Staying with my grandparents the past few weeks while I find an apartment in New York, they’ve really opened my eyes to the simple things that we as a society have lost touch of. One of those things that I really enjoyed was how friends used to write letters to one another. I thought I’d write a letter to my friends to communicate my feeling in more traditional manner.
As the next chapter in my life has arrived, an interesting feeling has surfaced, and it’s liberating. I’ve never felt that, though the next steps are not laid out to a tee, I have ever been more focused and clear about the path I am taking. It is the first time that I have either not had a full-time job or been enrolled in school since I was five years old, and it feels like I’m doing exactly what I should be right now.
I’d like to shed light on why I feel this way and why I’m so optimistic about the future. I hope that this monologue may resonate with you if you are in or come to a similar junction in your life.
First, it is clear what I want in a career. I want to do something that I love and am passionate about. My confidence is at an all-time high. I know that I’ll give my all and be excellent at whatever I choose. Why not choose to do the thing that will make me happy every day? It’s clear. I made the choice that I will not stop moving toward it.
I’ve always been in a comfortable place. A place where my mission was clear. Finish the army, get the college money, graduate from the University of Miami, and a dream job will fall right on my lap. When I graduated and didn’t have an offer in Investment Banking, I felt empty. I’d been passed on repeatedly. Some in the community would say I was too old, my diploma was not prestigious enough, and I wasn’t capable of the workload. I started to ponder whether I should take other job offers including sales, other areas of banking, or with big name companies outside of banking. Today, I’m glad I did not commit to something that, despite coming with more money than I had ever been paid, does not move me towards my goal.
Fast forward to moving to New York City. I didn’t have a job in line. I didn’t have a place to live set. I didn’t have anyone waiting in the city to welcome me with open arms. That level of uncertainty has given me the motivation that drives the feeling of which I speak.
Being in finance, I like to relate things to the market. Those who understand investing, know that the greater the risk, the greater the reward, or loss. A government bond can never make the return of a stock. While the stock has a chance to bankrupt, the US treasury has never defaulted. Life can be explained similarly. If you take the easy route, if you settle in anything you do, and if you do not take any risks, you will never be able to get that high reward. Get in uncomfortable, uncertain situations that help you toward your goal. Be so resilient that no setback will stop you.
Once it’s clear what you want, why you want it, and that you’re prepared to take the risks associated with getting it, there’s one ingredient needed to create this “success potion.” It’s the hard work. For many, this is the hurdle that is missing. Why? Well because it must be done with resilience. It is ongoing and requires sacrifice everyday. The uncomfortable moments, be it networking, relocating, or anything else have little value if one is not prepared. I wake up every morning with the full-time job of learning more about my craft. That hard work will, in the end, actually land me the position I desire.
No matter where you are in life, there are people out there who are willing to help you get where you want to go. I’ve found amazing veterans that went out of their way to help me. For them, I am so thankful and will pay it forward without a doubt.