I come from India. My father was a farmer and our day typically started early. My mother was a homemaker raising six kids in a challenging environment and on a variable income. My whole life, I’ve believed in working hard and investing yourself in your occupation.
There are people in your life who are close to you and you need to love and care for them. No matter who you are or what you are working on, the loved ones in your life require your time and attention. Despite this fact, I used to tell myself, “I’m trying to build a company, so I will get back to my spouse, kids, parents and friends afterwards.” This was especially my mantra when starting Persio, a mobile marketing company we ended up selling to Clutch, as well as initially with DataCubes, which I still run. Then I had a quadruple bypass surgery in 2016, a procedure which 3.3% of people die from, and my perspective changed forever.
What you realize first during that type of crisis is there might not be an "afterwards". Before, my main concern was my business would fail and I wouldn't reach the level of success I envisioned. However, this type of event shows you not a single day is guaranteed in life, so putting off time with loved ones is never wise. To help facilitate this at DataCubes, we have instituted policies of flexible work hours and unlimited PTO. While I understand this is table stakes for the modern startup, I truly try to live and embody this in our culture.
Me along with (right to left) my wife Ruchi and sons, Uday, Ajay and Garv at Starved Rock State Park.
That said, you also see more clearly that doing good work is an essential part of life. You become more cognizant of the importance of enjoying the work you do. It’s critical to be working on interesting problems that you genuinely want to be part of solving. Instead of taking the place of regularly seeing the people closest to you, good work often takes the place of what would have otherwise been idle time. It becomes more satisfying than many of the other ways you could be using your time because you derive a strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from it.
I have three boys ages 15, 13 and eight. I love spending time with them, having engaging conversations and giving them the guidance and support they need to grow. At the same time, I believe strongly that I’m also teaching them by example the importance of taking risk and dedicating oneself to a cause one believes in.
My cofounder, Harish, is another great example of this type of approach. He works harder than anyone I know. He is fully dedicated, yet every day he finds a couple hours to spend quality time with his family as part of a well-lived day.
When your work is right for you, you make it an integral part of your life – you don’t need to try to balance it against life. And in today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to instantly switch between work and other pursuits as needed.
Back in action delivering a main stage presentation at the Plug and Play Insurtech Demo Day this year.
So take the time with your loved ones and also remember the importance of doing work you love. Apply yourself to something you believe in and go after it 100%. There is no work-life balance, there is simply your remaining life and what you do with it.