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A Day in the Life. Episode 4: GrantTree’s Co-Founder, Pow

Episode four in our ‘A Day in the Life’ series comes from serial entrepreneur, investor and all-round maverick – not to mention GrantTree’s founder – Paulina Tenner. Paulina – or as she’s better known, ‘Pow!’ – spent the day working from home. No, not her flat in London; her family home in Kraków, Poland.

April 18th

I’m writing this from the outskirts of Kraków, Poland (stunning place, come visit!). I came to see my family for the Easter weekend and to work remotely – from my teenage bedroom! – for a couple of days before and after.

 

My office for the morning
My office for the morning

My family home feels very different than my London flat. So much greenery and peace. I can actually hear the birds chirping outside my window. I start the day working from bed, propped up with lots of pillows, my laptop and phone at the ready.

I love it when my body is super relaxed when I work, everything flows so much more easily. You will usually find me lounging around while I’m working. Our giant sofa, or one of our beanbags, are the places I usually inhabit while in the office. Quite often I share the office sofa with Hatch, a dog who often visits the office, and we fight for cushions and blankets (he’s also a rather comfortable fella). He can have all of them to himself today, though, as my teenage bedroom of my parents’ house is my queendom for the day.

A phrase comes to mind I used to refer to to spook people in the early days of GrantTree: “I work from bed and I’m awesome at what I do.”

I wake up at 7:30am, and sunshine is already flooding the room. I start the day with meditation while listening to an otherworldly soundscape by Tom Kenyon. Sometimes I think I want to be him when I grow up. He’s a fascinating combination of left brain qualities (he’s a transpersonal therapist and a neuroscientist also, I think) with a strong connection to the Unknown. What a guy.

Meditation helps me come into my centre and sometimes also feel into the priorities of the day – there’s quite a lot of things I could be doing. And even more to distract me! One thing I’d like to do today (if nothing else) is to reach out to at least three of my contacts and ask them to participate in HumiliTea video series. More on this later.

Next, I get on Slack to check instructions for this post with my colleague in marketing. I love free styling, sometimes too much. Almost no notifications today, brilliant. It gives me even more freedom to surf the wave of my own agenda and what feels right to do today.

It’s now 9am and I go to see a mentor that I see every time I’m in Poland (which is a few times a year). I nearly have a head on crash in a little residential street where my parents live before I remember to switch to right sided traffic.

 

On the way to see my mentor
On the way to see my mentor

Jacek and I never talk about the business. We talk about me, the world and what’s it like to be a human. He tells me that in the past disciples of enlightened masters weren’t taught any of the high arts to do with energy management before they achieved a level of groundedness in values such as generosity, gratitude, kindness, integrity, resilience. Otherwise it’s easy to smoke a joint and get on cloud number 9 but never actually do anything good and impactful in the world. I choose to remember this.

On the Chinese medicine side of things (he’s also a practitioner) he challenges me to eat some lamb this Easter in order to “rebuild my essence” or help ground my inner fire. I hesitate, as I haven’t eaten meat in maybe three or four years. Let’s see what the holidays bring.

It’s 11am I know I need to dive head first into my inbox at some point today but I resist for now. The emails are likely to introduce a lot of other agendas into my day, and I don’t want that yet. I’m feeling creative and empowered so I’ll write a little section of “CUNT in the Workplace”, my first book, due later this year, talking about feminine and masculine forces in business, and how to balance them.

Next, I take a quick break over lunch to help my mum take down curtains in the house so we can clean them. It’s Easter and we must have sparkly curtains like all decent Polish folk ;).

After lunch I join a quick online governance meeting of our board circle (if you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, check out GrantTree’s previous posts on holacracy). We pass a couple of proposals and elect a new secretary. Over and out in about 25 min. I love quick and efficient meetings. Afterwards, I take a deep dive into my inbox (mostly spam as it turns out) and a few Slack catch-ups with people who may need support, or are waiting on me to do something.

 

Back to work!
Back to work!

It’s 2pm, time to look at an Open Culture Interview transcript my colleague evaluated as a pass. We already progressed the candidate to the next stage (and I personally think he’s great so I hope we’ll end up working together).

Still, my colleague has a better knowledge of the academic framework we use to evaluate people’s ability to navigate the complexities of our workplace, and the practical application of the framework, so I decided to take a look at her comments as I’m pretty sure I’ll learn something new.

I feel a sudden wave of sadness. It’s not related to work, but I decide to connect with it. I put on some music, I cry a little, I look within. I pull a Goddess card. Out of this time with myself a fresh surge of courage and motivation emerges to do some of the things I wanted to do today.

It’s just after 3pm, and I reach out to three awesome female founders inviting them to be part of HumiliTea video series (drinking tea and chatting about the dark side of entrepreneurship), filming to start in May. I don’t scan my network frantically as I thought I would need to, and therefore postponed this task for a few days. I drop within and suddenly I know who I should be talking to. Let’s see what the Universe provides in response :).

After, I’m back in flow and that short snappy bio I was supposed to write for the home page of my personal website (but got stuck), just comes out in a matter of minutes. I love it when this happens.

My 4pm is cancelled. My colleague Max is too busy for our regular 1-2-1 meeting today, which gives me time for some food and rest. At 4:30 I have a phone chat with a fellow entrepreneur (she owns a comms agency). There are a few things to discuss as I’m an investor in her company but also her client for personal branding.

It’s now 5:30 and the day is done. There was a meeting I was quite keen to join remotely happening at 5 UK time and 6 Polish time, but I choose to spend time with my family instead. This wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago because I had less of a perspective on what matters to me. Given I see them only a few times a year, I’m glad I can now make this choice.

As you’ve no doubt figured out my working style is that of work-life blend. There’s almost no difference between them to me these days. Of course, I don’t love everything that I do (I never really trust those who can say it with a straight face) but I find ways to make most things enjoyable and take them lightly enough because that’s when I’m at my best.

I hope that by finding a style of working that suits my body and my energy, along with possibly millions of other people, I help establish a new, better future of work. Not just for my colleagues at GrantTree, but for companies and employees across the world.  

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