As each year draws to an end, I like to put pen to paper, list all that I am grateful for, my intentions for the new year, and my hopes and aspirations. I thought this year I’d share these and ask you to do the same. Maybe, by doing so, we’ll remind one another of what is good and important in our lives and what we want to change about ourselves and the world around us.
I am so thankful that every day I wake up with a real sense of purpose. I believe that what I do makes a difference for others beyond just myself and my immediate family.
I worked for someone for over 15-years who preached never to allow our customers and colleagues to become our friends as it could impugn our professional judgment. Man, I am glad I didn’t listen! That line between client and friendship doesn’t exist in my world and I am all the richer for it.
I am grateful to be part of an amazing eco-system that works, in concert, to help passionate founders with cool ideas and great products succeed. The odds are stacked against them and still too many fail to reap the rewards. But, it is cool to know and be a small part of the bridge builders out there trying their best to make it happen.
I am thankful for my wife of 28-years who thought I should, could, and must leave my comfortable, albeit boring, corporate gig to do what I now do for a living. Her resolute and unflinching confidence in me made me believe even when I wasn’t sure. Her support has continued to bolster me over these past years as my practice has grown.
I am fortunate to have three grown kids whom I’d still enjoy having a cup of coffee or a beer with even if they were strangers. Because I'd find them interesting and smart.
Lastly, how cool is it that the person who edits every one of my articles is my 77-year-old father? Every week I get to share my thinking with him and talk about business and life. That makes every keystroke worthwhile, even if no one ever reads a word.
I am a workaholic, see above for why. This year, I intend to be more focused on self-care. For over a decade, I had a strong, disciplined mindfulness meditation practice. Over the past four years, as I’ve built my business, I’ve let that go. I definitely need to rekindle that discipline. It’s foundational to my being able to fully manifest the best version of me.
Similarly, during that same decade, I lived a bit of an ascetic lifestyle. I was very rigid with the food I ate and rigorous with my exercise. I don’t intend to return to that level of rigidity and rigor. But, I do want to find a healthy midpoint. One that nourishes my body, mind, and spirit.
We live in caustic and divisive times and that really troubles me. I’ve always been one who thinks it is important to have an opinion. But, equally important is to have room for the opinion of others.
My hope is that we begin to see an opinion for what it is, malleable and impermanent. We should constantly challenge our own and when they are proven wrong, not see that as a failure but rather a gift of insight and wisdom.
Too many, more now than ever, tether their opinion to their sense of self. Therefore, when someone disagrees with them or holds a different view it is taken as an existential threat to one’s identity. I hope we can learn to cut that cord between opinion and self. If we can, we'll find the space for compromise, collaboration, and growth.
There you have it, your turn. Have a happy and healthy 2018.
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Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on helping emerging food and beverage brands grow. He works with clients to design and execute customized route-to-market and go-to-market strategies that build velocity, gain distribution, and win share of stomach. His articles appear in publications such as the Huffington Post, SmartBrief, and FoodDive.