DC: So you were working at this place when this happened? You were working there, like you said, great job and everything. How long was it between when you first had the thought? You said you talked to your friend. Did it start right then or was this months and years before you really…
SS: No, it wasn’t that long. I think it took three or four months to reach the point where we actually established a nonprofit and started working on it.
DC: So within less than six months for sure, you were up and running?
SS: Right. Up and running and then get to understand that, without funding, you can’t do anything. Good idea… I felt naïve. It took us two or three years to get the first funding. Two or three years, but we understood that we need to spend these two or three years in creating value and showing that we have a model that works. It takes a lot of time and that’s my first entrepreneurial lesson: It takes time and it’s difficult and, in order to get funding, you have to show something; good idea is not enough. You have to have a lot of sweat and blood and tears going into the process in order to show that something is actually viable, in order to prove your concept.
DC: Why else would they invest money if you can’t show them something?
SS: Exactly. Because I thought that if you have a great idea, that’s it. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it? That’s not how it works. For me, it was another aha moment. I felt as if that’s life and that’s… It was my first entrepreneurial experience while still maintaining my job. That was part of the value of the dual-career; I got not only to work with small businesses and nonprofits and provide them with growth value, but also, for me, it was the biggest personal growth experience I could ever get. I established a nonprofit organization, I grew into it, I saw what it takes to become an entrepreneur. I feel that that led or laid the foundation to becoming a full- time entrepreneur three or four years later, which is the story we started talking about.
DC: I have two questions with that. One, the first part, being you’re at your job and when you had this idea, can you explain the feeling you had like being incomplete in the sense you have a great job, you’re making money, you’re in a great group, but what… Can you explain that feeling where, “There’s more out there that I’m missing,” sort of thing?
SS: Completely, I can. First of all, when I finished my MBAs and had these two offers in Better Place and Microsoft and took the Better Place one, I actually thought that that’s it, I’m settled. I’m going to work in the best company possible, I’m going to have really interesting position, I’m going to build something amazing in the world, things should be great and I shouldn’t feel any anything that is missing.
But I started working there and I felt as if, no matter how things that we were doing felt great in that specific time – and I must say it happened in every other position I filled – I felt as if something is missing. That thing was probably composed of a couple of things all together. The fact that I wanted to meet more people, not just the ones I have in my job. I wanted to reach out to other areas in my life that weren’t there. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I remember that… The best way to explain it is the fact that I still had a gap between where I was to where I wanted to be, and that gap needed to be filled somehow. Once I couldn’t do it on my job, because I’m 100% in my job and it’s not happening, so how would I fill the gap? Then you start looking to your spare time to try to find, “How should I close that gap?” I knew that there were many things that actually interest me.
I think that one of the problems that people have when they say, “I don’t know what is interesting to me,” or what interests me is coming from an understanding that you have the potential to do many things. It’s not a problem of those who have limited potential. When you have limited potential, eventually you don’t have a gap. Eventually. When you feel, and once again it’s about the feeling. I think that everybody has potential. Many people have unmapped potential, but some of them think that this is the glass ceiling they have and some of them don’t. I am one of those who never felt as if there was a glass ceiling; I always felt that there’s a lot of potential that I’m not fulfilling.
Once I got to understand that, it was clear to me that I needed to find a way to fulfill it and then I said, “I’m doing something in the business world. I’m doing one position, business development, and there are so many other things that interest me. How will I know what’s right for me? How will I know where is the best way for me to fulfill my full potential?” And then it came up to just experiment stuff. What if I could experiment stuff? What if I could just try it without quitting my job? What if I could just taste that and do that and work in another sector – in the public sector, in the social sector, I don’t know. Let’s find out. I know that I’m interested. I read about something and I say, “I think it could’ve been interesting to me,” but there was no way for me to actually try it. It kept on staying in my head, in my imagination, and then it was exactly the case.
Then when I talked with Arik about it, we both felt exactly the same thing and we just said, “That’s it, this is what we need to do. We need…” Once again, that was the blindness that I felt of having. Then we thought, “Let’s build it and let’s do something that actually also contributes something to ourselves but also to society,” because that’s part of going out of your comfort zone. You know there’s communities, you know that there are unmet needs in these communities, why not having these great forces of talented, young professionals set out to help these needs? And this is how we started.
