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    The 8 Things I do Before 8 A.M. (and think you should too)

    Life is busy. It can feel impossible to move toward your dreams. If you have a full-time job and kids, it’s even harder.

    How do you move forward?

    If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve — without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered — wondering where all that time went.

    As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

    Rethinking Your Life and Getting Out of Survival Mode

    This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. The purpose is to help you simplify and get back to the fundamentals.

    Sadly, most people’s lives are filled to the brim with the nonessential and trivial. They don’t have time to build toward anything meaningful.

    They are in survival mode. Are you in survival mode?

    Like Bilbo, most of us are like butter scraped over too much bread. Unfortunately, the bread is not even our own, but someone else’s. Very few have taken the time to take their lives into their own hands.

    It was social and cultural to live our lives on other people’s terms just one generation ago. And many millennials are perpetuating this process simply because it’s the only worldview we’ve been taught.

    However, there is a growing collective-consciousness that with a lot of work and intention — you can live every moment of your life on your own terms.

    You are the designer of your destiny.

    You are responsible.

    You get to decide. You must decide — because if you don’t, someone else will.Indecision is a bad decision.

    With this short morning routine, your life will quickly change.

    It may seem like a long list. But in short, it’s really quite simple:

    • Wake up
    • Get in the zone
    • Get moving
    • Put the right food in your body
    • Get ready
    • Get inspired
    • Get perspective
    • Do something to move you forward

    Let’s begin:

    1. Get A Healthy 7+ Hours of Sleep

    Let’s face it — Sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.

    The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. Not only that, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

    In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

    On the flipside, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

    • Increased memory
    • Longer life
    • Decreased inflammation
    • Increased creativity
    • Increased attention and focus
    • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
    • Lower stress
    • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
    • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
    • Decreased risk of depression
    • And tons more… google it.

    The rest of this blog post is worthless if you don’t make sleep a priority. Who cares if you wake up at 5 o’clock A.M. if you went to bed three hours earlier?

    You won’t last long.

    You may use stimulants to compensate, but that isn’t sustainable. In the long-run, your health will fall apart. The goal needs to be long-term sustainability.

    2. Prayer and Meditation to Facilitate Clarity and Abundance

    After waking from a healthy and restful sleep session, prayer and meditation are crucial for orienting yourself toward the positive. What you focus on expands.

    Prayer and meditation facilitate intense gratitude for all that you have. Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

    People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious.

    Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues.

    If you start every morning putting yourself in a space of gratitude and clarity, you will attract the best the world has to offer, and not get distracted.

    3. Hard Physical Activity

    Despite endless evidence of the need for exercise, only one-third of American men and women between the ages of 25 to 64 years engage in regular physical activity according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.

    If you want to be among the healthy, happy, and productive people in the world, get in the habit of regular exercise. Many people go immediately to the gym to get their body moving. I have lately found that doing yard work in the wee hours of the morning generates an intense inflow of inspiration and clarity.

    Whatever your preference, get your body moving.

    Exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress. It is also related to higher success in your career.

    If you don’t care about your body, every other aspect of your life will suffer. Humans are holistic beings.

    4. Consume 30 Grams of Protein

    Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.

    According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.

    Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.

    Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.

    Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:

    • Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
    • Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
    • If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
    • Or, you could always do a protein shake with water

    For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.

    5. Take A Cold Shower

    Tony Robbins starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.

    Why would he do such a thing?

    Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.

    A 2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effectively than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.

    There is of course, an initial fear of stepping into a cold shower. Without a doubt, if you’ve tried this before, you have found yourself standing outside the shower dreading the thought of going in.

    You may have even talked yourself out of it and said, “Maybe tomorrow.” And turned the hot water handle before getting in.

    Or, maybe you jumped in but quickly turned the hot water on?

    What has helped me is thinking about it like a swimming pool. It’s a slow painful death to get into a cold pool slowly. You just need to jump in. After 20 seconds, you’re fine.

    It’s the same way with taking a cold shower. You get in, you heart starts beating like crazy. Then, after like 20 seconds, you feel fine.

    To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.

    Plus, it’s healthy to do something in the morning that kind of freaks you out! Get’s you feeling alive and sets the tone for living outside your comfort zone!

    6. Listen to/Read Uplifting Content

    Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

    I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus.

    Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

    Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

    7. Review Your Life Vision

    Your goals should be written down — short term and long term. Taking just a few minutes to read your life vision puts your day into perspective.

    If you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest.

    Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it. If you follow a simple pattern, you can accomplish all of your goals, no matter how big they are.

    A fundamental aspect of that is writing them down and reviewing them every single day.

    8. Do At Least One Thing Towards Long-Term Goals

    Willpower is like a muscle that depletes when it is exercised. Similarly, our ability to make high quality decisions becomes fatigued over time. The more decisions you make, the lower quality they become — the weaker your willpower.

    Consequently, you need to do the hard stuff first thing in the morning. The important stuff.

    If you don’t, it simply will not get done. By the end of your day, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll be fried. There will be a million reasons to just start tomorrow. And you will start tomorrow — which is never.

    So your mantra becomes: The worst comes first. Do that thing you’ve been needing to do. Then do it again tomorrow.

    If you take just one step toward you big goals every day, you’ll realize those goals weren’t really far away.


    After you’ve done this, no matter what you have for the rest of your day, you’ll have done the important stuff first. You’ll have put yourself in a place to succeed. You’ll have inched toward your dreams.

    Because you’ll have done all these things, you’ll show up better in life. You’ll be better at your job. You’ll be better in your relationships. You’ll be happier. You’ll be more confident. You’ll be more bold and daring. You’ll have more clarity and vision.

    Your life will shortly change.

    You can’t have mornings like this consistently without waking up to all that is incongruent in your life. Those things you despise will meet their demise. They’ll disappear and never return.

    You’ll quickly find you’re doing the work you’re passionate about.

    Your relationships will be passionate, meaningful, deep, and fun!

    You will have freedom and abundance.

    The world, and the universe, will respond to you in beautiful ways.

    Connect Deeper

    If you resonated with this article, please sign up for my free newsletter. You will get a free copy of my eBook Slipstream Time Hacking. Thank you for reading! Have a beautiful day.

    Photo credit: Unsplash

    This article also appears on benjaminhardy.com and is published here with the permission of the author

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    18 of the most ridiculous startup ideas that eventually became successful

    man holding phone to his ear

    The best startups seem obvious only in retrospect. By the time most of us found about them, they had already reached a critical mass of users. We never had to ask the question “will this work?” since we already saw it working.

