Getting Un-Broken

After you shatter your life to billions of tiny pieces, the only thing left is to start putting it back together.  One piece at a time.  Put one foot in front of the other and try not to fall.  If you don’t fall, it’s a good day.  Sometimes you have to re-learn how to walk.  Because turns out, you weren’t really walking very well the first time around.  More like limping kind of, but you didn’t know you were even doing it.  It’s like when you’re little and you’re so excited to learn how to crawl, and you’re so proud of yourself for learning how to crawl, but then you learn about this thing called walking and you’re like wait a minute.  WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE?! And then even if you fall when you’re walking it’s still way better than crawling? (Not that I remember what it felt like to be 2, but having observed some small children over the past few years I’m just annotating what I think is going through their heads.  Also there is no way to confirm or deny this so I’m going with the analogy).

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it, right?

It’s really hard not to get really mad at yourself though.  HOW IS THIS NOT FIGURED OUT YET? Oh yeah.  Because I broke this.  On purpose.  And on accident.  A purposeful accident.  Accident because you didn’t know what the end result would be.  But on purpose because what you had before just wasn’t cutting it and you were willing to take that leap of faith to say that the next thing has to be better than what I have now.  Kind of like the (almost) first blog post. Coming full circle.  I guess that’s what gives me faith to do it again.  I did this once before.  Almost 6 years ago.  And it worked out ok.  In fact, it worked out better than I could have imagined.  Not perfect, obviously, but what’s really perfect anyway? (Except George Clooney- I think he is the exception that proves the rule, I’m just saying).

I think I just need to give myself that last push off the ledge to go for it.  6 years ago was easier because guess what.  I didn’t have anything to lose (or if I did I wasn’t really thinking about it).  Being young and dumb has its perks.  I’m still dumb and young but not dumb enough to know nothing about what I’m doing this time around and exactly what I’m giving up.  There are pros and cons to this.  I think that means it’s harder to do it this time around, but I think chances of success are also significantly higher. Mostly because if there was a mistake, I’ve probably already made it.  At least the easy ones.  I’ve made a significant number of those.

Isn’t it weird to think of your life as a bunch of mistakes that you just feel less shitty about over time? That’s slightly depressing.  I feel like there’s a more poetic and less depressing way to say this, but I can’t think of it right now.  I’m definitely not at the point where I’m looking back at this time in life and saying oh, how cute.  That was definitely needed to do X, Y, and Z and I’m so glad I did it.  I’m still at the…oh lord please don’t let all hell break loose and yes I’m really really grateful for this second chance and all but please help me fuck up less this time or at least if I do please make it feel less like I’m going to DIE and more like…a paper-cut (still painful because I’m a baby and have no pain tolerance, but you know, if I have to be in SOME kind of pain, this is preferable- can you make a note of this please, should I send it to your secretary? Maybe email? Has Google reached you yet??).  K Thanks.

Love Anu.

 

Accepting Where I Am In Life

I hate that word. Accepting.  Acceptance. Ugh.  Why do I need to accept anything? Why can’t I just go on being stubborn and just make everything the way I think it should be in my head? Tried that.  Turns out, that’s not the greatest idea.  Well, that’s not true.  I think it’s important to keep that vision of the world in your head, but at the same time be real about how and when and what it’s going to be like getting there.  The being real part is where the acceptance comes in, I think.  Also, it helps to not go insane.  Like beating yourself up over not being perfect yet.  Ok let me rephrase that.  Beating yourself up over not doing as good as you could be doing.  That’s also quite false.  What could I be doing? Lots of things.  Am I better than where I was a year ago? Oh yeah. Most definitely.

So what was I doing a year ago? I don’t know. Oh wait…I write a BLOG. That shit is DOCUMENTED.

  • NextDrop had died.  And I was figuring out what the fuck I was going to do with my life.
  • I was in London! Judging a Unilever entrepreneurship competition (ironic since my company was doing quite shit- the irony was not lost on me).
  • I was in the process of redoing my life from scratch.
  • Basically having a life meltdown.

SO taking more stock of my life as it is today. I am still 29 and I turn 30 in a few weeks. This is what my life looks like:

Resolutions:

  • I have decided that I’m going to give it my all in business.  That’s going to be my thing. I’m going to be an entrepreneur in the water sector.  As my first business.  And then I’m going to have more businesses.  Maybe at the same time.  Maybe at different times. I don’t know.  But I love the rush.  It’s fun.
  • I have decided that I am going to see the people I love as often as I can
  • I am going to spend the rest of my life with my man best friend boyfriend, Sumit.
  • I am not going to waste life being stressed out and unhappy and unjoyful.  I’m going to take that stick up my butt and shove it somewhere else (hopefully in the recycle bin).
  • I am going to be grateful for what I have because man I have a LOT.
  • I am not going to ignore problems- I am going to face them head on.  That’s what got me into this hot mess in the first place.
  • I am going to be a kinder and more compassionate person, especially to myself.  And then everyone else around me.

