Long-term groundwork and winning the lottery

This is such an obvious statement that it’s pretty much pointless to elaborate… we all know that there is never a magic bullet to success. So there’s no need to spend too much time contextualising what Seth Godin means when he talks about how consistent, long-term hard work and discipline and focus lays the groundwork for eventual success. As he describes here:

Starbucks didn’t become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

However, while that long-term chugging along certainly lays the groundwork, I do think that success is also catalysed by specific trigger episodes – whether those are certain meetings, relationships, or turning points. As a new book by highly successful entrepreneur Derek Handley explains:

When you watch dramatic movies of the young guy or girl striving to climb the ladder of life, and the protagonist gets their break – their shot at a life-changing event – your heart races for them as the devastation you feel if they screw it up can only be rivalled by the elation if they nail it. Let me share something I have learned. These moments you see on television and in the movies, where the lead character needs to come through – these turning points – are in fact real. Often they come down to having one, five or 15 minutes to make an impression, to convince somebody to do something, and that you are the right person for them to take a gamble on. Steve Jobs spoke of leaving a dent in the universe. When you meet certain people, you want to do your unrelenting best to leave a dent in their memory. 

One of the many things I love about Escape the City is that it encourages the growth of these serendipitous opportunities. Such as this one…

General Assembly is one of the best places to start hanging out when trying to learn more about coding, business, design or other useful skills in pre-escape mode. We’ve teamed up with General Assembly for this really exciting contest designed for you (and a travel companion) to win:

  • Two night stay in each of the following cities: New York, London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco from Sept. 6 to Sept. 15, 2013. Hotel accommodations provided by WeHostels.
  • Personal tours and a free class at each of General Assembly’s four premier campuses.
  • Lunch with a top entrepreneur in each city, including Baratunde Thurston, Tom Hulme, Jason Calacanis, and Sarah Lacy.
  • Round-trip airfare from anywhere in the US or UK provided by American Airlines.
  • $1,000 in Elance credit to support your own entrepreneurial ideas.

Find out more by clicking here: http://ga.co/cc

Even if you can’t enter the contest, if you’re interested in startups in general, also check out our Startup MBA.


If you want to receive new Escape the City blog posts directly into your inbox just click here. We write about leaving big corporates, pursuing alternative careers, building businesses, and going on big adventures. We are hard at work over on the main site building Escape Profiles that help people make big career changes and find jobs that matter to them.

Want to chat? Best place to reach us is @escthecity on Twitter and www.facebook.com/EscapetheCity on Facebook. Follow both accounts to hear about new job opportunities and inspirational / useful career change resources.

www.escapethecity.org – Do Something Different!

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