DC: Essentially, you created a project, a group, where you can go and taste all of these different aspects of life that you have an interest in to see what you like, but other people can and you help each other as you go?
SS: Right and you do it in a team of other people who are just like you, your peers that you didn’t know up until that point. So you meet great people but not only meet them in a cocktail party, but you are doing project together for three months.
DC: You’re integrated, totally integrated.
SS: Yeah, you’re integrated, you become friends. It’s not just making connections, it’s making friends because you do something together and the non-profit or small business in which you are helping… We’re helping them doing just one thing, as you remember, grow. We get to a small business or a nonprofit and we help them grow with the great minds we set together, with training we provide to the team because most of the team are doing things they’re not experienced at. So you find if I’m an economist, I’m doing marketing. If I’m in operations, I’m doing business development. We want people to go out on their comfort zone. So one time you’re out of your comfort zone in terms of your professional area, and you’re doing that for non-profit, which is also another place that you have no idea about and this is how you learn. You see things from the inside for three months with great people, you learn twice – another sector and another professional area – you get training from the best of the best, and it all happens on your spare time. You don’t need to sacrifice anything – not your job, not your title, not your salary, not your anything. It happens alongside your day-to-day job and, for us, that was the key because why people fear because they have no idea how it’s going to be.
People who work in the business sector sometimes want to go to the public sector or the social sector or I don’t know, but then you say, “I’m going to have to get another salary. I’m going to have to give up many things.” Here, you don’t have to give up on anything and, for us, that was… First of all, we wanted that. We didn’t want to give up Better Place or Arik didn’t want to give up Cellcom, but we wanted to experiment and, once you can do that alongside your day-to-day job, that’s like the perfect match. Then we came to realize that the skills and capabilities that we grow in our social career are not in any way less than what we grow in our business career. So that was another eureka moment in which we can grow our skills without being dependent on anyone else in our company. That’s another big thing, to find that you have another framework in which you don’t have anything less, nothing. You are, in many ways, some sort of an entrepreneur for your own career in that four, five hours a week, which is not constrained to anything.
DC: That’s less than an hour a day.
SS: Exactly, and it gives you the power to do anything you want without missing out on anything. That’s big for us; it was huge. When we started working on it, we saw that so many people wanted to take part in it, which was another big surprise.
DC: That’s when you know that there’s something there, when people keep coming to it.
SS: Exactly. When people just kept coming, it was huge.
DC: The interest level.
SS: Exactly. People were just demanding to take part in this platform. We saw many people saying that the fact that you can combine a social activity with a business nature activity of doing some real things and making something really valuable while you’re doing that, to society, to community, it’s a no-brainer in many ways. The only thing you need to give up is four or five hours a week, which is, for me, it’s a no-brainer. You have so much to gain, why wouldn’t you do that? I think anyone should do that.
DC: It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved.
DC: So what you’re saying is, essentially, the genesis of Nachshonim is what you are telling of that idea and how it came out. I think you said about 2 1/2 or three years, you had to continue working while getting this up before the funding kicked through? So for 2 1/2 or three years, you still had your job where you’re working along and doing this too?
SS: Right, and once we got the funding, we kept on working. We didn’t get the funding for ourselves to… We didn’t manage Nachshonim by ourselves at that point. Nachshonim is still on my social career. I’m not spending most of my time there; I’m spending most of my time in my day job. But what it did do for me is it gave me the entrepreneurial experience that, eventually, led to become a full-time entrepreneur. I still have entrepreneurial projects, Nachshonim and FiveYearsFromNow and also 2040, but in many ways, it, for me, provided the exact one thing we wanted people to have. To have that experience of becoming, for me, it was becoming an entrepreneur before actually do that in real life.
So I got to see everything, all the entrepreneurial sides. I saw that I can handle uncertainty, I saw that I can handle funding and raising money. Once I got to see that I can do all that, it was so easy to just make the decision to take the courage. So that’s another big part of being courage, is the fact that I’ve actually done that in another world, in another aspect. But why shouldn’t I do that also in the business sector? It was just that easy in terms of at least capabilities and everything else. There were still other fears of providing and many other things, but one thing of your capabilities, you had the confidence. I had the confidence I needed to have. Because of that experience, I had at Nachshonim.
