I’m going to be in three years, now that I’ve realized this stacking the bricks concept.
There’s a fantastic talk by Amy Hoy called “Stacking the Bricks,” where she talks about a lesser-known success principle, which is….
You just have to keep stacking bricks before you hit it big.
But if you don’t stack brick #1, you’ll never get to see what results from brick #35.
Here’s the problem:
Most of us don’t act, because we can’t see the next step, but the paradox is that you have to keep stepping in the darkness BEFORE you get to see the next step.
She talks about knowing Gary Vaynerchuk while he was pouring wine at some startup event, thinking he basically was some clown that had ADD.
Five years later, Gary is a household name and absolutely dominating in his business.
Here’s the thing:
In my own business, when I launched it, I didn’t have a goddamn clue how I was going to be making money online. I had an idea, but ideas always change when the rubber meets the road.
It started with a cheap course.
Then a more expensive one.
Then a coaching program.
Then a continuity program.
Then a book.
Then speaking, and other gigs.
And here’s the catch: IF I NEVER LAUNCHED THE FIRST THING, I NEVER WOULD’VE WRITTEN A BOOK.
You have to stack the first brick, before you find your way to the last.
Lesson: If you find yourself paralyzed and not taking action whether it’s finding a job, or changing careers, take the damn step, because you have no idea where hustle can lead you (even if you can’t see the entire staircase right now).
That brings me to lesson #2.
Strategy 2 – Ladder Hopping
There’s a really interesting book called Smartcuts, how people (a couple you might know are Skrillex & Michelle Phan) rapidly rose to the top, and how they did it.
In it, the author talks about how people sometimes
leapfrog their way to the top by becoming skilled or well known in one industry, then using it to jump to a new one – way beyond entry level.
– e.g. if you’re at a decent level as a marketing manager for a company, maybe you can use those connections in the marketing industry to leap frog into an entirely different industry – a start up, medical, travel, etc.
Skip the line.
Forget starting back at square one.
Enter as a marketing person, leave in an entirely different sector you’re interested in.
Use skills – maybe as that same marketer, you know how to run a business – like driving searches via blog content.
Let’s say you’re also a guitarist who wants to have a side business.
You can combine the skills you have as a marketer, and then add them to being a guitarist, and turn that into a business.
The point is to think strategically about how to:
A. Skip the line
B. Get to where you want faster
Also, consider this: one well-placed introduction has the potential to change your life forever.
A couple years back when I was shotgunning resumes and looking for a job, I was pissed off to see dumbass, unqualified kids taking jobs before me.
How’d they get cool jobs at Twitter in NYC then?
They had family friends introduce them.
(Note: they’re still dumbasses and suck at their jobs, they just had the right intro. Think about that)
Strategy 3 – Validate, then commit.
In startup land, it’s a massive faux pas to launch a product or startup without some kind of market validation that people will pay you $$ for.
So, you would never launch a product without getting pre-orders or customers (unless you want to heavily risk failure).
So why do we do this with graduate school and careers?
We commit to jobs, or 2, 4, 6, year master’s and PhD programs, without having a goddamn clue of whether or not we’ll like them.
For example, I’m about to enter a 4 year medical degree for Chinese Medicine.
I would normally suggest NEVER EVER to do this unless you are 100% about the path going forward (which I am).
So many conventional medical students get caught up in the prestige and income of being a doctor, that they end up in a career that they hate, that doesn’t suite them, but then they have so much goddamn debt they don’t have a choice.
Stuck. Don’t make this mistake.
The fix: Think about careers or even graduate school like a startup – how can you validate it before committing?
One way is to shadow a person in the potential field you’re interested in.
Thinking of going into wildlife rehab or back to school to be a teacher?
Don’t make a decision until:
A. You’ve followed a wildlife rehab person around at their job (is it outdoors? Is it doing paperwork? is it writing proposals?)
B. You’ve sat in on a typical class in a typical location you’d teach (community college? high school? preschool?)
One day in the trenches of a career is worth infinitely more than one year trying to think about it.
Again, I would’ve killed for this insight.
Think about those 3 strategies for now.