Reid Hoffman is one of my favorite Silicon Valley celebrities. He was one of the first employees at PayPal and the founder of LinkedIn and is now a partner at one of the top Venture Capital firms. He is considered Bay Area Royalty. Reid wrote a book called The Start-up of You which I highly recommend.
He also made the presentation below which is killer and should be a guide to any 20-something trying to figure out his/her life. Definitely check this out.
- Your assets
This is what you have going for you. Are you well educated? Do you come from a rich family? Are you awesome at social media? Are you a great writer? Figure out a combination of skills you have and enjoy doing….don’t just pick one thing and say “I enjoy writing so clearly I should be an author”. Rather, mash all your skills together and see what you can come up with.
- Your aspirations
Where would you like to be in the future? Yes, your goals are always changing, but try to set a few big ideas for yourself. I always find that when I have a clear goal, I’ll accomplish it. It’s when I don’t know what I want that I flounder most.
- Market Realities
This is the reality check- it’s what people will actually pay you to do.
So your goal in life should be to find work that combines all 3 of these things and constantly pushes you forward and challenges you. The only rule is you must be learning and growing all the time, or it’s just not worth doing.
2. Network: Every job boils down to relationships and interacting with people. Be good at this. The colleague or boss in your first job could cross paths with you again in the years ahead. You never know. Try not to burn bridges. As Reid says: “Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to PEOPLE.”
Surround yourself around the people you want to be most like. This is the quickest path to getting there. Oh- and obviously get on LinkedIn and build your network. But that’s obvious, right?!
The most successful people in this world make intelligent risks. Don’t believe me? Look at the panel on Shark Tank. Look at Donald Trump- whose company declares bankruptcy every X years yet he somehow always manages to come out okay.
Reid suggests you should prioritize learning over money. If there’s a career path you are interested in but don’t know how to get hired into a job, then find a way to offer your services for free at a company you admire. Trust me, 6 months of doing this will more than pay off down the road. It only takes one door to walk through before the others just open wide.