Quarterly Update – JASON 2021

Saurabh Garg’s quarterly letter to friends, mentors, seniors, co-workers and others about how and what he did in the months gone by.

I send this letter to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. The letter includes unfiltered, unedited, raw thoughts about life and work and all that. Even though I send a shorter version of this via email, here is the unabridged version for everyone on the world wide web to see and react to.

Hi! I am Saurabh Garg. You may remember me from conversations we’ve had over the years (or recently, in some cases). This is a quarterly-ish update about my life, to people like you that have shown an interest in my life. 

Here we go…

“Executive” Summary

For me, the months of JFM 2021 were a turnaround compared to how 2020 was. I got new work, moved back to Mumbai (from Goa), and tried to get more things done. Post that, AMJ 2021 was about consolidation. I finally got some cash flow going. And thanks to that, I hired some people across various projects that I support. I even started investing. And most importantly, I started saving.

JASON 2021, however, in one word, was disappointing. I could not sustain the momentum. I lost a few projects. More than the money, I lost face. And I lost my reputation. One of the projects overshot the budgeted estimate by 3X. I should have expected that considering that it was a film. But I did not. I started a syndicate to invest in startups, but I could not close any deal per se except making personal investments.

And now, I am back to a point where I am seeking work and taking whatever comes my way, even if it’s paying me peanuts and taking away my soul. It sucks, but I am grateful that I have work, even in this day and age.

And yes, I do have a few things in the good-things department. Allow me to talk about these in a bit.

Meanwhile, here’s a detailed update.

A. Losses / Shortcomings / Failures

This one is a long list. At least ten things on this one. Trying hard to make it shorter and save the face :D.

i. Work. At work, I took on a project that I thought knew I could deliver great things. But I could not. Despite all my earnest attempts, and it sucks that I failed at it. This is one of my most visible and public failures, and I have accepted it and decided to move on. The lesson I am taking away is that while I aim for the moon, I need to try and recognise things that are not moving and cut losses sooner.

ii. SoG Grant. Could not work on it. I could not issue it. Got busy. And once I had time, I did not have the money required to support the grantees. Will get to it at some point. The lesson I am taking away? Side projects need to be taken up one at a time. And once I commit to one, I need to allocate some budget to it and keep that money aside.

iii. LHV. Started with an angel investing syndicate with a couple of friends. Tried hard but could not get traction. I had overestimated my ability to get access to people that could invest in my decisions. While we could not raise the rounds required, we put our savings into the companies we were backing. So, the heart is at the right place. Just that I could not execute it well.

iv. Podcasting. I tried my hands at hosting a few more shows – one for investors, one for marketers, and another for people that I find interesting. I couldn’t get enough guests to be excited about any of these shows. Plus the handful that I could get, I don’t think the conversations were good enough. And then, since there was no traction per se, I lost interest.

I know that being an independent content creator is important to me. And yet, for some reason, I am unable to push the pedal on it. I think I suffer from imposter syndrome. I think I am not good, and I am constantly questioning why would someone listen to what I have to talk about. So that. I need to find a solution to this. The lesson I am taking away? None!

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), I have missed almost all the goals. There are a few that I want to talk about. Just to remind myself that those are open. Here…

  1. Book2. I have been missing this for a long long time. While I know I want to tell this story, I haven’t been able to work on it. Life has kept me busy. Must work on it.
  2. Brand SG. I had decided to work on creating a personal brand for myself. However, I did not even begin to move the needle on this. This would’ve been the single most important thing that I would have worked on. In fact with each passing day I realise the importance of having a great personal brand. This is something that I will make a priority #in2022.
  3. Marathon / Fitness. This has been a goal since I can remember. And I am unable to move myself. Thing is, I can’t even walk a few steps without losing my breath. Plus the hernia. I don’t know when and how will I start on this! While I write this, I must mention that I could hike upto the Everest Base Camp (in Sep-Oct). And come back. Alive.

There is more. But this is it for the time being. Will do a longer review towards the end of the year.

B. Wins / Achievements

There were a few wins as well. Here are these.

i. Everest Base Camp Hike. Managed to hike up to the Everest Base Camp.