    It is possible to create a “good” startup with a “good” idea, but “great” startups are often the result of ideas that would have seemed ridiculous if you had heard them prior to seeing them working. This is true almost by definition – if they had been so obvious, lots of companies would have already been doing them.

    Ask yourself, if you were a venture capitalist pitched one of these ideas, what would your reaction have been?

    These 18 ideas prove that no idea is incapable of becoming a success.

    1. Facebook – the world needs yet another social network a la Myspace or Friendster except several years late. We’ll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then follow since Harvard students are so cool.

    2. Dropbox – we built a file sharing and syncing solution in a market has a dozen of them built by big companies like Microsoft. It only has one feature, and you have to move all of your content to use it.

    3. Amazon – we’ll sell books online, even though users are still scared to use credit cards on the web. Their shipping costs will eat up any money they save. They’ll do it for the convenience, even though they have to wait a week for the book.

    4. Virgin Atlantic – airlines are fun, so we are starting one. How hard could it be? We’ll differentiate with a funny safety video and by not being a**holes.

    5. Mint – give us all of your bank, brokerage, and credit card information. We’ll store them on the web and give you the data back but with nicer fonts. To make you feel richer, we’ll make it all green.

    6. Palantir – we’ll build arcane analytics software, put the company in California, hire a bunch of new college grads, many of them immigrants, hire no sales reps, and close giant deals with D.C.-based defense and intelligence agencies.

    7. Craigslist – it will be ugly. It will be free. Except for the scammers and hookers.

    8. iOS – we are shipping a brand new operating system that doesn’t run a single one of the millions of applications that have already been developed for Mac OS, Windows, or Linux. Apple has to approve all of the apps, and it won’t have cut and paste to start with.

    9. Google – we are building the world’s 20th search engine at a time when most of the others have been abandoned as being commoditized money losers. We’ll strip out all of the ad-supported news and portal features so you won’t be distracted from using the free search stuff.

    10. Github – software engineers will pay monthly fees for the rest of their lives in order to create free software out of other free software!

    11. PayPal – people will use their insecure AOL and Yahoo email addresses to pay each other real money, backed by a non-bank with a cute name run by 20-somethings.

    12. Paperless Post – we are like Evite, except you pay us. All of your friends will know that you are an idiot the minute your faux-parchment digital envelope hits their inbox.

    13. Instagram – who needs Facebook? We got filters! That’s right, filters!

    14. LinkedIn – how about a professional social network, aimed at busy 30- and 40-somethings. They will use it once every 5 years when they go job searching.

    15. Tesla – instead of just building batteries and selling them to Detroit, we are going to build our own cars from scratch plus own the distribution network. We’ll start the company during a recession and the crashing of the clean tech industry.

    16. SpaceX – if NASA can do it, so can we! It ain’t rocket science. Oh, it is.

    17. Firefox – we are going to build a better web browser, even though 90 percent of the world’s computers already have a free one built in. It’s based on a product that a single college student built.

    18. Twitter – it is like email, SMS, or RSS. Except it only has 140 characters, doesn’t support images, can’t be made private, and will be used mostly by geeks at first, followed by Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen.

    This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. It appears here as part of our partnership with Quora. 

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    5 ways to successfully turn passion into a business

    turn passion into business - girl on laptop

    The other day, I launched a new business dedicated to creating artwork for folks who appreciate motivational thoughts combined with cool, stylized images. It’s called NVRMIND and it’s dedicated to two things that I love – dope artwork and inspirational experiences.

    This new business is the result of something I’ve learned over the past 5 years of running my own businesses and excelling in my career.

    turn passion into business - NVRMIND

    It’s easier than ever to monetize your passion.

    When it comes to taking your passion for something and turning it into a business, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

    Monetizing your passion is as simple as this: taking what you love and putting it into a bucket that can be sold. Certainly, it’s not a cut and dry way of thinking but it makes monetizing your passion a much more viable thing to do when you think of it that way.

    Gary V said it the other day, but the simplest way to think about it this.

    Go where the money is.

    People love to talk about passion but you need to think of passion in terms of buckets you can sell. You have to synthesize what you love into a bucket that is a business. Passion is great, but unless you put it into a product, it’s just a passion (which is fine… but not if you want to make it what you do for a living).

    If you enjoy nightlife or going out, start a club or start a high end vodka business that sells in nightlife or start an app that lets you cut the line at the club. Start whatever it is that has been a proven market that can encompass your passion area.

    I’ve learned SO MUCH over the past couple of years – from starting this publication, to co-hosting a Forbes top 7 podcast, to launching digital e-products, creating a clothing and apparel brand and now today to NVRMIND.

    With this brand I took my passion and interest in creating unique, artistic and inspirational canvasses, respect for influencers and artists like Mr. Flawless and Alec Monopoly and a desire to extend what I’m doing here on PRSUIT. The result? A business that is already profitable and growing. It’s not proven by any means, but it has proven to me that I can (and anyone can) take a passion and turn it into cold hard cash.

    Here are 5 ways to monetize your passion.

    turn passion into business - laptop setup

    1. Use the internet!

    Crazy thought… you can learn anything you want at anytime!


    The internet allows you to do that.

    And guess what? Chances are that someone has done or is doing something similar to what you want to do.

    You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you have the entirety of the internet at your disposal!

    Sites like Reddit, Quora and larger sites like Entrepreneur (and PRSUIT!) are treasure troves of information from and for young entrepreneurs, artists and creators.

    If you’re looking for motivation or inspiration, start with the easiest asset you have – your computer or phone. Start researching and I’m sure you’ll find something that’ll inspire you to take next steps.

    2. Start small

    The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not get ahead of yourself. Want to launch a clothing line? Don’t order 1,000 shirts, buy a domain, office space and a team!

    Start small! Take your passion idea and examine existing buckets that have proven to be successful. Then, make your idea fit into those existing buckets and go from there. Again, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to create the next great app or consumer product! You just have to make an existing product better, or introduce a new spin in a stagnate market.

    For NVRMIND, the viability of quotes has been proven time and time again. My passion for creative art pieces and stylized photography was the wild card. Time to test that addition.

    3. Test the market

    The internet has made testing an idea so frickin’ easy! Literally. And the easiest way to test the market is through Facebook!

    Facebook ads give you almost unlimited ability to test different audiences – something totally unprecedented in history and previously unapproachable for the average Joe.

