Yes, you have to do good work and build a reputation that precedes you.
Yes, you have to build a strong, vibrant network of people who want you to succeed and for whom you pay it forward.
Yes, you have to stay humble, keenly self-aware and dedicated to continuous learning.
All of those things, yes!
And I will never succeed at defining which matters most or which, among the many things I haven’t mentioned, should also be considered just as important but here’s the thing that stands out to me as central to deeply meaningful professional success:
You have to declare what you want.
You have to stop saying YES to everything in hopes that you catch something that satisfies your heart’s desire and you have to start saying NO to everything that most certainly does not.
This is especially hard early in a career. This is especially scary when launching your firm. “Sure, I can do that!” I’ve said more times than I care to admit, so often to discover that I had agreed to work that I simply did not want to do.
What if we say instead, “This is who I am at my best. This is how I can provide you with the most value while also bringing me the most satisfaction (and, as a pretty great bonus, the money that I am worth).”
I believe to the depths of both my heart and soul that when a person declares who they are and what they want, the universe gets in motion to help make that possible. I have no other way to explain what has come to me when I have had that conviction and what has eluded me when I have not.
I believe that other people are deeply attracted to that clarity and want to help it become, not only real, but also wildly successful. I believe that when we have the courage to say, “This is it!” we shouldn’t sheepishly prepare for nothing to happen but instead, strap ourselves in for the trip of a lifetime.
At the beginning of this year, I made two clear declarations. Relying on the power of those declarations to say no to some other commitments, I had space for some new, very specific things to show up. In only a couple of months, that’s exactly what happened.
I will share more detail in the coming weeks but the wheels are in motion for an exciting new professional endeavor largely because I cleared the way for it to find me.
It is frightening to claim what we want. How terrible to do so and risk the possibility of failure. On the other hand, in the face of that fear, how wonderful to do so and discover something greater than we had dared to dream.