The reality

  • I am super broke.  Broke to the point where my parents just bought me a new computer because they are super nice and felt really bad for me.
  • I am very judgmental.  I mostly judge myself, but because of this I also judge other people.  It’s a very un fun place to be.
  • I swing between truly believing I can do this, to oh god I’m bat-shit crazy.   I’m hoping I can even out to a place of more sustained confidence.

The other reality:

  • I have amazing friends and family and I have a lot of love and support in my life. Some of my friends and family are so nice and they know I’m super broke and they pay for things.  Not because I ask, but just because they are amazing, generous people.  I am really motivated to work my butt off and do the same for them.  I need to stop letting shame and pride get in the way.  I was judging myself for being almost 30 and not having my shit together.  But you know what? What if I just flipped it and was just grateful for having some amazingly generous and kind people in my life? And be incredibly and deeply grateful.  And work towards showing that same sort of…grace….I think that’s the right word…back one day.  That’s the goal

So that’s where I’m at.  A broke, almost 30 year old with big dreams and a lot to be grateful for in life.

So This One Time When I Went On A Slow Carb Diet (For 7 hours)

Yes. That’s the longest I could last. I think it doesn’t help that I don’t eat meat or eggs.  Kind of makes ingesting protein really hard.  But there’s a bigger issue at hand here.  I think every woman, from Twiggy to Priyanka Chopra, has had (at some point in life) body issues.  I think any woman that says they never had is a liarface and I never want to speak to them again.  Unless they are some sort of Zen Buddhist enlightened monk or something.  Then it’s fine.  But for the rest of us mortals. UGH. BODY ISSUES. UGH.

I think for the longest time I just ignored them.  And by ignored them I pretended everything was fine but then I would exercise like crazy and eat practically nothing.  I was an awesome size 4 this is true.  But then those headaches were a bitch.  I’m just saying.  Not doing that again.

Also I think this idea of “healthy” is such crap.  What does that mean anyway? If you go to the guy at Golds Gym he’ll tell you that 18% bodyfat is obese so you being your 25% bodyfat self has no hope (Yes, this happened when I was in college and I basically yelled at him and asked for his education credentials and said douchey things like Google is smarter than you what am I paying you for).  If I go to the doctor, they say everything is fine.

 

BUT I DON”T FEEL FINE PEOPLE.  This is the problem.  At least I know how I feel. And I don’t feel fine.  I feel lazy and lethargic and I used to get up in the morning ready to go but now I”m like…ugh.  UGH.  Le sigh.

And also, I HATE CLOTHES SHOPPING.  Because what are you supposed to buy? Are you supposed to buy things that fit you RIGHT now? Because I mean, I hope I don’t stay like this for hundreds of years, but at the same time who knows how long this will be so….what. Do I just drop a few hundred dollars to buy the clothes that fit me now? Should I just buy baggy clothes that can fit me at any size? Should I just put off buying clothes at all until the day I feel happy with all of this?

Can I just say – side note.  Indian clothes are great because most of them use drawstrings so it doesn’t matter what your waist size is, THE SAME PANTS WILL FIT THEY ARE AMAZING.

Ok back to my rant about clothing.  Le sigh. I’m tired of ranting too. I think I have to go back and figure out…how to reconsile the fact that this is my body and I”m not getting another one, and it’s actually not so bad, but I need to know how to service it and do all the scheduled maintenance and stuff on it.  It did not come with an instruction manual. That would have made things a lot easier.

Dear God. In your next iteration of humans, can you insert an RFID chip that basically serves as an instruction manual for service and maintenance on this body that we inhabit? That would be super helpful. K. Thanks.

 

 

 

Sometimes Things Get Better

Like if you hold your breath long enough sometimes things start falling into place.  Let me rephrase that.  If you work your ass off WHILE holding your breath long enough things start falling into place.

Rewind about 2.5 weeks ago.  I realized that I just wasn’t giving work my all.  I wasn’t.  I mean, on a to do list it looked ok but if I really asked myself if I was giving life my 100%, the answer was no.  Nobody else would have been able to say that.  Only me.  Because I know myself and I know what I am capable of doing. I knew I could do more.

