Recognize the people in the image above?
Yes. That's my husband, Dae (aka @LuggageDonkey) on the left, me on the right.
Back when we had just started dating, my husband introduced me to the idea of "windshield time". Knowing is half the battle - knowing the idea of windshield time allows us to intentionally use it with each other. Dae uses it to catch up and bond with his aging father (who is now 79 years old). I use it with colleagues to prepare for meetings when driving together to a meeting.
I never thought I'd actually work with my husband... and here we are. We've argued and fought, and battled our way to actually LAUNCHING the pilot podcast episode this week. WHOO-HOO! I wish you could have seen his face on Tuesday - Dae was so happy. He was beaming about the beautiful weather, the view of Mount Rainier that was magnificent as we were driving to a meeting. We're on anchor.fm now. Check us out - give it a listen, send us some good mojo/feedback/ratings if you can to help us out. Thank you so much!
Can't believe we actually got this done. Whew!
Here's the link: https://anchor.fm/windshieldtime206.
For my next post, I'll work on a list of quick early lessons that I've picked up in working with my husband. We both have strong opinions and personalities - and we are married, live together, and have two very young children together. We're both sleep deprived. That makes for an interesting mix.
Hope you like it.
P.S. Second pilot episode of Windshield Time going live today!
I saw this image fly by my eyes at about 330AM this morning - and I saved it as a reminder that I want to share/write about this... A LOT MORE ABOUT THIS.
Many of us humans, we have our dark down days. Some have them more than others. At my worst, I think I did not leave my room/bed/apartment for weeks. Some times, the idea of being alive is just so exhausting. Some times, I am able to push myself into being somewhat functional, going through the motions of a fully productive day - only doing what is absolutely necessary to not let anything blow up. Other times, I've written long goodbye letters to my husband and family - only to "wake up" and throw it away. I even daydreamed about getting in the car, alone, and driving endlessly on the highway to just go away from this surreal non-reality reality I was living in.
I had a really tough time with postpartum depression with our first baby. Really bad. I had no idea how bad it was at the time. Only looking back today, do I realize how deep in the depths of velvety despair I was living in day to day, night after night, month after month. To help myself with this newest baby who was recently born, I did things differently.
Five Things I'm Doing Differently with Our Second Baby to Avoid Postpartum Depression:
Having a baby - it's like the whole family getting hit by a bus. For the mother who just gave birth, it's like getting hit by the bus a few more times. The physical and mental demands are big - and not knowing any better, I really struggled with recovery with our first baby. This second baby has been easier in so many ways, and more difficult in other (like having survived the unplanned c-section, that got infected... more on that some other time.)
Ask for help.
Accept and embrace the help.
Don't add more stress than is really needed.
Eat/sleep as much as you can.
Have strong mental and visual anchors to stay strong daily.
This is a blog post to... warm up my blogging self again. It's really hard to start something again after dropping the ball for so long. I am trying to pick the ball up again.
I look at our growing family, now with two amazing little babies (technically, one is a toddler). Never say "never" is the lesson. To think I was adamant with my (at the time) soon to be husband that I did not want children is crazy. Never say "never". I did not know what I was saying. Of course, it's hard - sleep deprivation, mess everywhere, our home has been invaded with kids' items and baby gear. Giving birth is hard - 36 hour labor with Lentil, and an unplanned c-section with complications with Quinoa. Feeding them (or convincing them to eat healthy) is a constant negotiation exercise.
On the other hand, I'm probably a better human for it (than if I hadn't been lucky to have had our children). I see the miracle of life, the blessing that life is, and have far more empathy for how babies grow up to be people. Probably, most of the troubles we have in our lifetimes are because of how someone was or wasn't wired properly based on who the parents were, on top of all the emotional baggage we collect as adults. That about sums it up. To fix some of the biggest world problems, be pro-human and make sure that the world's babies are brought up with love and the proper nutrition, from birth. How can we prioritize that globally as one human race?
