Back in 1999, I worked for a Dotcom that was going to disrupt the entire distribution business. We went from 15 to 115 people in the blink of an eye and we cut through millions of venture capital money like a hot knife through butter. Internally, people were super excited because they thought they were going to get filthy rich based on the innovative platform we had created. Unfortunately, we found out that having a relationship with the market actually mattered more than the fancy website and two years later, the doors closed.
With a great big spoonful of obviousness, it is clear that people are suffering—mentally, physically and economically. While a variety of surveys and data can confirm the level of stress in the country, it is equally as obvious that we don’t need a stupid poll to tell us what we already know. The good news, however, is that stress is usually rooted in worrying about what we cannot control. We just need to focus on the things on which we can have an impact.
There is an old adage that “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” And while nobody in the world would dispute the chaotic landscape we find ourselves within, a little look in the mirror for all of us might be in order. The events of the past four months have been awful, but I wonder if maybe the problems are exacerbated by the culture we have collectively built the past couple of decades.
I love to tell my kids about all of my friends in my neighborhood when I was young. I barrage them with stories about building forts, riding our bikes all over creation and playing capture the flag until dark. As you can imagine, they are both pretty sick and tired of hearing about my amazing childhood and all of my great memories.
Our goals are normally pretty straightforward. We aspire to go to a certain college or make a specific team. We want to make a pile of money or rise to a level within an organization. But what happens when the goalposts move? What if those objectives feel unattainable or lose their merit?