Does it sell diamonds?

Shortly after I moved to Kansas City, I found an apartment downtown across the street from where I worked, got on my bike and started exploring, and began a quest to forge friendships in a new city. I did this by socializing with my coworkers, participating in hackathons, and attending Meetups related to tech and the startup scene in KC.

At one of these Meetups, I experienced a fireside chat with Barnett Helzberg, Jr., grandson of the original founder of Helzberg Diamonds and former Chairman of the company before it was sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 1995. Someone in the audience asked him during Q&A: "If you could sum up your business philosophy in just one sentence, what would it be?" It was clear that he had anticipated this question and/or had thought about it at great length already. He replied quickly: "Does it sell diamonds?" In short, do the actions I'm undertaking today lead to improving the company's bottom line and increasing hard measures of success?

To this day, those words resonate with me as I move forward in my life. I channel intent, discipline, and willpower into my thoughts, words, and actions. That fireside chat was nearly two and a half years ago - before I read The Startup of You, before I started taking notes on what I read, and before I started setting professional goals for my long-term future. It was months after I set an organizational vision statement with my team in AIESEC, but long before I envisioned a life of abundant success by strategically planning every day with intent and ending it with reflection.

I still write in my journal almost every day.

This year, I managed to achieve all of my Q1 goals. I learned about dog behavior and got a dog for two days, I started learning Hindi, and my meal prep schedule is regular and loaded with plenty of veggies and protein. I crave cottage cheese. I hold myself accountable and am gentle with myself when I falter, which happens often enough. I'm not Superman.

But when it came to writing in this blog, I froze. I set a weekly goal to write something about talent management or software development. I live off my calendar, and I thought that if I followed the same practice for all the other things I want to do or accomplish in my daily life, I would be successful. Boy, was I wrong. Without context, taking an hour to hammer out a blog post produces content with the quality of zirconia and that reads like a dry textbook. Those aren't diamonds I want to mine.

I'd rather add the most value possible with the time I have. I'd rather share my stories. Those help further my ultimate goal of connecting with others on a deep level beyond the professional sphere, and those connections are my diamonds.

Published May 08, 2016