    Take $5/day to start and see how your targeted audience reacts to your new product. Do they visit your site? Do they buy your product? What are they saying? The feedback can be almost immediate and in the matter of weeks, you can quickly see if your idea in its current form needs to be tweaked or if it’s time to start getting serious at promoting.

    4. Focus on what you’re good at.

    Once you’ve proven viability, it’s time to run a business. While it might not be a 6 or 7 figure business just yet, you should run it like it is. The best advice I can give is to focus on what you’re good at, learn skills that make you better at it and then outsource the rest.

    For NVRMIND, I am good at marketing and business operations. I am not a designer or artist. For that task, I hired outside talent and now provide creative direction to him. This frees me up to focus on what I’m good at and enjoy the process rather than trying to learn every skill.

    Outsourcing is a life saver!

    5. Scale! Or don’t…

    Here’s the thing about building a business around a passion… it’s not guaranteed to succeed… and that’s OK. In fact, it should be expected that way.

    The skills, insights and experience you garner from launching a business around your passion are invaluable and while it’s not always fun to check your pride and admit that it’s just not capable of being a scalable business or that you’re not quite ready to run a business, it’s an experience that few have.

    So, I encourage you to examine what you love, find an bucket to place it and then test small, dream big and execute. There’s no excuse to not act in this day and age!

    If I can ever be of any help with your idea, please email me! case@prsuit.com

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    The 30 seconds and one sentence that changed my life

    one sentence can change your life - woman with tattoo

    I have always been a super self-conscious, shy person who constantly dwelled on the judgments that other people were mentally making about me.

    I was always absolutely convinced that everyone who met me, or just saw me on the street, saw ugly poor white trash and it would always be that way. I walked with my head down, avoiding eye contact and saying as little as possible.

    This all changed one weekend where I realized that…

    I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

    Here’s how.

    In 2001 I took a weekend adult education/self-improvement course called More to Life. I had been advised ahead of time to raise my hand every time the trainer asked for volunteers. I was terrified but I had committed to doing it, so I did.

    The course started on Friday night and the first time the trainer asked for a volunteer it was to answer the question, “What does your mind tell you about yourself that you’ve never said out loud?”

    Oh f*ck.

    I raised my hand, though not very high. I didn’t look her in the eye and made myself as small as possible in my chair.

    one sentence can change your life - woman in crowd

    So of course I was called on.

    I had to stand up in a room of about 45 people and say that my mind constantly told me that “I am hideous, and horrible, and nobody could ever love me.”

    I will never forget saying those words. I started crying halfway through.

    I am an ugly crier.

    The trainer looked at me silently for a full minute. I could feel the eyes of the other people in the room. I studied my shoes and wanted to disappear.

    Then the trainer said, “Look at this beautiful young lady. SHE truly believes that she is hideous and horrible and nobody will ever love her. This is a perfect example of what blatant lies we tell ourselves every minute of every day.”

    She said it as though it was so obviously false, suddenly it seemed ridiculous to me. There were murmurs from the other trainees in the room, and a couple of people reached out to touch my hand or pat my shoulder.

    I have never forgotten that moment.

    This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. It appears here as part of our partnership with Quora. 

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    This aspect of your 9 to 5 is key to achieving success

    Hint: It has nothing to do with 9am to 5pm.

    What do you do with your free time Monday through Friday?

    Assuming that the average corporately-employed person finishes his/her day job around 6 pm and goes to sleep around 11 pm, there are 5 hours each day where rigid responsibilities suddenly take a nose dive and you find yourself with more choices than you normally do.

    Ask yourself, are you taking advantage of this time? How do you spend these hours?


    Now, let me ask you this. Do you find yourself complaining a lot? Complaining about work? About life? About how it’s not fair that so-and-so is x and you are not, etc.?

    I hate to break it to you, but if you said yes, that is utter bullsh*t.

    Now, I understand that one’s weekdays vary drastically by life stage and other responsibilities, but for myself and my millennial peers, those post-work hours are ripe with life-altering opportunity.

    What you do in the hours after work fundamentally determines the direction of your future. There’s no way around it.

    While your career is largely confined to traditional work hours and the effort you put forth within that context, achieving your life’s larger success is not determined during that time. It is not dependent on office politics, randomness, luck, red tape or any other elements of day jobs.

    It is 100% on you.

    Ask yourself. Who do you work for? Your boss or yourself?

    You work for you!

    You have to groom yourself on your own time. You can’t hope that what you do at work will mold you into the person you want to become and create the success you want to experience.

    If you want to change, if you want to progress, you have to start achieving tonight.

    I know first-hand how tempting it is to completely switch off your brain when you leave work. You are physically, mentally and sometimes emotionally tired, I get it.  That is the fastest route to average.

    You can do that OR you can decide to commit to being better. You can decide to be smarter, more committed and more creative.


    The next question I get a lot is:

    Where do I start? What should I be doing during these hours to progress my life?

    In my experience, it all boils down to creativity.  Ask yourself, what gets your creative juices flowing?

    I am a firm believer that everyone needs a creative outlet and that if you embark on a creative journey (no matter how big or small), this opens up your ability to hone in on your passion and identify opportunities to bring them to life in ways that are fulfilling, exciting and financially profitable.

    But I’m just not creative!

    Yes you are!

    You’re in your head too much. Being creative doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel – it means taking something and making it your own. You’re the only one standing in your way and oftentimes your day job reinforces a line of thinking that there are right and wrong ways to do things, ya know, by the book. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive.

    When you leave your day job, that part of your life is over. Go home and re-enage your brain for a new purpose.  

    So, how do I find a creative outlet?

    Simple.  Learn something new.

    My story is a story of embracing creativity by learning something new.

    My first two year in the corporate world mirror those of the majority of my peers. Work 9-6, gym, dinner, TV, sleep, REPEAT. Monday through Friday.

    At the same time, I lamented my inability to find my passion and was frustrated by the comparison I made in my head to others who had and were thriving as a result.

    Something clicked about two years in and I was no longer satisfied with watching TV, “hanging out,” drinks after work, etc. I dove headfirst into areas that I had always wondered about but never got around to learning.


    Just be creative, dude.

    I began to study web development. In the beginning it was just me doing cool sh*t, designing sites as a creative outlet. It was a sense of catharsis and a fun creative journey.

    As I learned more, I began combining this creative outlet with other areas of life. I started to write and curate cool articles that I enjoyed as a means to bring them together on one site.

    From there, I started applying skills I learned at work – online marketing, analytics, data application, etc. It all started to come together.

