I was standing in a news studio recently in San Antonio right before I went on to do a live segment about my student loan story. I was SUPER excited for the opportunity (it was my second time on live TV), and was trying to be still for the people that were running the microphone up my shirt.
On a side note – that is the weirdest part of being on TV! The tech people obviously have a job to do, so you kinda have to just stand there while they run wires all over you. I'm sure that's just one of those things that TV “regulars” get used to.
While I was waiting for the segment before mine to end, the host was reading a list of ways for millennials to know that they were “killing it” in life.
They basically went like this:
“You're killing it if you have health insurance!”
“You're killing it if you have a job!”
“You're killing it if you have your own place!”
I didn't really have too much of a problem with any of them, and to be honest even if I did, it didn't matter. The host of the daytime show was basically just filling time with content that would segue well into a story of some random millennial that paid off his student loans and started an online business.
It did get me to start thinking though. What does qualify as killing it?
I absolutely don't think it's as simple as having your own place or health insurance. You could make arguments either way on both of those subjects. I actually mentioned in my live segment that I disagreed with just having your own place as “killing it”.
Couldn't just agree with everything, right? 🙂
My wife and I lived with her parents for a LONG time, and I'm freaking proud of it. I paid off a lot of debt, my wife saved for our wedding, and we were able to help her family through an extremely hard time when her father's health was fading.
Stuff or possessions aren't much of a sign of success to me. It's easy as hell to finance (or over-finance for houses) almost everything.
Here's what I think defines “killing it” for Millennials:
You have perspective
Unfortunately, this one generally comes from experiencing loss. I write about death pretty often on this site – but it's not to bum people out. It's actually the opposite. When my wife's father did pass away earlier this year, it gave me a focus and clarity that I've never had before.
I don't waste as much time caring what people think. I certainly won't work at a job that I hate. I appreciate every moment I have with my wife and family more than I ever did for the first 27 years of my life.
Life is fleeting, and if you understand and respect that fact you'll be happier and enjoy this crazy ride more.
You are going after the things you want in life
I don't care if you have life insurance, a nice house, a boat, or even a full wardrobe. If you're working towards a goal and doing it with passion and hard work, you're killing it.
The amount and kind of stuff that you accumulate through life doesn't matter nearly as much as having a mission. For me, it's helping people figure out their personal finances while providing a good life for my wife and future family.
You understand that you don't have it figured out
I deal with this daily. I stumble in business, generally don't have answers, and usually have no idea WTF I'm doing.
However, I think understanding that I don't know very much has been my largest intellectual asset. I want to learn more about everything because I know I need to.
Too many people get caught up in trying to be the expert of everything while actually mastering nothing. You become an expert by keeping your eyes and ears open with your mouth shut, and then applying the information you've learned over and over.
You put your stock into people and relationships
I'm not just talking about family and friends. I think those are a given (or at least should be), but when it comes to becoming successful it's about the people outside of your circle.
If I've learned anything about entrepreneurship and life so far, it's that people are the key to progress. It's not about more sales, higher salaries, or advancements in a career.
Those are the product of developing relationships with the right people. For someone that is introverted like me…it sucks. But once I realized that I needed to force myself to connect with both more and the right people – my income, career, etc. have grown quickly.
Don't let stuff define what “killing it” means for you.