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Smash Through Whatever Ceiling You Are Seeing by Concentrating on Your Largest Reward

Harrison Barnes
By Oct 17,2023
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In this article, Harrison explains the importance of smashing that glass ceiling which you have created in your minds - the ceiling which almost always pulls you down. To feel that others are more successful because they are lucky or because you don’t have as much potential is a big myth. You need to push through this myth and set your own worth and terms for your life, and believe that you are capable of a lot more than what you think. On doing this, your relationships, your way of seeing the world, and everything else around you changes. The glass ceiling exists only in your mind and you need to simply mould it to think greater of you. Realize the potential in you, smash the ceiling, and go ahead with a successful life.

When I was about 12 years old I went to look at BMWs with a relative of mine. We spent several hours in the dealership. My relative was trying to figure out if there was a way to get a lower lease payment on the car. Negotiating with the people in the dealership took him a very long time. We were in a not-so-great area of Detroit, and I could see my relative was trying to get a good deal, and was feeling like a big shot in the process. For most of us, buying a car is among the most significant events in our lives, and for this relative it was no different. He was someone who had gone to all the right schools, played by the rules, and continually held jobs for a long time.

About two hours into the negotiation, a couple of men pulled up in a giant, brand new BMW. The stereo was blasting and the car had aftermarket rims that looked expensive. The salesman who had been speaking with my relative said “just a moment” and rushed over to the men in the car. Before the salesman ran over he indicated that the men had paid with actual cash for the car and were drug dealers. He told us that drug dealers were his best customers because they always paid cash and rarely negotiated.

One of the guys had apparently brought one of his friends to look at cars. The salesman completely lost interest in us for several minutes, despite being in the middle of a negotiation.

My relative and I sat together in the salesman’s office for about 20 minutes until the two men who had been in the car appeared with the salesman. Despite the fact I was quite young, I immediately realized the two men were very uneducated and appeared somewhat rough. They wore leather coats and lots of gold jewelry.

“I’ll be right with you,” the salesman said as he popped his head in the door of the office where we were sitting. “I just need to get these guys out of here and deliver their car.”

About five minutes later, one of the men said he might be interested in a second car on the lot, in addition to the one he was already buying. He asked the salesman to show him a second car.

My relative was disgusted. After that, we got up and left. As we were leaving, my relative said something I’ll never forget. He was in his early 50s at the time, and the men buying the car could not have been more than 25.

“I’ve worked hard all of my life and I cannot even afford one of those cars. Those guys who just came in probably never went to college, and look at them.”

I could see my relative was very saddened by what he had seen. It was as if the rules of society were working against him.

A few years later, I saw the movie Scarface and was mesmerized. Scarface is about a man (played brilliantly by Al Pacino) who comes to the United States from Cuba and is placed in a detention center. He is told he can get a green card and earn his freedom if he kills someone in the detention center, and he does. He gets a job in a restaurant as a dishwasher and cook, but soon decides he does not want this life. He is told if he picks up some drugs for someone he will be given a few thousand dollars. He goes over to pick up the drugs and is almost killed, and his brother is killed in the process. He starts working for the drug dealer for whom he was picking up the drugs. Very soon he has mansions, beautiful women, fast cars, and all the material possessions anyone could want.

As the director shows us all of this, a song is playing with the refrain “take it to the limit” over and over again. The implication from the music and the acting is that Pacino’s character has taken his life to the limit and made the most of himself, albeit in a life of crime.

This movie is remarkable because it is so quintessentially American. In the United States, stories like this occur every day. People who come to this country with nothing become huge successes. They can do this without educations, without connections, without any special advantages. The results they accomplish are achieved through the human spirit.

I used to work in a law firm, and I have spent most of my life around people who are well-educated, who are playing by the bureaucratic rules of society – people like my relative at the BMW dealership. When you spend time with these types of people, you notice they have a certain disdain for those who’ve somehow gotten ahead in life without playing by the rules regarding schools, titles, and so forth – the things most of society views as important. These people look at the people around them who are succeeding and decide that achieving success must have everything to do with luck.

This is not true.

What is true is that there is a glass ceiling in your life, my life, and most people’s lives, which we need to push through and shatter. Certain people push through these glass ceilings to achieve what they want in life, and others do not.

