I heard this talk at the INK Conference last week, and it really just changed my life. I was actually in the makeup room with Aisha backstage (and now I’m kicking myself because I wish I had talked to her then, but of course I was super lame and too busy trying to practice my own talk). But anyway, I still got to observe her and the way she was interacting with everyone around her. And it was just so awesome- her zest for life. Her will to just….do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants. So. Awesome. (Yes, now that I’m reading this back it sounds like I’m a creepy stalker but I don’t care, she is an inspiration and I learned a lot from her that day- I hope she reads this one day and knows that).
You know how sometimes, you have to hear the right thing at the right time to give you a good kick in the pants? I think that’s what this talk did for me (I would encourage you all to watch it). But I think my biggest takeaway was that she gave me permission to be happy. I know that’s strange to say, but it was almost like I thought it was illegal to just focus on how amazing my life is and how much I love it. I felt like I needed someone to tell me, hey, everyone has great things in their life, appreciate it! And it’s ok to do that. In fact, that’s the way it should be. All the time. 24/7, 365 y’all. I guess I got so influenced by all the people who are like, wow I don’t have this and jesus I just wish I had that, life’s just not fair etc etc etc I forgot that I was allowed to say no that’s dumb and not the way we should be living.
So now, I’ve taken life into my own hands and I feel like I’m focusing on being happy/doing the things I love to do. Turns out, I’m not doing many things differently, just focusing on how grateful I am that I get to do them.
A few things on my list that I have been previously been unsure of, but now know that I am the freakish .01% that really enjoys it:
- I want to be the best startup entrepreneur I can be. By god, I want to build one of those elusive Unicorn companies (one of the 4 born in 2011) and I want to put in the blood sweat and tears to do it. Our team is going to do it the good old fashioned way, by outworking everyone else out there. Which means jesus, I’m sticking to the 4 books per month rule, and maybe bumping it up to 5. I only need so many hours of “social” time- after that, I just get antsy and think about all the startup things I could be learning (or if we’re in a group with other people, I try to strike up conversations about their job so I can learn about their startup, which doesn’t really bode well sometimes because they’re thinking man we’re not at work anymore Anu get the hint, but that’s ok, I’m gonna roll with it)
- I also want to be me. That sounds strange, but I gave this INK talk at the INK conference, and I did it in the way I wanted to deliver it, (I haven’t seen it yet but I didn’t shut myself in the bathroom right afterwards and angrily journal how awful it was like I did my first TEDx talk which means it was better than last time). But honestly, it just wasn’t me. It didn’t feel right. I’m not that person I was projecting. I can’t really walk around with a stick up my butt all the time. Well maybe I can, maybe I have to, I don’t know. I still haven’t figured this one out yet, but it’s one of those things I kind of want to think about. I probably won’t have a good answer for a while, but at least I know what I don’t want to be or do. I think that’s a start.
- Comedy. Life is way to funny not to laugh, people need to do it more often. Going back to the previous point, I didn’t have enough funny/this is so random and strange but I’m going to do it anyway sort of moments, which I’m going to work towards changing. I think it helps that I met the most amazing people at the INK conference (my fellow INK fellows), who really made me realize- man, these are brilliant beyond brilliant people and they can look past the outer facade and take what you say at face value just because you said it. Granted it’s the perfect world, but hey, why not just associate yourself with people you feel comfortable around? For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I needed to project a certain image to be taken seriously. The only other place I feel that comfortable is with my team at work (which is great because we spend a lot of time together) but now, finally, I found people who are amazing and awesome (and also think life is way too short not to laugh). I’m definitely capitalizing on this.
There’s probably a lot of other stuff I’m not talking about or thinking of right now, but I wanted to write it down before I forgot.
But really, here’s to being happy- by choice.