Being Present

I've recently come back to yoga after a five year hiatus. I didn't realize how much my body missed it. I stopped doing yoga because I couldn't handle the mental aspect of the practice. I struggle with being present mentally for 90 minutes. In fact, I find it impossible. Even as I've come back to the practice, I look at the clock constantly, waiting for the class to end. I am working on this struggle because yoga makes me feel so much better and I am hoping I can come to terms with the mental aspect of the practice if I work at it.

I tell you this because being present is a struggle in everything I do and yet it is the most important thing you can do. Today is the 23rd anniversary of the day the Gotham Gal and I were married. And it is father's day. A pretty special day in our family. 

I got up early and took a long bike ride this morning and reflected on 23 years of marriage and almost 20 years of fatherhood. I thought about a time fifteen years ago when our kids were young and I was starting Flatiron Partners, the first venture firm I helped to start. I was working super hard and still had not made any money in the venture capital business after a decade in it. We had moved out of the city and were living in the suburbs. I was catching the early train and struggling to get home before the kids went to bed. The Gotham Gal had stopped working, was missing the city and feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Around that time, I attended an offsite of a larger private equity firm and there was a organizational psychologist who gave a talk on work life balance. He said something I'll never forget. He said that you have about ten to twelve years to connect with your kids and then they turn into teenagers, tune you out, then turn into adults and build their own lives. I thought about my kids who were five, three, and a baby and realized that time was short and I needed to be present in their lives in every way that I could. And I committed right there and then to do that. And I've done a pretty decent job of it. Not perfect by any means. But much better than my yoga practice.

Marriage is harder than parenthood. The Gotham Gal and I have been together for almost thirty years. I've heard every single one of her stories a dozen times. And she has heard mine too. Familiarity and comfort with each other is a double edged sword. We can finish each other's sentences but that also means the sentences sometimes aren't even uttered.

Being present in a relationship, whether it is with your kids, your spouse, or anyone important in your life is hard work, particularly for overstimulated type A personalities like me and many of the people who read this blog. 

Everyone is still sleeping in my house, but after I hit the publish button, I will be off the grid today and being present with my family on this special day.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Amen and congratulations.My wife and I recently celebrated our 6 months anniversary, so we still have a long way to go, but I think very hard about what it will be like 20, 30, 50 years from now. That’s what we’re shooting for, and I hope we do a good job.

  2. DonRyan

    Congrats to you and Joanne. Enjoy your “unplugged” day.

  3. Sean Black

    Well said Fred. Congrats on the long haul. I have been with my wife for almost 14 years and we have a 19 month old. I am on my second internet startup in five years and all the time commitment that entails. Its a struggle, but I spend a few hours with him every morning before going to the office and Saturday is our one on one day when Mom gets a break. Its hard not to cheat during those times and check or send email or try to sneak in some work, especially with tons of devices, social networking sites to check in and out of and a growing number of people that expect instant response. How do you guys handle your “social networking responsibilities” when spending family time together?By the way, I really like the simplicity of the new site more everyday.

  4. Jan Cifra

    It’s a struggle nowadays to be present. Keeping you attention to the here and now where it belongs can be most challenging. Congratulations to the anniversary!

  5. Michael B. Aronson

    Fred- congratulations! Once again I couldn’t agree more with your post. I’ve been married for 27 years and have two wonderful girls aged 20 and 24.

  6. NI

    Congratulations on both milestones, Fred.I especially enjoy the posts where you bring in some of your personal and family life and tie it into your work.

  7. Harry DeMott

    Congrats. It’s great to see people together for such a long time – still striving and making it all work.I met my wife on my 18th birthday – so we have been together for 25 years (almost 26) and married for 17. Strangely, having kids makes it easier – because you have a common goal you are working toward – making their lives as good as you can.Yes it is hard being present – but my dad, who started his own business when I was a baby – and worked hard at it for years – was always present – home for dinner every night – there to help us with our homework – at all of our sporting events (or dance concerts when it came to my sister) – and instilled in us all the virtues we now have. I feel I owe it to him and my kids to do for them – what he did for me: be a large presence in their lives, instill in them the mores that were instilled in me, and help them out for as long as I am able.I’m off to see my parents in a little while – and my dad who has been sick for the past few years, may or may not know I am even there (I hope he does) – but I owe it to him to be present for him – as he has always been present for me.

    1. ShanaC

      You’re giving him a great gift even if he doesn’t realize it, you are giving him your respect even after all of these years.

    2. fredwilson

      i hope your dad knew you were there yesterday Harrythe thing about kids in a marriage is they are most certainly one of our shared passions, the most important one.but there comes a time when the kids don’t need us as much. that is happening now. and we need each other more as a result.

      1. Harry DeMott

        He did. Thanks. My kids are still young (10 and 8) and like hanging with us and doing stuff with the family – but it is inevitable that there will come a day when mom and dad are no longer cool. We’re trying to stave that off. We figure we have a while.

  8. LD Eakman

    Welcome back to yoga Fred, it’s been a lifesaver for me now going on 8 years. You get all the physical benefits (that can cure what I call airplane spine) and perhaps more importantly, you can leave the rest of your world behind. Sometimes you have to check-in to check-out.I’ll take your advice on my first Father’s Day – off for a walk around the lake with Ellery.

    1. fredwilson

      “sometimes you have to checkin to checkout”that is a great line lindeland congrats on your first father’s day!

  9. awaldstein

    Congrats Fred and thanks for sharing this..I’m going to add a birthday greeting to my mom who turns 91 today! Astounding commitment to a family, from inviting her immigrant father to move in with her when she got married through three generations of kids.Family is challenging at times but overall…an inspiration.Enjoy.

  10. Karenlw

    You mentioned that “marriage is harder than parenthood.” And yet, a healthy marriage is the best gift that parents can give to their children.I started my yoga practice two months ago and am trying to get a solopreneur venture off of the ground (I have been sole support for my family since my husband’s abandonment eight years ago.) It hasn’t been easy, particularly after getting laid off last year. Yoga has been a gift for dealing with this and my three college aged children.I, too, find the “internal” work to be the most challenging aspect of my yoga practice. I don’t find myself “clock -watching” but rather, find the times of stillness to be intensive.Perhaps you could get your wife to join you in some yoga classes together. Or take up something new together. It might give you both some new sentences to utter that aren’t easily anticipated by the other.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      All the best to you!

    2. fredwilson

      good point about a great marriage is great gift to the kidsmy parents have a wonderful marriage, 53 years and countingand all three of their kids are in long lasting relationships as well

  11. Mike

    I agree with your comments on kids.To add a crazy perspective. When my daughter was 5 and I was struggling to put time aside over the summer to go on vacation, I realized If I was lucky she’s want to include me in her vacations for maybe 10 years, or something like 100 days total (10 days x 10 years). I’m hoping I’m around at least another 40 years, or at least 14,600 days. LIke you I’m an A type and always have more projects then I can handle. I decided that no matter how urgent things felt over the next 10 years I needed to spend those 100 days with her and enjoy every moment …and that I”d figure out how to work anything I missed into the other 14,500 days. When you play with those kind of numbers it easily helps put everything into perspective.Mike

    1. reece

      Great way to put it in perspective…

    2. fredwilson

      put into that perspective, it shows how special those moments are

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      As someone told me, or wrote somewhere, I can’t remember: I’ve never heard about someone regretting in his deathbed that he didn’t spend enough time working, but those regrettiing not having passed enough time with their families are countless.

  12. kidmercury

    congrats on all the milestones boss. i couldn’t deal with yoga for the same reason, basically it is stupid and boring. i recommend martial arts. same physical benefits (even more IMHO) and all the eastern philosophy stuff, and more fast-paced and thus not a clock-watching environment.hope your yoga class at least has an online community with badges you can earn to mark your progress and make it psychologically easier.