    Fast forward two more years and I run a media company housing several sub-brands, podcasts, blogs, and other online companies.

    See what happened? By learning something new, being creative and applying skillsets and other interest areas, I found a passion area of mine that has not only taken me on a fun journey but is also financially profitable.

    That won’t necessarily happen to everyone but the lesson is clear to me.

    Find a creative outlet and let it guide you until it leads you to the next journey. Don’t think too hard about it. Don’t try to connect a creative outlet with a potential passion area that is going to make you loads of money. Find something that interests you and allows you to be creative and just let it start there.

    It all starts with learning and building something new. Explore areas that you aren’t familiar with.

    Build a blog. Start a podcast. Learn to draw. Learn music. It doesn’t matter!

    Choose something, be creative, chase it and start achieving.

    Photo credit: flickr, flickr

  • ,

    Why you should follow your curiosity instead of planning your life

    follow your curiosity - woman thinking

    “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is probably one of the most common and anticipated questions asked during a job interview. I’ve learned that this is a silly question.

    I’ve learned that random curiosity can lead you in exciting directions that a “plan” would not.

    Let’s go way waaaay back to when you were asked by your grade school teacher what you want to be when you grow up. We’ve all been told to think about what we want to become and to then work our asses of to be that person. We were asked to pick one dream and spend years, if not decades visualizing and fantasizing about finally having that title and success.

    So as we grow up, we focus on that dream and start creating plans as to how we want our lives to go. To be honest with you, I used to have that five-year-plan but found myself ditching it, tearing it in half, and shoving it in the nearby garbage.

    Okay maybe not that last part. But don’t get me wrong I’m all for planning and preparing for our lives. I don’t want you to go jumping off dangerous cliffs yelling YOLO! after reading this article. Instead…

    I want you to say to yourself… I feel curious.. and then chase that!

    Let me share with you my story and why I don’t believe in religiously adhering to an XX number of years plan.

    When I was young my mother told me that we are all born superstars. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew then that she wanted me to become a nurse, so that’s what I said.

    Years later I woke up with a bachelor’s degree and a professional license and realized that this was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. My whole being was craving something else and I had a strong feeling that a different world was waiting for me. So left my white uniform for business attire and heels. I worked in the corporate world for two years.

    But then the magical alarm clock in my head went off again ringing, “I want to try something else that will challenge me more”.

    So off I went to where one eats challenges for breakfast – grad school.

    I studied Clinical Psychology for three years while still keeping my day job. Again, I found myself realizing that half of the reason I was there was because “getting a Masters degree” was part of my five-year-plan. I loved learning but more and more I felt empty, so I decided to take a break and teach in school.

    But one semester of teaching teens turned out to be one of the most stressful times of my life. But despite that, my passion for teaching did not die. I became a Learning and Development trainer, while doing writing and speaking engagements on the side.

    One of my favorite curiosity quotes says that you should replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.

    I firmly believe this and my life so far has been a result of chasing my own curiosity.

    My path has been a frustrating one with many twists and turns completely trashing my map a.k.a. my five-year-plan but I have learned the difference between knowing want you want to be vs. knowing who you are. Over time, your wants and interests will change. You may find yourself not wanting the same goal you had 2 years ago, and that’s okay! Don’t feel like a loser because you stopped pursuing a goal. Just make sure that you did it for the right reasons; because it’s no longer fulfilling your desires; because it’s not aligned with your discovered passions; because it’s not who you are anymore. It’s not failing, it’s “strategic quitting”.

    People may say I don’t have direction but with the experience I had, I gained three C’s:

    follow your curiosity - woman sitting on steps

    1. Confidence

    There is a certain empowerment brought about by taking risks and leaving your comfort zone.

    The leaps I took from one profession to another despite having absolutely no background in the new one I’d be trying made me feel brave. As one of my greatest poetic influences said, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”. You know this guy called Eminem. Ignore the odds; if you don’t take risks, the odds will never be in your favor. (Insert Mockingjay tune)

    2. Creativity

    I used to feel like a fraud in my previous jobs because of my lack of educational background in those fields but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Through my experiences, I was able to use my learnings to be innovative and create something new.  Most importantly, I discovered who I was. I weaved together what seemed like a tangled mess into a patchwork of amazing moments. Everything that I am today has an element of my past. Being a nurse taught me to how to care for people at their weakest moments. Being a psychology student taught me to understand people during their darkest struggles. Being a teacher taught me to have patience and lead the youth through their formative years. Being a trainer taught me that learning is a personal and eternal commitment. Being a writer taught me to have the courage to express and share my ideas to others.

    And I am just as excited as to what my next adventure is going to teach me.

    3. Connections

    My last and greatest takeaway is the personal connections I have built with the wonderful and talented people I’ve met along the way.

    I believe that a great part of learning and growing is through people who share their ideas, visions and perspectives with you – people you will briefly encounter, people you will learn from and people whom you will establish meaningful relationships with. I used to call them my classmates, students, mentors, trainees, org co-members, teammates, and colleagues. Now I just call them my friends. And those connections are something that will stay with me no matter where I go.

    There are occasions I’d still hear the magical internal alarm clock ringing, but I am not afraid of it anymore. It simply means I discovered something new about myself again. Its impact in my plans and in my life would still depend on me. If I stuck with the plans I made for myself five years ago, I wouldn’t be here writing this article. Time estimates are just that…estimates. Trust the timing of your life and trust your decisions.

    Trust that screaming gut feeling.

    In designing your future there is no final draft. Keep on revising your life to match who and where you are. That way, you create your reality. There is beauty in uncertainty. Everything that is supposed to happen in your life will, whether you expected it or not. As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only do so looking backward”.

  • ,

    10 things you should know that will make you quit your job this year

    quit your job - skateboarder

    I wrote this article a year after I quit my job. Each of the 10 things I highlighted that I had learned since quitting have the power to reassure you about life after quitting.

    However, all this being said, this is still your decision and nothing and no one should “make you” quit your job, this year or any other year! That’s an important decision that you need to make based on your personal values and goals, where you are now and where you want to get to.

    10 things I’ve learned since quitting my job.

    In September 2013 I walked out of my office and into the unknown. I had resigned from my job, the first after my studies, with no concrete plans as to what I would be doing next. I emptied my apartment of seven years, put my boxes into storage, and moved into my parents’ guest room as I thought about my next move.

