Alex Chan


2015 Was Why.

Can you publish a Medium post without a cool picture? (El Capitan, October 2015)

It’s been a hell of a year. Capping off an internship, resuming and finishing graduate school, connecting with the next generation of hustlers at UMass, trying to get a startup off the ground and ultimately failing, hosting and feeding a 700 person picnic, renovating the house, moving into one of the most capable and connected communities, and getting back to building the best products that money can buy.

The theme of 2015 was the why. Taking the time to understand not what I was doing, but why. It’s amazing how much information is accessible — the cliche of being able to do anything you set your mind to is more true now than ever. However with all this information, it is even more overwhelming to decide what to focus on. With so many interests, choosing one thing meant giving up on the others.

Asking why I was doing allowed me to focus and work smarter to reach my goals. When you understand your why, you can have fun working out your how and what to get there. (I keep italicizing these words — if you didn’t notice, the first “why” was actually a link to a TED talk by Simon Sinek. Here it is again because you absolutely should watch it).

Answering the why also allowed me to work more effectively with others. When there is a common goal at such a fundamental level, you can move more quickly and with more trust.

To continue this theme into 2016, I am going to start creating bi-weekly reflections. In this first part of the year, my why is personal growth. I strongly believe that reflection is paramount for me to carry forward learnings from both successes and failures. I want to feel more uncomfortable when I stagnate and to know when I do.

Furthermore it is my goal to surround myself with a growth-minded community both in person and digitally. Victories are easy to celebrate, but the struggle and losses are typically downplayed when in fact there is the most learning to be had. I believe a community that believes in this is the key to steady, sustainable growth.

January Week 2

This week’s goal: getting to 90% everywhere, fast.

As a perfectionist, I’ve wanted to get things as correct as possible. I’ve hated feeling I don’t know something 100%. However it takes too long for me right now to sustain multiple projects. My goal this week is to get to 90% and work around the 10% gap.

How are some ways you manage multiple tasks?

Topics of interest

More Related Stories