Everything in life seems impossible, until it isn’t.
Photo Courtesy NASA Marshall
“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — The New York Times, January 13, 1920.
“It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister.” — Margaret Thatcher, 1974.
“Children just aren’t interested in Witches and Wizards anymore.” — -Anonymous publishing executive writing to JK Rowling, 1996.
“This website venture is the sort of failure that is simply un-survivable” – Nikki Finke for LA Weekly on the launch of the Huffington Post, 2005.
“I’m never going to get this s&!t done” — most of us this Monday morning.
I n college, everything seemed possible with a straight-A average.
So after long, lecture-filled days I would come back to my dorm-room exhausted, and think about all of the ways to whittle down which job I would take to revolutionize finance for the better.
First, I would immediately say “nope” to any place that didn’t follow my mission to a T. Then, I needed to have a huge impact at the company, and would make sure the firm was filled with empowered women — a place that wasn’t an “old boys’ club”. Another must-have — they wanted to make sure everyone could get the best financial advice possible.
About a year later, my job qualifications had whittled down to “they pay me money”, “they treat women slightly like people”, “they’re making some effort to be honest”, and “I’m doing slightly more than fetching coffee”. Ever since my mother’s struggle to get honest financial advice, I wanted to make a positive difference in the field. But with a degree in chemistry and English and no connections in finance, it seemed almost impossible to even get my foot in the door.
About a decade later, well five minutes ago to be exact, I had stepped out of a marketing meeting. I’d been discussing with my team how LexION Capital can make our top-tier, transparent financial advice even more accessible.
The quotes in my introduction seem pretty humorous at this point — but when J.K. Rowling was scribbling Harry Potter on a napkin while hoping her welfare checks would cover that month’s electric bill, it probably seemed an impossibility that she would one day be richer than the Queen of England.
And while we’re on the topic of getting rejected by publishers, it happened to Arianna Huffington 36 times before her first book was published, and well before she was told The Huffington Post would be a complete and utter failure.
And our Monday morning blues aren’t like having Chicken Pox. After we get over the “impossible” workload, the feelings start creeping up again come Sunday.
The point I’m making is that it’s incredibly easy to look back and realize that the impossible was actually missing the “im”.
What if we looked forward instead and asked “What if everything is possible?”
Instead of looking at Monday’s checklist with dread, we can look back to every other Monday, when most of the “impossible” got accomplished. Then we can reach even higher.
We can aim higher than getting our daily checklist done. It might sound impossible now, but there’s a job out there where your checklist still allows for Sunday Fun-day, and the idea of getting to work wakes you up more than a morning coffee.
Finishing the race
Every year, thousands compete in the New York City Marathon. And a lot of them don’t cross the finish line.
That doesn’t mean they failed the marathon, it means they ran 20 miles. And the next year after that, many of them will run even farther.
Even though my dream job didn’t actually exist (well maybe it did, but certainly not for someone fresh out of college), I didn’t give up because I couldn’t handpick a company’s mission from Day One. I was in it for the long haul, and you need to be too. Because the impossible wasn’t accomplished in a day — but it was accomplished eventually.
If we realize that we can accomplish the “impossible” beforehand, we can actually accomplish anything. Our goals are only set by our own limits, and nothing else.