To me, this is the hardest and coolest thing I’ve ever done. I have posted some photos and stories on Instagram. If you are curious, do check those out. Come to think of it, I was very very sceptical about my ability to do it. But I did it! In fact, I did better than almost everyone that I went with. And one of the outcomes of this hike is that the resolve to do the Everest is now stronger. More on this in subsequent posts.

ii. The daily morning pages that I write? Well, I wrote those every day till I had to leave for EBC. A total of 280 days on the trot. I did not miss a single day. And I restarted as soon as I got back. Since then, I have moved these to email. Lemme know if you would want to get that email. To me, this simple act of doing this every day, even if I was busy, has been the most therapeutic thing ever.

iii. Co-produced yet another short film. This one should be ready for screening / sharing next month. The path we take would be the same as the last one – start with festivals and then try and get it a home at some OTT platform.

Again, the bulk of the work was done by my partner, and I merely financed it. The ambition is that at some point, I will be able to make commercial, large-scale films. These are baby steps to learn, experiment, and get my name out in the market.

iv. Brand workshop for a startup. I ran a brand workshop for a startup. I loved it! More than anything, I love it the most when I work with people to discover things that even they seem to be unaware of. You know, unknown self! I must find a way to do more of these.

So that.
There are some other minor achievements as well.
I shall skip writing about those.

Moving on to the next section. About the shiny new toys that I am excited about.

C. New projects that I am excited about?

So I have just the December to go before 2021 ends. 1 month may not be enough to do a lot of things but here are a few that I want to work on.

i. Lose 2 inches. Right now, I am 35″. I would like to be 33″ at least. For this, I would want to reduce what I eat, get on a lo-carb bandwagon and try and do OMAD. Let’s see how this goes.

ii. Book2. Lol! I plan to take this as the only non-money-making thing I’d do from December onward.

D. What help do I need?

So, there are a few things that I need help with. Here’s a list.

i. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. This has been an ask since I have started working on these letters. I define these hustlers as people that are out there. And they are seeking work, doing things that are out of their league, making connections, aiming higher than they’ve ever done, and more. I want to learn from them. And I want to be inspired by them and their stories.

So, please connect.

ii. Keep me away from Naukri. Thing is, since I can remember, I have wanted to stay away from Naukri. And I have pretty much managed to. For that, I have had to juggle as many things as I can. However, this time, I am this close to giving up and taking up a Naukri. I do make enough to get by, but I put in too much effort for too little ROI, and I can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, please help me get “meaningful” work and stay away from Naukri! PLEASE!

In terms of what I can do, in the past, I have worked on producing large-scale events, crafting brand strategy, consulting on digital marketing, ghostwriting, content strategy, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience for each. And client references. Both good and bad.

Help me find gigs (freelance only, please) with businesses doing interesting, exciting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

iii. I want to work with a billionaire. Do you know a dollar billionaire that I could work with? I really really want to work with one. In fact, I am willing to give up on the no-Naukri promise if I get to work with one. I am also willing to give up to 5 years of my life and work on their agenda with as much dedication as you may imagine me to have.

Do you know one?
Can you make connections?
HELP!!!

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. In terms of specifics, there are two things that I can think of.

i. Connecting with others. I believe I have a wide network, and I can find connections where you’d assume they dont exist. In one word, I am a super-connector. I am shameless, and I can knock on the doors and try to open those. For you. To be able to be of help to you. Please let me know in case I could be of use 🙂

ii. I am very resourceful. Plus, I am very handy with marketing, content, writing, the Internet, futurism, emerging technology, and more. If you are stuck on some project, some idea, something, please reach out to me. I would love to be of any assistance / help / inputs / use to you.

***

Guess this is about it from this update.

See you in Jan 2022 with an update on how 2021 was, the plan for 2022, and may be more.

Thank you so much for reading this.
And your patronage and attention.
Means a lot!

Gratitude and respect,
@saurabh
Delhi, 30 Nov 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else), please go to https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates from me…
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun, Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

071121 – Morning Pages

A quick note from how I spent yesterday. It was not the best days per se but I am inspired to make today a better one.

Morning! Straight to the point.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Even though I did not get a lot of things done, I was engaged and I was happy. I guess this is cos I met people and talked about work and life.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I am better than zero. And less than 2 of yesterday. I focussed largely on things but I was unable to not context swtich.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I am able to find things that allow me to create opportunties for myself. This is something that has held be in good stead.
    2. I have access to people that allow me to engage in deep conversations about life and all. I love those. These conversations help me evolve into a better human. I am hoping. And this betterness allows me to help the ones around me do better.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. Mr. Garg, you need to buck up, please! There’s a lot open on your plate.
    2. Work. I mean it.
    3. Work. Really.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am a superhero and I will save Mr. Garg from drowning into the pile of misery that could potentially fall on his head if he does not work.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I met a client and talked to her about how her podcast can go further. I hope they action it.
    2. Decoding Draupadi took birth. Thanks, PS and CM.
    3. Had these amazing momos at Ladaki at Galleria. You must try em when you are there.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had carbs, late night coffee, wine and I dont know what all. Need to avoid these strictly. I wont be able to control today either – I have a lot to do and I need simulants. Sigh.
    2. While I was checking in the hotel, I lost my shit with the front desk staff. I was tired and all that. I shouldn’t have. #note2self.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Not giving up is the only way to get to where you want to be.” – Harshit

What do I want to add beyond the journal? Quick commentary.

