Why Five Founders Made the Decision to 'Choose Must' by Jenna Abdou


The ‘A-ha moment’ in my shift to adulthood (Translation: Post Grad life) was reading Elle Luna’s story The Crossroads of Should and Must

I stumbled on Elle’s narrative while dealing with one of my then weekly quarter life crises. Her invigorating call to choose must - “the intuition that explodes inside of us” -  put my existential fears in perspective. From that early morning on, I promised to follow the magnetic pull in my chest; Regardless of where it takes me. 

This is how Elle puts it. 

 

It means so much to me to end this month’s blog series with our founders answering my favorite question from Elle’s piece: When you decide to look for your dreams in real life where do you go? 

Each day Arian Radmand, Brittany Hodak, Liz Wessel, Mike Townsend, and Munjal Shah inspire me to choose must. I hope their journeys will do the same for you. 


Arian Radmand, Founder and Director of Engineering at CoachUp

Our personal experiences shape how we live our lives.  So when pursuing your dreams (either personal or professional) everything should really start with your passions.  You need to be passionate in your approach to life (whether we’re talking about your professional or personal life) because that’s really the only way to truly enjoy what you’re doing.  You can’t fake passion and that’s what I love about it.  I specifically look for passion about our business in every person that I hire.

The other thing to keep in mind is that people have many things they love.  So it’s not super important to search for your ‘one true passion’.  I certainly don’t have ‘one true passion’ … I have many passions and I enjoy all of them.  I’m equally happy (both professionally and personally) when I’m involved in any of them.  

So the best thing I would say about finding your ‘must’ is to take a step back and understand what things are gratifying for you and pursue those passions.  Don’t worry about hitting a home run and finding your ‘one true must’.  If you are passionate and enjoy life, then you’ve already won!


Brittany Hodak, Co-founder of ZinePak

For me, my "must" is writing and creating. I've been writing as long as I could read, and probably before. I was making "books" in kindergarten and rarely go a day without writing some kind of story, song, or article. All of my favorite jobs always involved writing, so I think it's natural that I started a company that is founded on storytelling, in a lot of ways. At its core, ZinePak is a company that helps celebrities and brands connect with their fans through engaging, carefully-crafted stories.

Even when I'm not writing for ZinePak (where a day's work could include writing an article, working on a pitch deck, or even writing editorial for inclusion in a ZinePak product), I'm writing for pleasure: I'm currently working on a screenplay and a novel, close to a dozen articles and a handful of songs. So, writing is definitely my "must"--I would be lost without it!

Liz Wessel, Co-Founder and CEO of Campus Job 

This sounds corny, but my most enlightening moments about Campus Job happen when I’m near or on a college campus. Maybe it’s just because being around our users is the best way to remind myself of the importance of what I’m doing, but there’s also this young energy and excitement of “I can be anything” that I love.



Mike Townsend, Co-Founder of HomeHero

"What a man can be, he must be." - Abraham Maslow

The most powerful force in the universe is a team of passionate people working with focus on a common goal. It’s incredibly motivating to work alongside people that genuinely believe that HomeHero is working to solve the most important problem this country will face over the next 20 years.

Self-actualization is the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This level of need refers to what a person's full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. For me personally HomeHero touches this level of gratification in my work, which is a remarkable feeling.


Munjal Shah, Co-Founder and CEO of Health IQ

I’ve always had the desire to be an entrepreneur. I was in sixth grade in computer science class and I can remember telling my teacher that I was going to start a company. It was that early in life.

Steve Jobs was my hero when I grew up and the guy across the street from me worked at Atari. It was one of the benefits of growing up in The Valley. That was the first part. I knew I wanted to do it and I did it every day.

I bought a house years later three blocks down from Steve Jobs. I stopped him one day and said ‘Hey Steve, I just want to let you know that you were my inspiration growing up. This is what I’ve done with my life since then.’ Of course, in typical Steve Jobs fashion, he kind of looked at me and said ‘Okay,’ and then walked off.

The second must was when I had a health incident. I just realized what I wanted to do. It became a driving force. Every day I do it. Every day I think about it, and every day I make different choices in my life. It’s a ground swell that hasn’t ended yet.

It’s very grounding in some ways, you know what you’re doing and you know why you’re doing it. I kept trying to contemplate why people don’t say what they’re passionate about. Most people you ask will give you a half answer. It’s a fear of failure that keeps people from doing this. If you don’t put anything out there it’s safer.

I was always that person. I never had a sense of risk, sometimes mistakenly. I would just do the craziest things. It wasn’t that I thought about it and overcame it. I didn’t even think about it.

A little bit of success helps you too because you feel like there’s something to fall back on. If you had talked to me before you would have heard a level of passion around being an entrepreneur, but I don’t think you would have felt this depth of must that I feel like I’ve found the cause now. 

In other words, I don’t think I really found my full calling until the last few years. I thought I did, but now I look back and realize that I didn’t. A good calling finds you, you don’t find it.


Image credits to Elle Luna



Further Reading
  • Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
  • How to Build a Team That Aspires for Greatness — When Adam Liebman plays basketball, all he does is shoot three-pointers. “I’ll pretty much shoot three-pointers from anywhere on the court. Once we cross half court, I’m in my range. I’m never afraid to pull the trigger,” he said, reflecting on his fantasy game with Lebron James.
  • The Scientific Case For Happiness: How to Rewire Your Brain and Take Control of Your Life — In an average day, I convince myself that I have at least three disorders. I am a self-diagnosed hypochondriac. Yes, I see the irony here. Ranging from the serious - Will these voices in my head ever stop? - to the non-serious - Why did I ask that interview question? - I often engage in what Paige Craig, an investor at Arena Ventures, has identified as “Creative Destruction.”


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