day in the life of part 2

So, Day 2.

Maybe I should have laid out the impetus for starting goHappy in “Day One” to set the context for this blog.  It’s on the site, so I didn’t want to be redundant, but I’m sure I overestimate how many people would have ever read anything on the site!

So, rewind the clock to about 11 years ago - December of 2004.  I was planning goals for 2005, and I was 4.5 years into running a company I started called Snagajob.  And, for all of you who have had any involvement with a start-up, you know it’s all consuming.  It was somewhat of the typical story where I’d bootstrapped it with my own savings, credit cards maxed out, parents ended up putting in basically their entire life savings, college friends, sister, uncle, aunt, friends of friends, etc. etc.  As is often said - it’s one thing to lose your own money; it’s a whole other thing to lose someone else’s.  Especially when that’s your family and friends (or who at least you hope are still your friends!). Net/net, I felt overwhelmed with making Snagajob successful.  It just had to be.  Not just for me but for all of the people who had invested in it.  And, who worked there.

As a result, of feeling overwhelmed, I was pouring every ounce of time and energy I had into Snagajob.  And, I had nothing left for any other areas of life.  Fortunately, I wasn’t married at the time and didn’t have kids (no time for that!).  But, because of that, I felt very off-center.  I knew other areas of my life were suffering.  I wasn’t in contact with my friends.  I didn’t make time to do things with family (I didn’t even go to my childhood best friend’s mom’s funeral because I was “too busy”).  I had pretty much become one dimensional.  And, I felt it.  So, as I sat there getting ready to plan my 2005 goals, my theme for that year was going to be “Balance”.  

I broke my goals into 2 buckets: “Personal” and “Snagajob”.  I started cranking on my Snagajob goals first.  I had several pages of them.  I then did my Personal goals, and I had about a paragraph.  Then, the irony of it him me that my theme was “Balance” and yet I had boiled my life down into 2 buckets, seemingly making Work just as important as every other area of my life combined.  And, in this case, the work bucket was much bigger (and thus more important!), and I was a heck of a lot more intentional about it!  That obviously didn’t seem to work.

So, I started reading everything I could on living more intentionally and in a more balanced way, and I started planning for the most important areas of life to me and the people who were most important to me in a much more intentional and fun way.  

I got married in September of 2006 and started doing this same “planning and living” with my wife; much to her chagrin I think at first, but now she really likes it (I think at least…:)).   Life started to get more complicated and busy (and a lot more fun) when we had our first child in December of 2007, then our second in 2010 and our third in 2012.  

And, as things got busier on the homefront and at work, I found it even more important (and a heck of a lot harder) to be planning for the life I wanted because when I wasn’t doing that, I was just “reacting” to whatever was finding its way onto my calendar.  We had grown Snagajob from about 15 people in ‘04 when I first started doing this to over 300 people in 2012.  We had taken on several different vc rounds and things were busy at work.  Very busy.  

In 2013, I went through a big transition at work. I transitioned out of the CEO role and into just a board role (I’ll have another blog entry on this one.  Maybe two or three…:)).  I stayed through the end of the year for a transition, but I started to think about what was next.  By the beginning of 2014, I started to manically focus on what I wanted the next 5 years of my life to look like. Specifically, I focused on near-term for 2014, as I was going to take that year pretty much “off” and just spend with family.

As I was doing that, I wanted to find a more robust and efficient way to plan for and live my ideal life.  Something that wasn’t as manual as what I was doing now - putting ideas and plans/goals into Google docs, needing to then put them into my calendar, remembering to come back at the end of a month and checking things off, remembering to share certain ones with other people who I needed to share them with, etc.  And, I wanted to see new ideas - what were other people doing to live this way?  And, ideas of things they were doing in these various “buckets of life.”

So, I started searching for tools to help me do that.  But, none totally hit the mark for me.  

By the end of 2014, I had started to work on a prototype of what this could look like.  What I wished it could do.  I started meeting with a ton of other people and picking their brains about what they wish they had to help them live that ideal life for them.  And, by March of 2015, Nick Jester joined me as the first full-time team member, and away we went working on the beta.  At this point, it’s evolved quite a bit from that initial idea.  Maintaining that initial core idea but hopefully improving upon it a lot based on our learnings.

So, the point of goHappy is to help people live a life they love - whatever that looks like to them.  One that’s Intentional.  Balanced.  Fulfilling.  And, a heck of a lot of fun.  So that they live happy.  And die happy.

And, the point of this blog is to hopefully tee up more conversations about the whole topic of living a life you love by “going first” and transparently sharing what’s working and what’s not for us as we’re striving to live that life.  Which hopefully encourages more open dialogue about it, so that we can learn from one another.  There’s no one size fits all in our opinion, which is the upside of starting a conversation about it and getting multiple perspectives.  And, it’s not all about successes - a lot of it is talking about the things that aren’t working.  

Hopefully, there will be enough different nuggets and ideas over time that most people can find at least one or two things that are helpful to them.

So, we’ll see if we can get a thread going with the first 2 questions.  And intentionally making them pretty broad.  And, please share - we’d love it if you did!

  • Have you tried/done anything that seems to work pretty well to help keep you focused on what’s most important to you; whether that be techniques (e.g., setting goals in different areas of your life, blocking time on your calendar for things like recurring date nights or lunch with your kids at school, not leaving a vacation without booking the next one) to the other end of the spectrum like quitting your job!
  • What have you tried that didn’t work and that you definitely wouldn’t recommend?! As I said at the end of Day One, we’ll see how this goes.  This is Agile for blogging (and life).