    My intention since the start had been to create a more independent and flexible lifestyle. I wanted to continue to work in digital marketing, where I had both the knowledge and the passion from my previous role, to pursue my more creative side by taking my writing more seriously, and, of course, to combine all this with the opportunity to travel and to spend time with friends and family.

    quit your job - woman on bench

    So far, so good! This time last year, I officially incorporated my own consulting business and I’ve been busy on great projects ever since, working with big-name clients, making new connections, and sharpening my skill set. I finished my MatadorU travel writing course and I’ve been maintaining a regular post schedule and a growing reader base on my blog, as well as contributing guest posts to other websites. And I’ve continued my travels with weekend breaks in Europe as well as a longer trip to New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

    So what have I learned, one year on?

    1. Life on the other side is not as scary as you think.

    As I looked out at the world from the comfort of a steady job, the fear of leaving that security behind was almost paralyzing. Once I had made the decision to quit and my perspective shifted to one of zero salary, 100% possibilities, that fear all but disappeared.

    I felt empowered and excited by my ability to make things happen, and I armed myself with information by reading books about freelancing and consulting, talking to people who had set up their own businesses, going to events where I met like-minded people, etc. I also realized that the security I had felt in my previous job was an illusion: people get fired, departments are restructured, companies fold. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a job that makes you unhappy.

    2. You have to stick to your guns.

    I thought I’d made The Big Decision once and for all but I’ve had to keep questioning myself. The call of the corporate world is loud and alluring: recruiters call with tempting job titles, my parents worry about my pension, clients want full-time support.

    Each time, I have to reaffirm my decision to leave that world behind, and each time, I come out that bit stronger and more determined to stick with my new way of life. I’ve always looked to other people for reassurance and confirmation that I’m making the right decision, but I know now that I’m the only one who knows what’s right for me. So once you’ve made that decision, run with it, trust your instincts, and don’t look back.

    3. There are more options than you ever thought possible.

    In my previous job, I was surrounded by people with the same academic background and the same ambitions of salary increases and promotions. We were all comfortable within that world and unsure of what lay beyond.

    As soon as I had left, though, I encountered people with diverse backgrounds, with much broader ambitions, and with altogether different priorities. Traveling in particular allows you to meet people with all kinds of plans, and lack of plans, and this is both reassuring and inspiring. Open your eyes, and your heart, to the different ways of life that are out there and you may be surprised at the possibilities that are open to you.

    4. You can easily live on less money than you think.

    With a monthly salary flowing into my bank account, I was buying clothes I didn’t need, taking taxis, and going out with no thought of the future. Being ‘unemployed’, I became more prudent: I bought less lattes, I walked more, I cancelled Spotify Premium; and I didn’t feel at all sorry for myself. It’s quite painless to cut down on little luxuries, and having some buffer of savings will also give you added security and confidence to pursue your plans.

    The danger is actually the opposite: once the money starts flowing in again, it’s easy to upgrade your spending habits to previous levels. So focus on the true necessities, and then spend the extra on experiences – travel, friends, family – rather than buying material things that will only clutter up your life. And, yes, do think about saving and investing for a rainy day…

    5. New opportunities will appear from nowhere.

    I left my job without knowing exactly what I was leaving for. I had thoughts of travel, starting a consultancy, taking a year off ‘to write’, taking another full-time job in an exotic location or in a not-for-profit organisation. Since leaving, I’ve become involved as a mentor in two start-up incubators, run workshops with big companies, worked on exciting projects with big-name brands, and done interviews and guest posts for various blogs and websites.

    None of these things were even on my radar while I was in my old job. I’ve also become aware of, and grateful for, an amazing network of people who are eager to make mutually beneficial connections and collaborations. So talk to friends and to strangers, go to networking events, and above all remain open to unanticipated opportunities from unexpected directions.

    6. It doesn’t have to be perfect from day one.

    I was always looking for the ideal job, in the ideal location, in the ideal industry – but this fantasy doesn’t exist. I moved to Geneva to work at the United Nations but ended up in consumer goods marketing, developing valuable skills and knowledge while making lifelong friends among my colleagues. I hadn’t planned to move back to London but I’ve had some great opportunities here and for now at least I’m really enjoying it. And many of the seeds that I started sowing a year ago, which at the time didn’t grow into anything concrete, are now bearing fruit.

    I don’t expect to be a world thought leader and best-selling author living in my dream home by next week; but with each client, each project, each post, I’m shaping the life that I want. As long as you’re progressing in the right direction, a step or two closer to where you want to be, then consider it a good move.

    7. Nothing is forever.

    It seemed like a huge decision to leave my job. I’ve realized, though, that the worst thing that can happen, in the event of being unsuccessful in shaping a more independent lifestyle, is that I will have to go back to a full-time job.

    I know people who have decided to go back to a permanent role after a period of running their own business, happy in the knowledge that it’s the right move for them. If my company isn’t doing as well a few years down the line, or if I decide I want to do something else, I can always shut it down. If I don’t like the country I’m in, I can always move. Nothing is set in stone, everything can be changed – if not immediately, then over time. So give it a try, and see how it goes.

    8. You are not alone.

    It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one with doubts, the only one not fulfilled – it’s just not true. In my ‘Fearless Fridays’ interview series on my blog, I’ve been talking to others who have left the corporate world behind to do something less conventional, whether it was to write about healthy eating, to produce TV shows, or to run an arts center for children.

    They all faced their own fears and challenges, and some have returned to the corporate world in some form or other, but not one of them regrets their move. Just pull up a chair in a hostel or even in your local pub and you’re bound to meet someone on his or her own journey of self-discovery. It’s up to you to find your own way, but there are millions out there who are with you in spirit.

    9. You’ll never have all the answers.

    I’ve been on a steep learning curve this year. As a new business owner, I’ve had to learn about limited companies, corporation tax, VAT, PAYE, NI… I’m creating proposals, contracts and invoices, I’m editing the CSS of my website, and I’m devouring articles on both digital marketing and freelance writing.

    Possibly the biggest challenge has been finding the best way to balance work and income on the one side with fun and freedom on the other; but I’m learning! Don’t wait for the point when you have the perfect plan and you’ve answered every possible question, as you’re never going to have 100% certainty. There will always be some risk – but that’s okay!

