Al came in, sat down, and told me that from now on, life would be different. Life had dealt him a bad hand, and he struggled with it. He was still young and inexperienced in many ways, but not in hardships.
After a great conversation, I offered my services and he said he would be interested some other time, but not right now. For now, he loved his role as a parent and enjoyed the time he was spending with his children. He missed out on their formative years, and felt a sting of regret recounting his early years as a parent, but the past is the past. He was ready to move on.
I explained that he could come back when he was ready, and I would help him prepare and look for work. He agreed.
Al came back from time to time to update me on how things were going. I could tell he was getting a little antsy, but he still wasn’t ready to commit to work.
“I’m close”, he confided in me. I knew it was a matter of time.
One day, Al came in with a serious look on his face.
“Ok”, I said, “let’s build out your resume and make it as tight as we can make it. We’ll go from there.”
He agreed. It didn’t take too long to put together something good enough for the job market. Al always found a way to stay busy, finding odd jobs in his neighborhood, and picking up some temp work here and there. I know hustle when I see it and it translated well onto paper.
Once we finished the resume, I asked him how many he wanted me to print out.
Al caught me off guard, “50?? Uh, how about we start with 10 and go from there?”
“Ok, how about 30?”
“You’re really going to do something with 50 resumes?”
“Yup. I go hard.”
Hard to argue with that. “Ok, 50 it is.”
I hit the print button, retrieved 50 copies of his resume and handed them over.
“Thanks man, I appreciate this”, as he stuffed them into his folder.
“No problem. Let me know how it goes, and if you run out, come back and I’ll print out some more.”
One week later
Al comes to see me, sits down, and asks, “Can I get some more resumes?”
“How many do you want this time?”, I asked knowing what he might say.
“Ok, so you’re saying you put all your resumes into the hands of potential employers??”, I asked incredulously.
“Yup. I go hard.”
Hard to argue with that. “Ok.”
I hit ‘print’, and 50 more resumes came out.
A week and a half later, Al was employed, earning good money with a reputable company with room for growth. He was happy with his situation, and I was grateful for the lesson.
Al taught me:
- That somebody, somewhere is going harder than me. You can worship or idolize successful people, but how do you think they got to where they are? What will I do to match that energy and effort?
- That sometimes deficiencies (like lack of work history) crumble to the ground under the sheer force of numbers. What if I did just one more? What if I multiplied my efforts and simply increased my output? Could I do ONE MORE push-up or blog post, help ONE MORE person, do ONE MORE presentation, and read ONE MORE page of that awesome book?
- That persistence pays. How many “no’s” did Al hear? At least 50, huh? And every “no” you hear brings you one step closer to a “yes”. I have to remember that.
- That I’m not challenging myself enough. Next time I’m thinking “10”, perhaps I’ll double or triple that number. Break through self-imposed limits.
- To stay open to learning, and lessons will come from all angles. Even if someone is in a more vulnerable position than me, they can still teach me a lot. It happens all the time.
If you go hard it may or may not work out for you, but the odds will be in your favor.
So, go hard, and be like Mike was early in his career.