我自己清楚这些，是因为我自己就是从这条路上走过来的。我记得我的第一份在波士顿的一家杂志的工作，但是后来考虑去《Men’s Health》(《男士健康》)杂志工作，我很害怕，在波士顿我已交了不少好朋友，工作干得也不错，如果到新的单位不如以前好怎么办？但是害怕归害怕，我还是决定要试一试。三年后，我又重复了前面的成功，我又交了一些好朋友，而且在《Men’s Health》干得也不错。每次接受了其它地方的工作，都是同样感到害怕，如果不能再次重复之前的成功怎么办？可是我又成功了。因此，我得出个结论，坦诚的说，这个结论听起来有点狂妄，或是自吹自擂，但确实助我在后来新的领域取得了成功，我的结论就是：我的成功，我认为，不是我所在的公司给我创造的，而是我自己创造的。
You Did It. Now Do It Again
Here’s the most important lesson you can learn from your past.
I WAS AT A BAR recently with MICK, a successful DJ who spins for celebrities and big brands, and we were discussing his future. He has ambitious plans to expand his business, but like any entrepreneur, he’s also concerned: Can he pull it off? What if he isn’t equipped for the next steps?
A day earlier, I’d heard a different example of that same fear. A friend in media was considering changing jobs and asked for my advice. She’s a rock star at her publication. “But at this new job, I’ll just be another employee,” she said. What if she can’t repeat the success she has right now?
Dig into anybody’s future plans and you’ll hit some version of this anxiety. It’s always there, aching and sometimes paralyzing. If we indulge it, we turn down amazing opportunities. We sacrifice our futures in order to cling to the past. We lose. And that’s unacceptable. The only way forward is to overcome this anxiety—and to do that, we first need to understand it. So let’s put the question another way. Let’s see it for what it really is.
When we worry that we can’t repeat our past successes, we’re essentially asking: What if everything thus far was luck? What if it was my team, or timing, or the benefits of youth? What if none of it had to do with me?
And let me tell you something: That’s crap.
I know this because of the entrepreneurs I meet. They encountered setbacks—everyone does! — but they overcame them. The experience taught them that they can survive future setbacks, too. They built one company and learned they can build another. They evolved as leaders and learned they can keep evolving. At the beginning of their journeys, they may not have had such confidence in themselves. But that confidence grew. They proved their worth—to others, yes, but most importantly to themselves.
I also know this because I’ve lived it myself. I remember being at my first magazine job in Boston and considering taking a new job at Men’s Health. It was scary. I’d made good friends and done good work in Boston; what if I couldn’t repeat that? But frightened as I was, I decided to try my hand. Three years later, I was on repeat. I’d made good friends and done good work at Men’s Health, was offered another job elsewhere, and felt the same fear. What if I can’t repeat the success a second time? But I did. And so I came to a conclusion that, frankly, may sound pompous and self-aggrandizing but has helped me walk into every new situation afterward: My success, I decided, wasn’t created by the company where I worked. It was created by me.
Entrepreneurs talk a lot about taking responsibility for failure. It’s a good message: No excuses! We need to own our mistakes; it’s the only way to learn from them. But let’s not forget to own our successes, too. Our confidence should build upon itself—knowing that we only start from scratch once, that we have what it takes, that our past simply shows a way forward.
Is there a little luck in every success? Sure. We all took risks in our careers, and, through some unmeasurable balance of skill and timing and good fortune, they paid off in ways that led us to where we are. But was it all luck? If we had to do it over again, is there a chance we’d end up as failures? No way. Luck just influenced the path. It shifted the winds. If luck had broken for me differently, I wouldn’t have this job I have now—but I am absolutely certain that I’d have found some other satisfying path and built some different version of success, and I think the same is true for us all.
We’re entrepreneurs: We work with what we’ve got. Sometimes it’s a lucky break. Sometimes it’s not. The important thing is that we keep moving forward—and know that because we took one big step forward, and we didn’t fall down, we will stay standing when we take that next step, too.