The sweet spot of life — A PM’s framework for setting objectives
The point of this post is to share a watered-down framework that I shared with a friend who told me they are feeling stuck. It was helpful to them in unblocking their decision paralysis and I hope it’s helpful to you too!
On a recent jog, I was listening to Emmanuel Acho’s TED Talk about why we should stop setting goals. Emmanuel is a former NFL linebacker, a TV sports analyst, and a successful content creator who argues that we should focus on setting objectives, not goals.
But often in life, even getting to the objective(s) is difficult. I would argue that broadly, there are some things we all value —
- Family (biological or non-biological)
2. Doing something we love/enjoy/care about & being paid fairly
3. Internal peace 🧘
In my own life, I first wanted to do something I loved doing and was good at, but initially I wasn’t happy with my compensation because it did not afford me the quality of life I desired. So I changed jobs which afforded me a higher pay and opportunity to work on something I cared about, but something was missing. That something was the people around me. I did not connect with them.
So I decided to go to graduate school to find a community of practice and it was great. When I finished that chapter of my life, I was fortunate to land a gig that hit all three aspects in my professional life — Community, context, and compensation.
Community — I had a community of people who cared about and were interested in the same things as me professionally — Complexity science, systems change, and using technology for good.
Context—I have always been fascinated peer to peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies and more specifically, the intersection of physical and digital systems. From founding my own startup in college to scaling product functions at P2P platforms, working on Filecoin fit right into my context.
I define a context and anything that gets you ticking. Often this is based on childhood experiences. Mine was being obsessed with roller coaster Tycoon 2 (really!)
Compensation — We all desire higher compensation. The more the merrier, right? Well, sort of. I think it is extremely important to contextualize what we value. For me, at this stage of my life, I value walkability, living a fitness-focused lifestyle, being in close proximity to water, having a dog, and having enough living space so that I can separate my workstation from where I sleep. There are other things I desire and would love to have, but above are the bare minimum I feel I need to live and maintain my quality of life. Now putting this in the context of Vancouver 🇨🇦, the city I call home.
Add to that some short to medium-term objectives (buying a car, getting married, attending that concert you always wanted to etc.) and you will arrive at a number that is the compensation you will be happy with.
I’m lucky to have hit the 3 C’s, at least for now.
Coming to our personal lives, I would argue there are three “things” are we constantly seeking —
Community — A community of people who care about and are interested in similar things as you. Family? Going out? Music? Working out?
I think this really boils down to feeling a sense of belonging and I’m still defining what this means for me personally.
Comfort — Do you feel that every day you wake up, life is pretty good? Well, my friend, you are comfortable and you should be thankful!
I do feel I’m comfortable. I think comfort is a function of freedom and ability — If you are able to do what you want to do at a given time, then you are comfortable. Wanna go biking? Let’s do it! Do you want to go to a coffee shop and write an article on medium? Let’s do it!
Care — I think we often confuse community with care and expect care to come from community but I would argue they are mutually exclusive.
I feel care comes from a set of close friends, family, and people you love just because they exist in your life. Finding care is unique and special and can arguably take more effort than hitting all the 3 C’s in professional life!
In my opinion, if you hit the jackpot with all six C’s in life, well you have a sweet life my friend.
If you are someone who is working on one of the C’s, I wish you the best of luck!