There is a lot of randomness in the universe. Occasionally, people get ahead just by being in the right place at the right time.
But in our competitive economy, I think it’s a mistake to count on this sort of serendipity. While writing 168 Hours, I found that people who’d managed to take their careers to the next level in the middle of full personal lives had very clear visions of exactly what that next level would look like. When you know where you’re going, and publicly commit to going in that direction, you’re a lot more likely to get to your destination.
At least that’s the premise behind the Make Mine a Million $ Business competition (which I write about in Chapter 5 of 168 Hours). This competition, sponsored by American Express, asks women small business owners to talk in public about their revenues, and then commit to pushing their businesses over the $1 million revenue mark over the next 12-18 months.
The competition is currently accepting applications from women business owners who have at least $200,000 in revenue and have been running their businesses for 2 years (see this link for more details, and to apply).
I attended a part of the competition last year, and was somewhat surprised how hard many people found it to talk about their current revenues and where they hoped to be. Money and ambition are tricky things for women. But when you don’t think about these things, they don’t happen. And here’s another great discovery: few calculated risks end in disaster, and any investment made in a project you care deeply about is likely to generate some return. Even if a $100,000 business owner aims for $1 million and doesn’t hit it, as long as she hasn’t bet the whole farm, reaching $200,000 would be a nice consolation prize.