July 8, Palo Alto, CA: Today, I spoke with someone I hadn’t talked to live in nearly two decades. He was a graduate student and a leadership development counselor at a summer program I attended before going to college. We have probably exchanged 4 or 5 email since 1993, but I never forgot a piece of advice he gave us about hard work: “You can have your ease now, or you can have it later.” He has gone on to achieve all kinds of career success and recently started his own business. I stood on the curb for about an hour talking about everything from his son’s developing photographic eye to approaches to due diligence for private equity firms. I cannot entirely explain why, but when we got off the phone, I felt like the conversation had just started. I felt like booking a ticked to go visit him and his wife, whom I also know from undergrad. I shared some details on what personal challenges I have been working through for the past few months, what I thought I was getting out of it, what is still difficult for me. He shared his thoughts on how success has guided his life, his actions, and his sense of self. It just felt like a great conversation and the possible beginning of a great correspondence. At some point he said, “This conversation is more helpful for me than it is for you.” I have heard lots of people say that I am still young to be examining the things that I have been…that people are usually much older before they seriously consider them. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it definitely goes counter to what I had been feeling, which is that I should know this stuff already. And I really do think I knew better that to do a lot of the things that I’ve done. But it is curious or at least interesting that more than a couple of people have pointed out how great it is that I am “figuring these things out” at such a young age. Thank goodness for personal crisis, in that case. Anyway, I am looking forward to the next time we can catch up and hoping it won’t take another 16 years.