Have you been “crushing it” lately? Are you working in a company that is going to “disrupt” something? Would you like to sit down and talk with a “thought leader” today?
If these are your yardsticks for success, you might find yourself with a yard stick like the above: crushed personal space, a disrupted life, and a lot of unactionable ideas about how to get the thing off your lawn.
What we value today is not how future generations will judge us. What if we paused for a moment to consider what they might say?
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Unknown; Multiple People
By definition, I am an impact entrepreneur. It means that I value people and planet far more than I value money. In turn, this means that conventional investors find spectacular ways to tell me “no” since I have an ESG Policy (revision coming with the website) to abide by that does not prioritize only monetary returns. Hint: I have stopped talking to conventional investors long ago.
Impact entrepreneurs and buzzwords are like oil and water. Or ice cream and sausages, if you prefer. Here's my takeaways from this journey:
Stop trying to crush it.
If what you are doing is worthwhile, no amount of external labels is going to make it come better or faster. Nor can you optimize every minute of your day, since life is entirely unpredictable. Getting up at 4AM and working until 12AM is a high-speed guarantee to burnout, not a successful CEO schedule.
I have found that if you simply live in the minute, focused on being your best and doing your best, the rest will fall into place.
If you find that some method that allows you to improve the quality or quantity of your work, that's great. If you have to tell people that you are now “crushing it,” you are not singly focused on your goal. Get back to living in the minute.
And take unscheduled breaks. The greatest epiphanies do not happen behind a desk: they happen on a break.
Disruption should not be a goal.
Some entrepreneurs and startups proudly proclaim that they are on the verge of disrupting an entire industry. In retrospect, many of these “disruptions” have only served to make a few people wealthy while advancing a consumerist agenda. An agenda that does not serve communities or planet.
In many cases, the ideas that benefit community and planet are never disruptive. No matter how much I work and hope, Shift Sight will not become a behemoth after product launch. A behemoth that would fund all of the societal problems I want to solve. When have you heard someone trying to disrupt an industry so they can give away all of their profits?
I am not aiming to disrupt: I am aiming to repair and support. I will repair broken industries and support the afflicted individuals and communities. A push for sustainability and self-sufficiency is the most pragmatic thing we can do right now.
What if we took the same approach with our communities and families – sustainability and self-sufficiency? If this were the priority, we would care a lot less if someone disrupted an industry.
What is a thought leader?
I occasionally encounter people who self-describe as a thought leader. I immediately feel bad for and wish I could help these people: humility would possibly serve them better.
Even when the term is bestowed upon someone, it is still unusual. Some of the best thinkers I have met continually reevaluate their own position, integrating the viewpoints of others to reach better outcomes. They do not rigidly adhere to expectations of the label: they would rather serve their family and community.
It is a human flaw to believe that because we have formulated a solution to a problem, there is no need to continue thinking. There is always a better solution. When I work, I look for two or three solutions if time allows.
In my opinion, it is more important to continually evaluate the direction of your compass instead of the magnitude of your yardstick. A thought leader may have a big yardstick [of success], but it doesn't matter if theirs is bigger than the next person if their yardstick is going the wrong way.
The compass is more important because it reminds us to react to our immediate environment: the rock on our path may be in the way of our immediate goal, but it may be a reminder to stop and care about a friend in need.
As a Teal startup driven by an impact entrepreneur, Shift Sight is anything but conventional.
In the introduction, I suggested a momentary pause to think about how future generations will judge us. Will they think that, as a generation, we “crushed” our career goals if we were too busy to care about family needs? Does anyone expect the history books to be awash with all of the disruptors of industry, or do you think that there will be chapters dedicated to poverty and suffering that occurred while a few billionaires rode on the coattails of a disruptive gadget?
I do not know if I am crushing it. I really have no idea if I am disrupting an industry. I am not concerned with who does or does not label me a thought leader. I simply live in the moment, working to bend the arc toward durable electronics and individualized child development in sustainable STEM.
I will never call myself either successful or a failure, as either term is a distraction. The compass will keep me moving for future generations while we get through this e-waste / disposable electronics mess together. Shift Sight's direction is not based on my whims.
See you next week!
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.