It has been exactly 800 days since I started DB + Partners. I know this because I Googled ‘how long has it been calculators’ and punched in the appropriate numbers. April 18 to now. No, today isn’t some major milestone. It’s an unintended irony, manifesting itself in a round number.
But I did reach a milestone last week with the start of my first full-time hire, which to me is a big effing deal. Horrifying too, because if you ever want a nice wake-up call to take yourself seriously, having someone else’s livelihood depend on you will more than do it.
“Extra turkey on that Publix sub?”
“Not today, sir.”
This milestone has also served as a jumping-off point for some more professional daydreaming too. When I started this at the kitchen table of my last condo, the goal was simple – don’t default on my mortgage.
Visions of grandeur, a full-staff, a bonafide company? Meh, might wanna make that car payment first.
Today, though, I confess to having spent more time thinking about the future. And in doing so, I have become increasingly comfortable with the fact I might be adequate enough to build a real company. To eventually have more than two employees, and to achieve some of the things that always seem to happen to other people.
All while still being me.
That’s the part I always thought disqualified me from any kind of real success. Everyone I imagined as a high-flying achiever had a fiery personality, worked until their eyes sank in, and wore really fancy suits like my friend Tom Ricci. Me? I’m more docile and easy going, I occasionally work until my eyes sink in, and my default work attire is gym shorts.
When I take the dog for a walk around noon, the average pedestrian probably thinks I’m a vagrant who’s getting his first look at the sun on his way down from a bender on Molly.
But despite my penchant for self-doubt, I’m beginning to think whatever I am or am not is just fine. There is no magic formula. No ‘right’ personality, no proper dress code (at least when I’m away from clients).
The biggest, simultaneously boring revelation over the past 800 days is that there are only two secrets to succeeding – at anything. 1. Actually starting and not just talking about it. And 2. Working on that thing every day.
That’s it. Success has nothing to do with being a Type-A personality, or being a gas bag who posts motivational quotes all day and throws #grind on their text messages. Likewise, your fancy suits are either a mask or a reinforcement for what’s underneath.
Having the clarity and focus to do one thing – and do it consistently – is all there is to ‘success.’ It’s not sexy. It won’t go well with a ‘hustle until your haters ask if you’re hiring’ meme. But it’s the formula.
It just won’t work unless you do.