DC: So Nachshonim was the first of the projects? It was the first one to come up?
DC: Then how did it go then? Was it FiveYearsFromNow?
SS: No, it was then 2040.
DC: 2040 and then FiveYearsFromNow?
SS: Yeah. FiveYearsFromNow, I need to say, is something that, since I was 18, is running in my mind.
DC: So you had it back then too?
SS: I had it back then. I actually thought of just creating something that called my future direction. In my mind, it was always my destiny kind of thing; that was the name I gave it. I always knew that I needed to do something about the blindness, but it was never the time.
DC: So that was actually in your head even before Nachshonim?
SS: Even before Nachshonim.
DC: But it came after?
SS: Exactly. And it came after because the idea was there, but I was never able to actually bring it to life and then technology got crazy.
DC: So it made it easier to bring it forward?
SS: Exactly, then it made sense and now, that’s what I do.
DC: Good. We’ll talk FiveYearsFromNow next. There was something one more thing I wanted to say with Nachshonim. You just spoke at Tedtalk Jaffa. You did, I believe, the name of it was The Impact of Building a Dual-Career, this is what you called it? Could you give, as this ties in with Nachshonim, an idea to the people reading of the impact of building a dual-career without doing the whole 15 minutes? An idea of your thoughts on this.
SS: What you mean is to just try to put it in a sentence?
DC: Or just several paragraphs without doing… What is the impact of building a dual-career? What would you say to somebody?
SS: I think that one of the most important things for me was the fact that there is a practical way to actually figuring out who we really are, who we can really become. For me, that was a eureka moment of understanding that I’m not limited. I have my job, but my job would have to settle also for 80% of my time, usually that’s enough, and I need always to invest 20% of my time in my future. So what would you do in that 20%? For me, the answer was let’s just do so many other things that I can’t do in my day- to-day job.
When we structured it into something that allows you to meet other people, to walk with other people on growing other local communities and local businesses in your community and non-profits in your community, but claim for yourself the growth that you need to develop, for me, was a life-changing experience. The fact that we can develop our to career, we can still grow while growing other communities, just turned out to be so important to my life because that self-growth led to things I know for sure I wouldn’t have got into without it.
It allows those of us who are just not knowing who they are, what is their potential, what they’re interested at, that’s, for me, the best way possible today to actually gain that experience, to actually get answered the endless question of, “What if? What else is out there for me?” This is it. This is how you found out; just try it alongside your day-to-day job. Don’t give up on anything, let’s just try so many things up until you get the point that you say, “I found something. Let’s explore that.”
DC: I love it. That’s Nachshonim, you said the first one, and we were just talking about FiveYearsFromNow. Tell us when you said you were 18, your first thoughts on that and you said the blindness of. So can you tell us where FiveYearsFromNow comes from?
SS: FiveYearsFromNow comes from the need that I had or not even the need, the feeling I had that I’m lost. I felt lost in so many crossroads. I felt lost when I needed to find what to study, I felt lost when I needed to figure out what’s going to be my first job, I felt lost in so many crossroads, and especially in the early career, I felt that I have no idea what’s out there. Education system wasn’t effective in that manner, I didn’t know what is what, I didn’t know what are my possibilities, and there were many places in which I said, “If I had only known that.” I figured things out only in the retrospective because, when we started we it, we actually came to understanding that, when we come to make a decision, we know just that much, which is not a lot. We talk with our friends, with our family, we explore a little bit, but there’s a lot that we don’t know. But there’s much more that we don’t even know that we don’t know, so there’s such a big blindness out there.
One more thing that I found out is that the things we think we know but we actually don’t really know it. In the retrospective, we get to understand it. Eventually, when you come to make a decision, there is a lot that we don’t know. This is exactly where I believe that the world of career has changed dramatically; we all know that, we can feel it. What hasn’t changed is career planning. It’s stuck in the 80s, there’s no tools. How come? In so many other life decisions that we make, things have changed; technology just went into that. How come it doesn’t happen also in career, in such a big decision? Nobody is going to give you back the two years that you spent on the wrong job, the four years you spent on the wrong studies; that just doesn’t make any sense.
