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In hindsight it's easy, even necessary, to justify decisions as a series of logical choices you make given imperfect information. But this overlooks what's responsible for both the need to make a new choice and the reason you ultimately chose one option over another: your underlying emotions.  Get to know and trust those and you no longer have to backpedal for justification.

Despite changing jobs and even careers I didn't take time to look back on these foundational emotions.  After settling back to Austin in the late 90's and "doing my time at Dell", I worked with different high-tech companies across a variety of sales and marketing positions. A couple of these I handled with solid to good skill, one I fumbled clumsily away and yet another it felt insignificant if I did either. I wasn't making poor decisions, but I wasn't self-aware enough to gauge if my decisions for change were rational and logical or if they were driven by an emotion I never acknowledged.  Did that matter, especially if I would have come to a similar choice either way? I would have liked for all of them to be logical and rational choices. Work hard, try to get ahead, strike when the iron is hot and be thankful for what you get seem like fine reasons for most any career decision. 

But the journey to start you own business is going to be an emotional one.  It's nice to think each decision will be well-thought out but the reason anyone decides to run their own company is based on those currents of feelings you just can't shake. It's often the justifications to these decisions that are well thought out and logical. But an overwhelming emotion, or the blend of two or more is the reason we decide to change in the first place.  

Emotional Chart

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotion

In the corporate world, I began to feel the pensiveness and sadness of knowing my day is based on a top-down dictate predicated on stock projections. The boredom and disgust of feeling out of control of my failures, or even my successes (and sometimes worse, a contrived and way-too-real culture that I-was-a-part-of). The annoyance and anger at individuals. Peers, colleagues, directors, managers, VP's, RVP's, SVP's all rightfully entitled to their me-first need. But there are always strong emotional reasons to ensure you stay on the same path. Trust and acceptance are sought after, but they are close cousins to the fear and apprehension that won't allow you to change a situation even if you know better.

The key is to pinpoint the emotions that drive decisions.  You don't have to wear your emotions on your sleeve if you listen to them.

Atmosphere was created as a response to the problems of a corporate environment.  It's a place for focus not distraction, collaboration not playing politics, socializing without agenda and learning your trade, not someone else's.

I try to live my life where I end up at a point where I have no regrets. So I try to choose the road that I have the most passion on because then you can never really blame yourself for making the wrong choices. You can always say you’re following your passion.
— Darren Aronofsky




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