In a broad sense, yesterday was a bad day. I had carbs, coffee, and wine. As a friend quipped, Gurgaon is making me into an alcoholic. So, I am glad this trip is ending soon.

The highlight has to be the epiphany that I am at a place in life where I cant do things by myself. I can only give gyaan and hope others would do things. Along with a few colleagues, I am trying to build up a new idea. On that, the only thing am doing is giving gyaan and I am loving it. The team may hate it but I am on a literal trip. I put in less than 5 minutes a day on it and I can see the ball rolling already. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. Guess it’s the age!

The other thing that I want to catalog is that I am no longer taking those copious notes that I was taking till before I left for the Base Camp. Guess I’ve been busy? And no, I dont like this. I dont like not taking notes. I dont want to miss out on things. I want my notes to help me remember things. I want to grab each opportunity. This being busy is great (I am thinking less and executing a lot) but I am not building my repertoire. I need to get back to spending time with my notes / dreams / ideas etc.

Finally, the highlight was that I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with someone about life, age, death, and meaning. I wish I could reproduce it here. In one line, the other person thought I was afraid of dying (I was telling her about my will and my wanting to die the richest man in the world and my Memento Mori wallpaper) and I told her that I am afraid of the uncertainty of the afterlife (if there is one) but I know it is an inevitable end that all of us will have to reach at some point in time. And I told her that death inspires me and tells me that my time is limited and I need to act. Actually must write more on this. Let’s see when I get to do this. Adding to #toWrite list.

Ok enough for the day. Need to get going. Need to crunch a week-long worth of things into one day. Let’s see how I do this. May the force be with me. 

As I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Lol!
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 4. Yay!
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 31
  • Money spent – 2999
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 31

061121 – Morning Pages

A new format of doing these morning pages. Start with journal, add some commentary. And then end with the trackers. What do you think?

7:13. Slept at 4 something. Blame it on all the coffee I had. The good part is that I ate very little and I did not have Diet Coke even though it was a stressful day. So, pat on the back for that.

In terms of the update, I want to experiment with doing just the journal and see what I write. And once I am done with it, if there are things that I want to add onto, will add. And then I will add the trackers. Lemme know what you think of this new format. If these are still interesting for you to read? I mean I am a random guy on the internet. Would you want to read the musings in such an open manner? Is living in public cool?

Anyhow. Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. I was not happy per se. But I wasn’t sad either. So that.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 2. I think I did ok yesterday. I focused on one task at a time and I did serial multitasking. If I can amp it up, I will be ok. So +1, Mr. Garg.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I can find a comfortable bed most times I want to. This is a big big blessing. Grateful for that.
    2. I am grateful that I have access to enough water, at a time I want, in a shape I want. And I love sipping onto it. As I am writing this, I am sipping on to warm water.
    3. I can choose how I want to spend my time. More or less. I mean right now, I would like to be with my parents but work demands that I spend time away from them. But within that, I can choose my time and all that. So that.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. I have a lot of important things open. If I can work on and close those, it would be awesome. These things affect my work, my present and my future. All at the same time. It would be great if I could get those things done.
    2. If I can make do with OMAD, nothing like it. And if not that, I need to eat less. And eat well. You know, good things – no sugar, no carbs, no oil etc.
    3. If I could avoid giving into temptations (of any kind, that appeal to any of our senses), it would be awesome.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I can consistently create amazing opportunities for myself and my loved ones.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I could avoid eating kachra. Even though I had the opportunity. And access. And on top. whatever I ate was healthy. I mean I am assuming it was healthy. And I avoided Diet Coke. I did have couple of coffees but that’s ok. I will reduce that also as we get along.
    2. I tried to and successfully avoided context switching. It felt great to actually see things happen. With context switching, I open a lot of threads but I have a tough time closing em. If I can make this a recurring habit, I think I would be happier. So, more of it today.
    3. The cab ride from home to Gurgaon was fabulous. Even though it was dangerous, I loved the speed, the control of the cabbie and the wind in my (non-existent) hair. I just wish I was the one driving. I miss driving. Must get a car soon. #note2self. No, not before I take care of the debt.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I could have avoided coffee, it would have been fab. Today as well, I may not able to avoid. I have a meeting that I need to be at where I will be forced to have coffee.
    2. I was up till 3ish. If I could sleep on time, it would have better. I know sleep is important for functioning but I was unable to. Guess I will have to avoid coffee.
    3. If I could end the day with a dinner with someone, anyone, it would have been better. I like the idea of meeting people face to face and I feel off their energy. I ended the day on the bed staring at my phone. Rather I should have been sitting across a table and chatting about plans to take over the world 😀
  8. Quote for the day
    “Leave people better than you found them.” – Anon

