Growth

People have been asking me how my job has been going and both inside and outside of it, I find myself constantly talking about growth as this conversation arises. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been with Kettle and Fire for 6 months now and every day my mind is blown away by how intelligent my coworkers are, how much I’m being challenged, the depth of which I’m learning and most importantly how well we all work together, making each other better people.

Radical candor is one of our company values and it’s forced me to question my own and other people’s decisions more regularly — not in a bad argumentative way, but in a way that might bring up harder conversation topics for a good reason. It’s much easier to just agree with someone and continue on in your daily life than it is to challenge them, but because being radically candid is encouraged, I’m now trained to question certain things more often and provide critical feedback.

Is this the best way to approach something?
Why do you think that?
Is this the best way to spend our resources?

These are all more vague questions that can relate to almost anyone, but also think of this in more personal conversations. When you’re hanging out with your friends or people you don’t know as well, I encourage you to start asking more about the deep meaning of what they’re doing, why they think they feel a certain way, or if you can help them somehow. With technology nowadays, things become very surface level and I think it’s important to go deeper.

Just step outside your comfort zone, I doubt you’ll regret it.

I’m still shocked by how much I’ve learned in the last 6 months and how that’s helped change my view of people who surround me. I constantly hear my family and friends being nervous about making hard decisions about life (work, relationships, travel, etc.) and I want you to ask: What’s the worst that can happen? Would taking this risk potentially help you end up in a much better position in life? Will you regret it if you don’t do it?

No matter what, you’ll come back from it by learning a lot. Go on that date you’re nervous about, accept a job you don’t think you’re qualified for, put out a crazy race goal that you’re scared to admit to people, talk to your boss about a salary increase or ask for a performance review. The *worst* that can happen is that you don’t succeed or it doesn’t turn out to be what you expect but you learn from it, you step outside of your comfort zone, you open the air for more risk, more reward and more growth.

One thing I want to highlight is that I have this misconception that my role models are perfect and don’t have higher level people that they’re learning from. I’m very wrong in thinking this. Since practicing a lot more yoga in the last 2 years, I frequently hear my yoga instructors say, “My teacher tells me this…” and I typically have that epiphany “oh yeah this instructor has to learn from someone to be where they are today too.” My CEO Justin also frequently says, “My mentor has suggested this…” and I still find myself being surprised by it. I find that some of the smartest people I know ask the hardest questions, challenge themselves and their peers and appreciate constructive criticism. I think you can be the best version of yourself by asking for these things. During my performance reviews, twice a month, I’m required to give my manager at least one thing that he can improve on. When I first found out I had to do that, I had a really hard time with it and also sometimes got uncomfortable taking feedback/criticism from him, despite him doing it really professionally. When one of the minor things he told me was that I said “um” too much in conversation, I was surprisingly offended by it. I know this is such a silly thing. However, it sparked a fire in me in a good way. I wanted to prove to him and to myself that I wasn’t going to let that happen anymore, that I needed to just speak slower and with more confidence. I set a reminder everyday on my laptop “don’t say um” and guess what? I don’t say it nearly as much as I used (obviously once in awhile isn the end of the world) and when I do I think of my manager. Shoutout to specifically Jack and Justin who have pushed my limits both in my career and outside of it and overall encouraged me to be a better version of myself and not settle for anything. When life is busy, challenging and involves critical thinking, fantastic things happen. And with that…I encourage you to do the same.

Here are some future ways I’m trying to grow. Comment to let me know what some of your goals are!

  • Reading more frequently, especially non-fiction (if you haven’t read Deep Work or War of Art yet, I strongly recommend them both as a means of improving your focus and productivity in life)
  • Practicing yoga twice a week (if you’re in SF and haven’t been to Peter Walters class or Martin Scott’s class, I strongly recommend them and let me know so we can go together!)
  • Doing fun things other than running, like going to concerts and other random events
  • Spending much less time on social media (I turned off all notifications months ago and helps with minimize distractions a ton, thanks to reading Deep Work)
  • Snail mail (I’ve always loved snail mail, but encourage people to send more cards/personal notes for an extra connection to people)