I’m a big fan of the unvarnished, rough around the edges types that are not afraid to call out bullshit or a bully. To me, we need more people who can, as William F. Buckley Jr. famously said:
Engage in Intellectual CombatWilliam F. Buckley, Jr.
One such person for me is Mavin Liao, who writes must read posts over at The Hard Fork. What I appreciate most about Marvin’s “brick in your face approach” is that, right or wrong, he makes you think and think hard.
So when I was thinking about taking a JOB, I consulted with Marvin and he said, “Jarie, sometimes you have to go into Monk Mode.” WTF is Monk Mode?
The Writing On The Wall
Before I define Monk Mode, let me give some context as to why it’s important to understand the dynamics of the world. What I mean by dynamics is how politics, pandemics, and macro economic forces make the situation you find yourself in a lot different than you hoped.
I have been through two tough downturns (2001 and 2009). Both of these were brutal for the startup world. I had even written about it on The Daily MBA back in 2009. The aptly named Silicon Valley Malaise Redux was about how awful I felt about friends being laid off and how it reminded me so much of 2001.
Back then, one of the startups I was at folded so I knew the feeling of failure. At the time, I did not see the pending doom coming but now, things feel a little different. That’s why it feels like it’s time to go into Monk Mode!
Entrepreneur Monk Mode
At times, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the situation you find yourself in. Like a Monk, this reflection is part of a longer path to enlightenment and the reduction of suffering.
How this applies to entrepreneurs is that sometimes the entrepreneurial path you find yourself on must take a detour through getting a JOB and having a BOSS.
To some, this feels like failure since isn’t the whole point of the entrepreneurial journey to create an independent life that completes you? Seems pretty clear that getting a job with a boss is hardly an independent life but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, especially when things are out of your control..
The Lessons of Being a Data-Inspired Pragmatist
I have always considered myself a pragmatic person. I think this stems from my Oma, who’s Dutch pragmatism helped her survive the Nazi occupation of Holland. She used to tell me how much fun they would have being happy and singing songs to piss the German’s off. She found the joy in the simple things and even had to eat a cat to survive.
One could say that the writing was on the wall during that time that Holland would be taken over but it was hardly an option for most to flee. They have to figure out how to survive.
It may seem a bit odd to compare the impending recession to World War II but the ripple effects of war do have an effect on those outside the conflict zone. Case in point is the Ukraine-Russia War which has tipped the world into a recession with inflation approaching the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Getting Back to Monk Mode
Monk mode is about learning the next life lessons on the road to living an independent life that completes you. Sometimes those lessons have to divert you off the path you want to be on.
In Monk Mode, it’s all about the long game, which includes surviving to take another at bat once the situation warrants it.
Monk Mode is also about taking a pause and understanding what’s important and what’s not. It’s also about being patient and having the self reflection to know when it’s time to suck it up, accept reality, and do the things that must be done.
So What Are You Trying to Say?
In a roundabout way, I’ll be announcing soon that I took a job and will be putting some of the things I’m working on on hold. I’ll be writing more about what I’m doing soon and I’m excited to share the continuing entrepreneur journey I find myself on. The new gig will be challenging and I’ll be working with some fantastic folks doing some amazing work.