What do I want to add beyond the journal?

I would have liked to talk more about context switching. But that’s a subject for another post altogether. Which knowing me, would never happen ;P

Also, the sections in the journal are overlapping. I need to find a better way of doing it. May be I will talk to SM from whom I literally copied this (see this thread) and I will ask him for his thoughts on the overlap. Let’ see.

So, as I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 3
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 30
  • Money spent – 3654
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 30
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 30

051121 – Morning Pages

The the day after Diwali, here are some firecrackers from Will Smith!

8:09. Home.

I Hope Diwali was great for everyone. Here’s to new beginnings and may each of you get what you wish for. In case you know me and trust me, send me your Diwali pics? You would have my number!

So in terms of what to write, for some reason, I am blank af. Let’s see what I come up with in the next few minutes. Lemme dump the things that are at the top of my head.

  1. am starting the lo-carb life today. It would be tough to manage it with all the travel and stress and all that. But I will. 
  2. I am thinking where to go live after 15th Nov. I want to not live at home and yet I want to be close to Delhi. At least till the 10th of Dec. I am leaning towards Gurgaon. Let’s see.
  3. Post the 10th of Dec, I will most probably be in Mumbai for a week or so. Thing is, I am driving to Goa from Mumbai on 21st or something. So I need to be around Mumbai. Lets see. May be Pune.
  4. There’s a lot of work open at my plate. Since I dont have a lot of pressing client calls today, I will probably focus on those and get those done.

While listening to music, Youtube played this Will Smith video where he’s talking about his upcoming book, Will. See the video.

Fuck the guy’s insane!

I have to have to have meet him someday. Universe, please make my dream come true? Not sure what I would do when I meet him, though! 

Of course, the cynic in me says that it’s all coordinated marketing efforts. I mean three-four things all at the same time – King Richard, Welcome to Earth, Best Shape of my life. And now, Will. All in Nov-Dec! All at the same time!

But the dreamer in me says, why not? The guy has what it takes to release all these at the same time! 

And here’s a quote. From Will. I may have used this earlier. “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things – you are getting off first. Or I am gonna die. It’s really that simple.” 

See it here.

That’s about it for the day I guess. More tomorrow.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. Even though it was Diwali, I am still unable to find what would make me happy.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I think I was a tad better. I did not multitask while doing whatever little I did. I kept my phone on the side for the large part of the day.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I have enough water to drink when I want to.
    2. There is enough potential work on my plate that makes me want to get up everyday.
    3. I stumble onto people like Will Smith that by their thoughts (at least) are very very inspiring.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can finish pending work, it would be great. To do so, I need to go sit at some Starbucks. Let’s see which one I end up going to. Most probably, somewhere in Gurgaon. There’s a lot open 😐
    2. I am so pumped looking at and reading about Will Smith. I hope all that pump translates into action!
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I will do what I have set out to. Not eat carbs. OMAD. Nothing that fucks my body. I need to be fit af.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. Diwali! My entire family was together. That was amazing!
    2. I went for a walk around my house home. It was probably a 500-meter one but it was great to have my limbs move again. I realised how much I love walking. I wish where I live was more walkable.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I did not do any work. Even though I had the time, I did not touch work. I should’ve.
    2. I would have got some 100 messages about Diwali. I did not know how to respond to those. I am weird like that. I dont know how to be festive. This is the reason I escape on my birthday. I make a big deal out of it. For no reason.
  8. Quote for the day
    See above…

And here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 2
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 29
  • Money spent – 0. Was home and did not spend a single rupee. Yay!
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 29
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 29