It’s not money that is the point of the effort of earning. It is what money gives you- the ability to choose where you want to be and what you want to do with your time and energy. It allows you to do the stuff that matter to you at your own pace. It gives you the freedom to choose who you want to work with and what you work on.
What you need to earn instead and deliberately focus your efforts on are the stuff that will get you to have a calm mind, a fit body and a home full of love. I got this from Naval Ravikant. It is what makes a life full and well lived. It is how I want to spend my days.
I hope to filter my decisions against these. It is a good practice to have an anchor for the choices and actions that shape our lives. Only by doing so do we live the life we ought to live.
Today I am grateful for a conversation I had with one of my best friends. He reminded me that my heart is my strength. Sometimes I feel that I am just working on the fluffy things – brand, narrative, relationships- without having a full grasp of metrics and the hard stuff. I sometimes doubt myself because I think that I should be better equipped as a founder.
I know what I am not good at and I surround myself with people who know better and can best teach and guide me. But perhaps I also should be guided by my own strength and what I uniquely bring to the table. It is good to be reminded that there is value in that.
So I will strengthen this heart that beats for something much larger than myself. Through genuine care for others, through work that is imbued with meaning, through commitment to relationships, through the trust that others are giving their best shot, through an earnest dedication to building a space where one can be their best self. This is how I build my best self.
As and entrepreneur there is always the challenge to scale. But what if you don’t want a business that does but would be content with doing meaningful work that’s personal. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a choice to stay small and intimate with a closely knit audience who you wake up to serve every single day.
But there is also something about scaling fast so that you may have the time to do the things that don’t scale. That has impact as much as it is imbued with depth as you engage with people on a one to one basis. This is a powerful message that I got from one of the blogs I subscribe to daily. Balancing breadth and depth is a challenge but here lies growth at its finest.
A few days ago we got quite a scare when my son suddenly could not breathe. I remember him cuddling close to me, being unusually clingy and then suddenly succumbing to a bout of hyperventilation. We had to rush him to the hospital. Good thing that there was one in the middle of the isolated town where we were vacationing in for the weekend.
As I held a weak child in my arms and observed him being attached to machines to test his vital signs, I was suddenly gripped with the realisation that I could lose my son just right there. This was further exacerbated when I saw that his heart rate was escalating fast then suddenly started plummeting then up again. His overly erratic heart rate played with mine as well. I then uttered a prayer to take my heart instead and spare his.
It is this submission, which I refuse to see as an act of sacrifice because I think it is one borne out of a selfishness to not feel the pain of loss, that will be a reminder of that which I need to choose everyday. I choose his heart over mine. His is a heart so pure and true, with such capacity to be and do more in this world in the lifetime that he has ahead of him. My heart is one marked by the brokenness of some of my decisions as much as it is whole from choosing to be wholehearted everyday.
So I pledge to choose his heart over mine and in so doing choose to do what is right everyday. This is a promise that I would like to keep in the day to day undertakings, in the daily struggles to move towards what is good over what feels good at the moment. It is me making a pact with myself and my son’s heart to first remember what I promised before I do anything that will give me such temporal pleasure. My happiness is ultimately his heart holding mine. I find solace in the thought of a son’s unconditional love embracing me for the years to come. This is what I will choose everyday.
This is all we can do, try. Try to look good, be good, do good. That by itself is good enough. It’s a manner of showing up in the world , making known that here we are presenting ourselves despite all our faults. It’s being vulnerable and okay with the cracks that we used to painstakingly hide from plain sight.
To try is the process of becoming who we ought to be, if there even is such a thing. Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of the different selves that we can be. It’s tied to a recent notion of living in continuum instead of in life stages. Where we choose to play, work, learn in non-cyclical nor linear manner. It seems to be a life that flows. There is no struggle in that. Only trying.
As leaders people look to us for answers. As parents we experience the same thing. But in truth there are a lot of things we know nothing about. So I like this idea of making decisions instead of answers. It connotes a collection of answers from people who know better, taking time to introspect then making the wisest of decisions based on what is available. So it’s okay not to have the answers and to admit that you don’t know. Others might have it and can help you make a decision.
There is pain as we evolve and go through the process of becoming. Even as we go through that though we will never be fully ready for whatever it is that we choose to do or to be. Being perpetual works in progress is perhaps the best we can muster.
I am okay with this. It gives me a sense of comfort in the act of showing up earnestly everyday. Sometimes I don’t feel like it (just like today) and when I feel this way I try to do things that serve as balm to ease my self doubts and uncertainty. Whatever works for this work in progress is how I deal with it.
The act of keeping at it clarifies why we do what we do. The discipline and desire to get better sheds light to the sometimes unclear vision that is there but begs to be constantly discovered and sought out. The act of showing up is in itself an act of asking everyday whether we are right on track. And if we discover we aren’t, we can always shift gears. That’s what being a work in progress allows us to do so.