    1. fredwilson

      if i can’t make yoga work for me, i will most certainly try martial arts nextwhat kind do you like best?

      1. kidmercury

        I studied a style known as isshinryu. Though IMHO I don’t think the style matters as much as finding an instructor/school you are comfortable with and can be inspired/motivated by.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Another style I started to do is Aikido. It’s a self-defense martial art. It was a bit too strenuous for my body when I tried it 2 years ago, but now that I’ve been doing yoga for a year and a half I’d be ready – but there’s no Aikido club here anymore. 🙁

      3. Anne Johnson

        Consider trying Pilates – if you can find a good 1-1 teacher, it has all the physical benefits of the more athletic Yoga forms, without any expectation of mental attitude. No sparring partner required (as for any kind of marital art other than basic katanas). Pilates teachers are trained to look for muscle weaknesses, and will recommend very specific strengthening work; usually people who sit, type, and run need to work on body core muscles to counteract back and abdominal weakness.

        1. Tereza

          I second Anne’s suggestion on Pilates. It is extremely efficient exercise.

    2. MikeSchinkel

      @kidmercury: “basically it is stupid and boring.”Did I really just read that?

  13. Brian Dosal

    Congratulations. Best post I’ve read from you.

  14. JimHirshfield

    Congratulations on all the rich history that’s brought you to this day…here’s to many more happy tomorrows.

  15. Michael Tupper

    Yep! and after I hit the post button for this comment I am going to do the same.Thanks for another great piece of content.

  16. giffc

    Really enjoyed this post Fred. Like any entrepreneur with young kids, I struggle with balance, so posts like this hit home.

  17. reece

    Congrats, Fred.Being present is crucial in all that we do – business, family, life in general.For me athletics have always given me a great sense of intense focus. While playing the game, I’m not thinking about anything else… it’s a great feeling and I try to replicate that in meetings, at social events etc. and I’m always better for it.

  18. Vikas Desai

    Very well written Fred. I had a similar feeling and posted it on my blog as well. Its amazing what wonders the right work-life balance can do!

  19. andyswan

    Might I suggest ending the day with a sip of a certain bourbon that also began its journey 23 years ago…..

    1. fredwilson

      we missed that oppty andy, but i will suggest it to joanne tonight

      1. andyswan

        9pm suggested 🙂

  20. William Mougayar

    Congratulations on both achievements – And thanks for sharing a slice from your personal life with us.Just curious: how many hours of sleep do you get by with?

  21. brmore

    Morning Fred – Happy Father’s day.This one hit very close to home … when my girls were little, I had to choose whether to fight and stay doing a job I loved but kept me deployed on big gray boat 8-12 months a year (long before the advent of satellite communications) or to do “something else” and see my daughters grow up.I had no idea what the something else was going to be, but I knew that the time had come to get priorities in order.Looking back there is no doubt that I made the right choice. As my youngest heads off to college, my kids still call me daddy. When the kids are home from school, I get kisses on cheek after work and surprised with daddy-daughter lunches. When away, Mom and I get phone calls (almost) every night (or so) just checking in or saying goodnight.My kids’ friends think they might be slightly crazy, but they long for the same relationship with their own parents. One day a few years back, by some circumstance I drove my eldest and one of her best friends to school. During the drive there was the normal yapping back and forth between myself and child, with occasional jab out to friend to keep her engaged. Later that day the friend told my daughter that she wished she had conversations like that with her dad … about anything … about nothing. When the friend drove anywhere with her father, the car was filled with silence.That lack of silence, those daddy-daughter lunches, conversations about nothing, everything or anything over the dinner table, the calls (almost) every night (or so) … That’s the payoff … that’s what makes being there all worthwhile.

    1. JLM

      I cannot imagine anything tougher than putting out to sea for an extended period of time leaving a family at the dock. During all of my military adventures I was single and I always liked a bit of dirt around to dig a hole in.I remember crying at the Asbury Park NJ bus stop when my Dad went overseas a number of times and I remember him crying when I went.Thanks for your service and Happy Father’s Day!

    2. ShanaC

      Thank you for your service and a happy father’s day.

    3. Mike

      An inspired reply to an inspired post.Thanks for sharing.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Thank you for this wonderful comment and for defending our country. I think that launching happy, caring, productive people into the world from our homes is also a great service. Thank you for that too. Happy Father’s Day!

      1. brmore

        Indeed, you could easily argue, and I would certainly agree, that launching happy, caring, productive people into the world is our most important service, perhaps even rising to the level of obligation.

        1. fredwilson


    5. fredwilson

      my kids are headed off to college too, jessica is heading into her sophmore year and emily is going into her senior year in high schoolit’s certainly the time when you find out what kind of relationship you built with your kids

  22. rich caccappolo

    important messages here; thanks for conveying them, Fred. Happy Anniversary and Father’s Day to you

    1. fredwilson

      Hi Rich – thanks for the comment. i hope you had a nice father’s day yesterday

  23. RAuguste

    Congratulations on your anniversary, fathers day, & taking the 2nd step back to yoga.I’ve been practicing yoga (Ashtanga) for 10 years & meditation (Vipassana) for 5 years. I have been married for 2 months & tried to start a business in the past 6 months.The biggest lesson about being present, I find is my breath. Can you stay calm and collected for 5 breaths & not think about the bills, or lunch, etc. Can you let those thoughts go & not empower them for that moment. The same when your outside of class.Like taking my pulse, I check the breath. I try to be aware of the breath on my upper lip, but in life if I catch myself wandering, excited, angry, the breath changes, so does the focus. The challenge is building endurance to keep it up.Good luck in all your practices, even the one you are engaging today.

  24. Sharmilan

    Congratulations Fred! Thanks for sharing.

  25. bijan

    Congrats!and happy fathers day.

  26. Keenan

    That’s exactly why I haven’t started Yoga. It sounds like mental torture.One of your best posts Fred.Enjoy your day!

    1. William Pietri

      People say the same thing about running, which is something I took up a few years ago. “It’s painful! Why would I run if I’m not being chased?” Etc, etc.But both yoga and running for me are very meditative activities, and I think they’ve both had a strong benefit for me in my professional life. Better ability to deal with stress, better focus, greater endurance, greater comfort with challenging situations.As precious as my time is doing a startup, I either run or do yoga 5-6 days a week, because they make me more productive the rest of the time. Sometimes I resent the time, but whenever I stop, it becomes clear to me that cutting out the exercise is a false economy of time.

      1. JLM

        One’s mind needs to rest in order to operate at peak performance when it is working. Particularly when it is working creatively.The diversions that completely void the brain are the best — running, walking, power washing, swimming, shoe shining, snow shoveling, painting, grass cutting.Hmmm, now that I think about it I wonder if working is just a diversion from the otherwise mindless things I enjoy best? LOL

        1. fredwilson

          power washing returns to the comment threads!i have never power washed anything in my lifesounds like i am missing out

          1. JLM

            Power washing is one of the great secrets of the world. First, it requires just a bit of mechanical know how to get the damn thing running — little internal combustion engine, water source, wand, tip.Once running there is a bit of “calmness of the waters” sense of the water spraying everywhere and being directed at your whim.And, then, then, then — the high pressure water blasts the accumulated dirt of centuries (months, years?) away from your sidewalks, decks, siding, bricks, boats, driveways — and well, the rest is just pure wonder.The sense of accomplishment is significant as your “stuff” gleams in the sun as clean as a…..It is mindless and “magic” because after all you are using a “wand” and why shouldn’t that wand be magic?Then, again, it may be an acquired taste.

