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One of the most important things to understand about the idea of success is that no two people define that term in exactly the same way.
Everyone has their own unique plan in life – their vision for what they hope to one day accomplish. Speaking for myself, from a very early age I always wanted to become an attorney, so I set out to do everything and anything I needed to ultimately make that happen. I got my BA at Cornell University and an MA from the University of Chicago. I went on to study law at New York University. Over the course of my career, I’ve been honored to handle a wide array of different types of transactions for Goldman Sachs/Kinder Morgan, Duke/Progress Energy, Verizon Wireless/ALLTEL and many, many others.
Flash forward to today, and I’m incredibly proud of the reputation I’ve worked hard to earn as one of New York’s top corporate law authorities. I’m a managing partner at my own boutique law office that predominantly focuses on representing corporations, management teams, CEOs and compensation committees.
I don’t say any of this in a bragging kind of way – my point is that early on I identified my own unique definition of “success” and, from that moment on, I set out to create the plan I needed to see that vision through to reality.
“Jeremy Goldstein, Attorney at Law” was always the endgame for me… but there’s a chance that your own personal definition of success is very, very different from mine.
Still, while our journeys will understandably be different from one another, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t things I picked up along the way that you can put to good use. Therefore, regardless of what your ultimate goals actually are or how you’re planning on getting there, there are a few key tips I’d like to provide you with today that I firmly believe can help you accomplish everything you want out of life… and then some.
Tips for Achieving Everything You Want in Life
1. Let Your Passion Be the Light That Shines the Way
There’s an old saying that tells us “if you find something that you love to do and make it your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s not quite as literal as people would believe… but then again, it really isn’t that far off, either.
As stated, I always had a passion for the law so that’s what I set out to become – an attorney. Yours might be something totally different, and that’s okay. But I firmly believe that the key takeaway from all of this is that if you find something you’re passionate about and that you truly enjoy, everything else will eventually fall into place.
The idea that “you’ll never work a day in your life” is definitely not applicable. Even today, I have incredibly hard and stressful days – the same as everyone else. Your journey won’t be filled with wine and roses. But provided that your end goal is something that you were truly passionate about in the first place, all of that hard work and perseverance will ultimately be worth it.
If you have to fight tooth and nail to accomplish something you were never really that enthusiastic about in the first place, you’ll eventually get to a place where you start to wonder what it was all for.
But if you’re fighting for something that you deeply believe in, you’ll hit one of those bad days and see it for what it really is – a necessary stepping stone to help you accomplish something much bigger and more important in the long run.
2. Always Believe in Yourself
Another one of the most important things I’ve learned during the course of my own journey is that we must all rise up to become our own biggest advocates. If you’re lucky, you’ll be surrounded by a support system filled with friends, family members and other loved ones who are rooting for you on a daily basis. But no matter what, your voice needs to dwarf theirs.
Let’s say you dreamed of one day becoming an entrepreneur and you already have what you believe is the perfect idea for a new business. You’ve identified some gap in the marketplace that everyone else overlooked and you’re just waiting to be able to capitalize on that opportunity.
Even if your idea is objectively a good one, you’re still going to have difficult days. You’re still going to experience more setbacks than you can count. But that’s okay… provided that the idea is one that you wholly and truly believe in.
If you believe in your ideas and you believe in yourself, everything will be worth fighting for. My own version of this reared its ugly head time and again during my education. Law school is difficult and of course I experienced moments of self-doubt. “Can I really do this?,” I’d ask myself. “Is it possible for me to pull this off?”
When those types of negative thoughts crept in, I always tried to respond in the exact same way: “of course I can pull this off. I’m Jeremy Goldstein.”
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish in life – you need to be your number one champion. Not in a self-congratulatory or self-important kind of way, but in a supportive and empowering one. You’re going to need that positivity when things get dark and it isn’t just how you make sure that YOU remain inspired, but it’s also how you inspire other people along the way, too.
3. It’s About the Knowledge, Not the Results
There’s one particular point I learned a long time ago that I still believe very much applies today. In my opinion, far too many people get hung up on the end result of their journey. For me, that end result was becoming an attorney.
But what if that end result never came to fruition? What if I truly couldn’t do it? Would everything have been for nothing?
Some people would say “yes”… but I firmly believe the answer is “no.”
Because assuming the former negates everything that I learned, discovered, explored, experimented with and more along the way.
Every day throughout my education I learned something I didn’t know the day before. I was able to experiment with opportunities that would have seemed unthinkable in the past. I was able to better myself in some small way and even if I’d never become an attorney or opened my own boutique law firm, all of those things would have been worth it.
The knowledge that I gained during my journey was ultimately my most important asset of all and you need to see your own life through the exact same lens. Always maintain perspective on what you are learning along the way and capitalize on any and all opportunities for self-improvement that reveal themselves.
4. It Really Is About Working Hard
We all love to buy into the idea of the overnight success – someone who wakes up with a great idea on Monday and by Friday has turned it into an incredible new business that is already experiencing an overwhelming amount of success.
It’s a naturally attractive image… but it’s also one that isn’t based in anything even remotely resembling reality.
Even those people who do appear to be overnight successes had to work very, very hard to get to that point. Yes, this current idea hit very quickly… but don’t ignore the hundreds of other ideas along the way that were unmitigated failures. But what made those people successful is that they were always willing to suck it up, get in there and put in the hard work anyway.
This may seem like a small thing – the idea that you have to commit to your ultimate goal, even in the face of incredible adversity – but it’s a critical one just the same. You’d be surprised by how many people out there are always on the lookout for the “easy way out.” The simple fact that you’re willing to always work hard can have a powerful long-term impact on your career.
5. Get a Mentor and Get One Now
Finally, another one of my most important tips for success involves finding a mentor as soon as you can.
If you had to make a list of all the highest achievers you can think of – from entrepreneurs to artists to business leaders and more – the chances are high that most of them had a mentor by their side.
By default, a mentor is someone who is further along in their career than you are… meaning that there’s practically no limit to what they can teach you. They represent an enormous wealth of insight and guidance that you just won’t have access to through other means and this is one opportunity that you literally cannot afford to ignore.
Not having a mentor won’t mean that your journey comes to a sudden and unexpected stop… but going out of your way to find the right person to stand by your side can absolutely pay big dividends throughout the course of your career.
Again – your journey is absolutely unique and there is no one “correct” path that you can follow that will guarantee success. But by keeping tips like these in mind and by applying them to your own personal situation, you stand a better chance of not only standing out in a crowd but also generating the type of momentum you’ll need to always keep moving forward in the next five years of your career and beyond.