Hey! We’re back to Jean-Pierre telling us all about his work style and what he enjoys in his day-to-day. Read on!
How do you feel about working a lot of your time. Is it sustainable?
Not necessarily. But let’s first step back and define work. “Work”, “Labor” at its root in Latin, didn’t express a joyous activity but one related to the painful exertion of the body. So I don’t really think you’re ever supposed to enjoy work. Obviously there are tasks you’ll enjoy more, but I don’t think you should expect continuous ecstasy from work. It has ups and downs, and we have preferences with respect to the tasks, but in my experience it’s not a place of constant joy.
So how do you feel about your current tasks?
I enjoy them – Wheeli is a place where I can exercise my creativity. I always thought of creativity in the most obvious sense: painting, playing music or cooking, but after a while I realized that my creativity is different. Building a team, handling a meeting, creating partnerships, understanding the dynamics of a situation – that requires serious skill and creativity to handle. I love challenging myself to see a problem and think about how we can solve it. How to make things happen.
What gets you going?
I like what I do now. I like transactions, I really like dealing with people to find something to agree on. I really enjoy the complexity of building products, relationships, partnerships between parties and understanding how to build bridges between us.
Are you having fun?
Absolutely, no regrets. There’s no such thing as failure. This experience is like a 9 to 5 on steroids. Most people have to work in the corporate world for 10 years before they have access to the lessons I learn on a daily basis. It’s hard to remember that when you’re deep in the grind, but it’s good to step back and be impressed with what we’re doing.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
There was a time when I wanted to be lawyer. Watching movies where they argue and debate, I thought I should be out there litigating. I took a fundamental of business law class through which the professor helped me realize that I like the topic, and would be good at it, but I wouldn’t enjoy the other requirements: writing 100 page contracts and reading long briefs. And he was right. So now I focus on business; I just spend a lot of my free time debating with my friends. I also like politics.
Any extra advice?
You have to define things for yourself rather than seek to mimic someone else’s life. How someone else succeeds is unlikely to resemble your success We all come to this life with different tools, backgrounds, experiences and it’s up to us to define what works for each of us on our own. Define what success means for you (not for others and/or society) and pursue it.
Want to find out more? Check our Jean-Pierre at these links:
Thanks for chatting with us and hurray for your newest venture!
Recently I was able to sit down with someone who I greatly respect and have a quick chat about what gets them going in their day to day. We strolled over to the nearby pier to talk while being surrounded by children playing soccer. Introducing Jean-Pierre:
Tell me about where it started:
My freshman year of school my father lost his job so I came home that summer not knowing my next move. I started working odd jobs fulltime and I realized I wasn’t at my full potential. I had several friends who had gone to culinary school and I reached out asking if they’d like to start a catering business. It took us a year to get our first client, but it was a pragmatic decision, it didn’t require any capital to start. A few years later, a friend approached me asking for funding to support a movie he was making, which I did, but then went a step further to start a production company and host a film festival. Between working fulltime and starting two companies I had enough cash to also go back to school. It was a busy time.
Let’s hear about what you’re working on today:
Wheeli (www.wheeli.us) was an idea that came out of my traveling through Europe. I was headed there on vacation and a friend sent me a website for carpooling instead of the europass. He said it would make it really affordable but that’s not why I kept using it throughout Europe. I kept hitchhiking (digitally) because it was a social way to travel. I’m still friends with some of those people today, and I thought, this is an experience that Americans could really appreciate. Especially college students who are isolated from major hubs of transportation. This way, they can connect with new people to travel where they need to be.
What is balance to you?
Balance is about understanding your limits and defining your goals, realistic ones. It’s hard to explain because I’m a dreamer, and with my cofounders I say we’re not trying to repeat something, we’re trying to create something that’s never been done. So you should still go for the impossible, but you also have to be real with yourself, listen to your needs. Understanding when I want to go see friends or when I want to spend seven days straight in the office is something I have to define for myself.
How much of your time is spent on Wheeli?
Most of it. Back when I was working full-time, holding down two companies and going back to school, I noticed that I’m really good at having an idea in my head and breaking down the steps required to make it real. Grouping together the tools and people or skills that I need to complete it. I think that if I had been able to funnel all my energy into one of those projects I could have done something incredible. So this time around I wanted to give it 100% of my focus and see if my previous success was luck, or if I really understand the process of starting companies.
Join us next week to learn what Jean-Pierre enjoys about his work and how he feels about the concept of failing.
Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hi! I am Betina and I do a couple things for work. Right now, my main role is that I am a Director at a new social sharing platform for sharing tastes and opinions called Tastetracker. I am focused on marketing, building community, and finding interesting tastemakers to help create great content for the app. I also recently became a certified yoga teacher, and am working on developing that as a part of my career. I am really interested in the energetic ties between yoga, positive psychology, and creativity. My friend Cobi and I are working on something around those interests called Om Atha.
Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
I think that balance you’re referring to is the main reason I do yoga. And it’s the reason I block out “CHILL” nights on my calendar (I have this sickness whereby I want to do everything so I overbook myself and forget to have “me” time – so I have to schedule it). I didn’t pay much attention to balance until I found that after a few years of living in New York, I was totally off balance and disconnected from so many things I really loved for my whole life before. I realized that I needed time and space to re-establish that connection, and get to know myself again. Safeguarding that energetic balance is similar to going to the gym, or eating healthy. It’s a practice, and it takes work and commitment, and if I don’t do it, I feel like crap, and not like my best, most happy self.
Actually, exploring methods for finding balance is one of my passions. It’s why I study yoga, and it’s why I developed an interest in positive psychology. It’s also why I am not-so-secretly obsessed with personality tests, and even more esoteric things like astrology. It’s ALSO why I love art. Throughout history, humans have come up with so many fascinating and diverse methods for developing self-knowledge, self-expression, and self-care – I am fascinated by that!
My method is that I make it a daily practice to stay connected to my core values, and to trust my body in determining when specific things are needed. The general recipe is a cocktail of socializing (friends, family, parties), writing, reading (and sharing what I read), stretching, sweating, making things with my hands (collages, food), and satisfying my inexhaustible curiosity by trying/seeing/hearing/experiencing new things. I don’t like to be too regimented, but I know I am happy when I have a pretty good balance of those things each week.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I wanted to join the circus. I feel like I am a little closer to the second option.
Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
Oh god. I think about this all the time. Rikki, you know this. I have so many ideas for this, so maybe the next thing I should work on is committing, so that I can pick one (or two) to focus on.
I read this awesome quote today by James Victoire: “The things that made you weird as a kid—make you great today.” I liked it so much, I tweeted it. So does that mean I should be a fashion designer and join the circus? Sometimes I think, yeah, in a way.
So with that in mind, I’d like to keep teaching yoga when I grow up. I’ve been practicing since I was 15, and I love sharing what I’ve learned. I also would like design to be a more significant part of my daily life. Drawing and collage used to be my favorite pastimes as a kid.
Some other ideas: writer (specifically, I want to be Martha Medeiros – she is amazing), costume designer (for movies), accessories designer (jewelry and/or shoes), art therapist, digital nomad (hehe).
Can’t wait to see what happens! NEITHER CAN I!