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You need to stick it out at your job.

There’s a myth out there that, in the future of work, you don’t need to work somewhere for an extended period. You can bounce around companies—and that’s okay—because it’s all about being agile, nimble and disruptive.

I’m here to tell you that it’s a goddamn lie.

It will take you two years to do anything great at work. The first year is all about building relationships. The second year is all about doing the actual work you were hired to do.

It’s true if you work in sales, marketing, or even at a hot dog stand. You don’t know anything when you start your job. It takes time to ramp up and earn trust. When you’re finally granted the freedom to do your thing, it takes a minute to be successful.

You may think that’s nonsense. In today’s economy, it’s crucial to make an immediate impact with an employer. If you’re there for 18 months, that’s a win if you leave with some accomplishments under your belt.

But, the thing is, eighteen months is not enough time to rack up achievements. It’s barely enough time to get to know your boss and colleagues. If you’re bouncing from company to company every 20 months, you’re not making mature and meaningful connections with the people around you. Positive outcomes are attained only through trust and a mutual understanding of goals.

So stick it out.

And, by the way, it takes you 24 months to do anything great in life beyond work. Recently married? It takes at least two years before you get a real sense of your marriage and its cadence. You have the first year of being newlyweds, and the second year of being like, “Holy shit, I’m married. Pass the potatoes.”

I think divorce is like that, too. You have your first year of grief, then a second year of trying things out by yourself for the first time. If you can get through those twenty-four months, I hear that you rediscover your inner greatness.

And I also think that retirement, whatever it means in 2017, takes twenty-four months to understand. There’s the decision to retire, which takes at least a year of mental preparation, and then the first year where you redefine the way in which you operate in the world. Fishing? Hiking? Golfing? Going to the grocery store at 11 AM? It’s all new.

The change curve in life is steep, my friends, and I stand firmly on the side of patience and vigilance. If it takes two years to do anything great, the clock is ticking. Whether it’s getting stuff done at work or moving on with your marriage, the time to start is now.

One Response to Takes Two Years to Do Anything Great
  1. Gerry

    Fabulous. A career is built on 2 year horizons. Taking stock, choosing to stay or leave. Thanks. This one is a classic every coach needs to recommend.