Becoming the Champion of Your Values

Pivotal learnings from the last decade 2/5 ๐Ÿ™

This is the second of 5 videos where I share my biggest breakthroughs in business and life from 2010-2020.

In 2012, I followed the logical, rational, and seemingly safe path into an Investment Banking role, instead of following my intuition into entrepreneurship. Over time the 24/7 nature of this role eroded my sleep, health, fitness and relationships – the truly important things in life. In 2014 this led to hospitalisation, and the vow to never again treat the important things in life, my values, with anything less than the due care and excellence they deserved.

When our values are weakened, we are weakened, our lives are weakened. But equally, when we champion our values, when we invest in them, when we make them strong, so do we and our lives become strong and correspondingly wonderful too!

Video transcript ๐Ÿ—ฃ

The following is the full transcript of this video. Please note that to connect as much as possible with you and my broader audience, my videos are filmed unscripted and in one take. Enjoy!

Hey there. This is the second video in my series on my most pivotal learnings over the last decade as we approach a new decade in 2020. In the first video, I covered a little bit my time in Paris and at London Business School, deciding on whether to pursue a full-time investment banking role or my inclinations towards entrepreneurship. Well, I followed the logical rational decision and took a full-time job at an American investment bank. And in this video we’ll cover what followed next and the learnings I had as a result.

It wasn’t long after starting my full-time investment banking role, this is back in 2012, that I started to realise that the culture wasn’t a good long-term fit for me. I was working very long hours, most days during the week I was working till after midnight. I was often working too until 3:00 AM and I did see many a sunrise. I was also working many weekends, and I was canceling lots of dinners, lots of catch-ups with friends, and many holidays. Everything seemed to be very last minute in the way that we were doing our work. And as a result, a lot of my personal life was sacrificed which started to add up over time.

For example, I didn’t realise back then what a lack of sleep could do to my mind and my body. I’ve now studied seminal work by PhD, Matthew Walker on why we sleep and the importance of it. But I didn’t understand these things at the time. And actually, I had quite a disregard for sleep. I felt that I was strong and tough, and didn’t need it even – which was part of the investment banking culture. And that perpetuated into the weekends as well, where I had very little free time for myself. So when I did, I partied pretty hard and I drunk quite a lot. And, I went on some pretty wild holidays as well, which didn’t help.

All these things compounded over time. And after a couple of years into my investment banking role, I woke up during the night having what I later learned was a severe case of physical anxiety, but it felt like I was having a heart attack! And so an ambulance was called to take me to the emergency room. You think that would have been enough for me to say, enough’s enough, this is not working for me, let me try something new!ย 

However, a month or two later, I was on a trip with friends in Paris and was hoping to see a local girl there that night. Instead, I got stuck with a last minute project and by the time I got out and caught up with my friends she was gone. It might’ve been something, it might’ve been nothing – I’ll never know. But in that moment, I decided that I’d never put myself in that situation again, where I’d let work get in the way of the things that were truly most important to me in life. And so I decided that night to quit my investment banking role.ย 

My experience investment banking taught me two really important things. First, touching on the first video was the importance of listening to our intuition when making big decisions in life – the big, complicated decisions, where we really can’t rationalise them very well. I spoke in the first video about learning Indonesian at high school, despite my intuition telling me to learn French. And, the first company I worked for was a French company, and, the first country I went to work in overseas was France.

The other example was while on campus at London Business School, I had a gut feeling or intuition that entrepreneurship was for me. But, I didn’t feel that I had the knowledge of myself or the strength of intuition at that stage to trust those signals and to follow them. So instead, I went with a logical, rational decision. I listened to the advice of others with what to do with my life. And, I embarked on the investment banking role, which in hindsight really wasn’t a good fit for me.

And the other key learning was to never again sacrifice the really important things in my life, in particular, as I described, family, friendship, health, and love – but there are many other important values in life as well. This is really important because when those things get weak, we get weak, as I experienced with my health particularly. And so, I realised that if I’m to become all I can be in life, I need to treat my values with the due care, excellence, and love that they deserve.ย 

It was this insight, that led me on the journey which has brought me here, now. It began by me thinking a lot about how I could care for these important things in my life with the due care and excellence that they deserved. And that’s been my passion and obsession over the last five years and it’s evolved into many different learnings, and allowed me to create a business which helps people to do the same, to nurture the important things in their life.

So those were the really big learnings for me around the importance of intuition and the importance of values in life. In the next video, I’m going to jump into what happened next after my investment banking experience, which was a journey into entrepreneurship. So I’ll see you back here for the next video!

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