Lentil is our toddler, full of passion, curiosity, energy and zeal. He loves to learn, sing, dance, anything art/creative, help in the kitchen, and most definitely, anything red with four wheels on it. I'm sitting in his bedroom right now as I write - smelling his toddler smells and smiling.
Quinoa is our newest addition and now barely over a month old. He arrived, after being breached (twice), and a failed second attempt at a versioning, via c-section. I'm mostly recovered from the c-section and its following complications now, as I'm now starting to worry about my vanity and how I am going to lose the extra baby weight (15 pounds to go).
Dae keeps referring to himself as "grandpa-dad" - mostly because he'll be about 70 years old when our kid(s) graduate college. :). I refer to Dae as "Benjamin Button" because he looks seemingly younger and younger each year that goes by.
Life's truest blessings is family and friends,
I'm sitting here, in the jury duty waiting room with a lot of quiet time. I forgot to bring my book that I've been reading - so, decided what better time than now to get back into my blog. Lots to catch up on and so many learnings to share. The biggest update is that as of the end of September 2018, I am no longer with Storm. Yes, so it's been about three months since then, and I've been working on focusing my full attention on what matters most in life.
Life tip: You can tell a lot about a person's values by 1) what they spend most of their time on and 2) what they spend most of their money on, and the 3) kinds of friends a person associates with closely. It's very telling.
October, November, December Summary
(Not necessarily in any order):
Okay - that's the update in a nutshell. More updates to come.
Quick note to let everyone know:
As of 730AM PST, Monday, September 24, 2018, I am no longer part of Storm. It's official and three months has passed by. I'll write more in the new year about what I've been up to - in the meantime, lots of cooking, reading, and spending time with family.
From across media and entertainment, to business and politics, it is the era where diverse people and #women are starting to get a seat at the table, take on the leading roles, and shine in the spotlight.
Jotting down and sharing some quick high level thoughts from the intensity of today. It is a very monumental place in time we are sitting today - and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be alive and a part of it.
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos.
Yes - that describes what it's like to be a founder and CEO of a startup. That also describes what it's like to do a tokensale, an ICO, or anything in this new complex-business model blockchain "stuff".
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos holding a newborn baby in one hand and the Empire State Building in the other hand while balancing on a tight rope standing completely buck naked in front of the mob in a crowded stadium.
That's more like what life has been like the past 12 months and continues to be like for me personally. It's surreal. Time is moving both so slowly and at "warp" speeds at the same time. Most of the time when I'm in a meeting, I am constantly having this "out-of-body" experience that allows me to walk around in the room mentally, while at the same time sitting in the chair and experiencing the meeting firsthand. Surreal. Sometimes my ghost body gets "stuck" in the physical body, where I'm trapped, blind, and suffocating.
There are also many times when it's just really tough. Working with white spaces and green companies, we don't usually have a playbook of best practices to look to. We don't have a board (of advisors or investors) to turn to on speed dial that can provide wisdom and a sounding board. And when a company is growing so fast moving through the stages of its evolution in weeks and months, rather than years - without realizing it, many of the things that a company does actually is setting precedent for its future. Forever.
In moments of really tough decisions, I play the scenario in my head over and over and over. It's me on professional judgment day. I'm standing before a jury of my professional heroes and heroines like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Steven Sinofsky, Mary Barra, Sarah Imbach, Jeffrey Friedberg, and many more. It's really important to me that I can look at myself in the mirror, and also picture myself standing before the jury of heroes and heroines. I look for "defensible", logical, and figuring out what is the real intent of the decision that makes sense - and then look to what kind of precedent that it will set for the forever future for our employees, our culture, our advisors, our communities, ... and most importantly, our society. Humanity.
And so, that is the state of where I am today - mentally standing before the professional jury.
And fighting daily to find "space". Got tips?
Group gifting trivia from the world of GiftStarter:
My heart hurts. A lot. To say goodbye.
I pushed and pulled and fought as hard as I could to create something out of nothing. I met some very talented and inspiring people along the way. Thousands to people were part of this journey, and I could not have gotten anywhere as far as we did without everyone.
