Labor Day Resolutions
For whatever reason, the Summer-Fall changeover feels more like a New Year then New Years this year. Maybe that’s just aging or the nature of my current work. But in lieu of January 1st, I decided on Monday to spend a little time reflecting and write up a few Labor Day resolutions. Just a few things to work on or focus on in hopes that they’ll help me grow and be better heading into the colder months.
1). Eye Contact - I’ve never been good at eye contact, which I was told seven years ago would keep me from having a successful career. When thinking out loud or vocalizing a new opinion, I find I look anywhere other than the people with whom I’m talking. Maybe its straight awkwardness or its that I lose my train of thought when concentrating on addressing someone directly. Anyways, I’m going to fix this one. I’ve become so accustomed to it that I don’t think about it anymore but it must at times be strange for those on the receiving end. If interacting face to face is in part about discovering true connection, eye contact is one of the few physiological mechanisms at your disposal. Shouldn’t waste it.
2). On Time - At NextView and with most VCs, 80% of the gig revolves around meeting entrepreneurs. All the time. My bias is to meet in either a neutral setting or, if there is one, that person’s office. I believe it creates a more natural setting to hear a pitch and discuss an idea without putting an entrepreneur into an environment where they either clam up or go into hyper sales mode. (I used to do this for hiring as well). The logistics of this endeavor aren’t ideal and at time I’ve found myself arriving late to a meeting. Its a cliché that VCs are always late but the last thing I want to do is disrespect someone else’s time or reinforce a negative stereotype. While delays in New York transit are inevitable sometimes, I won’t be late on my internal account anymore.
3). Present in the Present - There seems to me to be unimaginable peace of mind in being able to focus on the immediate here and now without a constant glance over your shoulder or around the next bend into your past or future. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet. Perpetual To Do lists, insecurity about the future, analysis paralysis, thinking about thinking about things, and specters of past misfortune or fumble draw my attention often from any one task, thought or simple moment at hand. I can’t really control outcomes or fix past issues with anything other than the thoughts, relationships, and actions of my present. And its time better spent in a fulfilling present than a present spent stressing about times ahead or behind.
4). More New, Less Zone Out - Whenever I actually do it, I really love exploring something unknown to me: a new app, a new artist, a new alleyway, a different way home, a different way to take a note, a new author. Its really a requirement for my job. Though often I find myself, in evening hours or quiet moments, slipping into zone out periods where I’m going through the paces of commute or social media black holes without purpose or actual enjoyment. Sometimes distraction and passive consumption are great but not beyond a momentary break. No more of that going forward, I’d like to always be stepping forward into something new.