This is exactly why we felt we need to build the Waze of career, to help people see what are the possibilities, what other people actually did in their route. Because we understand that, in every position, in every course that people are at today, there were millions of other people in the same position who made decisions. What did they do? What can we learn from it? How can we see how did it grow eventually? There were so many insights and knowledge. Once we got that we could actually build real- life, real-time knowledge for people about their career and about the possibilities, then it became clear to us that that’s what we needed to do. Now we spend all of our time and effort to actually build that Waze of career and it’s getting involved because we can see that there are so many other blind spots, not only what other people did, but how can I get from one place to another? Just like Waze. How can I actually do that, what people actually did? Not just to see them do that, but what was the specific skills, network, capabilities that allowed them to get to where they wanted?
That’s exactly what we built today in a very large-scale that needs to be technological, it needs to bring big data that is not exposed to us today. We want to allow anyone to get that. It’s like building the first career intelligence platform for people and we want it to be completely free of charge for people to use. We’re going to have some other companies and many others use that platform, that’s going to be the business model, because we want that to be for-profit and it should be. We built it to be the next LinkedIn. When you start up, you can’t dream less than becoming the biggest one.
DC: It’s like an advancement thing; more than just connections.
SS: Much more. We’re going to build a growth supermarket for people in order to explore the possibilities, to gain more knowledge about what they can do and what they can’t do, you want to open their eyes in many ways, and then we want to help them reach out to their goals. In many ways, for us, it’s a life mission.
DC: It is. How you say career plan, I would say revolution. You’re just totally turning everything upside down, basically.
SS: We won’t settle for less, seriously. For me today, that’s my life mission. I believe it’s essential for people and we don’t have it today. How come? So we want to be the ones who actually bring it to life.
DC: I love the idea because you’re trying to help people in the future, as they come along, to avoid what you went through, what I went through, what millions of others have gone through.
SS: Exactly, it’s a problem of a whole generation. We know that, and 80% of the people don’t really know what they want to do. There’s always this 20% who always knew they wanted to be something. Okay, guys, thank you for just bringing it to our face. I never knew what I wanted to do; I’m still figuring that out.
Today, with the change of the career and the fact that people are actually changing their careers so many times and people are not having just one career as we saw. I’m having two careers, maybe three careers at a time. For me, that works well. We always see that the next generation, the Z- generation, is going to be just a little bit of an employee, is going to own his business, and he’s also going to have his non-profit all together. We know that; we know that that’s where it’s going, so let’s build something that would help people understand how to actually manage it and that’s what we want to show, that so we want to bring.
DC: Ideally, this will be when your daughter. You said you have two beautiful daughters, by the time they’re 17, 18, they’ll be much further along and they’ll have an idea of where they want to go, what they want to do with your lives that we didn’t have because of this product.
SS: Exactly. And I know it’s going to change 1000 times, but whatever they’re going to be in that crossroad of making a decision and not knowing how to get there, this is where I want to become a major part of removing the blindness in their understanding of what’s really out there. We’re going to map the entire world of employment for people just to see what is what and what are my possibilities and what other people did and so many other things that, today, we just don’t know it.
DC: I think it’s an amazing idea because I know I would’ve loved something like that and how many other people that you meet day-to-day who aren’t happy with what they’re doing and they want to do something else in this life.
SS: I don’t know, 90%.
DC: Yeah, maybe more.
SS: So many of us.
DC: And this ties in, like you said, it works in tandem with Nachshonim.
SS: Exactly. Just imagine when they go together, that’s everything, right?
DC: One complements the other and then there’s the third one, which is the 2040. Tell us about the 2040.
SS: 2040 is an extension of Nachshonim and it’s not only an extension, it’s a for-profit project that was born in Nachshonim because we felt as if we knew that companies are struggling with growing their middle management level to become executives. They were missing some serious part of how to build strategy and how to actually manage a change process. These two things are really hard to educate, really hard to train people. Then we thought that the platform that we have in Nachshonim is actually having the perfect platform to let these kind of people, the high potential, mid-level management, to try to lead a change process and build strategy from A-Z. But then you ask yourself for who they would do that. And we understood that you can’t do it in class; that’s not enough.
DC: Yes, it’s the difference between theory and practice.
