How I’m Learning What I Want to Do with My Life

Here’s the Template That’s Emerging to Help Me

I’ve been on a journey called Just Rolling with It for a few years now. I’m feeling excited it seems to be working. Figuring out what I want to do with my life is a big part of this journey.

What Do I Actually “Do”?

Figuring out what I actually “do” is a big part of figuring out what I want to do with my life. Learning to let the being inform the doing is helping me figure this out along the way.

I’ve submitted a bunch of resumes, proposals and cover letters along the way too. I’ve completed countless online profiles as well.

Writing the content for these submissions has become an exercise in self-reflection and self-discovery. At first these submissions seemed like nothing more than a form to complete. Each was one more task to check-off on my prioritized daily checklist.

I became aware of how much thinking went into each submission. No two were the same. Each had similarities with others.

Editing Away Instead of Adding More

This has been an ongoing editing process. The editing process has started to sculpt an answer to the what do I “do” question. It’s chipping away at the extra material to reveal what’s been lying underneath.

I realized each piece is contributing to a larger whole. This post is a collection of this writing.

I’m sharing it here in the hope you may find inspiration and benefit in it for your own journey of self discovery. Bookmark the post and stop back often, as I plan to update it on a regular basis.

Here’s the Template, Presented in Sections -

1 — What‘s important to what I “do”? What should my work allow me to experience?

  • Communication
  • Connection
  • Creativity

(More to come here.)

2 — What’s the biggest mistake I’ve made in my career?

This is the answer I wrote to the question on Quora —

My biggest career mistake was believing what I did to earn an income had to make me unhappy. I’m feeling fortunate to learn that’s not the case. I’ve learned what I do to earn an income can actually contribute to my happiness. It took me 30 years of working to realize this.

I started delivering newspapers at 12 years old. I think I earned about $15-$20 for about the same number of hours per week. It was a seven day a week job, rain or shine. Customers never told you how happy they were with your service. They only called your Mom when they were unhappy 🙂

Working Toward Unhappiness

My jobs rolled on toward unhappiness from there. I did yard work for neighbors. My Mom usually made me return the money. (I’m still trying to figure that one out…) I worked in a grocery store refrigerator, a dusty basement file room, did green screen data entry for hours on-end, and so and so on.

This pattern continued through high school. College work was OK. I sold football programs at football games and DJ’s music I loved. This required DJ’ing until 3AM, then waking up at 6AM to get to the stadium and pick up programs to sell.

The jobs seemed to get better, little by little, after that. I worked a co-op student in Florida. This helped me escape the frigid winters at my university. I rolled into my first corporate job after college.

I first realized I was unhappy at the first corporate job.

I also told myself being unhappy at my job was normal. That was what I became conditioned to believe. And I believed it.

This led to me being unhappy for the next 15+ years. There were some blips of happiness here and there. Those blips happened when I started my own companies and worked for myself.

I told myself the blips were excepts to the rule, not the rule. This led to me getting pulled back to work that continued to make me unhappy. The work started to pay better over time. I remained unhappy, even as my income level continued to increase.

I started adopting unhealthy, yet socially acceptable, habits to cope with the unhappiness. Since I was supposed to be unhappy working, I through drinking to numb myself to it was OK. At least I’d be happy while I was drinking. I could then get up and do it all over again, since I’d feel OK when I poured a drink at the end of the day.

Then my coping mechanisms stopped working. I realized my way of life was making me unhappy. Because I defined myself so much through work, I realized my work was a major cause of my unhappiness.

I began experiencing immense pain. It was a scary time. I realized that being this unhappy wasn’t healthy for me or those around me. This time I decided to stop numbing myself to the pain. This time I decided to try something different.

Just Rolling with It Toward Happiness

This time I started asking people for help. I learned that happiness was possible. I learned that it was OK to be happy. I started Just Rolling with Itto become happier for myself, those around me and others.

