Tag Archives: humility

TYMMPB… | Embracing Kipling

BLOG--Jaan ChillingMy son. It’s amazing to say that. The my part is incomparable. The son part was one half of a win:win.

And winning is all it has felt like. One month ago today, and precisely one month ago from the moment I started writing this post (10:49), you were born to us. And you went straight to your mother’s chest where you spent quite a bit of time — and have spent quite a bit of time since. There’s no denying that you will be a momma’s boy. And as a momma’s boy myself, I can tell you, there’s no love like the love you’ll get from your mother.

When you’re old enough to read this, who knows when I’ll share it with you. You may feel slighted. For the first year of your older sister’s life, I wrote frequently. Because the time to do so existed. Such is not the case for you. With you. So instead I’ve decided to write you 12 letters, each on the monthly anniversary of your birth and into your first birthday.

Today, I start by telling you how proud you’ve made me already.

People define masculinity and manhood in very different ways. My definition as always run closest to how Rudyard Kipling encapsulated it in his poem, “If…” Especially the lines I’ve bolded below.

You have managed to make it through the month without being the least bit of hassle or burden. You sleep in the family room. That’s where you make your home. Sister running around the house. Visitors in and out the door. Sunlight through the windows. Pans clanging in the kitchen. TV sometimes on sometimes not. And yet, you go about your day unfazed and unbothered. Attributes that will serve you well.

You have managed to make us feel like great parents even with all the scrambling and distractions around us. You take solace in our arms and by our voices. You make your  mother’s arms your home. You make your sister’s voice your lullaby. You make your nani, dadi, and foi feel like they are absolute experts when it comes to baby whispering.

Don’t believe me? Check out how much your sister adores serenading you. 🙂

At one month, you’ve managed to do what no one month old can ever be expected to do: you’ve managed to enter the world with such fine humility, that even your birth is somehow about everyone else feeling good, valued, helpful, loved.

Today You Made Me Proud By … embracing the spirit of Kipling’s If. I promise to make you proud by learning from your humble lead.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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My $.02 | Work | Guiding Principles

Tomorrow, 5/7, I take another step forward in my career when I join LiveIntent as CMO. It’s humbling. It’s an honor. Like any big move I’m motivated and excited about the challenge. And like any normal human being, I’m acutely aware that I have as much power to make things go well as I do to muck things up.

As I enter my new role, excited to work with this amazing group of people who found some value in my experiences and my person enough to invite me to join them, I took some time to reflect on some of my guiding principles. An exercise that served me well in my decision to leave my last role in search of a new one, and a decision that made it right to choose LiveIntent among my several competitive (and equally humbling) offers.

  • Progress to perfection must be a permanent exercise and should be a fruitless one. The world changes too much, and these days, also too quickly. If you’ve set yourself on the correct path, the final goal post should move farther out every time you look up to see how close you’ve gotten. When I look at what makes me happy, it’s clear that I find the permanence and pursuit of greater goals to be more motivating than I find the fruitless nature of them to be demotivating. Per James Thurber, I prefer to be the moth in pursuit of the star as opposed to the siblings in pursuit of a street lamp.
  • Maintain perspective and context by balancing confidence with humility. There are no stupid clients and there are no arrogant teams. There is merely a commitment to a lack of context and introspection. In any situation it is important that you understand the role you play in the lives of the people you serve — whether it be your employees, your clients, your investors professionally, your family and friends personally, or the world and the environment around you as a citizen. Maintain context. Because inflating your own value in your own eyes will make you miss the bigger picture and the opportunities around you, while also making you come across as foolish when all is said and done.
  • Be just as willing to act as you are to espouse. People are increasingly given platforms to share their thoughts. I believe this opportunity (from social media to document sharing to ill-timed meetings) has created a culture of conversation but not of action. As I look back at the people who have helped me and the people who I have enjoyed working with the most, it is not those who tell the greatest stories (stories can always change, stories can always extend — Hollywood has proven that with the sequel.) I find myself gravitating most toward those who work and deliver, and have committed myself to always being the one to bell-the-cat.
  • If you’re given the option, choose being clear over being clever. There’s no fable here. These are the words of my Jivan Mama, one of the strongest mentors in my life. When I was young and we were at dinner together, I used to just listen to him talk about how he approached his life and his work. One of the best pieces of advice I received from him was his desire to always be perceived as clear. I don’t think I do this nearly well enough, but boy do I want to. The moral of the story here is about where you focus. If you focus on being clever, you’re playing a game. Your energy, and the energy of everyone around you, is then focused on the playing the game as well. But by being clear, and by eliminating noise, you shift your focus from day-to-day gamesmanship and instead, focus on the outcomes. When you’re clear, nobody has to worry about what you’re thinking, what your priorities are, or how things will be received — everyone can instead focus on the task itself and the desired outcome.