In the end, the 10 big lessons for 2014-2018 are...
Knowing when to walk away.
Spring to Summer of 2016 was really hard. I thought I could be superwoman, having just given birth to my Lentil - that with the help of my awesome team, we could pull through this together. Deep post partum depression. I spent the summer of 2016 in a deep depression. Deep despair. My husband often had to peel my salty existence off the floor and into bed. I did not feel like I even deserved to be alive. I often thought the world, my husband, Lentil, everyone would be better off without me. A waste of space. Unworthy of the air I took in. I looked at the sweet innocent face of Lentil and would end up crying because I felt I did not deserve to be his mother.
My advisors and investors starting sitting down to give me the "talk" in 2016. They told me it was okay - to close it down and give them the write-off. They told me to get going on the next startup because that one was the one they wanted in on. I tried for one last hurrah in the fall of 2016, with my "AJ" by my side (thanks to my investors, especially Rudy, for giving me that one last swing at the ball). Fall of 2016 was not the season of generosity and giving. Power was changing hands - and the air was filled with emotions between the Clinton versus the Trump camps.
January - March 2017 I spent most of it on the verge of tears or crying my face off or finding a place to belong. I'd be fine, and then while brushing my teeth with my husband in the bathroom, I'd tear up. Standing in the kitchen I'd tear up. I tried to get "out there" and involved in the community to pick up my spirits. I tried to do this "Red Scarf" thing which was all about giving it forward to another woman entrepreneur. I spent a bit of time doing office hours. I put together events. I volunteered to help the Riveter launch. I did consulting on the side. I advised any startup that came our way. I really wanted to help this tiny little startup company called CakeCodes (which later became Storm and one I am part of today).
And here we are. May 2018. I should really have called it quits back in the Winter of 2015/Spring of 2016. I definitely should have in the Summer of 2016. I absolutely should have sometime in 2017. It is now officially May. We are in the first week of May 2018 and I am finally officially and publicly - calling it done.
Hope this post helps someone out there. If you ever want to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It is so lonely being an entrepreneur, a founder, in startups, being a founder CEO, raising funds, doing the grind, having employees, figuring out how to be a mom as a founder, all of it. The emotional depression and the depth of despair that one experiences is so great, I wonder how many of us are suffering silently.
Hugs to you out there trying to change the world.
You'd think that a founder of a company called "GiftStarter" would be AWESOME at gifting. I'm not. Especially when it comes to husband. Remember, I really dislike gifting for the sake of gifting. I really dislike "junk" gifts. Good gifts I think take a lot of time or a lot more budget. ... Sigh.
Here are examples from my husband-gifting my track record so far.
He's my best life's decision I've ever made joining forces to live life together. Forever.
I'm literally trying to breathe again. Find that emotional and mental space to feel like a human being, not a machine. I don't remember what it's like to be me anymore. I've become a different person, again. Each of these intense journeys reshape the person you are - and it takes a bit of mental/emotional "integration" time to bring yourself back into being a whole person again.
Doing an ICO, is not for the faint of heart. It's not for the sensitive or the self-conscious. It's not for those that do not have the stamina.
All I can say, is since May 2017, it's been a lot of back-breaking long hours. Weeks on weeks away from family, away from husband, and away from my toddler. It's wake up to sleep, nonstop work. At the worst point, we were taking 1.5-3 hour naps at a time working around the clock for weeks on end.
Oh yea, and the crazy schedule. Greece, UK, Switzerland, Cayman Islands, United States, and all over.
Trying to breathe again means forcing myself to not open the phone first thing in the morning. It means giving myself permission to eat lunch (again). It means giving myself permission to call a friend I haven't spoken to in over 8 months. It means giving myself permission to cook dinner for my family. It's been REALLY difficult getting back to a normal human life. The past 8 months have taken a hard hard hard hit on my family, my husband, and my toddler - also my in-laws and my mother who've stepped in to help the family as I've been working so much.
Thanks for being on this journey with me.