Monday, March 4, 2013

Staying afloat

I'm not sure what the right analogy is, but sometimes I feel like I'm drowning - but in a good way.  Perhaps it's more appropriate to say I feel like a kid in a candy store.  Or like I'm standing in the middle of Chanel with a blank check but I can only buy what I can carry (can you tell by this analogy that Hong Kong is getting to me?).  You see, Hong Kong is a city where people, places, and experiences are both plentiful and incredibly accessible.  It's liberating but it's also suffocating, because choosing to do something is also choosing to not do something else.

Since I arrived last year, I have spent most of my time in Hong Kong meeting people and hearing about their experiences, getting their opinions on what the entrepreneurial ecosystem needs, and exchanging ideas on how to meet those needs.  Inevitably, one meeting leads to three other introductions, and the connections start to multiply.  The conversations I have in these meetings could easily remain in isolation, but the real fun begins when patterns start emerging.  A moment of reflection will sometimes allow me to see how conversations are related, where incentives are aligned, and where the true possibilities lie waiting to be realized.  It's so exciting to imagine the amazing things that could be accomplished if the right people were able to come together at the right time.  

Well, it's exciting until these possibilities begin to compound and before I know it, I have pages and pages of ideas and potential projects and I realize I simply cannot do them all.  I can't even afford to explore them all.  The cold, hard reality is that there are only 24-hours in a day and every moment I spend reflecting is another moment I'm falling behind.  Being thorough, thoughtful, and caring about each and every interaction related to building a business is non-negotiable.  I could be wrong but I believe that operational competency must come first.  No class can go un-scheduled, no student e-mail can go unanswered, no bills can go unpaid.  Simply staying afloat is forcing me to table some of the larger ideas, and I feel like a failure.  I feel like I'm all talk and no walk.    

How do you dream big without losing focus on getting the little things right?  Sometimes I get paralyzed by the mountain of possibilities, blinded by the visualizations of what could be.  I know I need to slow down and take it day by day, to appreciate what I have already accomplished, and prioritize.  I am sure over time I will learn how to do this, but right now I feel like pulling my hair out because I just wish I could do it all.