    10. Not all who wander are lost.

    Life doesn’t have to be about finding a job, meeting The One, getting a mortgage, having children. It can be hard to watch “everyone” around you settling down; but if you don’t want to follow that path now, or maybe ever, then there’s nothing wrong with continuing to explore different paths, meeting new people, living in different cities, traveling the world… Life doesn’t have an end point – well, death, but I don’t think you should be working towards that as a goal – so why not let it be an endless journey of discovery and continuous learning? I say, bon voyage! And if you happen to see me in that hostel bar, come and join me for a drink and we’ll share our stories over a pisco sour.

    This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. It appears here as part of our partnership with Quora. 

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    10 Benefits of Getting Up Early, and How to Do It

    getting up early - feet in bed

    Recently, a reader asked me about my habit of waking at 4:30 a.m. each day, and asked me to write about the health benefits of rising early, which I thought was an excellent question. Unfortunately, there are none, that I know of.

    However, there are a ton of other great benefits.

    Now, let me first say that if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back.

    Here are just a few ways waking up early is beneficial.

    1. Greet the day.

    I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “

    2. Amazing start.

    I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.

    3. Quietude.

    No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.

    4. Sunrise.

    People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.

    5. Breakfast.

    Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.

    6. Exercise.

    There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.

    7. Productivity.

    Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.

    8. Goal time.

    Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.

    9. Commute.

    No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for Big Oil. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home.)

    10. Appointments.

    It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.

    Here’s how to become an early riser.

    getting up early - man in sunglasses

    Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.

    Allow yourself to sleep earlier. You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed. If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.

    Put your alarm clock far from you bed. If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.

    Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day.

    Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.

    Have a good reason.Set something to do early in the morning that’s important. This reason will motivate you to get up. I like to write in the morning, so that’s my reason. Also, when I’m done with that, I like to read all of your comments!

    Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. A good reward is to make a hot cup of coffee or tea and read a book. Other rewards might be a tasty treat for breakfast (smoothies! yum!) or watching the sunrise, or meditating. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.

    Take advantage of all that extra time. Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on preparing my kids’ lunches, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my MITs), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.

    This article was also published on zenhabits.net and appears here with the permission of the author.

  • ,

    This will make you want to rethink “follow your passion” advice

    man in chair outdoors

    Don’t follow your passion??


    In a world where everyone seems to have this whole “Life” thing figured out – it can be downright frustrating to take a simple stroll down social media avenue where the rich get richer and the amazing seems to happen to everyone but you.

    Hell, the only exciting thing that happened to you today was that you didn’t run out of toilet paper – high five.

    Today we live in a world where everyone shares their accomplishments yet few share their struggles. The outside world only sees the good and never the bad – we fail to see the work that goes into success.

    But we’re lucky –  the cats out of the bag, the successful have shared their secrets to building an incredible, soul fulfilling life.

    They say that the secret is this – follow your passion.

    Just follow your fuck-king passion and the world will open up for you like the ladies of the night open their legs for paying customers.

    Now if you’re anything like me, every time you read “Follow your passion” your eyes can’t help but roll.

    If everything was as easy as following your passion then hell, you likely wouldn’t be reading this very sentence – you’d have this mystery figured out!

    follow your passion advice - man spray painting artist

    You see, the follow your passion advice has always bothered me, because like you, I’ve always wanted to find my passion but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t seem to find the damn thing.

    The question of “What are you passionate about?” was too generic – I needed help sharpening my focus, the question was too big for me to answer thoughtfully.

    My realization was this – instead of asking what your passion is, you should start asking “Where do I get my energy from?”

    And no, I don’t mean this in a caffeine fueled, yes, I’ll take another cup, kind-of-way… but rather what activities do you do that physically make you excited and bring energy into your life?

    To me, finding your passion is better said by saying follow your energy, because passion = energy.

    Don’t look for your passion; choose to look for your energy – it’s much easier to recognize.

    Now when you find what energizes you, the ball’s in your court – it’s up to you to figure out what to do with your life but that’s the beauty; – you’re in control of your final destiny – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The truth of the matter is this – you’re going to die one day. Therefore you owe it to yourself to go after what you really want.

    What’s the worst that can happen? You already know the final outcome, you might as well apply yourself why you still have time.

    Follow your energy and watch how life reenergizes you  – you’ll be the next energizer bunny.

  • ,

    This is what you should to do TODAY to avoid regrets in your 30s and 40s

    girl sitting on cliff

    I think there are things that I could have done in my 20s that would have put me light years ahead in my 30s and 40s.

    If I could go back in time and talk to myself I would have some suggestions and I’ll share those with you.

    My 20s

    I spent most of my 20s having an extended childhood.

    I dropped out of college because I was taking courses to impress my parents.

    I was the manager of a comic book store, because I loved comics and all my friends hung out there. Then I figured out there was no money in comic book stores so I got a “real” job and found out there wasn’t really much money there either.

    My nights were filled with visits to clubs, hanging out with friends, playing video games and just enjoying life.

    I had a lot of fun in my 20s but near the end of the decade I realized that I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do. Somewhere along the road I took a detour and I needed to correct my course.

    Turning the Corner

    Approaching 30 I finally started asking some questions about who I was and what I wanted to contribute to the world and that’s when things started to fall into place.

    I did a mental exercise where I imagined what my perfect life would be like in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. I didn’t just figure out my ideal job, I thought about where I would live, what my day would be like, the friends I would have, how I would look and anything else that would make my goals as real as possible in my mind.

    Then I started working backwards to figure out what I had to do to get to that ideal self.


    It’s not enough to imagine all of those things; you have to write them down.

    The act of writing your goals and dreams do a couple of things for you. It forces you to nail down what’s really in your mind, and it gives you a tangible record that you can refer to over time.

    Writing in a journal will pay off in ways that you couldn’t possibly imagine.

    Your ideas will buy your future.

    Habitual writing will ignite your mind. If you’re not capturing your thoughts you will work twice as hard and achieve half as much.

    Writing is also an exceptional skill to have in your quiver. It’s a dying art, and one that separate you from the crowd.


    I eventually went back to college, and the second time around I found myself a regular member of the Dean’s List. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you’re taking the right courses.

    When I got out of college I realized that there was still so much I didn’t know. While they taught me about film, video and photography, they really dropped the ball on business, life and success.

    So, I became a voracious reader.

    I engaged in a campaign to educate myself on any subject that inspired me. One book led to another. Over the years I’ve learned ten times more than I’ve ever learned in High School or College.

    I’m still learning, and it’s given me an advantage over other people who think they have it all figured out.

    Ready to get started? Here’s three excellent books about crafting your life:

    What Makes You Unique?

    Whether you’re in a 9-to-5 job or you work for yourself, you will benefit from discovering what sets you apart, and broadcasting it to the world.

