Starting a New Chapter in Life

“Paint a self portrait with the confidence you had when you were 6 years old" — OK / Sofie, 26

In a way you can say that we are all authors. Authors of the book about our lives. Where and when we are born sets the frame for what type of book we can write. The rest is up to us. Some decides to go their own way. But for most of us, structures in the society we grow up in pushes us to follow a certain outline depending on some factors out of our control and some factors we can control. In the end we all have 24 hours every day. Since we can not know for sure how many days we have to write our books I have always aimed to live now and make the most out of it.

Chapters.

If you had the privilege to be born in a middle class family in the suburbs to Stockholm just before the 80s turned into the 90s the book would look something like this. Chapter 1: Grow up by conquering first world problems in a mostly safe environment until you turn 18. Chapter 2: Graduate from high school and be stressed about your future. Chapter 3: Potentially take a year to travel the world to “find yourself”(but no longer than two years, then people might think you have “lost yourself” instead). Chapter 4: Get a degree from a university. Chapter 5: Get your first “real” job and have a few fabulous (successful) career years. Chapter 6: Meet the love of your life (be careful, you should not be too old when this happens in order to not fuck up Chapter 7–9). Chapter 7: Get married (but first a proposal in some romantic city in Europe. It needs to be in the spring when flowers are blooming. Or in the fall when leaves are falling. Ok maybe taking it too far, any time of the year is ok, as long as it is Instagram friendly). Chapter 8: Have kid number one. Chapter 9: Buy a house in the suburbs (also buy a car, maybe a pet, sometimes the pet comes before the kid to “practice”) …. and sooooo on.

Generalizing and stereotyping to the extreme but the point is that we are often locked into a box of expectations. Going against those expectations is hard work. It requires courage. Keeping up with expectations today might be even harder though. If you ask me we should get rid of the expectations and let people be who they want to be and do what they want to do (as long as it is legal etc) without judging. The world will be a more interesting place if we all write different books.

Your Book.

You can never plan exactly what chapters your book will have, if you try, the chance of feeling like a failure is big because we can not control life to that extent. Someone close to you might get sick, you get sick, your heart gets broken, a hurricane wipes away everything you own, you win the lottery and lose your mind, you get hit by a car, you get kicked out of your apartment, you get fired, you get pregnant, you get depressed, your boss is a psykopat or any other event out of your control. A plan will most likely fail because life is a wild rollercoaster filled with uncertainty and randomness. What we can have instead is a strategy about where we want to go and why. Then test (prototype) different ways of getting there, learn, course correct and keep going. All of a sudden that rollercoaster is not as intimidating anymore, it is fun. This happens to be how you successfully work with innovation as well.

Saying Goodbye to a Chapter.

Sometimes it is incredibly hard to say goodbye to one chapter to make room for another one. The real good chapters in life is like a first love. You have many memories together. You wonder who you will be without that chapter. Regardless if it is a job, a relationship, a city or something else. But as for many first loves it is not always meant to be forever, few things are. But that does not mean that what you had will not matter forever. It will always be a chapter in your book. It shaped you.

Saying Hello to a new Chapter.

Through a sequence of events an opportunity landed in my lap a couple of months ago. A new chapter. This is one I’m very excited about. No mother, I’m not pregnant. At the time it felt impossible to say goodbye to one chapter. But also impossible to not say hello to this new one. I had to choose between a role I worked very hard for at one of the coolest companies in the world and an exciting new opportunity I knew very little about. In the end of the day you have to sit down with yourself and look at what is important to you. Am I making excuses for myself because I’m are afraid? What are the pros? What are the cons? What can I learn? What are the risks? Is this affecting anyone else in my life? Can I really leave unlimited supply of free avocados? I’ve always wanted to explore if I have what it takes to build a great company. But I was not sure about the mission and context of such a company. Until now. This realization in combination with many pro vs cons lists, conversations with smart people I trust and over 100 kilometers of trying to run away from my own thoughts. I made the decision to say Goodbye to the Spotify chapter and Hello to the ideation360 chapter.

Writing a chapter.

I am officially four months into my new adventure. There are days when I feel like an unstoppable bold bad ass business woman and the soundtrack to my life is a Starship song. Then there are days when I feel lost and longing for an 8–5 tempo with less responsibility on my shoulders and the soundtrack to my life is a Coldplay song. Every day I learn new things about myself. Every day I learn new things about the world. Every day I land somewhere on the spectrum from Starship to Coldplay. This is the beauty of writing new chapters.

What will your next chapter be?