          2. fredwilson

            It sounds awesome. My son would love it too. It seems like a guy thing

          3. JLM

            Yes, and women adore power washing men.I cannot tell you the number of times I got laid as a young man when I was able to work power washing into a conversation. If I were a young man today, I would bring a power washer into a damn bar and just ask — OK, who wants some of this?Then again, maybe not. LOL

      2. paramendra

        “Why would I run if I’m not being chased?”LOL”…cutting out the exercise is a false economy of time….”So true.

  27. ryan singer

    thanks Fred. I relate as I have 2 boys (Ash is 3.5 yr and Jet is 22 mo.) and right now and not making much money in my field (Architecture). I think family enriches and inspires your work. Happy father’s day when you get back. All of your internet buddies will be here for you… to keep you distracted.You inspired me and after I post I’m taking my family out to breakfast!ciao, Ryan Singer

  28. David Lee

    Fred, as a father of a 1 year old daughter and on again/off again practicer of meditation and yoga, this was the most meaningful post I’ve read in years. Thanks!

  29. Francis Hwang

    Fred, out of curiosity, what sort of yoga are you taking? I ask because a lot of the slower types are harder for me too. I do best at Vinyasa–it’s so athletically challenging that it ends up being halfway like an aerobics class. And then by the end of the class I’m so physically exhausted that my mind pretty much is forced to calm down. I think of it as meditation for dummies.

    1. fredwilson

      i am trying out various classes and teachers as i make my way back into it

    2. MikeSchinkel

      @Francis: I completely agree; get exhausted and slowing the mind gets to be a lot easier. FWIW I practiced Ashtanga, which is a form of vinyasa for those who are not familiar.Oh, and I just love the quote that vinyasa yoga is “Meditation for Dummies.”

    3. Greg Neichin

      I second Francis on this. Yoga has been a god send for me for disconnecting from work and tuning out for 90 minutes during the week, but it needs to be an ass-kicking, sweaty Vinyasa class in order to shock me out of work mode and get me to focus on being present and just spending time with my body and breath.I find myself leaving slower classes not only not relaxed, but more frustrated than I was when I walked in as if I had wasted 90 minutes.Great post Fred. Good lessons to live by.

  30. Mark Stansbury

    Great post. Today my wife and I celebrate our first marriage anniversary. It was wonderful to read your reflections on marriage and life, and the good (and bad) we’ve got to look forward to. Thanks.

    1. ShanaC

      And a Mazel tov to you too

    2. Donna Brewington White


  31. Matt A. Myers

    “Yoga Matt” approves this thread. Kudos for you getting back into it. Happy Father’s Day too.Remember, not doing yoga is also yoga. 🙂 Sometimes we don’t need the class setting, sometimes we very much need it too. It’s tough to know because life can be going very well and your mind can be flowing well, but there are going to be some blocks and thoughts building up over time.Yoga isn’t just trying to stop your mind for 90 minutes – it’s actually a lot of mental work initially. It’s learning what to do with thoughts that come up, and it’s allowing those thoughts to come up. They will come up with any mental stillness that you allow that wasn’t there before. This includes letting muscles be relaxed and feeling your body sinking into the ground, letting gravity do the work for you. There’s emotion and thoughts connected to your muscle, so muscle memory has more of a meaning than simply the ability to get faster at throwing that curve ball or running more automatically. That’s why stretching out, heating up and engaging your muscles will allow things to come up and then you learn how to let them just float while you don’t react to them; “Let go” or “I allow” .. saying in your mind “Let” or “I” on the inhale, and “go” or “allow” on the exhale. If a thought is important it will come up again. :)Thank you for the advice re: the ten to twelve years that you have to connect with your kids. I hope to be starting a family in the next 4-6 years (have to find a girlfriend first..), and I hope to have life setup enough to be able to have the time to spend with my family.I hope you and your family have a very wonderful day.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      P.S. Don’t be in a spot where you can see the clock. Plus, go to 90 minute classes regularly for 4-6 months and when you do the 60-75 minute classes they’ll feel like a breeze.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      To add to “They will come up with any mental stillness that you allow that wasn’t there before”:Before the learning to let your muscles relax step, the step before that is just setting aside the time to allow it to happen. Just by going into a 90 minute class, even if you lay on your back for 90 minutes, you’re doing yoga. But you’ll probably get bored if you just lay on your back … so you might as well get up and try poses. 🙂 But in some hot yoga classes I’ve had to lay down for even half the class, 45 minutes, because too much was coming up and I was too overwhelmed to focus and not ‘freak out’.

    3. fredwilson

      thanks for the advice “yoga matt”love the pun in that namebe careful, it might stick around here

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Hehe. I wouldn’t mind at all!I played on a recreational sports league last year and they put “Yoga Matt” as my name on my team shirt. It’s made a lot of people smile and laugh. :)The team was called “Gunshow Tickets” with a picture of Mr. T flexing on the front … it was a fun group of people.

  32. William Pietri

    Great post. It’s a reminder I always appreciate, for exactly those Type-A reasons. I’m just starting a new business, and I was very lucky to get a business partner who already appreciates this. We made sustainability an explicit part of the company we want to build.Regarding watching the clock: remove the clock. If you’re doing group practice, talk to your instructor; they should understand. If you’re doing solo practice, get an alarm that you trust and put it out of sight.Also, it is not you who wants to look at the clock. It’s just part of your mind, some assorted clumps of neurons. Treat the urge to look the same way you do the meowing cat or rumbling bus: it’s just something that happens, something outside your control, and something that does not control you. Like the bus, it may come, but it will go.

  33. Mark Essel


  34. John Maloney

    Great post and congrats on the milestones. And agreed on yoga, but I gotta crack the code.So true about the short runway with your kids and the need to find/demand live work balance. This sounds incongruous but spending the past 15 years involved with (lean) web startups, which runs parallel with my being a parent of 2 kids, and married for the past 20 years, has afforded me the opportunity to almost always be there for them. Sure my laptop or smart phone has always been a presence, and a point of frustration, but I’ve been lucky enough to never (yet) miss a key event or milestone.And there have been a few times, post-acquisition, where I’ve been around all-in for long stretches.Being raised by a single mother with my father out out of the picture 100% of the time, I was committed to truly being there for my kids. And somewhat by design – I framed my career around them.

    1. fredwilson

      hi johnit is so great to be able to frame your career around your familywhen brad and i set up USV in 2003, it was very much in the front of our minds that we needed to do that

  35. JLM

    Damn, Fred, you are giving VCs a bad name — a brain and a heart?And you commentators are making me want to try some yoga!The great thing about life is that it just keeps getting better if we just get out of our damn way. I’ve been married for 30 years and have been in love with the same woman for over 40.The accumulated wisdom articulated on this blog as it relates to children covers the entire waterfront. They are a treasure and they will all have great adventures — turn them loose and they will come back to you when they are ready filled with tales and breathless with excitement. Because they want YOU to know what they have done — good or bad — because they love you.Don’t fight the feeling.Today my daughter called me from Anguilla at dawn to wish me a Happy Father’s Day.

    1. ShanaC

      Yoga keeps your spine from shrinking as you age, and can help build muscles

    2. fredwilson

      i second the “turn them loose” wisdom JLMwe’ve been doing that for years now with our oldest kids and it has worked out well for them and us

  36. Mo Koyfman

    I identify with this post completely.Being present is my foremost goal and struggle in life.Sorry I missed the ride and yoga this weekend — was struggling to be present with my family in Cleveland :)Happy father’s day and anniversary — you’re a great dad & husband and certainly a role model for me…

    1. ShanaC

      So I struggle with this too. If you could take five minutes for yourself and only yourself- what would you do with them?Do that. Do that every day. It’s difficult probably. Most people don’t know what they would do for themselves. It requires a ton of sudden dreaming.

