I had an incredible week and actually am beginning to think that 2017 has been an incredible year, maybe the best year of my life thus far. Until recently my happiest, proudest and luckiest year was 2012, when I started working for Amazon, got rid of a lot of insecurities about who I was and what I could accomplish, published the book, and became a lot more like my true-self.
I did not really see it coming, but I could tell that some kind of a miracle was underway. Earlier this year, projects were hard, delayed and confusing. My favourite dermatologist was telling me about his first year after opening his private practice: he was always worried and could not sleep, afraid that he won’t get traction with clients or might miss something or hurt someone. Now he is one of the world best in his field and he still remembers his early clients (I was among them 😉 ). And since everyone thinks I am at least 10 years younger than I actually am, you know, he is the best.
Anyway. At some point professional life got really difficult, but instead of panicking or stressing out further or pushing even harder I just told myself to take a brake: don’t force myself doing anything that does not feel right, don’t go into a project just for the money, don’t meet the people if you don’t want to meet them and just do what feels happy. For a month. It felt like cheating. I did not do it as a strategy, I did it so stay sane and I thought I was just taking a break to be able to chill out and then go back to “hard work”. And then the real magic happened: I started meeting amazing people, they were inviting me for coffee and conferences, I was learning about blockchain and crypto. It felt like vacationing, since I was not doing any “hard work”. One contact led to another, one bit of information I learned today just for fun converted into helping someone I was meeting the next day. Never in my life did i have so many happy coincidences. Then I was hired, and hired again and again … and only by people I was happy to see each time we meet.
The whole summer felt like holidays, but at the time I still thought it was an exceptional assignment to work in a Disneyland for a while (which must finish and then the hard work inevitably takes over). But the “happy-working-with-happy-people” magic continued and intensified. Then it hit me. Everything that every single wise and successful person says about success and happiness is true: do what you feel passionate about, do it well, and you will be rewarded and it won’t even feel like work. It’s all true!!!!
I was interviewing lately a few very senior people from large and famous corporations – they apply for jobs at startups . It’s actually amazing how many people at corporations have had enough. They all ask me the same question: how did I feel leaving a great/safe/reputable/enviable job at PayPal and joining the uncertainty of a startup world, where my clients/bosses/peers are 10-15 years younger than me and I’m partially paid in cryptocurrencies that fluctuate, split, multiply, mutate and occasionally hit the $7,000 threshold 🙂 I had to practice my answer a lot lately, because I honestly want these candidates to know what they are getting themselves into (which is – you will initially feel like you lost your social and professional GPS and you have no idea how to talk about your jobs and projects and what success looks like… and some former colleagues would gossip that you are having a meltdown and midlife crisis…) but I also wanted them to actually take the job and the challenge, because it’s worth it.
Suddenly, instead of sedate promotions every 3 years and annual salary increase of 3-5% on average you get to a point where the runway is extraordinarily long and opportunities are literally endless. Funnily enough – as soon as I stopped worrying about the money and simply did my best contributing to projects that I was excited about, the money, equity, advisory roles, offers to join the boards, successful regulatory outcomes and even bitcoin price – everything fell into place.