    In my 20s, I made the mistake of trying to be many things to many people. I wasn’t very good at anything in particular.

    After all the introspection I did, the writing and reading, I had an excellent idea of who I was, what I valued most and where I wanted to be. I set myself apart by finding a niche that backed up what I discovered.

    Clearing away all the distractions and focusing on your specialty will accelerate your learning. It’s also going to help you build a reputation in the field.

    The next step is to practice good personal branding. Write down what makes you unique and be consistent about putting that out there. Put it on your resume, your social networking sites, your own website, your business cards and any other place that you interact with the world.

    Once I nailed down my personal brand, magical things began to happen. Connections and opportunities came to my door with increasing regularity. I became the go-to guy for my niche, something that continues today.

    Putting It All Together

    What I regret most about my 20s is not figuring out what I should be doing earlier. While I had a lot of fun – and I think your 20s should be fun – if I had worked on crafting my life at the beginning of the decade, I would have found happiness earlier.

    I’ve got two final thoughts on this subject.

    It’s never too late to start designing your life. This works if you’re in your late teens, your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. In fact, I know many people who retire and have to go through this process to discover what they will do with all the free time they have.

    If your life is not moving in the right direction, fix it.

    Finally, don’t get trapped by thinking you have to stick with your plan if it’s not working. If your new life and your brand is not what you imagined, then go back to step one and figure out where you got off course.

    You deserve to live the life of your dreams.

    And Me?…

    It took me a little under ten years to become the guy in this photo. The life I created was close to what I imagined a decade earlier.

    That photo was taken after a huge burlesque show that I helped create and host. Getting up in front of hundreds of people (standing room only) and introducing the talented performers was something I would not have been able to do, nor would I have been in a position to do, if I had not followed the steps I laid out above.

    I’m still working to create my perfect life, but I feel like I’m on the right path and that I have the tools to get me there.

    This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

  • ,

    The Best Way to Meet Interesting People in Your City

    Four months ago I moved to Austin knowing no one in the city but my 9 coworkers and a couple of acquaintances.

    The problem I immediately needed to solve was:

    “How do I find new interesting people?”

    I tried Meetups, bars, events, all the typical places. But in almost every case, the return on investment in terms of “interesting people met” to “time spent” was terrible.

    The best way to find people seemed to be to meet someone interesting, then try to meet as many of their close friends as possible.

    But getting your friends (especially new ones) to throw parties or invite you out to things doesn’t scale and makes you feel needy, so how do you get looped into everyone’s friend network at once?

    Second-Degree Dinners.


    These dinners are hands down the best way to meet cool people in your city in a way that’s fun, inexpensive, helps everyone involved, and even makes the participants feel special.

    Here’s how they work.

    What is a Second-Degree Dinner?

    A Second-Degree Dinner brings together 6 people who, mostly, don’t know each other.

    There are two “hosts.” Both hosts invite someone who they enjoy spending time with and that they think is interesting.

    Then, both of their invitees are expected to invite someone that they think is interesting and send them the invitation as well.

    This way, the two hosts and the two initial invitees only know two other people at the dinner. They get to meet three new people.

    The second-degree invitations will know only one person and get to meet four.

    Best of all, you’re only meeting pre-vetted people. No weirdos, not some rando who’s trying to sell you on their social media consulting, only cool people.

    Once the dinner starts, everyone goes around and says:

    • Who they are
    • Where they’re from
    • What they’re working on
    • Something they’re excited about. It could be a new book, app, relationship, anything that has them jazzed up.

    The intros usually happen during ordering / getting drinks. It’s a good way to break the ice, make sure that everyone knows each others’ names, and give a bit of a background for the next portion.

    Then the real fun begins. You go back around the circle, and each person talks about one thing that they’re struggling with or that’s a challenge in their life.

    It could be work, personal, physical, mental, whatever they’re working on and could use some brainstorming around. Everyone else from the group joins in to give ideas, related experiences, and insights to help them workshop the problem for 10-12 minutes.

    The benefit to this is that you immediately jump into a deeper relationship with everyone else at the dinner. By forcing each other to open up about a challenge and be vulnerable, you prevent creating just a surface level meeting that might happen at a networking event or meetup.

    By treating everyone at the dinner as a good friend and trusted advisor, you immediately build a closer friendship than you might otherwise do in 2, 3, 5, or more encounters.

    At some of my past dinners we’ve talked about:

    • Fear over starting a new job
    • Depression from moving on from a startup
    • Handling relationship difficulties
    • Broaching hard subjects at work
    • Trusting employees and not micro-managing
    • Quitting a job to start a consultancy
    • Writing a memoir
    • Being less judgmental of people
    • Handling criticism of your lifestyle from old friends

    Afterwards, you can hang out and wrap up any way you please. Maybe you’ll want to get drinks, exchange book recommendations, whatever direction it goes in.

    The dinner usually lasts 2-3 hours, but it goes by quickly since you’re having such a good time.

    How to Host Your Own Second-Degree Dinners

    Sound fun? It is, and you meet great people along the way. Some of my best friends in Austin I’ve met through Second-Degree Dinners, and I’ve never heard someone say they didn’t enjoy attending one.

    If you want to start hosting your own, here are some tips to help you get started:

    Pick a Good Co-Host

    Find one person you’re close within your city who you want to be your co-host.

    It should be someone that you think is interesting, and that has a fairly different friend circle from you (at least for now).

    Find a Good Location

    The location makes a big difference in the quality of the dinner. You should look for a restaurant that’s:

    • Inexpensive: You don’t want people to worry about the price
    • Not going to be crowded: Having space makes for a better experience
    • Quiet enough: You don’t want to be yelling over each other
    • In a central location: So people don’t have to drive too far
    • Not going to rush you out: You’re going to be there for 2-3 hours, and they should be cool with that

    Have a Fixed Time

    We do every 2-3 Thursdays at 7 pm. Weekdays are ideal since weekends people might have other plans.

    By doing it every 2-3 weeks (when we’re both free) we keep a regularity to it, and most importantly, we’re under pressure to keep going out and meeting cool people.

    We’re essentially leveraging Parkinson’s Law to make ourselves go out and find more cool people to invite.

    Set Some Rules

    A few rules / guidelines can improve the experience a lot. Here are my rules to get you started:

    • No inviting dates, co-workers, co-founders, or significant others
    • No phones at the table
    • Keep time for the workshopping, but don’t rush people
    • Try to draw people into the conversation if they’re not participating
    • No sidebars, keep just one conversation going

    Seat People Strategically

    One way to help facilitate conversation is to make sure that no one who knows each other is sitting next to or across from each other.