The man in Scarface smashed through the glass ceiling.

The customers in the BMW dealership smashed through the glass ceiling.

My relative did not. Most people do not.

The glass ceiling represents your potential, but it also represents a lot more. In order to illustrate the true power of the glass ceiling, I would like to tell you a couple of quick stories about my experience regarding people and glass ceilings. A glass ceiling has more to do with what you think you are worth and what you think you can contribute than anything else. When you establish your own worth and believe you are worth more, your relationships, your way of seeing the world – everything else changes.

BCG Attorney Search is one of the companies I manage. At BCG Attorney Search, we typically hire recruiters out of prestigious law firms to work with attorneys from equally prestigious law firms. The recruiters earn salaries based on a commission structure, and the more placements the recruiters make, the more money they earn.

Prior to becoming recruiters, these individuals were all getting paid law firm salaries. Several years ago, I began to notice a pattern that’s repeated itself to this day. If a recruiter made $100,000 the year before they became a recruiter, they would make $100,000 in commissions in their first year with our company. If they made $250,000 the year before they became recruiter, their first year’s commissions would amount to $250,000.

I wondered, for instance, why very capable people were not making more placements, and therefore more pay, once they started working for us. It is extremely hard to become a recruiter at BCG. We probably interview 100 people for every one person who gets the job. I knew we were not simply seeing this phenomenon because of some sort of error in our screening process, or some lack of ability on the part of our hires. There was more to it than that.

The people who became recruiters for BCG were setting their own value in everything they did. The number of people they spoke with, their passion for the subject matter, and how hard they worked all set the tone for the results they achieved. When you are in a commission-style job, you get paid based on the amount of commissions you generate. Sales is a very complex discipline on numerous levels, and salespeople do essentially control their own incomes.

The recruiters, in these cases, were being trapped by what they thought they were worth. They were self-imposing a limit as to what they could earn. Once we realized the recruiters were trapped, we started doing everything within our power to pull them out of the trap, and to make them see they could earn as much money as they wanted and be anyone they chose to be. In reality, these recruiters were not limited in value to the amount of their previous salaries.

You need to establish your own terms for your life. You need to make these terms the greatest you possibly can. If you are currently in a bureaucratic organization and have played by all the rules, you need to ensure the organization can give you what you want from your life. The point of this is simple: life gives you what you ask of it. Your career gives you what you demand of it.

In the BMW dealership that day there were two ‘meetings of the minds’. In one of the meetings was a mind that had always done whatever others told it, and paid others whatever they asked. Another mind did what it wanted to and set its own goals. Al Pacino in Scarface set his own goals as well.

When you concentrate on your largest perceived reward, you can smash through glass ceilings. Remember the glass ceiling only exists in your mind.


In this article, Harrison explains the importance of smashing that glass ceiling which you have created in your minds – the ceiling which almost always pulls you down. To feel that others are more successful because they are lucky or because you don’t have as much potential is a big myth. You need to push through this myth and set your own worth and terms for your life, and believe that you are capable of a lot more than what you think. On doing this, your relationships, your way of seeing the world, and everything else around you changes. The glass ceiling exists only in your mind and you need to simply mould it to think greater of you. Realize the potential in you, smash the ceiling, and go ahead with a successful life.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter himself. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in a search and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive that gets results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities that its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

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17 Responses to “ Smash Through Whatever Ceiling You Are Seeing by Concentrating on Your Largest Reward”
  1. Avatar Peter Quinn says:

    Hi. I am a long time reader. I wanted to say that I like your blog and the layout.

    Peter Quinn

  2. Avatar Damian M. Biondo, Esq. says:

    Once again, thanks.

    When is Mr. Barnes going to publish all of these great tidbits in a book? He really should.

    While some I know have criticized his columns for being a bit self-serving (I don’t), what he is offering is the proverbial “just about everything that lawyers need to know but don’t learn in law school.” They should learn this stuff. I’m certainly growing as a lawyer and person by it, and Mr. Barnes needs to publish it.

  3. Avatar Shaheenul says:

    This article very nice, I have read this. Thank you for your very good article. Wish more more article like this. Thanks


  4. Avatar vshamu says:

    Thank you for writing a nice column.I really like this type of writing.It is real truth that says in this column.

