In 2015 I was at a crossroads in my career. Do I start something on my own, consult/advise or jump into another operating role?
I spoke to a lot of people to get their views. A friend who was a COO at a company in San Francisco gave me the advice that I ended up acting on. He told me to go deep. Go full immersion and dig into a role where I could learn, keep growing my network, and understand a field intimately.
Consulting was shallow work. As someone who started out at an accounting firm, I knew that already. I got to be super good at understanding just enough to get the job done and then move onto the next client – but I never had to implement something. I doled out academic advice and got the hell out of dodge. I had no skin in the game.
So, I took his advice and committed to a long term, full-time role. Looking back, it’s been such a great move. I’ve made more lifelong friends and broken into a new area of expertise that was only possible through brute force time investment, which in turn has opened even more interesting doors that I had no idea were there.
The thing about going deep is that it’s dark down there where the sun doesn’t shine. You don’t know what’s waiting for you so it can be intimidating. You only discover new things once you commit and trust other people.
Down beneath is where the learning, discovery, and magic happens.