Work, family, babies: how the pandemic has helped us find our purpose

Steven Loeb · November 20, 2020 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/514c

Entrepreneurs share their journeys via "Becoming Us" a BetterHelp series

On Thursday, Vator and BetterHelp held their latest Becoming Us session, a bi-monthly program to help professionals build mental resilience through these surreal times filled with an unprecedented lockdown, lost opportunity, soul-searching protests and political unrest. As we transition to a new normal, we wanted to create a judgment-free place where people could share their unique journeys - struggles, hopes, etc. And in so doing, inspire others. 

This session, hosted by Joy Berkheimer, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and moderated by Vator CEO Bambi Francisco, was focused on finding purpose in a pandemic which has turned so many lives upside down.

Here's how a few of them shared their journies:

Profile photo of Shruti Van Dyke GandhiShruti Gandhi, managing partner at Array Ventures:

"In this 2020 era, we’re basically sacrificing a lot. Like love and belonging when can’t be with someone in our family for the holidays, our freedom to do things, all sorts of things are being challenged in one way or another for everyone.

For me, despite the macro world, the biggest life change that happened for me was last year I had a little baby. I also run my own business, I run my own fund. To me, it was like Joy’s comment around priority: who needs you now? That really stood out for me. I had to decide: at what point does the baby get priority or my work or does it get sacrificed? As a woman, that’s constantly our fear anyway, to be viewed as a person that doesn't do their 100 percent and more, and to be taken seriously in the workforce and so many other things. So, that really made me think about the points Joy made, on a personal level, and how to navigate running a fund, making investments, managing all the companies, we have over 45 companies in our portfolio, and actively investing in one company a month. So, doing all of that and now managing a 13 month old baby. Throughout the pandemic, I didn’t think about how I wasn’t going to get any care, but I did do that. What needs attention right now is her, but I also want to achieve, accomplish and feel like I need to set an example for her. So, it’s been fun figuring all that out.

On the other hand, in meetings I do get fulfillment when I’m getting pitched and people are looking for money from me and it makes me feel powerful, even though that’s not how it should be. What's changed for me is just the schedule; I made meetings around her nap times. Now it’s different; now we have care. We had to bite that bullet with the pandemic and say, ‘What’s important to me?’ and make the sacrifice of having someone in our home to help us out so I could get work done, where, before, we were scared of having someone in the house. So, it’s making those kinds of choices in our lives to see what we need to feel good and what purpose we are serving at the moment. But I did raise her full time and worked full time throughout, for 11 months. So, it was fun. It’s a fun thing I’m going to talk about for a long time."

Demian Entrekin - Forbes Technology CouncilDemian Entrekin, CTO at Bluescape: 

“I confess that I don't really think about purpose formally. I should say, I haven't really spent much time thinking about purpose in any kind of formal way, in any structured way, so this is probably the first time that I've sat down and thought about it in this kind of format.

In particular, with the last year and all the ups and downs, my top purpose has been my job. It's my job to put food on the table, like it or not. I feel the responsibility to make sure that that is happening, and is going to keep happening, and that the bills are getting paid. I've started four companies and two of them were slapped pretty hard in the face by changes in the market that you can't really control or foresee. So, when the pandemic happened it was really unclear what was going to happen, so there's a lot of, I guess, background anxiety about where this is going to go. Will it threaten that core need? In this particular case, fortunately, it's actually helped our business. And so, in a way, I would say I have transitioned from a sense of anxiety to a sense of gratitude. I have been willing to go back to recognizing that I should feel the gratitude for things working in the way that I couldn't have foreseen in a good way, because I've been on the other side of this, and you take the fishing boat out and you never know, you might run into a storm that sinks your ship. So, that's number one. at the top.

Then, with family, I've be thinking a lot about finding the right balance between giving them what they need, but also wanting what I need, and trying to find the right middle ground. That's just a constant battle when you’re all in the same house and all the sharp edges are there at all times. So, I'd say finding that balance, and sometimes learning when to just sit back and let things happen, maybe be less of an actor in the whole family scene, has been helpful for me. 

I talked about my job, but I'm also a founder. So, there's my needs in the company, but I need the company to be successful. We have 230 employees and I want them to thrive and succeed. I want my customers to succeed. So, there's that kind of driving purpose when you build something like this, when you build a company from scratch, it's hard not to become in your front view, all day, every day. So, obviously company success is constantly asking myself what needs to be better, what's broken that I can fix. 

I would say my body is important; finding the right activities that keep me physically right. I know that I think better when I feel better, I think better when I work hard physically, whether it's biking or running or playing sports or whatever. So, one of the things that the pandemic allowed me to do is ride my bike in the middle of the day with no traffic and hearing the birds. So, I would say that that's actually been something that's been quite nice. In fact, as the traffic has returned, I’ve regretted that.

I like to write, I love to write, it helps me create another world that I can go to at any time. When you write stories, you create worlds and characters in it and that's something that is always something I can turn to to keep that creative sense alive. In fact, I'm working on a long story right now, which is pretty fun. Mentoring others: I do like to work with first time CEOs, or first time entrepreneurs. I can't do very many at once but just having made a lot of mistakes myself, I like to talk with them and encourage them and  help them avoid some of those mistakes. I find encouragement often is as important as anything.

One last thing I'll say is my future. Where do I go next? If I don't think about it, and have some sense about what it's going to be, then it'll just end up being whatever it is. There's some of that, of course, but I do like to spend time thinking about like, what is 2022 look like? What does 2023 look like? I don’t obsess on it but I do want to make sure certain doors may be available and open to me."

Watch the video of the whole session below:

(Image source: huffingtonpost.com)

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