SS: Exactly. So it had to be practical, 100% practical. Then we thought, “What if we would take a team of five or six people from a company, mid- level management, multidisciplinary, meaning one from finance, one from legal, one from operation, one from anyone else; a team that is composed of these high potential managers and they would become the strategy team of a nonprofit.
In here, we want it to be for six months. They are actually having a strategy process or leading a strategy process with a nonprofit organization, mostly nonprofit organization who are quite big and represents, in many ways, the same dilemmas, the same competitive nature, and it’s really similar to the business sector in many ways. We’ve developed a program, a six-month program, that allows this team to actually build strategy to a real organization in real life that has a real need and that, up until now, works amazingly. They get great tools. Here, we actually do that in a way that for the company, it’s worth… They want to spend the resources in creating this great training for their mid-level managers, so that’s the program that we’re doing.
We’re not investing a lot of time on it because we want to spend most of our time on FiveYearsFromNow, but it actually allows us to provide and that’s what is important to us. We believe it could get so much bigger, but want to spend our time, especially, in FiveYearsFromNow. 2040, in many ways, is similar to Nachshonim, but since it’s just for one company and for mid-level managers and for…
DC: It’s much more specific.
SS: Exactly. It’s not about just exploring your potential; it’s about building strategy. We know exactly what’s the skill that we want people to actually have, and it answers a real skill that corporates actually want to build to their managers. This is where it makes sense to everyone. The company pays us for that training and the non-profits get six months of the brightest talents who build strategy for them, so it works really well.
DC: A few follow-ups I wanted to do with you, just from what you said earlier when we were speaking off the record. Can you explain to us, we were talking about chasing the crazy. Can you explain that concept?
SS: It comes from different angles. The first one is as a listener and the other one is as a doer. For the past two or three years, I got to see that whenever things look crazy and almost impossible, that’s probably where the magic happens. It’s not intuitive at all because, as a listener, it’s much easier to say, “That’s crazy. That’s never going to happen.” As a doer, you want to be where the crazy thing is happening. Everything you actually read or do, for me, is trying to find where are the things that are crazy, that people think are crazy, because that’s one of the flags for you to understand that that’s a potential place for magic waiting to happen. Because I came to realize that you have to do something that is really un-ordinary in order to make a significant change. If it’s ordinary, everybody’s going to say, “That’s great,” but it’s not going to get you anywhere; it’s just going to be nice. You have to do something really crazy or considered to be crazy in order to make real revolutions.
Whenever I’m doing things that people say, “That’s not going to work…” – I actually have another lesson, a big lesson I’m going to share with you in a second – this is exactly where I’m saying, “If everybody thinks that’s crazy, I’m going to explore that. I’m going to dive into that to see how crazy it can be and how can I make it become a commodity in five years from now or four years from now. But I need to be the visionary guy who actually sees something that nobody else sees today. If you want to become a visionary, you have to understand that you need to find what nobody thinks is possible and you need to eliminate the noises of everybody saying, “That’s not possible,” and you need to be razor-sharp focused on understanding how can you make this impossible possible.
One more thing that I think for me was a life lesson, not less, is the amount of no’s that you have to get from people, which is similar to being crazy. I got so many no’s in my life that I can’t even explain it. So many no’s. I told my wife that each and every no goes into a pile of I’m going to prove them wrong. That is what no means to me today, it’s fuel for my drive. That’s what it is. It’s nothing more, nothing less than that. It doesn’t make my hands loose, it doesn’t make me feel as if I’m not doing the right thing. It did used to make me question my capabilities, question my skills, but then, eventually, I got to see from other people that I talked to that they also got so many no and eventually what makes the difference is how determined you actually are and how strong can you be and just keep on trying and just keep on going to that route because, eventually, the yeses are actually coming and when they come, they are so much… You get to appreciate it so much more knowing that there were probably 10 no’s before. So the no, for me, is just fuel and I’m waiting for the no to get the fuel. So for me, there were no bad situation. When I get no, it’s fuel for my drive; when I get a yes, that’s great. It’s doubling, I’m on my way. If it’s a no, okay. If it’s a yes, better.
DC: So no and yes both fuel you?
