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Ryder Carroll didn’t set out initially to develop the Bullet Journal Method– a productivity system and mindfulness practice that has thousands of devoted followers using it to live more productive and meaningful lives. His more modest post-college goal was to afford to live in NYC, have a steady paying job, and carve out some time on the side to pursue his side passions. In this interview, I speak with Ryder on our From the Dorm Room to the Board Room podcast about the reality of finding your way in the professional world. The following excerpt from that interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Andy Molinsky: What was it like to jump into the professional world for the first time?
Ryder Carroll: At the time, I was very naïve. I felt I was very skilled. But that’s not necessarily the case in the workforce. You have other people, especially in New York, vying for the same positions that are way more talented or way more experienced. A lot of times, you’re instructed that you’re valuable because of who you are. But in the workplace, when people are paying you money, you aren’t as valuable as you may think. So, it’s on you to figure out how to become more valuable to your company – not them to you.
Molinsky: So what did you do?
Carroll: Frankly, I first focused on paying the bills. When you’re worried about how you’re going to feed yourself, every other thing starts to become less important. That was the first box I had the check in my career: where I’m staying, that I have a roof over my head, and that I can eat somewhat. And once that’s kind of squared away, it frees up your mind to re-engage with what are you going to do.
Molinsky: It sounds like your first jobs were not passion projects. They were simply to pay the rent. Was that hard from a creative perspective?
Carroll: Interestingly, I think it helped. I was able to find what I was truly interested in because I was forced to understand what living without a sense of purpose is like. It became so poignant and valuable for me to actually take the responsibility and figure out how I could go about pursuing a new career. And I used my terrible job to finance that.
Molinsky: What if anything from your college days has ended up as particularly useful for your career?
Carroll: Giving and receiving feedback. It’s ended up being a large part of my career and it’s something I learned in college, especially as an art major you’re constantly being told what you could improve on.
Molinsky: What’s your advice about starting a company on a limited budget?
Carroll: The first thing is you have to have a base income. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly, incredibly challenging, especially if you’re an inexperienced entrepreneur. Just because you want to make something doesn’t necessarily make you an entrepreneur. The building of a thing requires much more than people may imagine. And that becomes significantly harder when you’re constantly worrying about how are you going to pay the next check. You can’t do good work when you’re constantly dreading rent.
March 12, 2019 at 01:52PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs