In early 2008, about a year after I started at Acumen Fund, I noticed something surprising. Even though I was busier than I had ever been, I started reading again– first fiction, but then all sorts of things including a healthy dollop of things that cut to the core of how I see and understand the world and how to be more professionally effective.
What changed? I’d have thought that going from a not-so busy routine to one where I have to savagely guard every minute of the day would give me less space to think and reflect and grow.
It’s because in my previous job, I was dying on the vine.
That meant that I spent all my mental energy all day long trying to convince myself to hang on, that I was making it work, that all of the cognitive dissonance – the cacophony, really – between what I hoped the job would be and what it turned out to be was manageable. So by the end of the day, when I had some time to myself, the idea of reconnecting to the professional, productive part of who I am ran the risk of reminding me of my terrible, energy-sapping job, and I wanted no part of it.
What I wish someone had told me then – which is what I wanted to share now – is that you (if you find yourself in a similar situation) are not the job. You are a wonderful, intelligent, highly capable person who will take huge strides forward as you continue to invest in yourself – through what you read and the relationships you build and the connections you make and the doors you open for others.
And if you find yourself stretched and thinking and growing every day, take that as a sign that something’s very right, because in yourself is just about the best use of time around.
Abundance breeds abundance, not the other way around.