SS: Exactly. There’s nothing that can actually make me loose my hands. It doesn’t have to have anything with the fact that sometimes you’re wrong; I’m wrong many times, but it doesn’t change the way of us thinking about how can we get things? How can we actually get to our dreams, get to our goals? How can we actually reach out to those impossible things that sometimes we set up for ourselves to do? When you do have something like that, go ahead and get the no’s because the yeses are going to come. The no’s are there; everybody’s going to say that, but there will be those who will say the yes that will eventually get you closer to your dream. So that the life lesson for me.
DC: Wise advice.
SS: I know what no could do. It’s just you’re working on it – and I’m talking about a big no; the ones that you’re working on for two months and those that you’re an application to the one thing you really wanted and then, “What now? What’s next? How am I going to actually get up on my feet?” So I have one day of mourning of losing what I wanted and then it’s all stacked up to become my fuel. That’s how it goes. Once it’s like that, you’re not afraid to get no anymore, seriously.
DC: And you’re turning negatives into positives.
SS: There’s no other way. Because they’re so negative, what am I going to do with that? I’m never going to be an entrepreneur if every no is going to question my whole mission.
DC: You would stop before you started.
SS: I would stop; everybody would stop. So the key is to handle the no and to figure out what to do knowing that, if I’m going to ask enough or if I’m going to apply enough or if I’m going to try enough, I’m going to get the yes. So all it means is drive and determination and not giving up. Sometimes you’re going to get to an end point in which you say, “That wasn’t the right path,” but you’re not going to stop trying; you’re just going to change the path. For me, that’s a big understanding that wasn’t always there.
DC: It’s great advice too. I love that. Also, with the chasing the crazy, the other one we talked about before we started interviewing, you were using the playground analysis. If you could tell us about that as far as being an employee and the playground.
SS: That’s actually something that someone told me, so I’m not going to get credit for that, but I’m actually spreading the word about it because it is, for me, it was changing insight. He said that just imagine a square and when you’re an employee, that’s your playground. That’s where you can be on one edge as a cleaning person and on the other edge as the biggest CEO of the biggest company in the world, but it’s still all going to be in the same playground and it’s a limited playground. That’s a box in which you play only in it. The only time that you go out of the box is when you stop becoming an employee and start becoming an entrepreneur and just having your own things get together. That’s the biggest jump in your capabilities because it’s a jungle out there. Nobody tells you what to do like when you are an employee. When you’re an employee, everything is clear. You know what you need to do, you have your mission, you have everything figured out. But once you go outside that square, outside the box, that’s the jungle and in that jungle, things really happen.
It’s not easy in the jungle. You need to figure out how to play with the other animals, you have to figure out how to eat, you have to figure out what’s poisoning and what’s not poisoning. Nobody tells you how to act in the jungle, but once you understand the rules of the jungle, then you start to make some sense into it and then big dreams can actually become true. If we have only one life and we are inside the box and we feel we need to do things that are outside of that box, if we feel that we have the potential to become entrepreneurs, if we have big dreams that cannot be fulfilled inside that box, we have it to ourselves to at least try to go out in the jungle and try and see what it is. That’s the amount of courage that you need in order to see what kind of potential you have in the jungle.
This advice is actually for those who work as employees today and feel, in the back of their mind, that something is burning, that they need to do something else, that they cannot be employees forever. If you feel that way, do not miss the opportunity of becoming what you really think you can become. Even though it’s scary, even though you’re going to not know what are you going to do, you’re going to face uncertainty that you haven’t felt in your entire life, but it’s going to be worth it because you finally do something that answers your deepest feelings of potential, deepest feelings of what I need to do with my life. Just try it.
DC: Following up on that, we also discussed when you first left the playground and you went out into the jungle. You were saying there’s a spectrum and, on one side, you have fear and on the other side, you have the feeling alive. Can you talk about that?
SS: When I did that, people used ask me how do I feel and I knew that what I feel is just a range between, “Oh my God, what have I done?” which was the fear, and I told you it was fueled by my wife and by everyone else who said, “Oh my God, what have you done? You had the best job, the right title, the best salary, everything was figured out for you. What are you doing?” And on the other side, on the other range, there was, “Oh my God, I finally feel alive.” So it was two oh my God’s, but one of them was, “Oh my God, what have I done,” and the other one, “I’m feeling alive at last.” That range was present in every day since I’ve done that, but now I can feel that the range is limiting and it’s getting closer to I’m being alive, I’m feeling alive. The fear is still there; now the fear is just the fear of not succeeding on the targets that you have. But once we know that it’s all about how to handle the no answer, we can understand that, eventually, success will come and, eventually, things will get together.
