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At the end of 2019, I made a radical decision: leave my stable position at a multinational to dedicate myself 100% to my speaking business. I had been feeling a little lost for a while, in my career and in my life. I left L’Oreal just a year after leaving Tinder, where I stayed for 5 […]

At the end of 2019, I made a radical decision: leave my stable position at a multinational to dedicate myself 100% to my speaking business. 

 I had been feeling a little lost for a while, in my career and in my life. I left L'Oreal just a year after leaving Tinder, where I stayed for 5 years, and I was still adjusting to the corporate world. 

 At the same time, Filmr, the video editing app I invested in, was growing, and I put a lot of effort into it. And in my personal life, I had a series of unexpected changes and decision-making that left me not really knowing where to go. 

 After gathering courage and leaving L'Oréal to dedicate myself to lectures, free to travel around Brazil as and when I needed to, I had the absolute conviction that I would feel relieved, happy and fulfilled. Like I've found my way at last. 

 Apparently, not. 

 I still remember waking up, on my first day as an entrepreneur and speaker, without having to go to the office, and without a meeting on the agenda, with a feeling of deep anguish. I looked at my calendar and saw that the first scheduled lecture was only 5 days away and I asked myself, looking in the mirror: “what the hell am I going to do in the next 4 days?”.

 I had no idea how to fill a void in my schedule, the lack of colleagues and, still, deal with uncertainty. The feeling I had was of wasting my life by being totally inefficient, which left me even more lost than before.

 The first thing I did to try to reverse the situation was to dedicate myself to studies and reading. I came across an interview with Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine and one of the world's leading technology experts, in which he said:

 “Efficiency is for robots. I think people have to be inefficient on purpose, testing, trying new things, doing fun things… that's where new ideas come from. If you're going to read the biographies of people who have been extremely successful, you'll notice how they've also had periods in their lives where they've felt lost, and so I think we should embrace that feeling.”

 I saw a light in that speech, in the midst of so much darkness, which reminded me of the phrase of another great author that I admire, Mark Manson. In his bestseller "The subtle art of not giving a fuck”, Manson says that we suffer, as human beings, because suffering is biologically useful to our species. It is only the human being who suffers, who feels lost, incomplete and dissatisfied, who has a greater propensity to seek solutions, and consequently innovate, change, evolve. 

 Look at the relationship between feeling lost and change: difficult phases are necessary for us to know how to get out of them with learning for life.

 Take 2020 as an example; you don't even have to tell me that you felt the train passed and you missed the trip. Everyone was more or less like that. But now, in the final stretch of this crazy year, you can look back and assess: how much have you changed after this phase, and for the better? 

 That is why moments of doom, of uncertainty, should not be fought, but simply lived. They are fundamental in our lives and in our careers.

How does it work?

The great writer Henry David Thoreau famously said, “It is until we feel lost that we begin to understand ourselves.” 

 And that's true.

 For me, the main benefits of feeling lost are: 

  • · Surprises and news;
  • · Help in the process of self-knowledge;
  •    · Creation of new points of
  • Sight
  •     · Creativity obligation;
  •     · Feeling of being unique in the world.

When we understand this, we begin to value these moments more and understand that they can be fundamental to making better decisions about our jobs and reflecting on our careers.

 Also, if I had to give you some tips on what to do in those moments, I would say what worked for me. It all starts with: if you want to get somewhere, start walking.

 It's no use standing still, reflecting. This makes me feel even more lost... in the first weeks after making the decision to start a business, I swam in the sea of self-pity and I assure you: it didn't work. The feeling of depression was even deeper.

 To enjoy this important moment in life, you have to realize that: 

Do you have any control over the way

First, realize that you don't have control over everything, but what you do have control over, take initiative! Even in the smallest things. 

I realized that I couldn't control the number of lectures I sold, but that I could better relate to the HRs of companies so that they could get to know me better. I started to set up chats with several of them on LinkedIn. 

There are no shortcuts

One thing we need to develop in these phases is patience. You won't be at the top overnight, you won't change your career overnight, but you can take the first steps to get there starting today.

 I understood that, to be a reference in Digital Transformation, it would take me at least a year. So I took it one step at a time.

Use your eyes and ears

 Be aware. 

Take advantage of the fact that, in moments of disorientation, you are more introspective and your senses are sharpened. Try new things and reflect on the feedback they bring you. 

I was constantly testing new ways to generate interest for my talks and, in the midst of several failures, I launched a podcast – which I now consider a success. 

Keep the time perspective in mind

Put everything in the context of time and you will see that this phase of feeling lost is nothing in the midst of a life and career that is also full of achievements and joys. Think about it: how many times have you felt lost in life and, when you looked back, noticed that your worries were insignificant in the face of the greatness of existence?

In conclusion, it is important to understand the value of moments of uncertainty. Feeling lost is not a defect, but a gift: it is when we feel that there are no directions that we transform and create our own path.

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With more than 200 keynotes delivered (online and offline) in 2021 to clients across Brazil, Latin America, the United States and Europe, Andrea is today one of the most requested speakers on Digital Transformation, Leadership, Innovation and Soft Skills in Brazil and globally. He has been the head of Tinder in Latin America for 5 years, and Chief Digital Officer at L’Oréal. Today he is also a best-selling author, and a professor at the Executive MBA at Fundação Dom Cabral.

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