On Thriving

My belief is that, as long as we are our healthy selves, we want to thrive and we want those around us to thrive as well. We want to “be happy”. We root for the underdog. We celebrate someone fulfilling their potential and succeeding. The US Army recruited with it for years: Be all that you can be.

In our founding document in the USA it is enshrined within “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, where almost 250 years ago by “Happiness” was originally meant Eudaimonia (I’m enough of a philosophy nerd to think of it that way). Eudaimonia as the goal of living one’s life. Flourishing. Thriving.

It is the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As we progress through having our psychological needs met, to safety, to belonging and love, thru esteem, there sits Self-Actualization atop it all: the realization of one’s full potential. Thriving.

There’s probably no sharper focus on thriving, and how we can help make it happen, than when we think about our family and those we love, and especially our kids. We often use words like success and happiness which wrap up into the notion of thriving (and especially eudaimonia) nicely. We feel this in our gut.

I have felt it as a professional level as a leader too. When I built an Engineering organization from the ground up I got to help create an environment where hopefully people could thrive in their role. To grow in their capabilities as we asked for more as the company scaled. We certainly didn’t always get our processes or organization right, and they needed to change as the company scaled anyway, but always having an eye on how people can be successful in their careers while also contributing to the success of the company matters. In the end, especially since the company didn’t find the exit that we hoped, it was seeing the personal growth and success of the people that I worked with and helped along the way that still made it a positive experience.

So why is this a topic I am writing about now?

This could just be a reminder to make your company’s or your team’s success be about your people’s success as individuals too. Give them an environment where they (and you!) can thrive. There’s a lot of external things you can’t control when you start and run a company or team, but one thing you can control is how you treat people and what environment you create for them.

I’ve seen a team stick together through some of the hardest parts of a company’s life (trying to slide into home and coming up short of the plate) and it is proof of what most people’s priorities are: The people they get to work with and the immediate environment you’ve helped create around them.

Right now what got me thinking about this is the company and product that I’ll be building in 2020 and realizing that it is also about thriving. About creating a product that will help people live their lives better. I kept coming back to this particular idea over the course of this past year because I had a growing belief that it could really help people.

While I’m not going to spill the beans yet on what that product is, as much as anything this is a reminder to hold myself to account that it always comes back to that.

As we approach 2020, here’s to doing what we can in this upcoming year to help ourselves, family, friends, coworkers, and customers thrive.

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