Early in my career, I never thought, I need a mental health solution. That’s for other people. I’m not mentally ill. But here I am, meditating, working on myself, and I’m actually seeing results.
A skeptical start
When I first started meditating, I had very little self-awareness – I couldn’t recognize that I could benefit from the practice. My first exposure to meditation came from my wife, who is a big believer in it. I remember being very skeptical, and in the beginning, I just didn’t buy into it, or at least, I didn’t think it was for me.
When it comes to mental wellness, my parents are definitely on the old school side of the spectrum. Not surprising, right? They are 65 and 70, and pretty set in their ways. My mother always viewed control over one’s emotions as a strength, and vulnerability as a weakness. I grew up believing the same.
As time went on, I had small amounts of exposure to mental wellness. Reboot, run by the incredible Jerry Collona, was likely the first big turning point for me. We did some extremely intense self-reflection and vulnerability exercises. After that experience, I started seeing a wellness coach I’d meet with every other week and we would go through guided meditations together (alongside discussions on sleep, nutrition, exercise, etc). Those first meditations were very basic five-minute sessions, but I quickly realized there was something to it. I wanted to extend it and started practicing on my own. I wanted to try to get some focus, and bring emotions to the surface and embrace them, versus tucking them away somewhere. I had tried out Headspace and Calm – start, then stop, then start again, but I never really found a deep connection there. I soon tried Core, and it was a game-changer.
I think that people feel blocked, in many ways, when it comes to self-awareness. It tends to boil down to two things: the first is stigma. There’s still hesitation when it comes to reflecting on and dealing with our own mental or emotional issues. And the other is, you might just not have enough knowledge around it because you don’t know what you don’t know. So, in my experience, I have definitely benefited from having a coach. My use of Core is an extension of that.
Digging deep, together
I have some specific relationships in my life where I can talk about wellness and how I’m doing mentally. My wife – partly because we have a very deep relationship and connection, and because she’s probably the person most affected by the flux of my moods and wellbeing. Then there’s my therapist. There’s also two people on my team at work, both of whom really buy into this way of living, and we’re all aligned on this as a mission. So, whether it’s trying new things together or just trying to lead by example, we focus on creating open, vulnerable, safe spaces.
Clarity, with kids
I have two kids, one is two and the other is seven-months-old. It can really affect my wellbeing – I’m burning both ends of the candle. I’m often exhausted physically and mentally, and I need to be much more conscientious about my time. I can’t always practice mindfulness at home, but my kids have given me a purpose that is unlike anything I’ve experienced.
Sharing with others
I was asked recently what I would want for my closest friends in their life journey, especially as I’m working on being self-aware and using that as a building block to get executing. I thought it was a great question, especially since my friend base is very stereotypical. Late 30s, early 40s, mostly male. Not extremely vulnerable nor emotional. I’d wish for them to focus on what’s really important to them (whatever that may be) , and to embrace this through a reflective journey. That could be assisted with therapy or a coach. I think that’s the beginning of it and that just opens up the mind, soul, and heart, if you will, and then you gotta figure out where to go from there. That was the big first step that I took almost three years ago. To encourage my friends, I’ve tried to take the first step in being vulnerable, and that makes it easier for the other person to open up as well.
I consider myself as a “high-performing” person, and I generally run in performance driven social circles. For anyone like me, there is probably a need for calm, and a need for some sort of mental wellness coaching. So, in terms of my mental health development goals, productivity is not the ultimate goal, but rather peak performance, both mentally and physically. I’d also like to reduce some of my anxiety now that I’m comfortable enough to acknowledge it exists.
At first glance, I’d say, I’m moving too fast, I’m doing too many things. Let me slow down and not do some of those things. I’m a big believer in quality over quantity, and efficiency, always. Especially if you have a family – I have two kids. I can’t run as fast as I used to. So I view meditation, mental wellness, and mental health, as a whole, as a clarity-forming exercise. With this practice, you say, even just for a moment, let’s take one step back for time, reflection, and refocusing. And then, let’s take five massive steps forward.
Be more productive. Focus on the right things. Do it with a clear mindset.
David Goldberg joined Corigin Ventures as General Partner in 2014 after his founder journey with his company FreshNeck. He is passionate about technology, innovation, and founders. He received his BA from the University of Miami and a JD/MBA from Fordham University. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.