This semester in school, I had to write an executive summary on a startup and interview the founder for an entrepreneurship course I was taking.
(For those of you non-business kids out there, an executive summary is the part of a company’s business plan that, you guessed it, summarizes the business – what it wants to do, how it plans to make money, who its customers are, etc.)
For once, I didn’t complain, groan and think about all the work I’d had to do to find a company, contact the founder, set up an interview and write the whole damn thing. Instead, I thought, Well if I’m going to do all that work, I might as well look for a startup that I would want to work for, just to make things more fun and exciting for me. And it’s a bonus that I get to talk to the CEO.
Let’s pause here for a second.
I didn’t go into it with the intention of finding a job. In fact, I didn’t want a job at the time because I already had a freelance writing position — I just wanted to make things more exciting and fun for myself since I was already going to talk to the CEO anyway.
OK, continue the story.
I found the CEO’s email online. As I was doing some research before I sent the email, I stumbled on to their job postings (OK, I didn’t stumble into them – I was actually checking out the positions they had open) and saw that they were hiring for the exact job I had been eyeing for almost a year now. And they were hiring for entry level.
Holy 💩. This was getting real.
Long story short, I eventually sent the email, and the CEO and I set up a time to meet. After I interviewed him about the company, I started asking about the role. It turns out that we shared a lot of the same values with regards to running a startup, and that my skillset almost perfectly matched what the company wanted for the role.
The CEO and I came to the same conclusion that it was a win-win for me to work for the company, and I signed my part-time contract a week later.
Now here’s the cool and also kind-of sad part.
When I started, I found out that other students had contacted the company for the same project as I did. But they didn’t get a job. All they got was a response for their project.
Imagine, if they had gone just a bit further, done just a bit more, they could have ended up with a job, too.
So what was the big difference?
Look for Opportunities Everywhere
One of my favorite quotes is to hit two birds with one stone. 🐦
Usually, when people talk about hitting two birds with one stone, they talk about happenstance, like, “Oh, I was at the gym today, and happened to see a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while! I hit two birds with one stone today – I got my gains and caught up with an old friend. Pretty good day!”
Now here’s another thing about the best opportunities – you never really know that they’re there, and what they have in store for you. All you can do is try to do more each time and trust that sometime, somewhere along the way your efforts will pay off, maybe in ways you never expect.
This is what Peter Thiel calls indefinite optimism in his book Zero to One. Indefinite optimism means that you don’t know what the future’s going to look like, but you believe that it will be good.
In real life, this means that you come at everything in your life with the intention of squeezing every last drop out of every situation. If you do this you’ll…
- You learn 2x as fast and grow 2x as fast
- Save time because you don’t make the same mistakes other people make and you can continuously move forward.
- Compound your results over time and grow exponentially (rather than in just a steady rate)
Who know you might even land your dream job before you graduate. 😉
Also published on Medium.