There is no shortage of morals or lessons learned to pull from as I start my new role at LiveIntent. I’ll be posting one more on lessons learned from the past. But on this Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours before I start, these four bullets are the ones I find myself settling on with the greatest conviction. Looking forward to starting my new job, and to continuing to get better.

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TMLFYI… | Background

(Note: The gist of this post was notated on my phone on January 12th, but I wasn’t able to actually put some words to it until January 27th. Excuse the delay. It also ended up lacking the powerful feeling and sentiments that I had welled up inside of me the moment Anaiya was born. There was no way to recapture the power of that moment in words, and frankly, not enough time to do it justice. So I gave myself one shot to stream of consciousness my way through it, and move on so I can start writing about my daughter in the moment.)

A daughter.

It’s amazing how many people told us we were having a boy. I’m not sure if it reflects gender bias or a lack of predictive proficiency. I’m not sure if it’s cultural. I’m not sure if it’s proof that people sometimes just need something to say. But boy (see what I did there) were they wrong.

A daughter.

We couldn’t be happier. And we couldn’t be less important. 🙂

Your mom went to hell and back for sixty-two hours. She then had about four hours of relaxation time — medically induced. But after that everything is a blur for me. I know the world started making room for you at about 1:33 on Sunday January 12th, and I know that at 2:04, you forced yourself into this world and went straight to your mom’s chest for skin-to-skin time. What was amazing though is that as much as mom wanted to cuddle and bond with you, you wanted to take the world in. You were moving your head from side-to-side. You didn’t want to miss a thing. Your timing and priorities couldn’t have been more appropriate.

It started with your Naniji. Did you know she was in the delivery room when you first met the world? She got to hold your Mommy’s hand and be there for her, so your Mommy could be focused on you. Kind of neat how that worked out, huh? She even got to feed your Mommy a popsicle (grape, believe it or not, but sugar-free of course because of that stupid @#$&*! gestational diabetes.) Just like your Naniji knows exactly how to be there, she also knows exactly how not to be there. As soon as she saw that you were ok and Mom was ok, she vanished. And we were none the wiser. You’ll notice that about her.

After we got you cleaned-up, Ba-ji and Dadaji  came to meet you. Tears. That pretty much explains it. Your Ba-ji stepped right in to hold you. You’re in for it with her. Every second since the moment she first met you she has been unable to see anything else. Just your face. Your Dadaji is less hands on and more hovering. He wants to make sure you’re ok EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. So he’ll walk past you, walk over to you, and walk near you. Sometimes holding you, but mostly, making sure everyone else is taking care of you.

Then Naniji and Nanaji made their way in to meet you, met with a similar response. Could anyone be happier? I already told you about your Naniji. But your Nanaji, now there’s a character. The rest of us are so sensitive to everything you do. Nanaji already has you talking and socializing. That’s what he does. That’s why everyone likes to talk to him.

Tita Fai and Deepal Mama were next. Tita Fai, well, she’s basically a crier. So she’s going to hug you and love you, but don’t be surprised if she has tears in her eyes every time she sees you pretty much for the rest of your life. You’ll get used to it. Carry Kleenex. Deepal Mama is your protector. You get many “Mamas” but you get one true “Mama.” He’s going to spoil you rotten at everyone else’s expense (actually … technically at his $expense$, and we’re totally fine with that.)

The fun don’t stop and won’t stop there. You met the first of your (many) Dada Mama’s, Chetan Dada Mama came in to see you. You’ll get used to his jokes (maybe) but he’s going to end up being one of your favorite people. He does that to everyone, kids, adults, random strangers at restaurants.

You had the most profound affect on everyone around you. With one glance, everyone’s life had changed for the better the moment you were born. But none moreso than your mom and I. We went from being children, to being parents. And we went from living our lives for us, to living our lives for you.

One day, this will sink in for you. On Sunday, January 12th, we went from being in the foreground of our own lives, to being the backdrop for everything you are and will become. Your mom and I embrace that. We feel lucky and inspired. Making sure everyone can bask in the sunbeams shooting out of your face, falling in love with all of you that is so lovely.

Today, my sunshine, my love for you is fully and completely in the background. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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