Just Rolling with It is working. A few years later I’m feeling much happier than ever before in my life. I’m on a path to generate income in ways that contribute to my happiness. I don’t believe what I do to generate income has to make me unhappy anymore.

P.S. — I also interview people who do what they love. The interviews never fail to inspire me. They’re a constant reminder that earning an income can contribute to happiness.

3 — What achievements are you most proud of in your career?

I originally wrote this for the achievements section of my AngelList Profile. It came in handy for a recent job application submission too.

I’ve never followed the path society told me I was “supposed” to follow. I was supposed to go to a mediocre state school in New Jersey. I earned an engineering degree from a top engineering school instead. I was supposed to get a job as a cog in a wheel of a large corporation. I started 3 companies instead. I was supposed to have a degree from a top business school to get into management consulting. I didn’t and worked at two of the top management consulting companies. I was supposed to play it safe with my career when I had a son late in life. I’m still taking calculated risks.

I managed the team that started integrating the Department of Homeland Security’s communication network. I’ve worked on the diligence teams for M&A deals up to $750 million. I recently helped a SaaS company get acquired. I was cofounder and COO of a company who took a shot at the Indian VOD market. I’ve won and lost on the journey and look forward to its continuation!

4 — What are the day-to-day activities in your ideal role?

I wrote this answer for a job application submission.

The role would have me working with the leadership of an innovative company. The company would be working to disrupt a large market. The disruption would help a lot of people feel better.

The position itself would be challenging. The responsibilities would change and adapt as the company does. The company would benefit from my ability to execute and get things done. I’d likely be managing more than one project at the same time.

I’d be working with people who are good at what they do. They wouldn’t feel the need to prove it all the time, because they already know it. They would have a drive to succeed, tempered with an appreciation for wellness. They would understand that taking care of one’s well-being helps a person succeed, not detract from their success.

5 — Who am I, according to LinkedIn?

This is my LinkedIn Profile summary.

I‘m a technology, operations and M&A consultant to technology companies and their investors. My work focuses on the impact technology and operations have on business goals. I’m also open to full-time leadership roles at early stage technology companies.

My background combines Big 5 management consulting and startup co-founder experience. I bridge the gap between business drivers and technical requirements. I execute technical solutions to achieve business objectives.

I have a strong appreciation for balancing hard work and well-being. This balance enables me to bring sustainable high performance to the work I do.

Client Services — Technical project management, M&A diligence support (buy & sell sides), as well as transaction-oriented patent commercialization, valuation and diligence services.

Industry Experience — SaaS, digital media, wearables, the Internet of Things, finance, defense, alternative energy, sports, robotics and logistics, among others.

Personal and Professional Differentiators — Translating complexity into simplicity, bridging the gap between business drivers and technical details, becoming a trusted C-level advisor, living a sustainable cycle of productivity and wellness.

6— Who else am I?

This is from the about page on Just Rolling with It.

My name is Chris Remus. Just Rolling with It is also about my own personal journey through a holistic healing process. For a long time, I put work-related performance first in my life, at the expense of my well-being.

I experienced intense levels of stress and unhappiness during this time. I learned and practiced unhealthy, yet socially acceptable, ways to cope with these intense emotions. I did this for 20 years.

I arrived at a point in my life where it became clear these coping mechanisms were both ineffective and unsustainable. They weren’t working anymore.

That’s when I decided that change was necessary.

That’s when I started Just Rolling with It.

I live by the ideas I share on Just Rolling with It. These ideas have helped me reestablish and strengthen my own sense of well-being. I’ve been able to do this while supporting my creative and entrepreneurial drive.

I now support this drive in healthy ways. I feel like this new way of being is creating a virtuous, rather than destructive, cycle.

That’s It for Now

I feel like this is the start I set out to write. Stay tuned for updates as I learn more about myself!

P.S. — What big questions am I missing here? Let me know in the comments.