Over the weekend, I first learned about the Japanese concept “Ikigai” (eee-kee-guy), which translates to “reason for being” or “reason for living.” I was immediately captivated by the image and the construct. I just spent all of last week on a work retreat of sorts with two dear friends and we talked a lot about deep, life’s purpose kind of stuff. So, my discovery of the Ikigai concept could not be better timed. After sitting with it today, this framework has given me remarkable and immediate clarity into what is causing me angst in my working life at the moment.
I’m on the final day of a week-long vacation (or holiday, if you like). We booked the trip less than a week before it began, so it was also a bit of a surprise. It felt like one of those things I needed to do, and not just something I wanted to do. Within 24 hours of being away from my routine, I knew I was right.
I'm an introvert. I didn't know that for a very long time, but it turns out to be true. It surprises most people I know well when I say that because they find me to be engaging and social. But, introverts are not necessarily anti-social. Rather, introverts are energized by solitude and drained by crowds. Extroverts are the opposite. I'm at my best in small groups—anything above six to ten or so brings out the introvert in me. This is less true in social settings; more so in professional ones.
Last week I was at a conference—the type of environment my introverted self really likes to come out. It was an excellent conference and the people I met are amazing. But, big conferences can wear me down, and the productivity guilt and self-doubt associated with not wanting to be a power networker starts to creep in.
I'm not a power networker and I'm ready to own that. I am committed to doing more of it, but I can only push that so far. I also know there is another path.
Will Generation Z, which has lived through the Iraq war, the financial crisis, police brutality, mass shootings, rising cost of education, and Donald Trump, be a generation of entrepreneurs? Will they use their creative instincts, technological savvy, and a distrust of the established order to bring radical change to our business and social sectors? These are the right conditions for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship to flourish.
Immigration policy continues to vex America. For more than a century, the United States has proudly defined itself as the world’s great melting pot of immigrant cultures and talents. And yet, few issues have more sharply divided the modern political landscape. As policymakers grapple with these difficult questions, two critical realities are too often forgotten amid the haze of fractious political debate — the connection between entrepreneurship and economic prosperity, and the importance of immigrants to American entrepreneurship.
Democrats want to withhold support for any spending bill that doesn’t establish the legal right of “DREAMers”—the 800,000 immigrants brought here illegally as children—to stay in the United States permanently. Economic history suggests that we may thank them for doing so.
On Friday, I shared thoughts on Twitter about the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. I was stunned to see the virality of engagement that ensued. Typo aside, this message seemed to really resonate with a wide set of people.
Yesterday, my friend and colleague Roger Dean ("RD") Huffstetler announced his candidacy for the United States Congress, representing the 5th District of Virginia. He will run as a Democrat, which, given the district, would give a typical candidate an uphill battle—and against an incumbent no less. But, this is no ordinary candidate. It won't be easy, but he can win. And he should win. That would be a great thing for Virginians and for Americans. Here's why.