While I was walking home tonight I was listening to a podcast episode as my subconscious was reliving and contemplating upon the lessons of the conversation I had earlier today with a successful bar/restaurant owner in Bogota.
The episode, from a highly recommended podcast called Invest Like The Best, was a fascinating interview with a man called Boyd Varty who runs safari treks in which a group of people trek through the bush on foot; the trek then serving as a metaphor to put people in touch with their “inner wild self”, helping them sniff out the clues and signs of a path they should track and maybe pursue in life.
The conversation had been about hiring practices in Colombia, and how this guy thinks about hiring good staff.
As the mind is want to do, the combination of the conscious and subconscious brought to the top of my mind a question I had put a lot of thought into over the past 2 or 3 years during moments of both existentialism and exaltation: what makes me feel truly alive?
Having put a good amount of thought into it, my answers are as follows:
- Feeling the natural high during a crisp morning run with the sun and the breeze on my face, or upon reaching a peak on a bike and getting ready to enjoy the downhill.
- Sharing a communal dinner with interesting people, known and unknown.
- Hosting a party in which friends are connecting with myself and one another in a very genuine manner.
- Having amazing, mind-expanding, one-on-one conversations with some of my brilliant friends and family that can last hours.
- Creating genuine value or uncovering a novel approach to a problem through back-and-forth brainstorming and building upon different ideas. Engaging in intellectual arguments with friends is also a lot of fun but not quite as fulfilling.
- Eating and sharing food that I have a connection to: either I have grown it, made it, or have shared in the story about how it came to be.
- Finding the beauty in everyday life: the dance of a butterfly, the genuine joy of a good doggo, a glimpse of nature where you wouldn’t expect it, the hug of a pair of best friends, the kiss of a loved one.
This process has served me well as I have thought about what I want my life to look like; much more so than the more vague “what are your passions?” or “what problem are you passionate about solving”. In articulating when I have felt alive I have been able to point to specific examples rather than vague, generic notions. Feeling alive is a very primal and innate sentiment – it isn’t something that can be rationalized or arrived at through logic and as a result there is something very pure and transparent about recognizing it in oneself.
Now I want to apply the question to my business and use it as a tool both to find good people to work with and also to try and be a great boss. I want to understand what makes the people I will be hiring feel alive; I want to hire people that are capable of seeing how beautiful the world can be and engaging with that world; and I want them to be motivated to come to work and feel that even though it’s a job there is still the potential to create that spark that makes life worthwhile.
Now let me posit it to you – when was the last time you felt truly alive? Genuinely, I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time!