  5. Avatar mariabella says:

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  6. Avatar tomagni says:

    This site, run by the author of the bestselling job-hunting and its also offers lists of the best super sites and job search engines. Some of the job search websites are not clearly discussed by those we need. Just they gave outline knowledge about job search but this sites are gave full knowledge and good ideas about jobsearch

  7. Avatar jackspar says:

    According this job search engine OR web search, This is “one of the best” job search sites, valued for its job search extras, including networking boards, job search alerts, and online resume posting and also its “a very solid” job search site that is easy to use and “uncovers a lot of jobs that you wouldn’t normally find.”

  8. Avatar tom2000 says:

    Beginners are advised no to be too choosy as the Market and the Competition is really tough. Get the job that requires your skills, gain your experience you will definitely make the money in your next job and at that time you will have less efforts put in searching for one.

  9. Avatar tom says:

    Hi! I just did a hub on job-hunting…. Speedy search, easily navigated interface, option of looking for jobs in several countries and languages. This is a great site, incredibly easy to navigate and lists a massive amount of job offers — impossible not to find at least a handful of jobs that interest you.

  10. Avatar mariabella says:

    Hey guy, first I appreciate for you. You visit the great site. A Harrison Barnes is the best one for other websites. Thanks.

  11. Avatar Stephen says:

    I have managed hundreds of salespeople in my life. The best ones definitely had high expectations and aspirations for themselves. They were successful because they started out INTENDING to be successful. Many of the less successful ones blamed others for their lack of success or simply had lower personal expectations.
    I’d venture to say however that the happiest and most routinely successful salespeople were also the most honest and the hardest working.

    It seems that using the main character of the Scarface movie, as well as the two (apparent) thugs at the car dealership, as paragons of success is inapt in this case. Scarface was a murderer and a large scale drug dealer. He killed people to make money. He had other people kill people to make money. His actions caused immense harm to many others. He had material success, but was an utter failure as a human being and came to a very unpleasant end in the movie, as most people of his ilk do in real life.

    I’d like to think that behaving in an ethical manner can also lead to material success – self-imposed “glass ceiling” or not. Selfishly stomping on others to be “successful” makes life miserable for oneself and those others who have been so stomped.

    Educated or not, materially successful or not, dishonest / evil people are usually found out and shunned by others (except those that are so materialistic and uncivilized that they want to imitate dishonest behavior so they too can be “successful”.)

    Perhaps a more apt example of success might be someone who attained success for themselves through honest means and who helped others do the same. That’s true success measured on a material level as well as on the levels of humanity and decency.

    The Scarface character is not to be admired for being someone who “set his own goals”. Like many felons in real-life prison awaiting a death sentence, he was simply someone who could not organize his life or his own behavior to consider the importance of other people, who also have goals, aspirations and families. Scarface sought to benefit himself by harming others. That’s hardly laudable behavior. It’s the law of the jungle and can make the work environment and life in general, quite unpleasant.

    I’d propose someone along the lines of Fred Smith at FedEx as a better example. He is an honest leader who built a $35 billion a year business from scratch, who created a well-documented family – friendly work culture for the 300,000 plus FedEx employees and a business offering that is widely regarded as without peer in it’s category. Most FedEx customers LOVE FedEx because the company routinely delivers what it promises.

    That’s true success – both material and human. Fred is quite wealthy as a result – and deservedly so.

  12. Avatar steveaustin says:

    This website is very big website so all kind of people will come here for job searching work.I will recommend this website for your career so come here and got the job…

  13. Avatar kavya says:

    This website is one of the good site for job seekers.They can build their Career through this site.This website helps you to find your dream job.

  14. Avatar Omar says:

    Loss for words. This blog gets better and better. I have to shatter my own glass ceiling. Living life fearlessly is the way to go.

  15. Avatar agnesmaria says:

    While some of the time some best sites are released. Including A Harrison Barnes site. This is the best one for other job sites. Please visit this site. Thanks.

  16. Avatar mariabella says:

    While some of the time some best sites are released. Including A Harrison Barnes site. This is the best one for other job sites. Please visit this site. Thanks.

  17. Avatar Mike says:

    Somewhat related to your writing, you should read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

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