We Made It! We… made it?

At this point in my career, I’ve seen many things and while I have yet to see everything, I’ve seen enough to know what strengths I have and don’t. I’ve seen the rise of Paradiselandia from the beginning until now and have been every role and then some to get to that point.

Recently, we stepped into that most illustrious of spotlights that every large and growing company tries to break into at some point: public trade. We’ve now entered a rarefied space with an entrance marked in three letters.

I don’t know how to explain how disconnected I was – and still am – from that moment. The things I’m connected to are here on the ground with me. Those things – those people – are stressed because we’re out here doing our best while not having a clue.

This isn’t to say I’m in any way ungrateful for the opportunity or the experience, but I’m one for intrinsic rewards; I do things to the best of my abilities because I care about the people it touches; including the people here working with me.

When kindness and a good culture prospers, that’s where the win lies for me. But standing near a table as we toast, I look at people and think about the individual lives that make all of this work. Their challenges. The things they spend late hours, early hours, and weekends to make happen.

The stress on their faces as they aim for these things. The moments they open up and share things that frustrate them or anger them or sadden them.

Is this what winning looks like? Souls ground into powder and fragmented culture where people start to forget the people we needed to be to get here on an interpersonal level? I don’t mind losing if it does.

When I think about what winning looks like, I think about the way we got there and how connected everyone feels to what we’ve achieved. I hope we haven’t gained the world while losing our soul in the process. Very few companies can or do.