18 months ago, when the startup we were trying to get going was having trouble getting focused, a couple of us took a few days off to reflect on what we were doing, where we wanted to go, and ultimately what we wanted for ourselves.
More than a month later, that business was dead, but what happened on those days in early July of 2015 were not remotely in vain.
You see, on those couple days off, I headed down to Venice Beach in the morning, to sit, stare out over the water, and to think. Other than being on my bike, the waves and the sand are my favorite form of meditation. Despite that, we had been talking about the startup for some time and that we’d been trying to get some traction in the couple months after I’d left Beachbody. I decided to reset.
Regardless of what had been discussed and worked on, regardless of the time we’d spent, regardless that I’d left a senior executive role, I decided to take this opportunity to start anew—to ask myself what I really wanted. If I had $50-million, what would I do? The answer wouldn’t be to sit on the couch and watch TV all day long.
But if I could do anything, what would that look like? And similarly, and more importantly, what did I want my life to look like?
Part of what I realized that day is that I wanted the ability to do what I was doing at that exact moment—to go to the beach at 9am on a Wednesday morning. It didn’t need to be the next week or even the next month. But I wanted to be in the position where I could go to the beach on a random Wednesday. As much as I had an SVP title and eight years of tenure in my prior role, I had never taken a random Wednesday morning to be at the beach.
It would’ve been more romantic and tidier to post this on the anniversary of that day, but life doesn’t always work that way. The reality is that I’d been remiss in recognizing something.
That something was that there was a day over a year later where while I wasn’t exactly on the beach, I had just spent a Wednesday morning poolside with my family. Even though we had intended to return on Tuesday night from a work trip in which my wife and boys had joined me, we decided to stay an extra day at a resort.
Because we could.
Because I could.
I could, in fact, get my work done in the hotel room and poolside. Sending emails, doing a couple calls, getting done what I needed to get done. Similarly, deciding that I could push out a couple things an extra day to enjoy time with my family.
This isn’t to say that I can do so every day, and probably not every Wednesday. It isn’t to say that I didn’t feel a good amount of anxiety despite being in a beautiful venue with my family — I’m still relatively early on in my consulting business—and yes, I’m totally at peace with that “consulting” label that most people shy away from. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a very young business. I still don’t have a bunch of things figured out. That’ll likely always be the case.
But I’m proud to say—and frankly surprised to say—that I have taken more than one moment in the past 18 months to lean into the family time where it might’ve gone to work. That usually results in working my tail off to catch up. And yet, it’s worth it.
In fact, in looking back at my 2016 calendar, it turns out that I was away from home more than 50 days last year on some sort of trip. The vast majority of those trips were with all four of us, a few were just my wife and I, and then I got one guy’s ski trip on my own.
Sure, I worked on some of those 50+ days, but given the choice between doing some work while on a trip versus not taking the trip at all, it’s a no-brainer which one to choose. All this while building a new business and generating an income that I’m comfortable with but certainly working on growing.
There are plenty of opportunities to reset, but we only get one go-through in this life. Sure, we can start over. But I can’t go back and re-do 43 years old.
So now, on a random Wednesday where I am up in San Francisco with a client, it’s time to take a moment on my flight back to realize the power of vision. And the power of putting it out there.
It’s kinda neat to surprise and impress yourself—insert hashtag humblebrag. There’s still a ton of work to do—and not just in the professional sense. And so this post is much more for me as anything.
As a moment of acknowledgment.
As a reminder of what we’re capable of.
As a point of reference when I’m frustrated.
Because while the big moments, holidays, and trips are super important, there are in fact many more random Wednesday mornings—in addition to the random Tuesday nights or Friday lunches—that add up over time. They are opportunities to enjoy life in the moment. Opportunities to not wait for vacation to spend quality time with those who are most important in our lives.
It’s cool what happens when you spend a moment gaining clarity on what it is that’s really important.
And even cooler to see that it’s happening.