First of all, thank you to everyone that has been so gracious as to congratulate me on 40 Under 40. It’s always rewarding to see your hard work be recognized, and there are a lot of people that I have to thank for that…they’re to come shortly.
A few folks have asked me about what they should do to try to win 30 Under 30 or 40 Under 40, which I think is fantastic. It’s so great to set goals and have something to work for. At FWV, we approach every big project from the beginning of it asking the questions “what is the client going to call us about in 6 months and say, I can’t believe it came true”, “what is the case study going to be?”, “how will the award submission read?”, and I think it just makes it that much easier to succeed.
So here’s what I’m saying to the few people that have asked and hopefully a few others will find this helpful.
1. Don’t work for the award, work for the community.
When I first moved here, I just really needed to meet people and feel connected to this strange new city that was so different from Seattle, New York, Atlanta and LA. I was more or less unemployed and just needed to do something, and I could see that the community needed a few fun things to do, so I just started working to create them.
2. Don’t talk about doing something, just do it.
Pretty self explanatory. If you’re going to do something like host an event or launch a networking group or create a class for people, just do it, promote it, get people there and see how it works. Don’t spend months asking people if they think you should do it.
3. Surround yourself with the right people.
There’s a few people that I got to know immediately when I moved here. I can trace back every single big opportunity or success to just a few people. I’ll list them in detail below. You already know who you are if you’re even reading this.
4. Set big, hairy, audacious goals.
A lot of people will talk you down from doing something amazing with lines like “underpromise, overdeliver”. There’s a time and place for that, like in client service. But when it comes to your life and the impact you make on the people that you care about, I say “overpromise, with the understanding that we’re all human, and if you don’t make it this time you’ll never give up, and with the expectation from everyone that you’ll succeed and reach your goals”. It’s not as elegant, but that’s really how I approach things. People that hear me say stuff like “TIMA will be the interactive marketing capital of the US” or “Triangle Startup Weekend is going to set the standard for every Startup Weekend in the world” know what I’m talking about and we all work together to achieve it even if we know it’s a long uphill road. Don’t be afraid to overpromise if you know you’ll never give up.
5. Never give up.
It’s redundant but I’m just going to say it: Failure is just a learning opportunity. Look at it that way and you’ll always be moving forward. Most of what you’ll try to do will fail, and you learn that it fails really quickly, and then you smash it up with something else to test it a different way, until it’s badass.
That list of people that have made the TBJ 40 Under 40 possible, in random order based on who comes to mind and just thinking about the people that led me to stuff like the Viral Video Festival, Going Viral, Triangle Startup Weekend, FWV, TIMA, or other stuff that was in the application for 40 Under 40.
Joan Siefert Rose
Greg De Lima
…there’s so many other folks, I’ll keep adding as they come to mind, but for the people that are listed above, just know that something you did contributed to something that went into a couple pages about my time in the Triangle and thanks to you doing whatever you did, that’s why I was fortunate to receive the award.