      1. Mo Koyfman

        Yep. Recently decided to give meditation a whirl. We’ll see if I can do it…

        1. ShanaC

          One of the interesting thing about these practices is that they ebb and flowlike water. Part of the trick is not allowing yourself to getfrustrated/turning off the parts of your brain that cause judgement of whatyou do, what you think, and what you see. A large process of being presentis confronting who you are. It’s one of the most difficult things I amdoing in my life. I wish I had amazing answers for you.A word of caution: One of my deeper practices is surreal drawing when itcomes to meditations. I found after a while I was drawing myself: Thisfreaked me out, because I didn’t understand what I was drawing and I stoppeddrawing for a while. Only recently have I returned. If you don’t feel likethere are safe places to go afterward, don’t do it. I find, after talkingto a number of people, sometimes one of the reasons a ton of people don’twant to be present is that they are not ready to confront some sort of lifetruth. Confronting it along the way makes the process easier.Good luck and have fun on the journey!

    2. fredwilson

      i guess we’ll struggle with it together mo

  37. ShanaC

    Mazel Tov on both father’s day (~20) and 23 years of marriage. May you have many more of both.Even though I’ve given up on certain aspects of dating- I hope I can find presence in them one day.I also go back and forth in the yoga for similar reasons. i found myself laughing at that- you’re right, it is something probably most people here need to practice. (I keep wanting to check email during warriors pose, it’s a great way to fall on your butt)Enjoy a really amazing day.And know that a lot of people look up to you because of the humanity in these sorts of posts.

  38. Rex Hammock

    As a husband for 32 years and a Dad for 22, I can’t agree with you more, Fred. Nothing I can do equals the joy of being a part of — and present with — my family.

  39. maverickny

    Great post, Fred, love the simplicity of the title.After reading this blog I realised I hadn’t heard from my brother for a while having been on the road 3 straight weeks myself, so texted to see if he and his family was ok. He’d literally just finished the London to Brighton bike ride and had been in intense training. He was thrilled to get a message at that time, “thanks for being with me, Sis!”Sometimes being present is simply about reaching out to others, being there mentally or spiritually and forgetting our own needs.Mind you, I struggle with yoga too for a long time until it dawned on me that it’s all about clearing out the mind of crap and being empty of thoughts from the hurly burly of life. After that, it got a lot easier.

    1. paramendra

      “Mind you, I struggle with yoga too for a long time until it dawned on me that it’s all about clearing out the mind of crap and being empty of thoughts from the hurly burly of life. After that, it got a lot easier.”LOL

  40. Fred T

    Familiarity and comfort with each other is a double edged sword. We can finish each other’s sentences but that also means the sentences sometimes aren’t even uttered.This definitely hits close to home. Living with your significant other even for several years may breed lots of familiarity into our most casual personas, but is not enough proof to tell us that we could be perfect in our daily household interaction. What we could always strive for is to appreciate the smallest details they do for us – and those are the ones we remember the most. I fold my own clothes, but I am beyond grateful when I come back home and she has already done them. You just never forget those special moments.Happy Father’s day, Fred, and all the fathers who make the most out of every moment for their families while making a difference to the whole world.

  41. Louise Tipton

    Great post. I feel the same about yoga. In a hyper-stimulated world, it’s really hard to focus on one breath, and one move at a time. I also recently returned to yoga after many years of hiatus. And i’m feeling the benefits immediately, even though i know i have a long way to go.

  42. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

    Hey Fred,Congrats on your Anniversary! Reading your post has made me decide on two things,1. I need to start Yoga. my mind moves too fast for my liking :(2. I will go and call my dear parents and sister today. Every time spent with family (even on the phone) is precious.Thanks for the post.

  43. Nancy King

    I go to a restorative yoga class on Sunday afternoon. (my church) Our leader use the following phrase frequently “Let go of the doing”That’s the only way you can be present. I struggle with it too. I find when I emphasize the intention not the tasks of everything I do, I’m able to do more and do it better. Family and Work. Plus searching for work/life balance is frustrating, finding congruence, more realistic.Happy anniversary and Father’s day!

  44. beactive

    Great post on work life balance. We need to often pause in our hectic lives and reflect on if we are truly happy and growing or just doing busy work.

  45. Katgordon

    Happy Father’s Day, Fred.Your comments remind me of a choice I made 7 years ago when my younger son was an infant. I was offered a job at Google and, after much deliberation, declined it so I could maintain my consultancy business and control my work hours. Recently, my husband wistfully pondered how much we’d be worth today if I’d taken that pre-IPO job. Without hesitation I replied that even knowing what I know now, I still would decline the job. Other job opportunities will always present themselves, but these first years of my son’s life are irretrievable.Thanks for reminding all of us to be present.

    1. fredwilson

      my wife gave up an incredibly lucrative job to stay at home. she has felt the cost of that sacrifice many many time, and not really financially as much as the mental cost.but i know she’d make the same call again

  46. David Fishman

    Happy Father’s Day … I’m off to horseback riding + hiking with my wife + kids. Magical day here in Santa Monica and I’m putting family first! Thankful for my wife hanging in these past few years …. riding the proverbial startup rollercoater. True entrepreneural love 🙂

  47. Jon Knight

    Happy Anniversary to the both of you, Fred.And Happy Fathers’ Day. As the father of twins, I have to agree with your friend the psychologist. I remember the first time I ever saw the little fellas, peacefully sleeping in that cardboard box….I looked at the wife and said, “What the hell are they doing in a cardboard box?!” (Apparently, that’s how the USAF ships your newborns from Germany to Portugal on a C141.)Naturally, me and those USAF guys had some words and soon after parted company.Well, these guys are 25 now and are still my best friends. There is a fine line that can be drawn between being ‘daddy’ and being a ‘buddy’ – a fine line indeed. But that line can be drawn if we start when they’re young enough. I think the trick is to care and trust enough to let the kids hold the pencil.

    1. fredwilson

      when did you stop being daddy and started becoming buddy?

      1. Jon Knight

        That was right after we got them out of the box!Seriously though, it was. I always tried to view life with my children as an adventure none of us had already taken. Sure, maybe I read a book or three and maybe even saw part of the movie, so maybe yeah, when things get squirrely, maybe I have to be the tour guide every now and then.But for the most part I was right there with them, hiding behind doors when Mommy got home from work so we could be sneaky and surprise her, building the bestest Matchbox/Hot Wheels city in the whole wide world (complete with airport) that filled up the extra bedroom, listening to them and believing that “Army of Darkness” was not actually a horror movie, planting a plum tree at some rest stop on I40 in Arkansas and naming it Sam, tying little lego guys to helium balloons so they could fly, playing air drums with their air guitars…When they crawled, I crawled. When they walked, I walked. When they ran, I tried for awhile and could actually keep up. You tell me: Is that being Daddy or is that being buddy? I’m not certain sometimes that there’s a huge difference.Look, this has been great, but I see them up ahead in the distance. Every now and then they look back to see where I am. I gotta run…

  48. Guest from India

    Great piece (I just chanced upon this). We far too often end up neglecting two very important things in our lives – health and family. I took a 3 year break from my job to spend with my two boys (now 9 and 7) and do something on my own. Well worth it. Even before that I’ve done a fair bit of changing diapers, playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, volunteering to be class dad at their school…

  49. Dave Pinsen

    Happy Father’s Day and congratulations on your 23<sup>rd</sup> anniversary today.