And I also vowed this year to just stop lying to myself about shit.  I’m tired of it.  There’s no point.  In fact, that’s probably the thing that got me in the hot mess shit hole in the first place.  I mean, if I was honest with myself and just took stock of life a few years ago (hell, lets go ALL the way back to some 3-4 years ago) things could have been different. But until time travel is invented (which I’m SO down for), all that KIND of doesn’t matter.  So new beginnings, no more self lying.  And I’ve also decided that there’s nothing wrong with saying hey Anu. Guess what.  You know you can do better than this.  Sometimes you can’t.  And I’ve been there too. But that’s not where I was 2.5 weeks ago.  And I’ve been around the block enough now to know the difference.

So that’s when I found another gear and dialed into it.  Put it in motion. And you know what? Things started moving.  People who I was trying to connect with for MONTHS randomly contacted me back.  I was figuring out how to reach out to the World Bank and guess what.  They reached out to me.

I really believe that when you, deep down, figure that you can do better, and you actually dig deep to move- the world tries to help you back.  I’m a big believer in that.  Also, it kind of doesn’t matter what the end result of all this stuff is.  Maybe nothing will work out with any of the leads we are getting.  But at the end of the day, I just FEEL better.  I FEEL like I’m living up to my potential as a human being on this planet.  I FEEL like I’m moving in the right direction.

And I’ve realized that when your life is usually a chaotic hot mess, that feeling of creative fulfillment, is sometimes enough.

Notes On Very Public MeltDowns

So I was talking to my friend and she was like oh man Anu.  I was reading your blogs.  I loved the way you publicly melted down.  That was epic.  I hadn’t actually thought if it like that until now but I was like…yeah.  That happened.  It’s mainly because I tried to see a therapist and she was like…uh…blah blah blah…I think we’re done here, you don’t have to come any more.  And then I’m like…BUT I”M SITTING HERE STILL CRYING IN YOUR SEAT USING YOUR ENTIRE BOX OF TISSUES WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WOMAN.  Except I didn’t actually say that, I just said ok and stopped going.  And then I tried to find a better one, but I think all the real ones actually charge shit tons of money and have years of waitlists I don’t really have shit tons of money and I’m impatient AF so I was like…THE INTERNET IS MY THERAPIST.

Also, I really really enjoyed reading other people’s ish around when shit was hitting the fan so I was like…lets contribute to this body of literature.  Public melt-down-ing. That’s a genre now.

Things are somewhat chaotic but I think things will always be chaotic. I’ve decided my life is always going to be chaotic.  For the near to distant near future at least.  I am going to call it…un boring.  Sometimes in the morning I struggle to get out of bed, this is true.  Mostly because I’m dreading what’s going to happen that day. Also, sometimes, my biggest accomplishment is taking a shower.  Or so it feels.  I didn’t just stay in my pajamas all day.  I took a shower and got dressed.  YES.  And other days are really great.  I”m up before my alarm and I’m on top of my ish.  Sometimes I avoid the world for a few weeks, and sometimes I’m all about trying to meet people.  It’s a grab bag really.

Anyway, that’s what the world of Anu looks like right about now. Chaotic AF and who knows what the day will hold.

The Difference Between Your First #Startup And Your Second One

I feel like I’m living that Luvs commercial: First kid, second kid.

Company Logo:

Startup #1:

$700 and 3 months later, we have a logo (which we change a year later)

Startup #2:

“Hey Devin, I think we need a company logo”

“Oh… yeah. Probably”

“Hey can we just use a glyphicon from the noun project?”

“Let me check..yeah.  We can”

$2 and 10 minutes later, we have a logo.

Company Website:

Startup #1:

$2000 and 2 months later we have a website (which we promptly change after 1 year)

Startup #2:

Code Academy Bootstrap Course: $7

Download Free Boostrap Template: Free99

$7 and 2 weeks later, we have a website.  

 

 

 

Life Thoughts: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Do you ever feel like the pieces of happiness are right there, right in front of you, you’re just not putting them together the right way? That’s how I feel right now.  It’s so infuriating because I feel like I’m so close and yet, somehow, it’s just evading my reach.

One big thing I’ve realized is that what got me here won’t get me to where I want to be.  What does that mean? It means that I have to chuck every strategy and method I’ve used over the past 29 years and get new ones to get me to where I want to go in my 30’s.

The main difference, at least in my head, is really about feeling. I’m one of those people that avoids feelings like the plague.  I like to compartmentalize, avoid, work over/through and pretend that feelings are some alien concept to me until the cows come home (or populate the streets of Bangalore).  I think it’s because I’m terrified of what I feel. Half the time I don’t even know what I’m feeling, and the other half I pretend like they don’t exist.  I’m terrified of the work that it takes to actually face them head on.  Does this mean that I’ll never be successful? Will I turn into a bag of mush and never be able to leave my house through the sheer lack of will due to the terrible nature of this thing we call the human existence?  (Do I need to redefine my definition of success??)

