Today in Michael Marcon Tweets: The Man at the Top

 

nature-sky-sunset-man

“Everybody wants to be the man at the top

Everybody wants to be the man at the top, now

Aim your gun, son, and shoot your shot

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

From the first time I heard this vastly underrated Bruce Springsteen song, I thought he wrote it just for me. It seemed so direct. So accurate. Of course, everybody wants to be at the top. Who wouldn’t? Since my first day of my first job, my sole focus, drive and ambition was to be the man at the top. The question was “how do I get there?”

“Here comes a fireman, here comes a cop

Here comes a wrench, here comes a car hop

Been going on forever, it ain’t ever gonna stop

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

The first step? Do your work. There are no shortcuts. Every person I have ever met that has reached the pinnacle of their chosen profession has one thing in common: they outworked everyone else. All of the blessings, the natural ability, the luck, the breaks. — they’re all irrelevant if you do not put in the work.

“Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief

Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief

One thing in common they all got

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

 The next step? Find your passion. The path to the “top” is too hard, the sacrifices are too great, and the requirements are too demanding to be doing something that you are not passionate about. The passion will carry you through the rough times. Money cannot carry you. Recognition cannot carry you. Only passion – pure, deep, unfettered love and passion for what you are doing — will carry you.

“Man at the top says it’s lonely up there

If it is, man, I don’t care

From the big white house to the parking lot

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

The third step? Prepare yourself to accept the trade-offs. Every meaningful accomplishment has a trade-off. Every reward has a risk. You cannot have one without the other. In my case, the trade-off was 150,000+ miles per year of travel. It was waking up in the middle of the night and literally not knowing where I was. My trade-off was calling my son, Keaton, from a pay phone at Newark Airport and telling him I was not going to make it home in time for his 13th birthday party because my flight was cancelled. My trade-off was a literal breakdown in O’Hare airport on a late December evening at the end of a 300,000 mile travel year.

 “Here comes a banker, here comes a businessman

Here comes a kid with a guitar in his hand

Dreaming of his record in the number-one spot

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

 But, when you hear your song on the radio; when you perform the operation that saves a life; when you see your novel in the bookstore window; when you ring the bell at the NYSE; when you see your painting hanging on someone’s wall; when you see your student master the equation; when you hoist the trophy into the air – all of the sacrifice. the pain and suffering, the late nights and missed recitals…

…will absolutely NOT BE WORTH IT unless you have lived your life in service to others – to your family, to your friends, and to your God. Because, it is really about being at the “top” of ALL of it.   I would walk away from every significant accomplishment if it meant not having Mary, Matthew, Keaton, Laura and Penelope to share it with. Don’t settle for being the man at the top of a profession. The goal is to be the man at the top… of a life.

“Everybody wants to be the man at the top

Everybody wants to be the man at the top

Aim your gun, son, and shoot your shot

Everybody wants to be the man at the top.”

Michael C. Marcon is the founder & CEO of Equity Risk Partners and former chairman of the Ursinus College board of trustees. He tweets from @mcm7464. Tweet him any of your questions about business, leadership or life.

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