  50. Pradeep Padala

    Congratulations! Happy Anniversary Fred, Great post!

  51. Steven Kane

    Amen.Do you buy any of the recent chatter that always-on ubiquitous realtime interactive media is diminishing people’s ability to “be present”?if you struggle to be present for 90 minutes of yoga — which you enjoy and know has a big benefit to you — its hard to imagine the struggle to focus on things that basically suck — whether or not to support military action overseas, how to fix badly broken state and municiapl budgets, where is the line between societal safety nets and a welfare state, what constitutes unacceptabel corporate behavior, etci don’t pay too much attention to all that recent chatter — the genie is way out of the bottlebut i do think we as a society are less and less equipped to “be present” and resist easy knee-jerk reactionary impulses…namaste.

    1. fredwilson

      i like what steven johnson had to say about that issue in the time yesterday…

  52. willwhutson

    all the best to you and yours – as always thanks for sharing Fred!

  53. aanwar

    Happy Father’s Day and Happy Anniversary! Nice post for today. Helped me put things into perspective at a pretty young age. Thanks.

  54. hypermark

    Great post, Fred. Staying present is so hard. I perennially find myself reflecting on the limited amount of time we have on the planet to make our mark. Then I look at my kids (5 and 7) and re-connect to the present.Yoga helps, though. Ironically, it’s the one thing that I have never fallen out of in 12 years (I do Bikram), but it’s taken carving out a block of time that I can consistently make, and a really understanding wife to make it work.Being present with my wife, and not simply falling into the trap of being co-parent, confidante or co-conspirator is candidly the area where I most feel the double-edge you refer to.Humility, compassion, accommodation and sacrifice are sometimes so at odds with ambition, but you know the axiom of lying on the death bed surrounded by friends and family. In those final moments, we celebrate most the relationships we’ve built, the love we’ve grown, and less so the deals we’ve made.Thanks for such warming thoughts.Mark

  55. Ronnie Rendel

    It takes someone who made a lot of money to talk like that… Seriously though, being 33 years old, married with 3 kids (4, 2, and 0 – yikes!) trying my hands in 3 different ventures for no other reason than I have no idea which one will stick so I need to work on all of them. Yeah, haven’t seen any money yet, so your story is somewhat of an inspiration.On a serious note, you’re 1000% right on being present, whether its with your family, in meetings, or your own work time. Mazal Tov.

  56. LissIsMore

    Thanks for sharing, Fred. Beautiful sentiments. I have been fortunate to have been around for much of the early life of my two boys. They are now 17 and 15 and moving off, inevitably, into their own worlds. I probably could have made more money by taking another path – but my wife and I agree that this path has been worth it.Happy Fathers Day.

  57. Farhan Lalji

    Happy Father’s Day Fred.This one was my first as a dad. With a young daughter, a start up, having moved countries to be back in a proper city – London, from Switzerland – and my wife on a pause from working to raise our daughter, I see a lot of similarities in our stories, just hope ours turns out half as well.Totally agree with the being present philosophy as well, spent the day hanging out with our lil one while my wife recovered from a bug, best way to spend father’s day! Was present till I put her to sleep, she returned the favour by going to sleep in time for me to catch the Brazil/Ivory coast World cup match, lucky me 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      that match was a lot closer than the score indicatesa few lucky breaks for brazil and a few bad breaks for ivory coast

      1. Farhan Lalji

        True, think Drogba’s still not 100%, appalled by that missed hand ball. That was crazy.That Kaka yellow, was just that, kaka. Will be interesting to see Brazil vs Portugal and who get’s the second place in that group.

  58. John Frankel

    As a father of 5 I can certainly relate. I use running, yoga, snowboarding and other solo activities to “free my mind” and float above my experiences. Being present for me is actually listening to people, reacting to people and making them feel that there is no one else more important than them at the specific point in time. It is tough to do, but I feel a little closer to the person I want to be when I achieve it.I suspect that most readers are the overstimulated type A types like us and so suffer from reaching for the iPhone/Crackberry/iPad as soon as the conversation reaches predictability – all I can suggest is repress the urge. Last Thursday I was at a Tequila bar with 7 friends on the island of Catalina. It was a beautiful day, with a wonderful view of the harbor. Six of us were checking email/twitter/etc. I sat there and suppressed the urge. I felt a little more present that day.

  59. markslater

    Its my first fathers day. wishing other fathers out there a day as good as mine.

  60. Donna Brewington White

    Fred, I really appreciate this post. Once again you have inspired me! And from the comments, I am not the only one. The curse of being a visionary as well as being driven is the difficulty of staying in the present and yet I know with all my heart how vitally important this is. Now with two of my children becoming teens, this is more poignant with every passing year.It becomes even more of a fine line when the very people that you want to “be present” for are the very ones that you are working so hard to provide for and to establish in the world. While I’ve grown so much as a person from a life of hard (but fulfilling) work and I want my kids to learn some of these same lessons, I also want them to start much further along than I did. (I think I relate so well to the people in this community because my whole life feels like an entrepreneurial venture.)Yet, I recognize the trap that this can create — justifying our absence by what we are providing…which never replaces what is most important to our kids…or our spouses. Thank you for using your influence to provide such a positive example and giving us these peeks into your life.Congratulations on your anniversary and Happy Father’s Day!

  61. Aaron Klein

    Happy anniversary and happy father’s day, Fred! Great story. Good reminder.

  62. daryn

    Congrats Fred. Being present is definitely a challenge, but between this post and GG’s post today, I’d say you guys are doing well.This weekend is our 5th anniversary of being married (14 years together), and my 2nd father’s day, though we’re spending it as our first weekend away from our daughter since she was born 13 months ago. It’s been a tough road, but I’m very grateful for what I have.

    1. fredwilson

      happy anniversary Darynthat was a long courtship!

  63. Adrian Ionel

    I enjoyed reading this post.I have two kids (16 and 17) and it feels like they grew up in the blink of an eye. Being there throughout their childhood has given me some of the best moments of my life.Congratulations for getting back into yoga. I’ve been doing it for three years, and daily for the past two. For me the benefits are immense. By now, nearly every practice is intensely pleasurable. The key for me, and maybe this helps others as well: The moment you stop having an opinion as to how anything ‘should be’ and instead embrace what ‘is’ your practice becomes incredibly fun. There is a lesson in there about life as well.Happy Father’s Day!

  64. Matthew Kammerer

    Beautifully written. I read this on Father’s Day alone, with my own father in another state trying to start a new business. I see myself starting my own life at 21, and my brother quickly tuning out any advice at age 13. Thank you for sharing :).

  65. Stewart McCoy

    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  66. Cbag

    Hey Fred, thanks for writing this.

  67. Rahul Deodhar

    Congrats! I have been only married for 5 years so I am still discovering sentences and stories. But you are right. Sometimes even when sentences that may not be uttered must be uttered. It is a double edged sword.I don’t like the physical part of yoga. I am not that flexible. But I like the mental part. Stillness of mind is like supercharger. There is a little lake in Himalayas where I once went for a trek and it was absolutely still and pristine. I never achieved that state again but now I know why the great yogi’s and wise men went to the himalayas for thinking and brainstorming.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      When I started yoga I told myself that there were things I’d never be able to do. Just wasn’t possible. Not with my body.After about 3 years of twice weekly yoga I surprised myself to realize I had just done a full backbend. I was so surprised I almost lost the pose. It was then I realized. All those other poses I had been doing had been preparing both my mind and my body to make full backbend (and many other things) possible, and I hadn’t even realized it.One of my very favorite quotes of all time is the answer from the archetypical yogi guru to a yoga practitioner. The yoga practitioner asks <any question=”” whatsoever=””> and the guru answers:”Practice. And all is coming.”

