Career PTSD resilience: Four years of learning, one year of performance

I sold my company to Meta, have been given a "redefines expectations" rating this year, but for the majority of my life I haven't lived up to my own expectations. I've found I go through spiky periods alternating between learning a lot, and executing at a high level. It continues throughout today.

This week, I opened an email from my manager. It was unlike any email I've received my entire time at Meta. It said I had done a good job relative to the company's expectations of me.

Not that I had done just a good job, but had "redefined expectations."

For the last four years, I'd received two performance letters per year. Each one with a "grade" of sorts, explaining how my managers, their managers, their managers (and so on) had valued my contributions for the last six months.

If I had a GPA at Facebook (now Meta) it would have been about 2.5 / 4, or a C+ / B- average in education parlance. I've gotten enough Bs to keep me afloat and not fired, but never any As, let alone a letter grade somewhere akin to a A+++.

Last year, the company moved from its twice-a-year performance cycle to an annual performance cycle. This, along with a contraction in workforce, some organizational gaps that I identified, and more closely aligning myself with what I'm actually good at, led me to the A+++.

This isn't the first time in my career I've got an A+++. After all, I originally joined Facebook via the 2018 acquisition of my company Vidpresso. Vidpresso also entered the prestigious Y Combinator in 2014. In high school, I graduated with my associate's degree before actually graduating with my high school diploma.

But between these milestone events, things frequently reflected the C+ average. Frankly, my personal life was frequently shitty. I've lost two siblings, had a life-threatening brain tumor, was an asshole to my spouse, and on top of that my professional achievements never came close to my ambition.

The successes are the hook to get you here, but the challenges are what made me actually successful. I'm planning to write a series of posts about lessons learned, and hope you'll subscribe to come along this journey with me.

  1. College at 15: How I beat being a victim of parental abuse
  2. Accidental founder: How a video creator sold his app to Meta
  3. Exponential brain tumor growth: Beating a major health crisis while running a company
  4. Big company, big problems: Figuring out communication is the key to working effectively with large numbers of people
  5. Personal performance turnaround: Finding the right environment leads to success, not amazing projects.
  6. Mental health resiliency for high performers: Coping with ADHD bipolar, depression, trauma and losing family members can lead to even better performance.

IDK how often I'll post, but they'll be lightly edited, and I'm focusing on sharing info raw rather than perfectly. If you're interested in these topics, it's probably worth your while to subscribe.

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