It was a Friday morning in January. Arriving at Blooms Diner on 40th and Lex a few minutes before 8:30 AM, I waited for Mike to arrive. We had been doing these breakfasts for a few months – a time to talk strategy in a setting other than the office. However, on this particular morning I did not want to talk strategy; I was feeling a mix of emotions – frustrated, worried, sad, confused – arising from a fear of my current pipeline after a few lost pursuits.
It was at this breakfast that I asked Mike to be included on a certain deal he was working on. While I didn’t expect conflict, I did expect questions to follow because that’s who Mike is, one of the most curious people I know. Up until this point of my career, I had never asked him to be on a deal and was always appreciative when he offered to include me. However when I asked to be included and offered my reasoning why, he quickly said yes (likely sensing my frustration/nerves about my income and remembering this feeling from his years as a junior broker.)
Writing this post now, 8 months after that breakfast, I am upbeat and content. I do not feel the same nerves or frustration I felt that day. Instead, I feel things starting to “click;” I am learning a lot from a variety of talented colleagues, been mentoring a junior, and overall becoming more confident in my capabilities and ideas.
At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to practice meditation. In fact, my dad’s Hanukkah gift to me was $93 because the yearly headspace subscription was $92.59 and I told him that’s what I wanted my gift to be. I’ve learned a lot from doing the exercises (and from reading 10% Happier and listening to Tim Ferriss podcasts on the subject) but one of the most significant lessons has been on the fickleness of thoughts and feelings. I realize this because on any given day I could be feeling amazing in the morning ready to conquer the world and all of a sudden upset with myself because of an interaction that happened in the elevator on the way up to work (true story.) In less than an hour, I go from superman to crap.
These stories help me because they teach me how quickly things can change. Rather than getting caught up in feelings and emotions, I try to be even keeled. While I’m happy now with my workflow and feel that I am learning a lot, situations change and those feelings of uncertainty, doubt, frustration and sadness may very well resurface. When they do, I’ll do my best to not get caught up in them and realize that they are just temporary thoughts and feelings. The key for me is doing what’s in my control to improve my situation and trying my best to avoid things outside of my control.
For all frustrated / struggling brokers, I hope this helps you realize that those nervous thoughts aren’t necessarily true and can change so quickly. We all know the feeling of getting a new meeting and how happy that can make you, even if you had been struggling the entire week and unsure about your prospects. For those doing well, I hope this makes you appreciative of your current place and allows you to be happy with yourself. After all, if you can’t and don’t enjoy your success, what is the point of working?
For more on the subject of meditation / clearer thinking, here are some resources that have worked for me:
Chris Evans’ “trick” for calming his brain