It all comes, in the bottom line, to believing in yourself. Another cliché, but a true one because once you believe in your idea, your project, yourself, your ability to get to this place that everybody thinks is crazy and everybody thinks won’t work and it has so many obstacles in it, once you have that self-belief and it’s strong enough, this is where people actually get their dreams come true. This is what I believe, for me, is allowing me to handle the fear that I still have to dream big as I really want, that I have that basic self-belief that I think people should have in order to succeed. I hope that eventually, whether I’m going to succeed or not, I would feel that it was worth it. I can already say, a year and a half inside the process, that it was worth it and I cannot see myself doing anything else. I’m not summarizing the period as an entrepreneur, but it’s a good taste to get inside the process of understanding that, for me, it was the best decision possible to actually dive into the cold water and see what’s out there, to understand what’s the jungle about. And is a jungle, it is, but I’m learning how to get by in the jungle and once I would know how to do that, then things, I believe, would actually succeed, so I’m happy with doing that.
DC: I can tell. There’s a very alive passion. You can feel the passion.
SS: There are some great companies in which you’re an employee which can do probably almost anything, but here, it’s up to you. You’re the one. You’re the CEO of your career, you’re the CEO of you. That’s it, that’s life. Now let’s do things, let’s create things, let’s make mistakes, let’s pursue some dreams, great. Let’s do stuff that actually allows us to dream big and to try it. In the worst-case, we’re going to succeed; that’s the biggest idea. For me, I believe now, today, there’s no other way and I just regret not doing that earlier, but things needed to happen probably as they needed to happen.
DC: That was my last question. But like you said, some things needed to fall in place. Earlier, you mentioned your wife coming into your life and you were saying how you were in that time period, but as soon as she came into your life, she was like a missing piece of the puzzle that allowed you to focus your energies and take off on this pursuit. I guess my question would be how important is it to have a spouse that supports you in your dream of being an entrepreneur, of seeking your dreams or going out into the jungle?
SS: I think it’s important, but that’s not just not having the spouse, a supportive spouse. For me, it was much more than a supportive spouse; it was the enabler to settle down in terms of being alone in many ways. I’m not alone anymore, I have that big thing figured out and, just like I wanted it to be, with one person I actually wanted it to be and now I can pursue my other dreams. Once the big anchor – and for me, that was the anchor. For other people it’s going to be something else. For other people it’s going to be having the first baby, for other people it’s going to be making peace with your family. For everyone, there’s the missing puzzle, the enabler that allows you to pick your head up about the survival mode and to self- reliance mode.
My wife, my spouse, actually allowed me to move out of this survival mode to the one I’m trying to self-realize myself. For me, that was the enabler and it has nothing to do with how supportive she is. She is very supportive, but that’s not the case. I needed that as part of my personality to become whole and reaching out to what I wanted to do.
In Part 4, Sagi Shahar shares his life philosophy on a range of topics including marriage, children, money, and prayer.
In the meantime, please check out Sagi’s Tedx Talk.
Sagi Shahar, a social and business entrepreneur, aims to change the way people build careers in the new world. Sagi speaks about the fear of regret we all have in our career and suggests a unique way to resolve it while making an unexpected impact on society. Get ready to discover a new way to accelerate your career while accelerating the growth of the businesses in your community. Sagi is an entrepreneur with a mission to close the gap between what people could have been and what they really are.
Sagi is the Co-founder of “Nachshons” – an innovative platform that enables Young Professionals to build a dual career and accelerate their growth while accelerating the growth of their community. He is also the CEO and Co-founder of “FiveYearsFromNow” – a global start-up with a mission to change the way people make career decisions. Sagi has also co-founded the “2040 Program” which redesigns the way people are being trained and developed in business organizations.
In his previous positions, Sagi led the strategy practice at Tefen Management Consulting firm as an Associate Partner, and prior to that was part of the Business Development team at Better Place.
Sagi holds an MBA from the joint MBA program of Ben-Gurion University and Columbia University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx