Here I am, the day before Christmas Eve, and once again I’m thinking deeper than ever about my life goals…not because it’s almost New Year’s, but because it’s just what I tend to do. I just boarded my flight in Los Angeles, where I currently live, to travel home to New Jersey for the holidays. Flights are my favorite time to reflect on life, past experiences, goals, plans, opportunities, what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and where I’m going — 1 month from now, 2 months from now, 2 years from now, etc.
The truth is, I think about this stuff constantly — almost to an obsessive degree. I find myself lying awake countless nights thinking about my personal/professional goals and how I’m going to make them happen. I’ve been told by several people at very respectable stages in their career to stop worrying about the future so much. Do I listen to them? Not exactly…partially because I’m stubborn when taking life advice from people who don’t know my full story, but mostly because it’s critical to know where you’re going. When you know where you’re going, you’re unstoppable.
I’ll be honest, my exact ‘North Star’ end goal that I’m executing against isn’t entirely defined and ready to be carved in stone, simply because my thought process around my career is pretty hardcore. I understand one fundamental thing, which is that every single one of us gets to experience this life one time and for a limited time, an amount of time which we never know when will end, and what we choose to do (or choose not to do) during that time defines our legacy and reputation forever.
Because I think about this on a daily basis, I want to make as big of an impact as possible. I have big eyes and big dreams. I want to maximize my potential and go as far as I can. In order to make the magnitude of impact that I expect from myself, I’m aware that I need to dedicate my entire life to my craft — all in, 100% effort, every day, always, even if I’ve only slept for 2 hours and have missed meals. In order to thoroughly love this process with every ounce of my soul, I need to be sure that the specific expertise I choose is it for me.
As a person interested in consumer behavior, I’ve inevitably flocked to the world of marketing and advertising, where I focus my energies on social media marketing (both organic and paid media), growth hacking, content creation, copywriting, copy editing, and proofreading. The most obvious thing to me is that although I enjoy each of these individual marketing skills, I have zero interest in being just good or solid in all of them. Instead, I want to be an absolute assassin in one of them and be known to the world as an assassin (for any law enforcement reading right now, this is clearly a metaphor). But this is where the issue lies…
When I think about my career and the opportunities that stand toe-to-toe with me, I can’t help but think about reaching the pinnacle in each of these areas of marketing. Do I want to be one of the best copywriters ever, the creative director at a top agency on Madison Avenue, start my own company, become someone else’s co-founder, or go to Wharton for an MBA and become an executive for a Fortune 500 company? In fact, I’m currently dragging my feet on preparing to apply to Wharton because I’m unsure whether it’s the correct chess move for me.
What I do know is that I’m very hungry, ambitious, and eager to learn everything under the marketing sun. I’ve taken steps backwards before in the short-term because I knew they would pay off in the long-term. For my first full-time job out of college, I accepted a MUCH lower-paying job with a small company I’d never heard of before specifically to reap the learnings and stepping stones from an underdog business). I’ve driven an old beater car across the entire United States 3 separate times for different gigs, when in retrospect, it shouldn’t have even made it the first time. Additionally, I’ve slept in Austin’s airport two nights in the same week, then volunteered at SXSW just to attend Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote and have the chance to meet him afterwards.
After moving to Los Angeles, I’ve slept flat on the floor more times than I’m willing to admit, and finally upgraded to a twin mattress recently. Somewhere in that time, I spent a full year on an air mattress, even after it started leaking and ended up with no air in the middle of the night. Every night this week I’ve only slept 4–5 hours, and instead of sleeping on this flight or watching a movie, I’m passionately typing away while sitting crammed in the middle seat with a passenger’s dog nearly slobbering all over my laptop and my other neighbor elbowing my side (they’re probably reading this as I write it too, but eh so what).
All of my scrappy behaviors come with the benefit of exposure to information that will help position me for success. My reason for writing this is simply to share some of my own thoughts on life, motivation, and setting meaningful long-term goals. As we approach the beginning of 2017, I encourage you to reflect on the journey that’s gotten you where you are now, and make sure that you’ve strategically mapped out the right journey for yourself moving forward. If you think we’re like-minded and you can relate to some of my thoughts, let’s connect! Shoot me a message/email and let’s get to know each other.