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Everything I learned in 2016 (and how it can help you in 2017)


If the calendar strikes January 1st and your favorite online publication doesn’t put out a year in review roundup article, did the year even happen?

Evidence would say it did not.

So, with that, here is PRSUIT’s very own year in review article! (*kinda)

What a year it has been. In 2016 we published close to 400 articles, gave over 200 new contributors a voice online, we interviewed over 80 talented individuals on our podcast The Hustle Sold Separately, we met new friends, gained over 100,000 followers on social media, had our articles shared over 120,000 times and had one of our most inspiring years yet. But, more than that… we learned a lot.

We learned that we have so much more to learn.

We learned that progressing personally and scaling a business means sucking it up and failing time and time again. We learned that there will always be someone out there who is better than you and that you can learn from. We learned that everyone wants to be better but few are actually willing to put in the work to get it done. We learned that people are awesome and have amazing stories to tell!

I can go on and on, but for the sake of keeping things simple and consumable, I have re-read almost every article I published this year and have pulled together what I think are my biggest takeaways from this year’s contributors and my own journey.

These are the 5 things I learned in 2016.

*this list is different from the typical new year, new you posts you’ve been reading. How so? It’s based on actual experiences. There are no gurus on PRSUIT nor will there ever be. We share the stories of anyone who wants to share them because they offer perspective. Perspective that inspires. I feel like that’s pretty important. Anyway… let’s go.

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1. It actually is all about you.

Whoa, that’s pretty selfish, Case.

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No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Yes, yes it absolutely is.

This past year, I learned from my own experiences and from PRSUIT’s amazing contributors that you need to stop considering everyone’s feelings or thoughts when designing your life.

The longer you hold onto what others think of you/ your decisions or how they might react, the longer you hold onto the past or the current state of your life – something you so desperately want to change or level up.

Take it from Dan Osterman who says that living in a van has made him the happiest he’s ever been. Here’s a guy who refused to play victim. Here’s a guy who was a high school All-American wrestler destined for greatness in athletics. Here’s a guy whose academics and future career were mapped out for him. But he decided to do something different. He’s now living in a van roughly 2,500 miles away from his family back in Michigan with a cat and an unshakable will to succeed. He made his decision with his own happiness and will to succeed in mind. He didn’t let the disappointment of friends or family echo in his head when he made this decision. He did it for himself.

Or maybe take it from Andrada Lorena who thinks you should break up with a friend. Her experiences serve to bluntly remind that you have officially compromised yourself, your happiness and above all, your growth if you stay in relationships with friends who do nothing to progress you forward.

Dan and Andrada’s stories serve to illustrate that sometimes you’ve gotta do what might seem selfish in order to progress yourself and your aspirations.

Personally, as my goals and aspirations got bigger in 2016, my circle got smaller. That is the reality of improvement. I made these decisions consciously and selfishly. While it pained me to do so at the time, it has allowed me to progress myself much quicker and has led me to connecting with the right people who also progress my vision.

2. No one cares

Ok, strap in for this one because I want to get something off my chest. I don’t mean any hate or disrespect with this and I think it will ultimately help those thinking about launching a passion project of their own.

In 2016 I spent a lot of time with and around a diverse array of creators, designers, entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. I have interacted with some of today’s most successful influencers and connected with amazing mentors and friends. Oh, and I am also living entrepreneurship myself. I’m not sitting in my high castle making commentary on something I am not actively doing. With that being said, I have realized that…

No one cares about your project! No one cares that you started a blog and now call yourself a CEO (seriously, though what are you CEO of?!). No one cares that you’re dropshipping products in your Shopify store from Amazon. No one cares that you have a startup idea that is going to change the digital landscape. No one cares that you interview the world’s most successful entrepreneurs on your weekly podcast. No one cares that you’re raising Series A funding for your app development company. No one cares that you worked 100 hours this week.

No one cares. That’s kinda bad news, eh?

Seriously though. No one cares. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now, to the good news.

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You can make people care. But you’re not going to be able to do that by doing the same thing that everyone is doing these days. You’re not going to get people to care by regurgitating the same old stuff and trying to sell it online. You’re not going to get people to care by being something or someone you’re not.

How do you get people to care? Authenticity.

Authenticity is badass!

Take it from Greg Nicholls who is an entrepreneur living at home with his parents. He runs a kickass podcast with his partner Bradley Morley which by itself isn’t anything earth shattering. BUT, these two are so authentic about what they’re building, it’s hard not to relate and root for them. They haven’t gone around town talking about how they’ve building a startup and are now CEO B*tch!. Greg lives at home with his parents and is building his future empire from his upstairs room while his mom makes meatloaf! (I’m assuming that’s the case). It doesn’t get more real and authentic than that.

Or take it from Justin Spaulding who went from clueless college graduate to $13MM in real estate in 4 years. Here’s a guy who lives his business. He manages over $13MM in real-estate but he himself is in his units, refurbishing bathrooms and landscaping the shrubbery (I saw that on NYE he was cleaning out storage units!). He is humble and never “too good” for a task. That authenticity speaks volumes and has enabled him to be successful in such a short period of time. He didn’t take to Instagram and post generic quotes about his success and how he has created a real-estate empire. Rather, he put in the work and $13MM later… continues to progress.

I recently sat down with the amazing Preston Smiles and Alexi Panos and what they said hit me hard and reinforces what I’ve learned:

“Everyone’s trying to get famous on social media or get big on social media and back when we started, we literally were just sharing our passion. We were sharing what we loved. We were sharing because we knew it helped people and we were just sharing what felt authentic and organic for us.”