      1. fredwilson

        you have to figure out that foot problem and get back to yoga mike

        1. MikeSchinkel

          If only! I’ve been to many doctors and given the current state of our healthcare system in the US, if the problem isn’t obvious and it isn’t obviously life threatening then they won’t spend any time trying to help me figure it out. :-(But thanks.

  68. Tilceo1

    Get out of your comfort zone and live life.

  69. Renekmust

    who gives a crap about your yoga and your desire to make money? what a crock. Do you think this is interesting? Do I really care about someone whose chief goal in life is to make money? I care more about someone who’s goal is to make yoga.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      Who gives a crap about your goals in life? What a crock. Do you think this is interesting? Do I really care about what you have to say? I care more about reading what Fred and the rest of his very positive community has to say that readying your rants.

    2. fredwilson

      nobody is forcing you to be here renekmusti suggest you leave and not come back

  70. paramendra

    I don’t believe this. I just put out this blog post at my blog that concludes by talking about yoga, and I show over at AVC, and yoga is what Fred is talking about. Strange.…”I struggle with being present mentally for 90 minutes.”That is precisely why you need it. Yoga trains you to get your mind to sit still for a little while, something very very hard to do.

  71. MikeSchinkel

    I spent 6 years doing Ashtanga yoga. Stopped 3+ years ago because of a foot problem that made yoga extremely painful but that unfortunately doctors won’t take the effort to understand.Boy, how do I miss yoga. I felt better those 6 years than I had before or since. I hope I can find my way to be able to go back to it.

  72. Prashant Sachdev

    happy anniversary Fred and Gotham Gal! Also, wishing you belated happy Father’s day…Fred,Good to know that you are back to yoga! That’s nice and I agree the mental aspect is something that we need to get right. It needs a lot of practice…This blog is a reminder for me to get back as I am too missing the lovely sudarshan kriya practice for more than two years now!If you have sometime do check and practice the same at nearby art of living centers in NYC – It is amazing experience.For those who are extremely busy with life is really good – I don’t have much experience but have heard it works and we can feel the cool air coming from the top of our head!

  73. freekbo

    Thanks for this… nothing new but something very valuable to be reminded about! There is no “tomorrow I’ll take more time”. Today is what counts. It’s about decisions and priority setting.

  74. Henry Yates

    What I love about this blog is that you cover the whole picture. This is so important in startups as the lines between work, family and play are very blurred at best.”Being Present” particularly resonates with me. Not from a physical perspective – I run my business from home and I am physically present much of the time. Being mentally present is one of the biggest challenges for me. I love the internet and everything it has/will do for people’s lives, however, my personality finds it challenging to manage when/how I engage/disengage. When I go on holiday I actually give my phone to my wife – I can not be trusted!I agree that this is much harder with your wife/partner than as a parent. I am very focused on being there for my kids, and to be honest it is easy as I get so much back from it compared to what I put in. I get even more back from my wife, but somehow I fall short in the “Being Present” stakes – comfort and familiarity definitely play a part.Thanks for this post, it will help me focus on this and hopefully be a better husband.

    1. fredwilson

      oh yeah, it is not about being physically present. i am at home a lot actuallyit’s all about being mentally present

      1. Donna Brewington White

        “it’s all about being mentally present”Very important distinction!When not traveling, I do most of my work from home as well and if I’m doing something that requires less concentration, I do try to make up for the mental preoccupation that my work requires by sometimes bringing my laptop into the living room so that at least my kids can see me. Physical presence may be better than no presence as long as it is balanced by ample doses of being mentally present as well.I would also add “emotionally present.”

        1. Tereza

          Indeed Donna and generally, as hard as it is for me to do, that means “device-free”.

          1. Donna Brewington White


          2. Tereza

            Oooo, didn’t mean to ouch you, doll. Sorry! That was meant for me!!!

          3. Donna Brewington White

            no worries…it was a good ouch…you know like facial astringent……hey, I don’t know if you have a child young enough to be physically attached to you most of the time, but I remember how strange it felt after so many years of this, not to have one of them latched on to some part of my body…took some getting used to…and now this is how I feel without a BB or laptop nearby…so, a good ouch…

          4. Tereza

            They were attached for such a long time. The youngest is done and our plan is that I am, too — factory closed due to aging facilities and the economic climate. 😉 The 3.5 y.o. is fighting to grow up and i don’t want her to!

  75. sachxn

    I can easily imagine my life with your thoughts both are similar….Happy Father’s Day

  76. KellyJ

    Congrats on resuming your yoga practice! I stumbled upon my awesome idea for a start-up because my original dream was owning a yoga studio. There is nothing more powerful than being connected and being present and yoga provides a path to that. Stick to it this time, and don’t skip savasana either!! That is when the people that are mentally challenged by yoga usually skip out.I am new to this game and often hear everyone say “Oh, family support is key” or “My family has been so amazing, I could never have done this without them (or their money)” I lack that family support, but yoga has provided the mental strength necessary for me to keep pushing forward and fighting. I’ve been practicing for 7 years and completed 200 hours of teacher training. And when you have a slightly more advanced practice, may I suggest Kula Yoga Project? It is a game changer.You have also been a great teacher, or guru, and for that I am deeply grateful. Happy (late) Father’s Day!!

    1. fredwilson

      i have done the basic flow classes at Kulai love that place, great vibe, great teachersand i never skip savasana even though i’d love to

  77. Josh Engroff

    This may be my favorite AVC post ever. It’s so true, and so easy to forget in the daily crunch of our professions, extended workdays, and device-assisted hyper-stimulation. I have two young kids and when I look back at it all, I want to know that I took the time.Thanks.

  78. harris497

    Thanks Fred.I’ve been a lurker for a while but this one drew me out. My kids go off to camp today. I’m going to go drop them off with my wife. It’s never too late maybe…

  79. DCTech

    Its posts like this that will keep me reading Fred for a long time to come…well said and so so true.

  80. dremoran

    Attention is the currency of all relationships.I’ve always been equally impressed by your success in family as your success in investing.

  81. Tereza

    Happy anniversary Fred and GG. And happy father’s day, too.I am very lucky to have married a man who is an awesome dad. Ten years and going. He learned how from his father, whom I never got to meet, and really wish I did.Father’s Day has been a conflicted holiday for me for a long time. I’d sit there as a teen, quietly thinking, “OK, Dad, let’s celebrate the fact that you never talk to me.” And, “Here’s your present. Please pretend that you like it.”.I spent many years wishing he would change (right about until I went to college), then a bunch more with lower expectations knowing he wouldn’t. Six years ago I buried him. When that happens your relationship is frozen wherever it was, in perpetuity.So yes, coming from the other side of a father/child relationship, I confirm that it is a string of “now’s”, of moments when you are present and engaged in ways big and small in each other.Make them mean something — now — otherwise this chance is gone.

  82. Dalia

    Funny how setting a deadline changes things in personal life as well 🙂

  83. Guido

    It would be great to meet you in person! Guido

  84. ap

    Congratulations Fred on success in marriage and fatherhood. I think the size of one’s bank account in $$$ size can never be big enough, however the best savings account we can have is our kids success, well being and relationship, i am 35 and glad I realized it 5 years ago as well. Happy fathers day & anniversary.

  85. NN

    I’m going to go ahead and say that I see both marriage and kids as fundamental losses of freedom. They are antiquated concepts. Thank god for people who believe otherwise (I wouldn’t be here if not for them), but from a utility maximizing perspective, I don’t buy the “oh my god it’s such a joy” argument for kids. There really isn’t even an argument for marriage. Most people seem unhappy with theirs. That said, truly excellent post by Fred. It gave me inspiration for some contexts outside of family. Thanks.

