I was planning on publishing a decade-of-lessons piece.
I even compiled the top one-hundred things I learned over the past ten years.
And while I might still publish that piece in the new year, I decided to instead close out the decade with the single greatest lesson the 2010s have taught me.
And that lesson is...Show up and shoot your shot.
It's a simple piece of advice, but a powerful one.
Reflecting back on the decade, it's easy for me to say that my willingness to show up and shoot my shot is why I've been blessed with the experiences that have made me who I am today.
- In 2010, I applied to Duke even though I didn’t think I would get in. I owe so much of who I am today to the four great years I spent in Durham.
- In 2011, I tried out for one of the top dance team’s at Duke even though I didn’t think I would make the cut. Dancing on that team changed the way I understood the value of community and unconditional love.
- In 2012, I submitted an application for a Silicon Valley internship program even though I had yet to write a single line of code. That summer internship inspired me so much I changed my major to Computer Science.
- In 2013, I applied for a competitive internship at Google even though I knew the odds were slim. The opportunity to build products with experienced designers and engineers motivated me to double down on software engineering.
- In 2014, I shot a cold email to a music-loving stranger in California asking if I could help him grow his blog. It still boggles my mind that we not only grew that blog manyfold, but would also go on to produce over two dozen concerts and parties in LA and NYC.
- In 2015, I went on a limb and asked this girl who I had never met in-person and who lived on the opposite coast to visit me in NYC. I can easily say my time with her were three of the best years of my life.
- In 2016, I decided to say hello to an entrepreneur I admired after a talk that he gave at Google. I ended up working with him for many months and learned so much about tech, sales, and life.
- In 2017, I decided to cold email a high profile activist I admired to see if I could volunteer for him. That experience came with a lot of hard-won lessons, but I would not trade them for anything.
- In 2018, I decided to embark on a journey with a close friend from high school to explore the challenges with the American political system. Some of my closest friends and advisors today are the professors, heads of banks, and democracy entrepreneurs that we cold-emailed along the way.
- In 2019, I decided to attend a political networking meeting after a long day at work. I'm limitlessly grateful that I ended up going, because one of the people I met at the event is one of the best people I know today and is one of my cofounders at Civics Unplugged.
If you've read this far, I'm sure you can sense how much power showing up and shooting your shot can have on the course of your own life.
So, as we kick off this new year and new decade, don't be afraid to put on your adventure hat and commit to showing up more even when you're reluctant, and commit to finding the courage to shoot your shot when you're there.
I promise that you'll be amazed at where you find yourself in 2030.
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