#017—Are you aware of your programming?

Hey all, it’s been a big week for me. I’m in the midst of a cross-country move, from Southern California to South Florida and officially fly out tomorrow! At the same time, I’m week 2 into the launch of my dream product, Personal Learning, and onboarded the first 100 beta testers this week! Needless to say, there are lots of nerves and excitement in our household (especially because my husband, Raaid and I are also co-founders!)

Speaking of, Raaid and I have decided to build pretty much everything together. When we met, we were two entrepreneurs doing two completely different things. To progress our relationship, we tried to separate our work and life.  But as people who genuinely believe our work to be our life mission, trying to find a “balance” felt unnatural. So instead, we chose to just live and work together. People ask me all of the time how I can be married to my cofounder, and I always (jokingly) respond that if we didn’t work together, we probably wouldn’t be married…

I’ve also been talking a lot with Raaid about our concepts of good and bad, specifically what makes a person good or bad. After going back and forth for a while, we came to a conclusion: there are no good people or bad people—just people with good or bad programming. So this week, I’ll get into what I mean by “programming” (and how it affects all of us in different ways) in Final Thoughts

Also, if you haven’t already seen Personal learning by Edvo, here’s a sneak peak of my dream! The very first learning management system, designed for each of us to take learning into our hands and think for ourselves:

If you want to test it out, manage your learning, and start consuming information online more effectively, feel free to grab an invite for the private beta here

Okay, on to more good stuff 🎉


💼  CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

I’ve noticed that while most career coaches say they want to help people build meaningful careers, there isn’t much conversation around what it means for a career to be meaningful. Everyone just takes it as a given that people know what a meaningful career is.

That’s why I believe we have to start by figuring out what’s meaningful to us, and then build a career that incorporates it. 

And it’s not an easy process. It often means trying different things, failing, and being super aware of how you think and how you see the world. But trust me when I say that if you’re committed to finding meaning, you will.

Personally, I knew I had to be an entrepreneur because I knew from the start that I wanted to build something with the potential to impact every person on the planet. That’s part of where I’d find meaning. But I also knew that I wanted to be in a position where I had a lot of autonomy over my work and my schedule. I wanted to be creative and have the opportunity to build something. To me, that meant entrepreneurship. Having full control over where I spend my time and energy, plus working on something I consider important, is what brought me meaning, and I built my career around it.

Everyone has to find this for themselves. Sometimes a career coach can help. But often, to find meaning—instead of just a new job—you have to commit to the search yourself. 

  • I’m a big advocate for incorporating Play into your life. I’ve found that it makes me much more creative and positive in my work and life in general. Here’s a fun read that may inspire you to embrace and understand the importance of Play

  • Speaking of meaningful (and fun!) work, Nathan teamed up with his adorable kids to make an adorable animated short! Just for giggles, and maybe some inspiration, check it out here.

  • Check out On Deck’s fellowships. Whether you’re looking to join an early-stage startup or start your own, On Desk’s fellowship could be an interesting place for you to find your next opportunity.  It also has an angel investing fellowship for those of you looking to start! There is a cost.  I am not an affiliate.  Just an advocate :)


👋 SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • Virtual Escape Room

September 17th, 2:00 p.m. PDT

Our Virtual Escape Rooms give you the full interactivity that comes with an in-person experience right from your own office or home! Enjoy 360 views of the full room and work with your team to solve your way out... More details here.

  • Find Your Financial Zen

September 17th, 7:00 p.m. PDT

Achieving financial freedom is a goal for many of us. To get there, the general understanding is for one to have enough savings, investments, and cash on hand to afford the lifestyle we want for ourselves and our families—and a growing nest egg that will allow us to retire or pursue the career we want without being driven by earning a certain amount each year. Unfortunately, too many of us fail to achieve it. We are burdened with increasing debt, financial emergencies, profligate spending, and other issues that thwart us from reaching our goals. However, there are still steps you can take right from today onwards to get you closer to that coveted goal and turn this nice theory into a reality. More details here.

  • Personal Wellness: Shift Your Morning Routine

September 29th, 10:00 a.m. PDT

Join Keynote Speaker, Clarity Strategist, and Founder of The Morning Shift Co.,Tiffany Lanier for a helpful workshop to help to help you have more of the work/life balance you crave. More details here.


⭐ FINAL THOUGHTS

When I talk about someone’s “programming,” what I’m really referring to is the set of beliefs that guides them through life. These beliefs can be empowering or limiting depending on what they allow us to do. 

I’ve been reflecting on my own programming for almost a year now, and have done quite a bit of work to refresh it.

For instance, I realized that our societal attitude toward going down “rabbit holes” was programming I had adopted, and it limited my learning. I used to think rabbit holes were a waste of time because that’s what I’d always heard. People would say things like:

  • “Don’t get lost in the rabbit hole. Just tell me the simplest answer.” 

  • “Oh, she’s obsessed with something else now… she won’t stop reading about it.”

  • “She just spends all day on her computer.”

Rabbit holes aren’t seen as productive because society tends to equate productivity with doing things and coming up with quick answers. We’re programmed to dislike the type of idleness that leads to real understanding of a subject. 

But I found myself understanding the world in a much more meaningful way when I embraced rabbit holes. So, eventually, I was able to reprogram myself and stop worrying about what people thought of my rabbit hole adventures. 

And the funny thing is, that actually led to a really great outcome—I have way more meaningful conversations now and as a result, build meaningful relationships wherever I go. 

I’m not saying everything you study will come up when you’re talking to a stranger, but going down rabbit holes definitely opens the doors to those meaningful conversations, because you actually understand a topic in a meaningful way.

Here’s another good example: 

When I was on the Meaningful Work, Meaningful Life podcast, I talked to Francine Beleyi about my own programming regarding money, especially receiving it from other people. I’m someone who was programmed to never ask for money. And growing up, I was taught to equate desiring money with greed and superficiality. 

And that programming made me feel awkward when it came to raising funding for my startup. 

But only until I reprogrammed the way I looked at money. Instead of thinking, “This person is giving me money,” I started thinking, “This person is investing their money in this idea. I’m investing my time and energy. We’re both contributing value to this venture, just in different forms. So this person and I are partners, co-creators that share a mutual interest in realizing a vision.” 

I learned to look at the money we were raising as a form of energy transfer, rather than something someone was “giving” me.

I suspect that everyone reading this has something they’ve been programmed to think or react to that isn’t helping them in life. Just know, you can reprogram yourself and change the way you think when you get into those situations. 

I now believe anyone can change their programming if they commit to doing so and are self-aware. That’s why I don’t believe people are good or bad, because that just feels very permanent

Instead, I believe people simply have good or bad programming that depends on the context, and can be reversed or adapted. Whenever I come across someone I vehemently disagree with or previously believed to be a “bad” person, I start investigating their programming and where it comes from. This has allowed me to have more empathetic conversations with people, and form opinions from a deeper understanding instead of quick judgements. 

So, I urge all of you to take a few minutes to reflect on your own programming, and how you evaluate other people’s programming. I believe the world would be a significantly better place when we all recognize programming for what it is and commit to evolving towards a harmonious collective. 💜

Sending e-hugs, 

Shireen