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I’ve written about this in other iterations. I’ve talked about finding your rhythm, and the importance of letting things come to you, not forcing things, and then riding the momentum when you have the wind at your back. The point of it all is that success is not linear. Progress doesn’t follow a straight line. For most people, the journey is long and winding. It looks more like a stairway or a hockey stick. You make incremental movements that are so small you don’t notice them, but every so often, when the momentum is there and the timing is right, you make large quantum leaps. If you’re impatient, you’ll force things when they’re not there and end up taking two or three steps backward, and if you’re not aggressive enough or afraid to take a risk, you’ll miss the biggest opportunities of your life.
So how do you know when to be patient and when to go all in?
First, you have to get better. I have said it many times, you have to be good at what you do, and you need to get better every day. Before I started NAHREP, I ran a mortgage brokerage and would do small seminars for lawyers and accountants on how they could supplement their income by doing mortgages on the side. My presentation skills got better with every seminar, and it forced me to acquire a 360-degree understanding of the mortgage business. If you want to learn something completely, learn to teach it, and if you’re going to teach the mortgage business to a bunch of lawyers and accountants, you need to know what you’re talking about. When the opportunity to start NAHREP presented itself, I felt I was ready. My presentation skills were tight and my knowledge of the industry was complete. Take advantage of the learning phases in your career because knowledge and skill equate to confidence.
Second, your vision needs to be complete. When I was contemplating a larger event platform for Latinos in business, entertainment, tech, and politics, I could visualize the end game, but I was not clear on the path to get there. I attended other events like South by Southwest and Comic-Con to try to get a sense of why so many people attended those events. When people think of Comic-Con, they think of movie stars and major film previews. That’s all nice, but Comic-Con is also a marketplace for creators and other people in the film and television industry. People go to make contacts and find partnerships. People like great speakers, but that’s a nice to have, the marketplace element is what makes events like SXSW and Comic-Con must-attend events for people in the industry. The marketplace concept was the missing link in my head, but once it was clear, I was ready, and by the time I met Sol Trujillo, I already had a complete idea of what it would take to make L’ATTITUDE work. Sol obviously brought his own genius to the event, but the vision was fleshed out in my mind and when the opportunity was there, I didn’t hesitate.
Finally, follow your instincts. This is easier said than done but it has a lot to do with your state of mind and where the concept of riding the momentum comes into play. You’ll know when things feel right and when they feel forced. Getting yourself in a position financially, where you can take some risk is critical. This is less true when you are young and have nothing to lose. When you’re young, if things don’t work out, you probably don’t mind sleeping on a friend’s couch for a while. But when you’re a little older and have family, you can’t risk putting yourself in that kind of position. You need a cushion. I save a lot, but don’t save much for retirement; I save so I have chips to play with when big opportunities come my way. When you have a solid financial cushion, you think more clearly. Your judgment is sharper, and you’ll know when the time is right for a big move.
A three-person mortgage broker, became NAHREP, L’ATTITUDE, The Mortgage Collaborative, and L’ATTITUDE Ventures by taking lots of baby steps and a few quantum leaps. The next twelve months will be hard on a lot of people, but for others, it will be the perfect time for a quantum leap forward.