Sangram Vajre – How This Dad Runs Toward Joy (instead of chasing after happiness)
#38: Sangram Vajre – How This Dad Runs Toward Joy (instead of chasing after happiness)
in 10 seconds
In today's conversation, you'll learn 3 key things:
Sangram Vajre: Dad Life
Time Stamp: [3:40]
Sangram is a father to 2 kids — his son Krish is 8, and his daughter, Kiara is 4.
“I feel like it’s such a blessing to have a daughter, for a guy. Because you get to see the world in a different way.”
But, like many Dads, he’s learning the differences in raising a daughter, and how important it is to be mindful and intentional about raising a bold, strong, courageous woman.
Here’s a LinkedIn post Sangram wrote about raising his daughter:
“It starts at such an early age. The stereotypical view of what boys do and what girls do.” -Sangram Vajre
Having a daughter helps Sangram show his son how to be a better man.
And, it helps him show his daughter what qualities she might look for in a man when she gets older.
Every day, Sangram makes sure he’s empowering his kids to be their best, true selves.
“It gets ingrained in people’s minds, that when girls speak too much, they’re ‘bossy’, but when boys do it they’re strong.”
Sangram talks about it with his 8-year-old son, “Why do you call her bossy?”
Even clothes shopping for his daughter has been an eye-opening experience.
“The Boys section has: Superman, Batman, and Scientist t-shirts.
And most of the Girls section is filled with stars and unicorns.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but if that’s the only thing they see, they’ll think that’s all they can be.”
We go to an extra extent to go to the corner of the store, to find shirts that say:
“I’m courageous, I’m strong, I’m bold.”
“It takes more effort than I thought it would.”
Growing up in India, with 15 family members in 1 house
Time Stamp: [10:15]
“I grew up in India, in a joint-family house with 15 family members.”
Until Sangram came to the States, he didn’t know what “cousins” meant.
“I always thought there were 5 siblings, but in reality, I had an older brother and older sister, we just all lived together so everybody was a brother or sister.”
“A lot of the oldest kids grow up to be preachers, teachers, more nurturing supporters. They take care of the younger brothers and sisters.”
“I was the youngest of all. So I was the most rebellious. Everything was hand-me-downs.”
“I was never introduced as Sangram, I was so-and-so’s ‘younger brother’.
“When you’re the youngest, you’re desperate to create your own identity.
Youngest kids become the people who push through boundaries.”
I asked Sangram, “Do you think your kids will miss out on some of the experiences you had, growing up in such a big family?
“I enjoyed growing up with such a big family”
“I think kids miss having grandparents in the house.”
For example: “Nobody told me to respect my elders.”
“My parents never told me that, how did I learn any of that?”
Most people who grow up in a joint-family learn by watching their parents respect their parents.
“My Parents didn’t have to tell me how to speak and treat my grandparents, because they’re there every day.”
Sangram’s kids see his grandparents once per year, so they may not know what that means.
“Things like that, small families miss out on.”
What we’re all learning is that kids don’t always listen to what we’re saying, but they model their behavior on how we act.
So, we all need to be more intentional in today’s world.
What's one thing Sangram learned from his parents?
Time Stamp: [15:50]
“From my Mom, I learned hard work. What it means and why it matters. My mom is my hero from a work perspective.”
Sangram’s Dad passed away a few years ago.
“My Dad always kept the family together, no matter what.”
“Every Sunday, both families were going to eat together, no matter what.”
When we go to a birthday party, we gave 1 gift from entire house. We always show unity.”
“My Dad would always create things that bring family together – he is a master of that.”
Sangram looks forward to doing that as a Dad.
Sunday dinner together, that’s a great place to start!
Sangram applies this idea of One-ness to work too.
#OneTeam is actually one of the core values at Terminus.
“It translates so clearly between work, life, and family.”
What is the difference between joy and happiness?
Time Stamp: [18:25]
On Sangram’s #FlipMyFunnel podcast, he did a “BIG IDEA FRIDAY” episode about the difference between joy and happiness.
“It took me a while to draft the difference.
Happiness is a moving target.
Joy is a feeling that never goes away.”
- Having a kid,
- 1st birthday
- 1st job (Sangram’s was washing dishes)
“There’s JOY in remembering those days….the first time your kid rode a bike, you were part of the process, giving the confidence boost.”
“Joy is never-ending.
On the flip side, happiness is about temporary things.”
“The promotion you longed for.
You got it, great, party…..
now it’s on to the next thing.”
“As parent, this applies the same way.”
“Joy is a forever concept.
We need to distinguish between the two.”
“We should run after joy vs happiness, which is temporary.
Find things that can give you joy versus the fleeting nature of happiness.”
Connecting with leaders to learn more about the "real" them.
Listening to podcasts like #FlipMyFunnel and Seeking Wisdom with David Cancel (future Dad guest, who runs Drift) has really sparked my interest in reading and learning more about things like psychology, persuasion, and how we can apply those principles to family life.
“We’re both are in the startup world, both Dads.”
“We hide ourselves behind work.”
“The reality is work doesn’t really matter as much as your life and family.”
“At the end of the day, on your tombstone, nobody is going to say Sangram had an incredible podcast, or startup that made millions….. hopefully, they’re going to say he was an amazing Dad, or great friend, or he helped someone.”
“I’m really excited about what you’re trying to do, connecting people from of all walks of life come back and talk about the real them.”
Why do you think reading is so important today?
