This week marks my 10-year anniversary. On August 25th, 2008, I rolled into the office of Wachovia Securities for the first day of my new life as a financial planner. What followed was 7 years of hell.
If you've gone through - or are going through - your own hard-fought battle in pursuit of a worthy goal and a higher purpose, I tip my hat to you. Whether you're starting a business, overcoming the loss of a loved one, writing a book, wrestling your health, funding a charity, or working 90 hours a week to become partner, I salute you. You are in the arena.
Whether you know it or not, you have initiated yourself into an elite fraternity. We don't have any secret handshakes or fancy uniforms, but we recognize each other.
And to my fellow brothers and sisters, I offer the following words of advice. It's the letter I would have written to myself 10 years ago at the start of this journey.
August 25th, 2008
Your hero's journey begins today.
And like a mother's wish for her child, I wish I could protect you - or at least prepare you - for what lies ahead. But I can't. And on second thought, I'm not sure I would even if I could.
To protect you would steal from you all you are about to achieve. You can only know the peaks of success after you know the valleys of defeat.
And to prepare you - to have you truly understand the emotional pain and self-doubt and sleepless nights you are about to endure - would scare you away from ever beginning.
So instead, I will just offer you the following advice:
Have faith in the journey. You can't possibly imagine how hard this will be. It will be harder than anything you will do in your lifetime. Your reward will be a strength of character you could not possibly manifest without this journey.
Have faith in yourself. You can't imagine how deep the well of self-doubt is. From yourself and well-intentioned loved ones, you'll hear whispers. "It's okay if you turn back." "You gave it your best shot. There's no shame in quitting now." DO. NOT. LISTEN. Your reward will be a belief in yourself so deep you'll be able to summit any mountain you choose in this lifetime.
And have faith in your mission. You can't imagine how infinite the river of rejection is. You will have more doors slammed in your face. More phones slammed in your ear. More "no's" slammed in your brain than anyone should ever have to endure. But you will also hear "yes". You will make a tangible, positive impact on people's lives. That will be your shining beacon in navigating the foggy river of rejection. Your reward will be making a dent - YOUR dent - in the universe.
There will be times when you think you can't possibly go on. When that happens, let your faith give you the encouragement you need to just take one… more… step….
And one day after thousands and thousands of steps, you'll arrive. The dragon will lay slain at your feet. You'll be living your dream.
Only then will you realize the hardship you are about to endure was a small price to pay. You'd willingly pay it a thousand times over.
Have faith. Enjoy the ride.
Your future self
P.S. You're gonna love it here!