On what really matters most…

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I am turning 40 in about a month and it is such an interesting time of reflection for me.  It really does make you stop and think about where you are, where you came from and where you are headed.  Added bonus is I have been reading and consuming a lot of Tim Ferriss content lately (life hacking, introspection etc.) as well as implementing more meditation in my life. Mentally, I have more clarity than I have ever had, that is for sure.

What I have learned is that people and interpersonal human connections are what matter most. My wife and children, being the most important by far of course, but the quantity and quality of other relationships, are very important too. We lose site of that over the years and it is a big mistake. Life goes by pretty quickly and we need to really be more present and attentive – this coming from a ‘Social Media Expert’ mind you. In the end of the day, social media helps you connect with people at scale which is powerful and amazing, but we all need to take that to the next level and add depth to those relationships. Everyone wants to feel connected and it is the deeper more meaningful relationships that will mean the most in our lives. If I could go back in time I would:

Tell my 10 year old self to be less self centered and more aware of the opportunities around me. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had access to so many nice things. Sleep away camp, trips to Aruba and Colorado, a home with a swimming pool on the bay and just 300 yards from the beach etc.  Things were good and I was very fortunate and I wish I was more appreciative of my parents and all that they did for me.

Tell my 20 year old self to try and develop more meaningful friendships. It is astounding to me how few people I am still really in touch with and care a great deal about from that time in my life. I went to The University of Michigan and I lived in NYC, so I had a ton of affiliations, but very few deep connections. A squandered opportunity in my opinion!

Tell my 30 year old self to not let some of those meaningful relationships leave my life. It is clear how valuable and rare they are and a shame to let them disappear. I started grinding in my work life very early on and I put my head down, and focused on financial success. As a result I made a lot of money, started an amazing family (both spectacular things of course) but I found myself in my 3rd decade to be short on powerful friendships, including important ones that had dissipated over the prior 5-10 years.

So now I tell my 40 year old self to be more conscious of the amazing people I come in contact with each and every day. I love my employees and their individual stories. I am fascinated and motivated by my clients and their drive and commitment to succeed. I am working to rekindle some of the really special relationships of my past and keenly aware of the early signs of some new ones who have recently come into my life. I am teaching my children to appreciate the many interesting connections they are making in a NYC private school environment, and I am personally trying to invest time in getting to know their friends too.  It is all so important.

We all live just one life and in our final days we will want to reflect on our lives and know that we had a real impact on others. That could mean helping those who are less fortunate, doing hard and honorable work for your clients and even just being a good friend who was there for others in good times and in bad ones too. I want to control that narrative and make sure I am on the right side of that conversation. I have some work to do…