    1. NN

      Also, I just wanted to put out another hypothesis about people’s love for kids:Cognitive dissonance.Clearly raising kids is insanely hard, and requires you to dedicate so much of your life to it.If you didn’t really like having kids, that’s some serious cognitive dissonance.Psychologically, your motivation becomes to justify this discrepancy. You have two options:1) return your kids to sender2) love your kids(1) is not possible. (2) will have to do.Fortunately, you can undo a marriage, and I think that’s why people don’t love marriages as much as they do kids.

    2. Tereza

      Kids aren’t a concept, they are very much a reality.You know this concretely if you’ve ever been pregnant and then birthed one. Nope, nothin’ conceptual about that!Children as fundamental losses of freedom….sure, I can buy that.But as long as humans have sex, kids will come. And they’re our future. We want them.The loss of freedom the represent is far greater for mothers than for fathers. “Sperm donor” fathers could skip out on the “baby mama” if so inclined. And they often do.And biologically and ethically, the women are left holding the bag, 18+ years of care, economic “burden”. Luckily, for the most part, we are wired to love the children we bear, whether we want to or not. It’s a good thing, because the child needs it desperately. That’s not a concept either. A very real reality. But it also means women, when single, are at a serious economic disadvantage to everyone else.So to the fathers who marry the women (or partners) they love, who participate in creating a family as best they can, who contribute in every way they can, who engage and love their kids — thank you. You make the world go ’round.Life is messy, it’s hard, it’s not a concept.

  86. thewalrus

    great post. happy belated anniversary and fathers day!

  87. iamronen

    Though I would love to engage the topic of “being present” directly – I can’t bring myself to do it. It is a precious and intimate topic I prefer to meet in more personal settings. It is so great to see you bringing it up – and to see how it touches so many people!After long consideration – I opted to stick to the more technical side of Yoga (I prefer action to words):(1) Finding a “style”Yoga “brands” tend to be superficial and useless (and misleading). It is useful to review teachers and styles with an awareness of what your options are (physicality, accessibility, breathing precision, etc.). There are numerous things you can observe to see what best suits your current needs:…(2) Finding a teacher … is at least as challenging as finding a good VC for a startup. It is a long journey, with lot’s of dead-ends … and it takes passionate persistence to stay on the path … But there are signs you may want to look out for – of a good teacher (as there are, I am assuming for a good VC):…(3) Finding a relevant practice for you.A good teacher will offer you teachings that are right for for you. For example – Yoga needs to take into consideration your heath (mental & physical):… – Yoga needs to take into consideration your age:…(4) Bring it Closer: On the mat & Off the matIf you are looking at the clock while practicing Yoga – then your life (off the mat) has been carried over onto the mat. Getting it the other way around is trickier – especially when you perceive major differences between “on the mat” and “off the mat”. There is no reason to expect life “off-the-mat” to gravitate towards Yoga “on-the-mat”. We are having this conversation because it seems that life gravitates in an opposite direction. Therefore, If you want the two to meet, the practice needs to be brought closer to life. How?: – A tailored practice – there is only so much you can do in group classes. Another alternative is one-on-one Yoga – a process in which a teacher can tailor a practice to your changing needs, to your capabilities and to your motivations. Think “boutique” – in yoga it isn’t the paint on the walls or the wood on the floors – it’s the teacher and the teachings:… – Frequency of practice – if you think of Yoga as a life-practice – then everything you do in life is a practice. If you practice 70 hours a week being on the move and 1.5 hours a week being present – guess which quality will be dominant in your life? The more you practice AND the more effective the practice (quantity and quality!) – the more it will do for you. I think you will get much more out of 3×30 minute practice a week, or 6×15 minute practices a week (yes 15 minutes!!!). – Breathing – breathing is the only bodily function which is both autonomous (off-the-mat) and voluntary (on-the-mat) – it’s an amazing “bridging technology”. It is an artful (and little known) branch of Yoga with the greatest leverage. It sticks with you easily when you leave the mat (you breath all the time, you don’t often bend to touch your toes) – and you can do it anywhere:… – Lifestyle – small changes in lifestyle can go a long way – evolution (small incremental changes) is usually better then revolution (drastic cuts and changes).(5) Not doing Being present is a natural facility we all have. The body does it all the time (which is one reason why Yoga works it’s way through the body) – the cells in your body have no sense of past or future – they are present – and doing what they should be doing to the best of their ability. The mind can go wondering off with little regard to the body – it can recollect and imagine things that haven’t yet happened.We have a strong tendency of doing – we do too much to the point that we feel “being present” is a challenge … so we do some more. Sometimes the key is doing less… letting things settle:…(6) Yoga is probably already with youSuperficial spirituality has generated a false image of meditation – so much so that we dismiss and deprecate some meditative practices which we already have in our lives – naturally:

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for thisi may have to move to a “tailored practice”i used to do yoga that waybut i kind of like the community vibe of a class full of people

      1. iamronen

        I strongly recommend it 🙂 It’s the only way to bring deeper qualities of Yoga into your life.You don’t need to give up the community vibe. You can still go to group classes – and the classes will be even more effective – since you will (hopefully) be able, through the tools you acquire in one-on-one, to take-in/adjust the generic practices to better suit you.If you’d like I can try to inquire about good teachers for one-on-one (they are rare) in your area.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I didn’t see Jivamukti yoga anywhere. Jivamukti overall helped my practice a ton because of the adjustments that the teachers are trained to do. That little cm adjustment or just placing their hand on where you need to focus really helps you learn your body and become more self-aware.I also feel like adding that a style of yoga might not fit right away. Your body needs to get a bit used to it and then it might really be the style you need for your mind, but your body wasn’t there yet initially.

          1. iamronen

            My teachings originate from Desikachar & Krishnamacharya (what used to be called Viniyoga) tradition – where adjustments and personalization are at the heart of the practice. Asana and sequences are built around the needs of a practitioner. Some years ago Desikachar asked all of his students to stop using Viniyoga – because he realized it was developing into a brand and moving away from its essence.Jivamukti, to the best of my knowledge, is strongly associated with Pattabhi Jois and the Ashtanga lineage. Ashtanga is taught all over the world as fixed sequences – so the slight adjustments are more a “decoration”. It is, in my opinion, more useful and appropriate to say instead of “Jivamukti” – ashtanga (a very physical practice) with slight modifications to accomodate personal needs. “Jimakuti” is not an educational name – it is a brand – another one of the “31 flavors” of Yoga.I completly agree – you need to give a Yoga teacher a chance – it can take a month or two to adjust and adapt. I tried to pick and choose the links I included – and since Fred is not a beginner – I didn’t include this one which talks about that and other aspects of getting started:

          2. Tereza

            Believe it or not I know the answer to this question, plus more than you ever wanted to know.Back in the Paleolithic era, appr 1997-8, I lived downtown and was a frequent customer (? can you say that?) at Jivamukti Yoga Center. This is when it was in a shithole brownstone in the East Village (appr. 2nd ave and maybe 11th St?) and then moved to what was then viewed as a hoity-toity loft location on 4th and Lafayette above the Crunch. I think they’ve since moved to Union Square.The lore was that founder-owners David Life and Sharon Gannon started following Dharma Mittra, a Brazilian dude at 23rd and 3rd who had his own little place until he retired not long ago. David and Shannon took that to the next level and went off to Mysore to study under Shri K. Patthabi JoisSo indeed they did Ashtanga, and when they got back to NYC they founded their studio which was a rock-infused Ashtanga Lite. The more appropriate term is probably a “vigorous vinyasa”, which followed a certain structure but teachers could personalize or “flourish”. That included probably the first half of the Ashtanga Series A.It moves, you’d definitely sweat. They’d chant at the start and finish. Some teachers would get quite preachy during class. I avoided those classes, in part because when the teacher preaches (which is already annoying) and has trouble stringing full sentences together and makes no sense I get utterly distracted.They held “non-led” Ashtanga classes each 6am for a handful of badasses…which means you have to memorize the full 1:45 minute series.They held a teacher’s training course which they charged a lot of money for (mostly to out-of-work and highly attractive actors and dancers), while enforcing attendance at satsangs and I believe required veganism. If they went through the whole course they became “Jivamukti Certified”, which to my knowledge is all that means.They were the only yoga studio in NYC at the time that had a shower. For a long time I went mornings before work. I was the only person who did the early a.m. class then threw on a suit for a corporate job in Midtown. The looks I got, you have no idea.The preachiness was kinda annoying, but it was a great, well-balanced mind and body workout. Some people were pushed to injury.Eventually my joints felt worse, not better, I was staffed on an out- of-town job and moved out of the nabe with my boyfriend (now husband), to a yoga-free zone.Speaking of Yoga Zone, I have a friend who was a longtime teacher there and now is a ‘private yoga teacher to the stars’.He’s an NYU film school alum. He’s written a screenplay called “Down Dog!” about the kooky NY yoga scene. In it, an (uptight analytic Indian) hedge fund manager seeks enlightenment from his (slacker anglo) yoga teacher, learns the lessons of life, blah blah blah. Should be pretty funny.That’s more that most of you care to know. For the others seeking yet more unsubstantiated rumor, we’ll have to save that for a Meetup that involves beer.

          3. iamronen

            The more years I spend with Yoga the more I realize that it has no innate qualities. It is a rich and elaborate set of tools. It comes to life life and takes on qualities in a student-teacher relationship.You can practice something sold to you as “Yoga” and that looks like what you think “Yoga” is for many years without ever doing “Yoga”. It’s become a huge commodity. Yoga is much less glamorous & romantic then it is made out to be (otherwise it wouldn’t sell as well).The commoditzation of Yoga used to bother me – but I have come to appreciate that the “business of Yoga” is in a way an interface. It meets people where they are – and provides them a “yoga” they can handle. I am confident that some people will want and look for more (like I did) – and get past the initial superficial version (and in some cases their physical/emotional yoga-injuries) . That’s what it’s there for.As an anecdote – the name “Ashtanga” is taken from the Yoga Sutra – it means the 8 limbs of Yoga (sutra 2.29). The eight limbs are :1. Your attitude toward your environment.2. Your attitud toward yourself.3. Asana (physical practices)4. Pranayama (breathing practices)5. Pratyahara (quieting the mind)6. Dharana (focusing the mind)7. Dhyana (meditation)8. Integration (being present / clear perception / …)That’s a hefty system of which Asana is just one part. Yet the “Ashtanga” brand is built around physical practice. What about the rest? If you come to Yoga behaving like a prick and leave behaving like a prick – it doesn’t matter how far you can bend forward – so now you are a bendy prick – so what?Desikachar asked to stop using “Viniyoga” essentially because there is only one Yoga and he didn’t want “Viniyoga” to become another brand. All the different brands go against the spirit of Yoga – they create separations while Yoga aspires to create unification. The meaning of the word “Viniyoga” is yoga that is gradually (as in vinyasa) applied (tailored) to an individual.

  88. Bernard Slede

    Very interesting discussion!IMHO, yoga is not just mat exercise but something that you can practice as a “state of mind” anytime. It’s also about focus, mental – and not just physical – flexibility, exploring new things, wellness and the ability to better manage intense situations by remaining in a “balanced” mode.No need to look at the clock during yoga, the duration of the class will not change… If you look at the clock you are not yet fully committed to the “unplugging”. Stick with it!I am glad most people on this thread applaud unplugging on Father’s Day – why not wait until today to read and respond to the post then 🙂 ?

  89. Guest

    Thanks for sharing this Fred, hope you had a great fathers day.

  90. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    So true on yoga. I’ve been practicing now for a couple of years and I have to say it helped me get through a challenging time in my life personally…as you said marriage is harder than parenthood…need I say more. I often think we are not designed for marriage as our society currently defines it. I did a post about the challenges I was facing on my blog called About Pain. As a Type A multi-tasker I have a hard time concentrating but have found that Kundalini yoga and the few times I’ve tried Yoga Nidra do help calm me down even if for just an hour! My mind wanders constantly, but I think it made a very hard time transitional time in my life just a bit more manageable. I just wish I could do it more times per week…I’m lucky if I can get to a class once per week.I look forward to reading some of your future posts that might be under the influence of some yoga practice. 🙂

  91. Yule Heibel

    Happy anniversary (even if I’m a bit late!), and congratulations on getting back into yoga.I really like your post, and the comments are a delight to read, too. So many things I can relate to – particularly the questions (and responses in comments) around family, relationships, and, yep, sacrifices… 😉

    1. ShanaC

      Welcome Back Yule. We’ve missed you.

      1. Yule Heibel

        Awww… thanks, Shana… (I haven’t really gone away, just haven’t been commenting. Still keeping an eye on things, though! 😉 )

  92. Jeff Slobotski

    Great post Fred and thanks for sharing!A great reminder for me to focus on my wife of 10 years and our 3 boys…It’s often hard to focus on what’s import in our quest to change the entrepreneurial world, but at the end of the day, it’s all about our families.Thanks again and keep up the great work and inspiration!

  93. ryancoleman

    Great post Fred – interesting enough I’m at practically the same stage w/a 5 & 2.5 year old. When we first had our first son I was doing the long hours commute into the city and missing so much time with him. When an opportunity came up that allowed me to work from home, and doing something I loved even more it was a no brainer. Nothing can make up for the time spent with my little guys over the past few years.As for yoga – I know it’d be tough because of your busy schedule but what I found worked for me was doing an intense stretch of yoga. I did a 30-day challenge (a class every day for a month) – after about a week I finally found my mind got into the groove. My practice went from being a mental struggle like to a binary switch off and on for my thoughts. (Heck, halfway through my wife was bugging me because I’d gone from way too stressed right past normal and into way too mellow)Even now that I’ve slowed to only once or twice a week I’ve managed to retain the ability to switch off when in my class. Good luck with your practice!

  94. David Moffly

    Fred — you got this one right — a powerful observation for all of us.

  95. Mrinal

    Fred – I recently heard this 3:26 min podcast from my backlogged subscription of “This I Believe” .. you might like how it brings out the difference between doing (to which you refer as A type personalities) versus being:…Hope you enjoy it as much as I did ..

    1. fredwilson

      thanksi will check it out

  96. Jared Franklin

    The ability to always show up is underestimated.

  97. eoracleapps

    very Nice post , I guess spending time wth kids and family is very critical for stability of family as well as your life, I am trying hard to Manage Time between in and out of Family.But After doing that only time left with me to think of future is late nights(Early mornings or no sleep at all) …..not sure how you manage Yoga classess. Possibily you are on the Tip of maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I am some where in the Middle.Good to hear something like this from VC type guy.Keep it up.

  98. Linda

    Amazing post for a Type A personality — I applaud your commitment to your family.. that’s not always something one is present to early on in life when building a career. Good for you.

  99. Sandesh

    Hey Congrats fred …. Good to know you have stressed on the Point Being Present in the Blog ..I just realized more on present moment when i started reading more of Eckhart tolle Books .. like Power of Now .. Since the being present had been more like a Art ..have a look .. I started lately more to gooo