That’s what it’s all about. If you can look at what you’re building and you can say the same, you’re on the right track.

The point I’m trying to make here is that no one cares about what you’re building… if all you do is talk. Its ok to tell the world about your passion for something and how you’re excited to be building it (heck, ya gotta be your biggest hype man sometimes!) BUT if that’s all you’re gonna do… then no one will care.

Talk the talk and walk the walk. Get out there and put your words into action…authentically.

Mic drop*.

3. Discipline is badass!

While I’m on the topic of authenticity… let’s chat about my second favorite topic… discipline.

Discipline. Not like your mom used to dish out when you were out after curfew. I’m talking discipline that defines your life and enables you to create a purpose-driven lifestyle.

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I’m talking about the type of discipline that enables Hung Pham to bounce back after 15 years of failure.

I’m talking about the type of discipline that drives Ty Mara to get up every morning to chase his dream of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

I’m talking about the type of discipline that empowers Charli Muchow to stay in-tune with her intuition and say no when things just don’t feel right.

Discipline. The stuff that makes or breaks you. Discipline isn’t only relevant in the athletic sense or only in the entrepreneurial ‘get out and grind’ sense. I’m talking about your soul’s discipline to live a complete life that is uniquely yours and in-tune with what feels right.

Self-discipline to stay true to what you want and what speaks to your soul is the most badass thing I can think of.

Personally, 2016 was a year of tremendous discipline for me. It was a year of staying dedicated to my vision for PRSUIT and my other ventures. It was also a year of staying committed to my full-time day job even when the urge to dive further into PRSUIT was greater than ever. It was a year where I learned that what enabled me to be successful was what made me… me. It was a year where discipline was at the forefront of my priorities and year where I learned that this was no simple task.

I learned that if you want to maintain discipline in your life, then you need to create intrinsic motivation to do so.

Everything I have read and published this year on PRSUIT has a common component of failure and the discipline to get back up. Whether our contributors were building a side-hustle, launching a startup, traveling the world, meditating more often or simply improving their fitness, discipline to stay true to their soul’s call has been at the center of what enables them to move forward and progress.

4. Perspective is everything

If there’s one thing that truly resonates with me from this year it’s that change is the inevitable result of a shift in perspective. I have learned that the biggest catalyst for change is YOU and the biggest impetus for that catalyst event to take place is perspective.

Take Bradley Callow who’s battle with drugs and alcohol almost led to his suicide. Or Mimi Zheng’s story of what happened to her when she ended up traveling alone in Italy.

Their entire life perspectives were altered as a result of events or series of events in their life. It profoundly impacted their worldview and let to some incredible alterations in the way they live and see their life.

Sounds pretty obvious – life events change your perspective on life.

Yes, true. But my takeaway from this simple observation has changed the way I live my life and will continue to impact the way I do so in 2017. It is something I have known for a while and I even wrote about it on PRSUIT’s about page:

My biggest fear in life is that of regret and the thought that I might someday look back and realize that I could have explored more, lived more and appreciate more.

Regret is simply a reflection of a lack of perspective. Regret that you’ll never know the feeling of traveling alone, starting that business, act silly in public, giving that speech, quitting your job and chasing your passion, saying something that’s been on your heart, etc. The list goes on and on. My point is this: if you cannot chase experiences and events in your life RIGHT NOW, the next best thing is to seek out perspectives of others that can inspire and challenge you.

It means turning off that sh*tty cable TV show and filing your soul with stories of substance.

It means filling your head and heart with things that progress you and provide vision in your life.

It means saying no to the norm and yes to new insights and perspectives.

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This past year, Sarah Mickulesku inspired me by sharing her how growing up below the poverty line taught her to think outside the box. This perspective inspired me to start doing daily gratitude journaling and makes me so much more thankful for what I have while I work hard for what I want.

Mariana Best reminded me that ‘what you do’ and ‘what you do for a living’ may be entirely different, and it is 100% okay to let the former define you. She reminded me that life as a post grad doesn’t have to be defined by expectations and labels.

Matt Kohn inspired me to appreciate the journey no matter what and his story of quitting his NYC job to move to Colombia reinvigorated my passion for life experiences.

Perspectives! Passive experiences that have altered my life views and are now manifesting themselves in my life as positive experiences that I am living out.

Get out that and find sh*t that matters to you! Seek out other people who have stories to tell and experiences to reflect on. You’d be surprised with the profound effect that simply absorbing and consuming other people’s perspectives on life, career, success, health, etc. can have on your life.

5. Your past DOES define you!

Wait… it isn’t the other way around?

Nah.

If there’s anything that 2016 has taught me, it’s that your past does define you! How could it not?! How could the tragedies, failures and disappointments of the past not mold you into the person you are today? They do.

And that is your power!

Your past is the past and it no longer controls you or weighs on you, but it has shaped you into the person you are today and it has made you stronger. It has, right? Despite what you think, it has. I have learned this first hand from this year’s contributors.

Ramon Berrios failed over and over again because of his ADHD. But it made him realize how truly gifted he is and he has now fully embraced this skills.

Cam Adair came back after contemplating suicide and beating depression to realize how he could become happy, confident and fulfilled by going all in on his dream of inspiring others.

Austin Gunter came back from a brutal breakup to realize how beautiful life really can be.

Point is… the past can be painful, cringe-worthy and filled with regret. But that has proven to be the best asset you can carry into the future.


I’d love to hear what your biggest takeaways from 2016 were. Email us editor@prsuit.com!

in your inbox everyday at 10am CST.

No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Written by Case Kenny

Case is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PRSUIT.com; Reach him at case@prsuit.com