tl;dr Having mental operating space to think, learn, grow is presently much more valuable to me than building another company.
A conversation on Wednesday led me to consider if I want to : (1) work on a specific set of issues within the context of a larger problem, managed by someone else or (2) work for myself owning problems broadly and managing others.
Working on a specific problem within a larger problem (traditional job) engulfs some of my time (40-50 hours of my week), allowing 86 wake hours for other things that I’m passionate about: Innovation work with the UN, fostering a group of men in NYC who to support women leaning in #LeanInTogether, and growing my community of NYC movers and shakers who are shaping our community with business, startups, and social enterprise. The inkling to have someone manage me allows me to have less mental weight and give more consciousness to other things that I care about, and my role itself.
I can spread myself more widely, be a facilitator, and still have time to meditate and be mindful. Mental health is priority.
In leading a company, accountability ends at you. Every moment of every day tends to be thinking about what current tasks are, identifying blockers, and preemptively getting ahead of those while still dealing with the fires that are bound to come up. There is no perfect ship, but it takes a lot of energy making sure that you’re flexible enough to deal with leaky pipes & that you’re building a team reinforcing that idea. Leading a company is highly rewarding, but it is quite an underestimated and over glamorized challenge.
The Better Option (at the moment)
Working for someone else makes a lot of sense. I think doing it in a role that utilizes my creativity and energy to learn by doing, while creating solutions is key. At my core, I want to learn and grow. Putting myself a situation where creative elements and time align with that are key to making it actionable.
You learn a lot from building your business. I’ve learned a ton through Grynek, M/IG, and a healthy handful of other ventures that range from not so successful to straight up crash & burn. But this learning comes at a price: the burden you hold mentally is unparalleled. For me, having that mental space freed up makes life and happiness easier.
I’m really excited about building things and I can’t stay away for too long. M/IG should allow me to build things part-time and fill that super-creative need. As Walt Whitman says, we are many things. I think doing this today helps me prepare myself to tackle bigger challenges.
How do you feel about this in context to yourself?