Elon Musk – The Math Doesn’t Lie

The city is misty and cold now in early December. The colors are muted tones of white, lavender and grey. There is a consistent low grade buzz here that never stops. I think that is the hardest thing to get used to living in cities. In other places I have lived there is a period of time when the night is silent. The cars no longer buzz by and even the crickets go to sleep, but cities like this never really sleep. The city is even more alive now in early December with shoppers and tourists.

I’ve been busy working my Nordstrom job and doing Ocean SF Pop-ups which have seen brisk sales this year. I am almost sold out of my more popular items.

I am also teaching two classes at UC Berkeley, one in Leadership and Management and the other in Business Negotiating. One is in person on campus and I have 44 students and the other is live on Zoom. I have been grading papers in my spare time (all of my spare time). I love reading the papers from my leadership class where they write about a leader of their choice and outline their background, what shaped them and their impact. I learn so much reading these. I also allow students to write about someone they know and many write about their bosses and parents who have lived amazing lives and have had an enormous impact on those around them proving everything we do matters. My Business Negotiation class wrote ten page papers on different elements of negotiating. One wrote about how time impacts international negotiations. I did not know that China has only one time zone even though it is a country larger than the United States where we have multiple time zones. In China it is always Beijing time. There are many other nuances regarding time in other cultures that I did not know. So, I am learning from my students as well.

My days are very full and I am making progress with my brand, my classes at UC Berkley and in my writing, but I do work many hours per day, but it doesn’t feel like work because I love what I’m doing. But, when I saw an article on Elon Musk from a decade ago I was not surprised, based on his recent policies at Twitter, to find he advocates for a complete lack of work life balance. It made me wonder if it might be all right to work exceptionally hard during different periods of your life?

“Be extremely tenacious and then just work like hell. You just have to put in 80 to 100-hour per week.”

Elon Musk

The times in my life when I worked the hardest have been when I had the largest gains. Other times in my life when I was raising my children I had a slower pace and spent time in parks, cooking, painting, watching movies, at ball games and in the library peering through the book isles. None of this do I have much time for now. This period of my life has consisted of building my brand which has not yet been especially lucrative, guiding my daughters through university and their first professional jobs (the opposite of lucrative) and sorting out the financial hot water my late husband left me in. The results of these efforts have been like driving in dense fog knowing I would eventually make my way to my destination, but not knowing exactly when. It’s been a period of keeping my head down and working really hard.

“If other people are putting in 40-hour workweeks and you’re putting in 100-hour workweeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing, you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

Elon Musk

Elon has a point. The math doesn’t lie. I’ve heard from many successful people that they did work really hard when they were starting out or creating a business or start-up. Sometimes we feel like we are getting nowhere, but eventually the dots connect and we have built a career that we love.

Love and blessing to all.

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