Your life is yours to build and savor.
Good day to you!
We can’t have it all. Yeah, I know. I almost passed out when I found out.
But since you can’t have it all, better choose the challenges you are willing to face.
Philosopher André Gide said “to choose is to renounce” (“choisir, c’est renoncer”), I tend to agree. And want to add, that this is not necessarily bad.
A perfectionist under rehab
To give you a bit of context, I grew up in what I had always considered being a perfect family: parents who love each other and their kids, siblings who fight but get along well, good health, in a country that isn’t at war, food on the table, even expensive hobbies and holidays.
It’s hard to do better. I always wanted to be perfect and please everyone. It felt good to be what everyone expected from me. To a certain point.
Perfect became my inner enemy as soon as I began to do choices of my own. I had to deconstruct a big part of this myth moving forward.
Today, I can say I am happy.
I believe there’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing here. The more you’re grateful for what you have, the happier you become and vice-versa. Reminding you the good in your life is an exercice we regularly practice at home, especially since the birth of our child. Nothing new under the sun, folks who invented religions were smart in creating these gratitude habits, usually before sharing a meal.
My own trade-offs
So many of us aspire to be successful. Successful, according to… who? This question often helps me put things in perspective.
I am 32. I was never listed in Forbes 30 under 30, I didn’t sell a previous company that made me rich for the rest of my life nor did I jump back on my emails the day after I gave birth.
However, I feel complete and exactly where I should be. Deep down, I am damn solid on my two feet. I wouldn’t change anything that happened in my 20s. This decade was about exploring, the world, and who I am. It was a hell of a roller-coaster. I didn’t do this journey alone. But I, alone, made the trade-offs that led me to who I am today.
✶ I traded a pretty smooth and no-brainer career for a world of chaos called entrepreneurship.
What started of a pretty classic educational path in France: business school, internships in big companies, first job in a consulting firm - at 22, really?- went sideways when I decided to give a hand to Kev and Max, working on Krak. Me in 2014: “I am only helping you for a month, don’t even think this will last.”… yeah. My LinkedIn profile probably doesn’t make any sense for most recruiters. (I know, cause I was one, once). Who cares?
✶ I traded a work environment where it’s always the boss’s (or someone else’s) fault for one that is about sucking it up and owning your mistakes. Being captains of a raft in a storm will bound you forever.
✶ I traded a potential 6-digit salary for a bare (who said scarce?🙈) minimum viable one and impalpable ownership over what I am building. Well, we love pasta anyway.
✶ I traded climbing a hierarchy for the feeling of moving the needle on a meaningful purpose.
I remember having had this conversation while still an intern at Veolia: should you climb the steps to change things from the inside OR disrupt by building things on your own. Well, I made my choice.
✶ I traded a decade of dating handsome dudes for pulling each other up with my other half. I’ve been told I was lucky to be in a relationship for that long. It’s true, we were lucky to meet at one point. But the rest was up to us. This is a trade-off we decided to make and still decide every day.
✶ I traded living in a city I know and love (with people I know and love) for exploring the outside world, learning new languages and points of view.
✶ I traded a network of acquaintances for a handful of true friends
✶ I traded giving birth ‘back home’ surrounded by family for doing so 2000 km away in a country where I could barely understand two words
✶ I traded buying an expensive TV set and fancy car for a video-projector and a bike
✶ I traded owning an apartment for being free to break a lease whenever
I traded no-brainer (sometimes easy) choices for choices I would be proud of.
I am no more special than anyone else. My point is: it is often up to us to embrace our trade-offs instead of suffering them. Your life is yours to build and savor. No one else is going to do it for you.
Your own recipe
As of today, I’d say here’s mine (or ours, rather :)) : Balanced + Adaptable + Present.
Balanced. Although I can be vocal on certain topics, I am not ‘religious’ on anything and I am able to change my mind. Or so I believe 😎 We - I will speak on behalf of Max and Kev - love to debate and more than anything, play the devil advocate on society topics.
Adaptable. Things that don’t go as expected are pretty frequent. How I cope with them makes me who I am. “I never lose. I ether win or learn.” Mandela says. It so much resonates, now.
Present. Things I tend to take for granted won’t be here forever. I don’t want to disrupt some good time with a friend for a notification on my phone. Also, I only have 18 summers to spend with my kid (!) so put it like this, I’d better enjoy every single day by his side.
I am happy. I am free.
I still own too much crap as you know, but I am getting there.
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Have a beautiful day! 🦜