These are the questions that terrify me and make me want to keep avoiding feelings for all of eternity.  Except…I know deep down that this is a terrible idea.  I know that avoiding my feelings got me this far, but I also know that if I want to be the best version of myself, I need to tap into this part of me that’s been dormant for 29 years.

What worries me? The fact that I already cry like a baby at movies like A Cinderella Story (yes, with HILLARY DUFF THAT ONE JUDGEY MC JUDGERSON). That’s with me TRYING to suppress these feelings.  My greatest fear is that I will be one hot mess that can’t even find the will to get up in the morning.

What do I have going for me? Well, I’ve already been a hot mess, and I figure I can get out of that so even if I do turn into a big bag of mush, I’ve been there.  I mean the hot mess bit.   And I’m sort of on the other side (at least to me it feels that way), so really this won’t be new.

I still think the potential upside far outweighs the downside.  Hot mess vs…a more fulfilled life? Yeah, I’ll take that.

What does this look like? I still don’t know.  But I’m starting from ground 0 again.  And if I’ve done it in a big way before, I’m probably going to avoid it.  Try something new.

What is this new stuff? I guess that will be the content of future blog posts.

To be continued.

#BeastMode: Random Thoughts About Mindset

What’s the one thing that’s going to take me to the next level in my entrepreneurial career? Changing my mindset.  I need to learn to love the process.  Carol Dwek talks about this in her book, Mindset.  It’s pretty great, and the more podcasts I listen to, the more I’m convinced that’s what it takes to get me to where I want to go.

I’ve realized something interesting though.  This sort of mindset requires a lot of focus.  I also believe in the idea of deep work, Cal Newport’s catch phrase.  I think that’s where exercise comes in.  At least CrossFit.  I think if I use CrossFit training as actually a way to practice focus and discipline, I can see how that will help me be a better entrepreneur.  Because going for the sake of physical health is not really doing it for me.  I can be doing a lot of things that are not as intense as CrossFit, and not as demanding.

I have realized that greatness lies in the pushing of intellectual boundaries.  For example, right when I want to stop researching smart metering contracts, that’s when I want to push on for another hour.  That’s where the magic happens.  Because then I discover interesting things and have insights I never had before.  And that requires focus, and discipline.

So one of the habits I want to cultivate is to go to CrossFit 3 days a week.  Learn to not only be ok with the pain, but love it.  And really be present, focus, and get through that hour like a champ.  I’m going to do that for the next 3 months, see what happens.

All Right All Right- I’m Mostly Doing It Because It’s Fun.

I was talking to a friend of mine and he’s like umm.. Anu.  Really? You think this is the easiest way to make money? And what is up with your obsession about money?

Good questions.  I actually have no good reason for my obsession with these things other than I think they are fun to think about.  It’s crazy how little I know about something that literally makes the world go round.  I want to think about making money because it’s interesting and useful.  I also think it’s interesting to put constraints on ways you are going to make money. I want to only make money in ways I find interesting.

So at the end of the day, I’m actually actually not doing any of this for the sake of money.  Because if that was what I was optimizing for, I would be doing so many different things.

I’m really just doing it…to see if I can.  And that’s pretty fun.  Pushing your own boundaries.

Project Self Made Millionaire: Update I

I think these should become more regular, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading/interviews/research on this one.  The book I found most helpful was: The Ten Roads to Riches: The Way The Wealthy Got There And How You Can Too.  These are pretty much the only ways people become millionaires:

  1. Start your own business
  2. Become CEO of an existing successful company
  3. Hitch to someone you believe will be really successful and make you rich in the process
  4. Become a celebrity and turn it into wealth
  5. Marry Rich
  6. “Steal It”- meaning sue someone I think
  7. Use other people’s money to make more money
  8. Invest in future revenue streams
  9. Make money through land
  10. Save a lot of money

I thought it was a decently exhaustive list.  I didn’t really even understand a few of them but you can pick up the book if you want.  It’s a…weird read.  The guy has a writing style all his own I must say.  Anyway, for various reasons I pretty much narrowed it down to start your own business.  The other ones seemed more complicated.  I feel like I have to make money somewhere, and I can either start through a job which I have savings and then invest it wisely and well, or take a chance and start your own thing.  For various reasons, I didn’t really consider the other options (although they are pretty good ones).

I did give this a lot of thought, and to me, right now, I feel like I need to take the chance and start another thing.  Mostly because a) it’s the only thing I know b) I’ve already made so many mistakes it HAS to be better the second time around and c) that seems the most interesting.  I also figure I’m still decently young, few responsibilities, and that’s not going to be the situation forever.  May as well try this now.

 

So now I know the how.  Next post I want to get down to the nitty gritty of the mechanics of this.