"You're always very engaged in meetings"
A startup exec I've been working with said this to me recently.
She then went on to ask "Is it because, as an external advisor, you feel like you have very short windows to add/prove value?"
The truth is I've always felt the need to be super leaned in to meetings. I've never felt like I could coast/relax at any stage in my career.
When I was very young (15-22) I was the youngest person in the room - trying to convince 50+ year olds to do this "technology thing" my way.
When I was slightly older (20-30) running my own startups, I felt like every day and every decision was life or death. I was deeply invested and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders to come through for my team and my investors.
When I was at Uber, I was surrounded by some of the smartest and most experienced people in the world at their job. Combined with the fact that I felt like I had a real opportunity to make a difference at scale, meant that I had no choice but to be wide awake!
And now with my Advisory work, as she suggested, I feel like I have very small windows to really contribute/come through for the founder and the startup.
It's interesting because I'm also increasingly realizing I've been at a disadvantage my whole career due to my lack of caffeine intake!
In any case, I had always assumed everyone felt fully engaged for pretty much every meeting.