Change. Happiness. New People and a New Path.
One of the things that everyone keeps saying to me since making the decision to create my own brand(s) (again), is how happy I have seemed.
And it’s true.
I am actually happier and less stressed out than I have ever been. I’m getting much more done in a shorter period of time and I leave each day feeling as if I have crushed it (I am getting 5 SKU’s to market in 4 months and consulting several clients!). All these observations got me wondering what has brought me to this side of happy, as opposed to where I was before, and I now know that it is clarity and specificity.
For a long time, my goals were very very vague. ‘I want to be successful’, ‘I want to make this company successful’, ‘I want to be healthy’. There was nothing specific about any of this. It was obviously general (and if you’ve listened to my podcast, you know how I feel about not being specific, so what the hell, right?!).
Since the universe has an extremely funny (and often ironic) way of working, all those things came true. Businesses and people working in them were successful. I had success and health in ways for myself but none of it made me feel the accomplishment I was looking for. And none of it made me happy. None of it made me feel fulfilled. It made me feel like all the work I was doing was to get other people, businesses and shareholders where they wanted to be. Not where I wanted to be. It left me exhausted, resentful and feeling taken advantage of. It translated to a fairly defensive attitude when I was challenged, nights sitting on the couch watching bad TV and a feeling of failure- a feeling of not being far enough in my career.
So what changed? I came to a crossroads. There is nothing like a crossroads after almost 10 years of doing something. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, right? I had two choices: I could keep doing the same thing I had always done out of some need to prove myself to everyone OR I could sit my ass down and figure out what I really wanted and who I wanted to be.
Now, I was lucky, as everything started to turn, I was going to be spending about a month in London with my family. I had a time change, a computer, and my walking shoes. My sister called me during the first week and read me the riot act. She said, ‘Go do these things I am telling you to do and f%$king find yourself, ok?’. Damn. Universe 1, HKT 0.
She wrote me with a list of museums, bookstores, culinary adventures, restaurants and interesting businesses she thought I would like (my sister knows me pretty well- she nailed it). I spent an afternoon mapping out the next 3 weeks of my life. And I became inspired for the first time in a long time. I was so inspired that some nights I broke down in tears in our little London flat for no reason other than the realization that I had let my ambition blind me. I realized that I was operating from a place of proving something to everyone else and not doing anything that was really true to me. In some ways it had served me, I was lit by this sort of angry fuel I had had. But I was maxed out. I started to understand that coming from that angry ambitious place, just like a get rich quick scheme, was never going to work out. If I kept operating from that place, I was going to go nowhere. Nowhere. Over and over and over again.
I came home from the UK with a new sense of self and loads of energy and inspiration. I wrote a plan. A really specific plan (my friends at Best Self helped me out!) and I started working. I also changed the people I was surrounding myself with. I got a new business partner (and a phenomenal one at that). I reached out to new people whose work I was aligned with and acquaintances I had had along the way who I realized were just the people I need in my life. Most notably, I reconnected with Nitika Chopra (who I knew from my days at NibMor) because I am now building a brand that looks to inspire joy every day (Paper Greats) and no one, I mean no one inspires joy and positivity like Nitika. I won’t go into every little detail, but that girl is a friend for life. I left New York City that day knowing I was on the right path. She infused me with energy and gave me hope that there are people out there who support one another and that business could be fun and inspiring, even behind the scenes (thank you my dear sweet friend).
So, what does this all mean? Life is too short. You didn’t go into business for yourself or go work for a startup to be miserable. You can move on or change the reasons that you are there. If you don’t operate from a place of service in this world, where you can feel good about what you are putting out there, you’ll never win. A ‘me against everyone’ view will always have everyone kicking your ass. Re-evaluate, re-assess and then re-engage. I promise you won’t be sorry and you’ll certainly be a whole lot happier.