Chasing Success in Silicon Valley

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Chasing Success in Silicon Valley

I live and work in an area that is synonymous with wealth and success. You literally have to make a lot of money to have any semblance of normal life here. It is one of the most expensive markets in the country. I also work in a profession where you either make it and earn mid-six figures or usually fail out within a few years. Most of the people in this profession are type A, money-
driven, and success-driven. There is a cocky arrogance about many of them and they certainly judge their peers who are not making good money. I don’t believe that these people are inherently bad or negative because of this or that they have just been around wealth so long they’ve forgotten how to act. I love what I do as I get to provide people with a lifeline at their absolute lowest moment. As my success has grown, I’ve been able to be more selective with who I do business with and thus have been able to avoid people with differing attitudes. However, when I first moved to the bay that was not the case.
I had to start over in this business and move across the country. I knew it would take me years to catch up to where my peers already were. When you are constantly bombarded by shows of extravagance….big houses, fancy cars, and crazy trips, it can start to wear on you. You can get caught up in the game of why not me? Why hasn’t this happened for me yet? Am I not good enough? Should I be doing something else? Why are these other people more successful at the same age? All the while I know that I am building something that will get me to the exact same point, and I will own that business. I get to work for myself. I work from home. There are so many amazing things about my life and my business. I’m so much more fortunate than 95% of the people that live in this country, but those negative thoughts occupy a larger space in my head than the positive ones. It was often a daily struggle of trying to stay focused and happy with the process. I knew I could chase easy money only to end up working for a large corporation, traveling a ton, and being micromanaged. I would have to remind myself how miserable I would be in that scenario. Sure, I would be making significantly more money but I was positive I would hate my life. Why would someone sacrifice their mental and physical health just to keep up with the Joneses. It seems like such an easy choice to make, why am I having this constant battle in my head every day about being truly happy in the long term vs. short term money and misery. My mind can rationalize almost anything when I allow fear, doubt, and a negative self-image to control my thoughts.
One of my favorite coping mechanisms is probably the most destructive. I drink. I enjoy drinking and I lean on it for a great many of life’s problems. I’ve been through ups and downs with drinking over the years. It helps dull some of the negative feelings this business produces. My job includes a lot of entertaining as well which doesn’t help. Most of my clients are big drinkers. It’s extremely easy to set up dinners or happy hours and kill two birds with one stone. The drinking is a crutch to not deal with my head and I can spend time with clients while numbing the thoughts. Wash, rinse, repeat. The flip side is drinking can lead to a lot of regrets. Waking up feeling awful and having to check your phone for what you did last night. Eating unhealthy foods. It all reinforces those feels of not being enough or not being successful. You learn pretty early that if you treat your body well you feel great. If you treat your body like shit you feel like shit. Your heart can be in the right place but if you cannot train your mind to either change those voices or at least control them better you continue to make poor decisions that impact your health and your business.
It’s taken me years to try and change my viewpoint on life and what I look at for success as a human. It is about reminding myself daily what I am grateful and fortunate. I make enough money to be comfortable and my income will no doubt increase every single year. I’ve had to figure out how to be content and happy with now. There is always going to be someone who makes more money, or is more successful, in better shape, takes nicer trips. We are bombarded by this shit all day long and it’s very easy to succumb to a life of wishing for better or being afraid. I know a lot of rich people who are miserable, and it is something I try desperately to avoid. It’s not easy and I have moments where those thoughts creep back in. I know that if I am not happy right now no amount of money or success is going to change that in the future. I’ve had to destress and declutter my life. Be more protective of my mind. Sometimes you outgrow friendships or business relationships or social media. That is just life. I have learned that I am not responsible for anyone but myself and my family. My mindset is the single biggest asset I have. It’s the most valuable. I intend on protecting it at all costs and be happy in the now. It’s such a cliché but tomorrow is not promised. I have no interest in spending a day, week, or year being unhappy at a job hoping that it will pay off in the future or that It will pay off someday soon. “I’ll be happy then”. “It will be enough then”. I know that I am happy now. My situation will evolve and grow. And that is enough.

Written by:  Cole M.

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