“You’re moving to San Francisco, aren’t you?” I asked, plopping down on the couch.
My friends Shruti and Ash looked at one another and back at me. “Yep. We leave April 1st.”
The three of us sat in Baked & Wired, possibly my favorite coffee shop in DC when it’s not overrun by tourists. I hadn’t caught up with the two of them in months. Two days prior, Shruti dropped a bombshell text saying they were moving to Cali.
I could say I was shocked, but that would be a lie. When you live in DC, you accept that people come and go. The cost of living is too high, the jobs (particularly if you work in politics) too transient. It’s a city that brings people together, all while acknowledging the time together may be short.
In Shruti’s case, moving to California meant one thing—the two were headed to Silicon Valley.
Some people give a million reasons why they can’t do something. Others ask a simple question—why not?
I met Shruti at a former job and instantly fell in love with her. She was a baby—straight out of college—but at 23 years old had more fire underneath her than most people acquire in a lifetime. Shruti was a shark. We hired her for sales (obv), and within days she was closing deals.
Had I not made friends with her, I might have been the teensiest bit afraid of her.
What I admire most about Shruti is her complete disregard for limitations. Never, in my entire life, have I met someone with such self-assurance. Where some people weigh their options before taking a single step forward, she says F it and hails a freaking helicopter. In sales, this makes her move at blazing speed. Instead of working her way through gatekeepers, receptionists, or even VPs, this twenty-three-year-old phones the CEO.
Just so we are crystal-freaking-clear, the line about a helicopter was a reach. The line about CEOs is not. I watched her do it. I witnessed her directly dial more CEOs than you can imagine. It’s a little horrifying.
You are the only person with the power to place limits on yourself.
“Alright, so you know this entire conversation is under a Frien-D-A, right?” Ash asked me.
I burst out laughing. “Consider it signed. Now tell me what your genius selves have been up to.”
Ash was, of course, brilliant. At twenty-nine years old, he built and sold his first company and launched his second. After watching his wife waste hours transcribing sales calls (time better spent physically making those calls) he invented an AI (artificial intelligence) software to do it for her.
I am amazed by Shruti and Ash. He invented the product, she quit her job to sell it. They signed on clients and had more in beta, hired a small group of engineers, and were driving across the country to set up headquarters in San Francisco.
“We haven’t been sleeping!” Shruti told me, “We have a few clients in India, and if they want calls at 2AM, then that’s what the client wants. And we signed on American Express as a client and—“
I almost spit out my coffee. “You signed on American Express!??!”
The two of them stared at me like I asked if they rented an office with indoor plumbing. “That’s what I love most about you two. You never play by the rules.”
You don’t have to play by the rules when there are no rules to play by.
“That’s because there are no rules,” Ash said. “When Shruti was applying for jobs, she basically did enterprise sales. Rather than submit applications online or through HR, she cold-emailed CEOs and hiring managers. She reached out to eighty companies that way!”
“HR is bullshit!” Shruti said, “It’s such a waste of time. I want to be in front of the decision maker.”
They dove into their strategy, potential clients, and other items I’ll breeze over to uphold my end of the friend-D-A. They asked me about my freelance business and wrote down a couple clients I should target. Ash offered to T-up a couple intros and Shruti all but wrote my elevator pitch.
I left that coffee shop feeling like Super Woman.
Most people watch successful people and wonder how the hell they got there. They map out all these ridiculous tangents and stepping-stones, putting their lives through Chutes and Ladders before reaching their end goal.
People like Ash and Shruti see the end goal and b-line for it.
If someone else can do it, you know you can.
There are a million famous quotes telling you to crawl before you can run. Have you ever stopped and wondered why? Why can’t you just see what you want, and sprint like hell for it?
Why can’t it be you? Why can’t you be the person to launch a business, write a book, get a six-pack, or take the hot guy home with you? Why do you have to settle for something that’s meh, when what you really want is sitting in front of you?
Why can’t you be the person to get everything they ever wanted?
Challenge yourself to think bigger. There are no rules. The only person implementing limits is you. Change your mindset to ask yourself “Why not?” on repeat until you get to where you want to go.
What Ash and Shruti really want is waiting in San Francisco. In three days, they’ll drive a car across the country to get it.