When I had kids, reading stories to them became a bedtime ritual.
That quiet, 1-on-1 bonding experience, inspired me and my sister, Lauren, to start KickstartReading.com.
Kaia Tingley on LinkedIn sent us a question for Sangram:
“Why do you think reading is so important and how can we encourage our kids to read more?”
“Reading is so, so, so important.
I think a combination of reading and scribing (or writing) is equally important.
My son, Krish, and I have a nightly routine where we write a quick journal where we answer 5 questions:
H – What am I happy about?
E – Am I embracing learning?
A – What do I need to pay attention to?
R – What is the right thing to do?
T – What am I thankful for?
Sangram says “This give us a chance to take 2 minutes…….to pause and self reflect in this busy world.”
“We read Bible every night.”
“I read Diary of Wimpy Kid, the whole series with him!”
“The conversations that happen between you and your kid that won’t happen watching a movie.
Now you’re in a conversation that your kid wants to have.”
“One of the only moments you can slow down, be quiet, and take a moment with your kid.”
It seems like reading is more important than ever…that there is a scarcity in reading today….and what is scarce, is valuable.
Rapid Fire Questions with Sangram Vajre:
Time Stamp: [19:00]
– What was your first car? Mazda MX3 Hatchback
– Favorite dramatic movie? Rocky (I watch it with my son)
– Favorite comedy movie? Mrs. Doubtfire
– Favorite podcasts to listen to?
- Seeking Wisdom with DC and DG
- Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller
- Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
“I love Andy Stanley’s vision for his family:
Years from now when we look back, we want our kids to want to be together, even when they don’t have to.
“My wife and I have adopted this vision for our family.”
Sangram starts a new company, Terminus (with a 1-month-old at home)
Time Stamp: [32:40]
Sangram was working with Marc Benioff (check out Marc’s brilliant book, Behind the Cloud) at Salesforce.com, and he knew it was time to start a new company, Terminus.
“This was a calling, we had to do it.”
“It felt like we were doing everything wrong from outside perspective.
I was 36 years at the time (4 years ago), we just had our 2nd kid, we live in the suburbs of Atlanta, wife is not working, we’re going to go start a company with 2 other co-founders.
We’re going to invent an entire new category called ABM, Account Based Marketing.”
“We’re gonna do it!”
The support of Sangram’s wife was paramount to taking the leap.
“She said, I can see that you want to do this, and if you don’t do it you’re going to regret it.
She said I’m going to find a job…She went and found a job, and said ‘you have 1 year to prove this has legs, and if it doesn’t you’re going to get a job.”
Sangram says, “That was the impetus to the crazy amount of stuff we did in the first year. Purely because if it didn’t, I’m going to have to go get a job.”
“She was very Smart to put a timeline on me and do something that’s not just a hobby, but actually something that matters.”
I could relate to Sangram’s story.
We were living in Las Vegas, where I was playing poker professionally for 11 years, just had our 3rd kid (a daughter, to go with our 6 and 4-year-old boys).
It was scary to think about change.
48 hours later, were house hunting, 2 months later we were starting our new life in Atlanta, and we haven’t looked back.
When it seems like it’s the wrong time, that’s often the best time to ‘jump off the cliff’.
Sangram says “that’s where the growth happens, that’s where relationships are revealed.
Not in good times, but in tough times.”
Is there such thing as work/life balance?
Time Stamp: [35:40]
Every parent struggles with the idea of work/life balance.
I asked Sangram, “Do you think there’s such a thing as work/life balance, and what kind of advice would you give to parents?”
Sangram: “I don’t think there is such thing as work/life balance.
The reality is without work, you can’t really have a great life.
Without life you can’t be happy with work.”
“The way I look at it, it comes down to daily choices.
For me, I live in Atlanta, the commute is 90 minutes each way.
I made a choice to do Uber each way.
So for 3 hours of my day, I’m working, cleaning up all my emails.
By the time I reach home, everything is clean, everything is done.
When I’m home, I’m PRESENT with my family.
A lot of people have anxiety, are checking their phone the whole time, and they get home with a million things to do.
Those are choices.
Instead of creating work life balance, I try to prioritize my time.
I wake up 5am, get work done, so I can be with my son at 6:30, have breakfast and take him to school.
These are all little choices we need to make, that will make it better.
If it lets you center and brings you joy, peace and happiness when you get home, I think it’s worth the investment.”
Listen to Sangram talk about work-life balance in this 2-minute clip
1) Dads can teach and learn from daughters
– We can be mindful and intentional about the message we tell our daughters
– We can help teach our sons how to respect and learn from women
– Show your daughter how to “Be courageous. Be bold. Be strong.”
2) Reading (and writing) are more important than ever
– Make a fun ritual out of reading with your kids
– Writing (even for 2 minutes) is a valuable way to teach your kids’ gratitude
– Ask your kids questions about the books they’re reading. Turn it into a conversation.
3) Run towards joy, don’t chase happiness
– Joy is forever. Happiness is fleeting.
– As a parent, things can be hard in the moment, but you can still find joy in the bigger picture.
– New goal: For our kids to want to be together when they get older (even when they don’t have to)
Get more Sangram Vajre in your life:
DAD SHOUTOUT: Dave Gerhardt
Dave Gerhardt is a Dad to 1 daughter and VP of Marketing at Drift, the world’s first and only conversational marketing platform.
You can learn more about Dave at Drift.com, follow him on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, he’s giving out fun and helpful content every single day.