The Pressure Builds
The past couple weeks have elevated my stress to unsustainable levels… what began as a vision to bring transparency to a world that I’ve spent over a decade studying was feeling more like an implosion of responsibility.
The harder I worked, the more recognition and encouragement I got, which widened the scope of my responsibility, which meant I needed to work harder. The emotional oscillations and different views I was given by professionals in the field only fueled the flames of my anxiety. One day I was being told “you’re really onto something, there are so many places this could add value,” the next I was told, “I can’t imagine this hasn’t already been done, it doesn’t seem like anything you’ve done here is really that difficult or unusual.” It was like some military exercise to break people down and bring them closer together… except I was alone, by myself every day, working harder so I could work harder-er.
All the while I was watching my daughter change by the day and wondering, “am I going to regret this? Am I going to be working this hard for the next 5 years and miss my daughter growing up? What if this fails, then I will have missed the most precious moments in my daughter’s life, only to have nothing to show for it?” Then I would remind myself that I carve out one hour each day to spend with her, I’m making time for her… this is just my mindset spiraling me into deeper places of self-doubt…. so why do I feel so anxious? I can’t out from under this mountain of responsibility.
People kept telling me I looked tired, which from their perspective was a way to express concern and voice that they cared about me. I of course took it as unbridled inconsideration, so I felt more distant from the few people I was in contact with… stop telling me how fucking tired I look. Sid & I would joke in the morning that Delta was going to charge me $150 to fly because my bags wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin. What was strange is that I was getting 7 hours a night because I knew this was going to be a long haul… Why do I look so tired? it’s gotta be my body’s manifestation of the stress… so much responsibility.
I am My Dream
Today I was looking up at the stack of responsibility that had accrued over the week — balancing squarely on the tips of my clavicle and out of sight behind my brow-line — I need to write that numerical sensitivity estimation algorithm, how long is it going to take to code up a
I can keep going… I can push harder… I’ve got lots of fight left.
Then I was struck by a deep moment of introspection; I began to ask myself questions to try to really get the root of what was going on, I just felt so unsettled and stressed out, so I began to ask myself:
Am I ok financially? check. What would I like to do professionally if I had my dream job? I’d create an opportunity that blends my deep moral compass with diverse, intellectual challenges while having the opportunity to lead people and weave my own cultural fabric of a company. Oh, right, check. How’s home? I am in a deeply fulfilling partnership where my wife continues to astonish me with the ways she evolves and eats the world and I have a daughter who is the most beautiful, happy baby in the western hemisphere (this has been verified by third party agencies). check.
So if could have my life look any way I want, what would it look like? It would exactly as it looks right now. Sure we’d have $1MM in revenues instead of just signing our first client… but then I’d be doing less of the creative work, less of the coding — what I’m experiencing right now in the development of my company is only temporary. What’s more, I’m certain that I will look back on these times as the “Caps for Sale” protagonist with great fondness. In fact, I am exactly where I want to be in every part of my life.
The moment I had that realization, a wave gratitude washed over me, and the tide receding back into my ocean of being left an unmistakable sensation…calm. A deep, centered calm. And in that stillness came complete clarity.
I could ask for nothing more than to create, with my hands, tiny shards of beauty that make the world a more open and genuine place (yes that’s how I feel about coding visualizations of portfolio performance, please gag silently). This moment is filled with opportunity, not responsibility. I don’t have to do this… my life is exactly as I would dream it. I am my dream… I am my dream.
After feeling a deep sense of contentment and peace, I got back to work. But it didn’t feel the same. Suddenly a road block: Pushing my local branches to multiple repos seems to have broken my version control. Normally I’d feel “the stack” bear down on me as this meaningless road bump took me off of a high priority task, but instead I thought, “how exciting I get to understand vc a little bit better, what a special time” and the calm persisted.
Several similar experiences occurred with the same response — embrace the opportunity… step back for perspective … drink this in … I could ask for nothing more… be grateful for this moment… doing exactly what you want to be doing.
Today, I feel a deep sense of fulfillment, happiness, and ease. Today, I am my dream.