WebEngage is now in its 7th year. There’s immense amount of learning I have had as an individual across all spheres of life, work and beyond. This post stems from one such learning which I have started to institutionalize as a life hack.
Given what I do at work, I have had the privilege to meet a lot of influential men and women in these 6 years of building the company. I now realize how much I sucked in those meetings. A series of events later and after some tough years of growing up as an entrepreneur, I feel bad about my younger self. I could have done so much better by creating more value from each of those meetings and conversations. You don’t get such opportunities every day. They are rare and you have to be extremely lucky to have them come your way. What should you do when such an opportunity comes across?
Seize the moment.
Like all life lessons that you have received so far, this one might seem obvious too. Because the “why” of this lesson is fairly simple. Who doesn’t want to make the most of a great opportunity? The reason why most of us suck at seizing these rare moments is the “how” part of it.
Please don’t f**k it up.
It takes a lot of conviction for someone (worth their salt*) to take the first step. Especially, in matters of money and heart. When someone (worth their salt*) expresses an intent to help, please don’t read the fine-print first. I said NO to three investment offers in the company at different stages very early in our journey. It took me 4 years of building organization wide survival instincts to make sure we are ready to grow when the time is right. Just because we didn’t have enough capital. I didn’t see those offers as opportunities. I saw them as someone trying to “buy a stake”. When you can tell the difference between the two, you are prepared to seize your moments.
Next time when your boss, founder, investor or customer (worth their salt*) walks up to you seeking a favor or offering to help, please don’t be impulsive in how you react to the situation. Find out why they are interested in the first place. Once you understand the key motivation, you’d be able to see through the clutter, create opportunities for yourself and in the process create value for everyone.
Life is unfair. Please accept it.
If you have experienced enough of life, you know this already. If you haven’t, please accept it as soon as you can. If I knew this as a 20 year old, I would have been killing it already in my 30’s. There is no alternate to hard work and perseverance. But, that alone is not enough to win. Winning is the culmination of a series of small victories in a long and tiring journey. If you have the deep desire to succeed, some opportunities for these smaller wins will surely come your way. Most of us are not wired to see them coming. Some of us are designed to be ignorant about those. I used to be a dangerous mix of both.
If you are waiting for life to present success on a silver platter because you worked real hard, my friend you are going to be disappointed. Life is unfair. Nobody cares about your existence. Start seeing those opportunities, seize them and convert them into small wins. A few wins later, you’ll see more of those opportunities because this unfairness in the system wants you to win more. Few folks who are great at optimizing their work/life for these cycles of small wins, ultimately succeed. The rest believe life’s been unfair to them because they worked harder. Please accept that it is. Winning becomes a lot more easier after that.
Live in the moment.
How can you seize a moment if you are not living it? I have been extremely lucky to at-least have this going well for me. I, however, see my peers and friends struggle. Most are stuck in the past. Rest are busy planning for the future. Both of these kind are not living their todays well. I find it extremely hard to explain this to folks. It’s not about forgetting your past or having an uncertain future. It’s about applying learnings from the past and working on a broken-down future goal to have an amazing today. Can you tell the difference between these two?
There are some common characteristics in people who know how to live their moments — they don’t complain; they listen more and talk less; they know the value of their time, they know what they want, they are very articulate in their communication.
I manage to sit in some interviews at WebEngage till this date. Almost every single time I ask the candidate to ask me a question about anything they want to know. Over 75% of the times, folks pass on. Others do ask me a question. But those are mostly forgettable. Rare few leave a mark by the kind of question they asked. They seized their moment.
*It is very important to make a distinction between average, good and great early on in your life. I used the term “worth one’s salt” repetitively above to insist on the importance of making that choice amongst people who present you the opportunity. Some people (and their opportunities) may not be worth your time. Choose wisely.