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The importance of being true to yourself (and the power of choice)

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windchaser

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May 24, 2017
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I would like to share with you my journey to the biggest lesson I have learnt during one of the darkest but most transformative phases of my life. It is what has finally enabled me to commit to the fastlane for good: no more excuses, no more fear.
A little bit of context:

My parents are quite unscripted, and I used to believe I was as well, as I thought I didn´t care about what people thought of me. However, looking at my actions in retrospective, I now realize that the script has had more bearings in my decisions that I wanted to admit, and now that I realized it is when I have the power to change it.

My journey:

The law firm and my first FTE:
I always dreamt of becoming a lawyer and work at a top firm, and after graduation, with a lot of effort, that dream became true.

I loved my job and my coworkers but, after several years of pushing myself to the limits, that lifestyle started to affect my health and my personal life. Then, one Christmas Eve evening I looked myself on the mirror after closing a deal after three weeks of working +100h per week and I had my first FTE and made the determination to make a drastic change.

To tell you the truth I was completely lost and didn´t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I had very clear what I didn´t. I wanted to make a career change and my scripted mentality the only way I could think of was studying something, also, I always wanted to live in the US for a while, so I made the decision to study and MBA in the US.

Getting the admission:

So now I had a new objective and it was not an easy one, and I became obsessed with it, it was though, first I had to study the GMAT (and exam you need to get admission) and struggled with it, I was studying for months after I left from work (never before 9pm and usually after midnight) and marathons of 12 hours per day the weekends that I didn´t have to work. I basically didn´t have a life for 4 months (just work and gmat) and the worst part was that still I didn’t manage to get a stellar grade (second big hit to my ego) but after two additional months of effort I managed to obtain an “in the minimum viable threshold” grade.

Most people told me that I didn´t have a chance with such crappy grade but I decided to try anyway, I wanted to focus in my strengths instead of my weaknesses instead of seeking a perfection that might not even arrive and I am glad I didn’t listen to that people. Long story short, I obtained admission from two schools (with merit scholarship offer). This is another valuable lesson I have learnt: if you wait for perfection to act you will never do anything.

The MBA and my first entrepreneurial venture:

Without a doubt the highlight of my MBA was my first incursion in entrepreneurship. It all started with a conversation with a classmate about her idea to solve a pain point in an industry she was very familiar with, and what started as a casual conversation between 4 people, continued developing and taking shape as a viable venture using our complementary skills. During the MBA you have a lot of free time, so we decided to give it a shot and make the best of our time there to launch the company. With the exception of the original founder, the rest always agreed that our full time collaboration would be temporary (during the MBA) as the venture was in another country and most had student loans to pay.

In any case, we went deep into it, it was not easy at all (while other classmates were partying we were doing Excel spreadsheets with our operations metrics, power points to pitch to clients or “arguing” with our developers) but I loved every minute of it and I wouldn´t trade it for anything.

The power of choice and living with its consequences:

I was truly happy living in my bubble of working on my venture, studying and socializing but graduation was around the corner and I had to make a vital decision: what to do next. As I mentioned, despite I loved that venture I always saw it as temporary as it was in another country (plus many other reasons that I now see are cheap excuses) so I also did some recruiting and got a job offer in private wealth management at a top US bank.

I am not proud of it but I threw myself into the arms of Wall Street. I was unable to see beyond the big dollars and (more important to me) the big name and social prestige. The fact that they request a minimum commitment to stay to keep the signing bonus or the big churn rates didn’t raise any red flags at that time.

I had a choice between my beloved venture and Wall Street and I chose the latter, and then everything went downwards until I was immerse in the deepest darkness.

The darkness:

I was very excited to move to a different city to start my brand new prestigious six figures job. I was eager to start and learn everything about the markets, portfolio construction and big finance. I was also looking forward to traveling to Latin America (the region I was covering) and bringing new business. But then I started the bank official “training” (which would have been more accurately called “indoctrination” or “brainwashing ”) and then was when I knew I would’t last much in that place. After two months of indoctrination I was eager to start finally working and doing something productive, but then I met my boss and I realized the nightmare hadn’t even started.

To summarize: he was the worst boss I have ever had: micromanager to unimaginable limits, huge ego, cruel and the person with lesser empathy I have ever met, touching psychopathic levels.

In any case, I am a very positive person who thrives in adversity and I was not going to let that person break me. I have always had that internal fire that gives me the strength and motivation to move forward with anything.

However, I underestimated the power of the situation and overestimated my resilience: I started very energetic and optimistic but bureaucracy, politics inside the firm, and the constant mistreatment of my boss were smothering that fire little by little until it was just a bunch of ashes.

I was feeling totally hopeless, empty, cried every night to sleep and even during some moments during the day. I felt trapped, I considered quitting but I had that year commitment or I had to pay back the signing bonus plus interests with money I didn’t have so I decided to do some soul searching. I forced myself to undress my soul and face my inner demons, think about the rationale behind my choices and figure out why I was feeling that way: it could not be because of a crappy job or a crappy boss (I had them before) or because of a bully (I have been bullied before and that only made me stronger), there had to be something else.

The light at the end of the tunnel:

During this process I run into TMF and Unscripted and then it hit me, the script, the pursuit of entrepreneurship, those books were the spark I needed to light up that internal fire again. Suddenly I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I then realized why I was feeling like that, all my life I have been making choices influenced by the script, I didn´t want it to admit but that was the true reason why I chose WS over my venture and why I was feeling that way, it was not because of my boss or because I didn´t like the job, it was because I had betrayed myself, I compromised my principles and sold to the best bidder, I was a corporate prostitute. I made up excuses to feel better with myself but I was the only one responsible for being in that situation and I was the only one able to change it. I had the power of choice and had to abide with its consequences.

I had to stay for a year in that job so I changed my mindset and decided to make the best out of it, now that I had my internal fire back nothing could stop me, not even my tyrant boss.

The lessons learnt:

So once I shifted my mindset I learnt from everything, especially from the bad: I learnt about the consequences of bad management skills, about perverse incentives, about dodging backstabs, about the harm of inflexible operations and unnecessary bureaucracy and procedures. I also learnt about the markets, financial products, portfolio construction, managing money and preserving wealth, I made powerful contacts and true friendships forged through hardship; I also started programs to help the mistreated and forgotten junior people at that firm.

Now my commitment period is over, I quit my job, moved back to my country and I am focused in my next venture. As I look in retrospective I am not proud about my choice to go with Wall Street, but I am glad I did, as thanks to it I learnt the most powerful lesson that no matter what you do, the most important thing is to be true to yourself.
 

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GMSI7D

Gold Contributor
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Jan 27, 2016
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I learnt the most powerful lesson that no matter what you do, the most important thing is to be true to yourself.


absolutely. in fact you can trust nobody or nothing but your own understanding of life

the more i study this world through hundreds of documents, the more i expose the show


this world is a show with puppets ( politicians and so on ) and well hidden puppets masters ( think tanks and so on )

look at this picture , this is a metaphor for our world

dans-les-coulisses-des-guignols-de-linfo-video_3.jpg


you can only rely on yourself

jiddukrishnamurti1.jpg
 

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