One advice I would give to my 20 year old self: Pick up a sport.
For the longest time, I tied my identity to only work. My happiness and self worth was tied to whether my role and comp was increasing with time. I did not care about much else.
And yes, also product management. Anytime someone would say anything against startups or PM’ing, I would jump with my 2c thread. It was my identity.
My perspective actually changed after I talked to a very successful exec. She diagnosed my issue in just an hour.
I was asking her if she is not afraid of failing or hating her job as a founder after being such a successful person.
She told me that she was more than a valley exec. She is a mom. A wife. A founder. She wrote a best selling book. It is okay if one thing does not go right.
While my entire self worth was tied to my identity as ‘a person who is involved in the startup ecosystem.’ Hence I cared so much about not failing in one aspect.
This is true. I still care about my career a lot. That is all I talk about with friends. Just one project not going well makes me upset. I rant. I try so hard to prove my worth everyday at work or when I am talking to a founder.
But what if you were more than your work? What if you had other interests too?
I am saying sports because it directly ties to health and your overall happiness level (at least for me).
I am shit at football. But now instead of worrying about work the whole day, I have these few hours a day when I care only about getting better at it. Yes, I have interests in life like Poker, Fifa, and reading, but none pushes me to the limit like Football. I have also realised that it is the only time I am truly present, and not thinking about the past or the future.
So yeah, pick up a sport. Your mental health will thank you.