When I stop to look back at all the things I've done and accomplished in my life (personal and professional), I realized everything I've accomplished, I wrote it down.
Let's go back to 1998. It was my senior year in high school and I honestly had no idea what I was going to do once I graduated. I hadn't applied to any colleges, in fact, I didn't really grow up in an environment where that was even really a thing people talked about. I didn't even really understand the whole process and was quite intimidated by it. In my family, graduating from high school and going straight to work was pretty much what was expected or the norm. I remember once even meeting with a Marine recruiter. I'm pretty sure I only met with him because I wanted a pair of combat boots.
The only thing I knew was I wanted to continue to do something with my life. I spent my entire high school life as a dancer. All I wanted to do was dance. Maybe I'd get a chance to be a Fly Girl on In Living Color (flashback, right?), maybe I would get a gig on tour with someone? I knew it was going to be a lot of work and a very tough career choice but I thought that was what I wanted to do.
The last couple of weeks of school, Ms. Webster (my psychology teacher) had us write down our 5 year and our 10 year goals. Just a few weeks prior to this exercise I remember spending the night at my friend Bernadette Rubal's house. (I loved staying an Bernie's house, her parents were so nice, I admired their family being so supportive of each other, all the kids were very bright, going off to college on scholarships, went on family vacations... Pretty much complete opposite of my life). I remember laying on Bernadette's floor saying
"I don't understand how we are supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our life at 17 years old. I'm supposed to make a commitment, spend a bunch of money on getting a degree in something I've never even tried out?!"
Don't know if it was a phobia to commitment or more like wanting to test drive a career choice. I followed up that comment with
"I don't know what I want to do. I just want to do something big. Like work on a Budweiser campaign or work for the Super Bowl".
I didn't know what capacity I wanted to be involved with something like the Super Bowl.... I just wanted to be involved in something massive. (Still cracks me up today that I said Budweiser. I don't even drink but I appreciate the brand and the marketing campaigns they've put together).
So I wrote down this list of 5 year and 10 year goals. Some of the things I wrote down
- Go to college
- Buy a house
- Get married
You know.... the things you think are the typical goals to go after. I'll have to find the list to remember everything I wrote down, but I remember about 5-6 years after graduating and moving into my first home I purchased (with my then husband), finding this list of goals and being kind of surprised that I was able to cross everything off (except the Kids goal and I changed my mind on that one anyway, so it was as good as being crossed off). I had accomplished my 5 year and my 10 year goals in about 7 years. At that point I realized the power in writing down goals and putting that out into the universe.
So fast forward to 2008. 10 years after I graduated high school. I was sitting at an airport in Tucson Arizona on a flight headed back home to Las Vegas. (I'll fill in the 10 year gap of what all I did with my school and career in another blog post). I was working for Cox Communications and I wasn't necessarily in love with marketing and selling cable, Internet, telephone, HDTV and DVR service, Pay-Per-View, HBO, Showtime etc.... it was something I was good at doing. I sat down and wrote on a small piece of paper a new set of goals for the next 5-10 years. I was doing some serious soul searching at this point so I wrote down a list that looked something like this....
- Continue to grow with Cox and go from local region to Corporte office
- Get back in music industry (work in radio again, work for Coachella, Lalapolooza, Redding Festival, concert promoter)
- Sports Marketing (UFC/HDnet)
When I wrote down the Sports Marketing goal- that was a TOTAL SWAG! Literally had no idea what all would be involved. Didn't have a sports marketing or sports anything degree, didn't play sports, barely watched sports. While working in cable I used to order UFC and Boxing fights because it was more of a gathering for me than me caring about the actual event or who won.
Part of the reason I wrote it down also was my boss at Cox (Andrew Simon) had left Cox and was working directly for Mark Cuban at AXTV (formally HDNet). Andrew was amazing and super smart and shared a common interest in MMA. (He knew waaaay more than I did about the sport and the athletes but I did enjoying going to fights and watching it on TV).
While still working for Cox, I was invited to a dinner with Starz movie channel. I went to the dinner, had a great time with the cast of Spartacus but once things settled down for the night I left and went home. Got a text message about an hour later from a number I didn't have in my phone saying "Doug Hartling is going to call you". I didn't know who that was and didn't know who the number belonged to so I ignored it and assumed someone text the wrong number.
The next day I get a call from my rep at Starz and she tells me she and her colleges invited a former co-worker for drinks after our dinner, he lived in Vegas and was working for UFC. He mentioned over drinks he was looking for a marketing manager. Megan from Starz says "I don't think she's looking, but you should call Shanda at Cox". (Hence the "Doug is calling you text).
I was able to make a connection to something I wrote down on my goal list 13 months prior and this was a big one. A really big one. Something I thought I'd spend the next 15-20 years of my life chasing after and here it was, the universe had connected the dots and all my hard work was giving me an open door.
I believe on visualizing things you want to do/see/accomplish etc and there's something magical about writing it down and crossing it off the list. It's not about looking at the things you haven't yet done, celebrate the things you have done.