When I moved to New York City almost four years ago, I had this daily ritual.
Every afternoon, I would ride the 2 Train downtown from Third Avenue–149th Street in the South Bronx to Times Square. The mission? To walk by Condé Nast’s headquarters — located smack-dab in the heart of Midtown Manhattan — look through the doors and declare the same eight words: “God, I’m going to work here one day.”
I did in fact end up working at Condé Nast at my dream magazine — RIP Lucky! — for my dream bosses who quickly turned into real-life mentors and friends.
Of course, my skills, personality and passion for the magazine went a long way to secure the gig. But there are lots of skilled, spunky and passionate folks out there vying for the “job a million girls (and guys!) would kill for.” What was it about me, a black dude from down south who didn’t any previous magazine experience or have the safety net to reasonably afford the $8.75 minimum wage I earned as a fashion assistant, that made the difference?
If I had to place a bet, I’d say it was my willingness to “nominate myself” for the job before I ever had it.
Recovering perfectionists are pretty good at talking ourselves out of our next breakthrough. Especially if the circumstances aren’t *just* right. Or the people we care about aren’t as enthusiastic as we are. Or you don’t have access to the people you think you need to get you where you’re going. And if when we’re not listening to ourselves, we’re often lending our ears to the thoughts of others.
Herein lies the problem though: To create the kind of meaningful work that leads to extraordinary life may call for you to move ahead without any proof that it’ll turn out, acceptance from people whose opinions you care about or permission from the proverbial gatekeepers.
You may have to just do it anyway.