Your Advice from a Billionaire

repetitionOn Saturday I went for a run on the track along the East River.

Around and around and around and around the track.

There’s no avoiding the repetition, whether in yoga (Warrior 1, Warrior 2…up dog, down dog)…or life (Monday again!!!!)…or relationships (“Honey, how many times do I have to tell you how to load the dishwasher?!”).

But maybe there’s a reason for it. We keep coming up against something that we fail to see. And we keep complaining about the repetition instead of daring to embrace the lesson.

On my run around the track, I listened to an interview with a billionaire investor, a guy named Chris Sacca. He’s not a yogi in the technical term, but clearly he’s a wise soul. So I’m calling him a “yogi.”

He said something that made me stop running and start walking so as to listen more carefully.

He said when he’s looking to invest in a company, he wants to see three things in the company’s founder:

1. Have they spent time abroad?

Why? It’s incredibly humbling to ask for help in another language. And according to Sacca, one must be able to ask for help in life.

This applies to anyone, whether you are a mom, CEO, spin teacher, lawyer, or traveling hippie. Sometimes we need help and we are too proud to ask.

2. Have they had a terrible job?

Anyone who has had a lousy job and an evil boss knows there are great lessons to be learned from struggle.

Sacca discussed how so many kids in today’s world are growing up entitled or without that summer job where they had to grind it out. And that’s key to being emotionally competent and resilient.

3. Have they spent time working with the poor?

Sacca tells a story of traveling to Africa and working with a charity that brings water to the poor in Africa. He spoke to young girls who didn’t go to school for fear that on the way they would be eaten by lions or raped by men.

He then returned to Silicon Valley to hear young Google engineers complain that Microsoft launched a new product.

Perspective.

It’s so easy to forget how lucky we are to have the priviledge of worrying about preparing for a meeting, or stressing about a presentation, or arguing with a child about homework.

For billions on this planet… food, shelter, and water constitute a good day. Just remembering this can turn a lousy day into a precious one.

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In the scope of a lifetime what makes you real are not your accomplishments, talent, or portfolio… but your struggles.

You are lucky to have your struggles.

Paulo Coehlo writes that our struggles “prepare our spirit and will.”

And this preparation goes on and on and on. For years and years and Mondays after Mondays and meeting after meeting…

…until you have been so broken and so humbled and so FED UP with the repetition, that you are literally knocked to your knees.

So many of you have been there in moments of loss or pain or exhaustion. And in such moments you can honestly say:

HERE I AM.

In an ancient language, there is word for it: HINENI

Just yesterday I hung a painting with that word HINENI on my bedroom wall.

HERE I AM.

It means…I bring the fullness of my life to this moment. I bring all the pain and love and struggle and hope…

HERE I AM.

And in that total offering of you to the world, something shifts.

All that you are NOT finally concedes to all that you ARE.

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