on  the  importance  of // self

by Savannah Roach

This post marks the launch of an original Happenstance // series; "On the Importance Of...".  One of the best things about interviewing creatives/entrepreneurs/pioneers is finding the unexpected red threads that connect all of their philosophies and this weekly series highlights those.  "On the Importance of // Self" is about more than being confident. It's about staying true. It's about not budging on what you believe in while maintaining empathy and humility. "Self" is something that every member of the Happenstance community has conquered.

The Happenstance Project

If there is one thing that I have learned about entrepreneurs, it is that engrained inside each of them is at minimum, the slightest trace of a**hole.  Don’t worry, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Getting to the top takes a lot. To me, the other commonality amongst them is that they have a highly engaged sense of self which is a key factor to their success.  For many, these two characteristics are married.  Before even beginning to tackle a business plan or mastering passions, it is first necessary to master mindfulness.  

Just as entrepreneurship is a tool of monetizing happiness, mindfulness is a tool of successful mastery.  It is about balance.  It is about entering into an optimal mindset, focusing on what can be controlled, finding balance, meeting needs, being present, and making time disappear.  It’s about flow. This is so important because those with the entrepreneurial bug, myself included, tend to be a little hypomanic.  John Gartner, author of The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success in America said it perfectly.  He says, “If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus.  If you’re hypomanic, you think you’re God’s gift to technology investing.  [Entrepreneurs are] like border collies -- they have to run.  If you keep them inside, they chew up the furniture.  They go crazy; they just pace around.  That’s what hypomanics do.  They need to be busy, active, overworking.”  This is where mindfulness comes in and realizing my hypomanic tendencies makes me want to focus on it even more. The current generation is exhausted.  It is my goal to lay the groundwork for a lifestyle that knows and adheres to the boundaries of developing the self just as much as developing the business and the brand. 

“Mindfulness is focusing on you, now, without judgement.”

- Michael Gervais

The result of this self-knowledge, flow state, and path to mastery is unique to each individual, which is what has led to the breadth of creativity that has inundated today’s startup space.  Self-knowledge is knowing that everything has to be visualized (we’re talking pen and paper) in order to manifest into a successful project, á la Natasha Case and Freya Esteller, founders of the architectural ice cream conglomerate Coolhaus.  It also means knowing what personalities to surround yourself with in order to be happiest- as Jessica Alba says, “Having the right partners also means having people you like. They’re all people I wouldn’t mind getting stuck with at an airport for five hours.” It is having good posture and knowing to, like Tony Robbins, say things like“Well this is inconvenient” instead of “What a f***ing disaster.” It contributes to the quality of energy that we emit into the world.  It that consistent energy richness or, ‘good vibes only’ as I like to say, that defines a leader.