    The easiest way to do this if you’re at a rectangular table for 6 is to put the second-degree people in the middle seats, you and your co-host sit at opposite diagonals, and then your invitation sits opposite your co-host and vice versa.

    This should help:

    Be Vulnerable First

    As the host of the event, it’s your job to set the tone for how open everyone can be. You should share first during the workshop, and you should open yourself up through your challenge. Talk about an insecurity, weakness, fear, something that people wouldn’t expect a stranger to be comfortable talking about.

    It’s scary, but people appreciate the openness and respond in kind. If you just talk about something very surface level, then no one else will open up either.

    Let the Table Improvise

    At one dinner, we finished the intros, and one person suggested we all share a couple of book recommendations before jumping into the challenges, so we did.

    At another, one person was using Periscope for lead generation and did a demonstration. He launched a Periscope session to tell his followers about the dinner, passed it around the table so we could all introduce ourselves, and then one of the viewers was down the street and actually came and joined us as a 7th person.

    These things will happen, and you should go with the flow. It adds a bit of spice to each dinner and makes them more memorable.

    Take Pictures and Exchange Info

    When the dinner ends, get a picture with everyone, and make sure that everyone adds each other on Facebook.

    As the host, you should make a Facebook message group afterwards so that if there were books, articles, videos, etc. that people referenced during the dinner they can all exchange links.

    These groups are also great for inviting people to future parties, events, etc.

    Do Reunions

    I haven’t done one of these yet, but at the ends of the dinners, it always comes up. People love the environment and feel close to the group and want to get back together in the future.

    Have Fun!

    Ugh, I know, cheesy, but do it.

    Let me know how your dinners go!

    Credit to Michael Williams for inviting me to his version of this in SF, and giving me the initial idea.

    This article also appears on nateeliason.com and is published here with the permission of the author

    Photo credit: flickr

  • ,

    20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

    man jumping


    The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness.


    Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following.


    Read as much as you can. Learn to speed read with high retention. Emerson Spartz taught me this while I was at a Summit Series event. If he reads 2-3 books a week, you can read one.


    Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing.


    Don’t waste time being shy. Shyness is the belief that your emotions should be the arbitrators of your decision making process when the opposite is actually true.


    If you feel weird about something during a relationship, that’s usually what you end up breaking up over.


    Have as much contact as possible with older people. Personally, I met people at Podcamps. My friend Greg, at the age of 13, met his first future employer sitting next to him on a plane. The reason this is so valuable is because people your age don’t usually have the decision-making ability to help you very much. Also they know almost everything you will learn later, so ask them.


    Find people that are cooler than you and hang out with them too. This and the corollary are both important: “don’t attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back, accepting, ambitious, etc.).”


    You will become more conservative over time. This is just a fact. Those you surround yourself with create a kind of “bubble” that pushes you to support the status quo. For this reason, you need to do your craziest stuff NOW. Later on, you’ll become too afraid. Trust me.


    Reduce all expenses as much as possible. I mean it. This creates a safety net that will allow you to do the crazier shit I mentioned above.


    Instead of getting status through objects (which provide only temporary boosts), do it through experiences. In other words, a trip to Paris is a better choice than a new wardrobe. Studies show this also boosts happiness.


    While you are living on the cheap, solve the money problem. Use the internet, because it’s like a cool little machine that helps you do your bidding. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, extend that to three weeks instead of two. Then, as you get better, you can think a month ahead, then three months, then six, and finally a year ahead. (The goal is to get to a point where you are thinking 5 years ahead.)


     Learn to program.


     Get a six-pack (or get thin, whatever your goal is) while you are young.Your hormones are in a better place to help you do this at a younger age. Don’t waste this opportunity, trust me.


    Learn to cook. This will make everything much easier and it turns food from a chore + expensive habit into a pleasant + frugal one. I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan, but whatever you like is fine.


    Sleep well. This and cooking will help with the six pack. If you think “I can sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much to do to sleep,” I have news for you: you are INEFFICIENT, and sleep deprivation isn’t helping.


    Get a reminder app for everything. Do not trust your own brain for your memory. Do not trust it for what you “feel like” you should be doing. Trust only the reminder app. I use RE.minder and Action Method.


    Choose something huge to do, as well as allowing the waves of opportunity to help you along. If you don’t set goals, some stuff may happen, but if you do choose, lots more will.


    Get known for one thing. Spend like 5 years doing it instead of flopping around all over the place. If you want to shift afterwards, go ahead. Like I said, choose something.


    Don’t try to “fix” anyone. Instead, look for someone who isn’t broken.


    Title Image: Flickr

  • ,

    This story of overcoming bad luck will inspire you to embrace what life throws your way.

    overcoming bad luck - man with balloon

    A battle between me and my luck started when I was a kid.

    What I am about to share is the story of how I overcame “bad luck” to rise above and accomplish what I previously thought was out of my reach. It is the story of how I rose from working grueling, manual labor jobs in Karachi, Pakistan to excelling in sales and operations in the United States.

    Today, I’m a sales trainer and a motivational speaker as well as a blessed father. I firmly believe that everyone has the power and potential to do the craziest things. It’s all about keeping yourself in perspective and then you’ll discover that God made you be unique, just like everyone else. We all have a purpose in life, all it takes is hard work, focus, and a little faith.

    I always thought that luck was luck and there was nothing I could do to change that.

    overcoming bad luck - man on plane

    I was born in a lower-middle-class family and saw my father working hard to earn the bread for our family. We were deprived of many of the amenities that most people have, life was tough and we had to compromise on basic necessities every day.

    I started working at a very young age. I would take odd jobs to keep myself afloat and to support my father the best I could.

    In 2006, I got my first job. It was at a hardware shop where I was given all the routine chores from getting the tea, cleaning the shop, to depositing checks in the bank etc.

    I remember the day when I was given two sacks, one full of nuts and one full of bolts. I was assigned to pair nuts and bolts together and put them in a third sack. It took me 6 straight hours. I was tired, exhausted and my fingers were shivering, my nails filled with grease and oil.

    At the end of that day, my boss paid me my first salary of 1,500 rupees. I had never seen that much money in my life. I never thought I would be able to earn so much. It was a feeling I can never explain.

    For a second I thought, maybe my luck finally changed?

    The very next second I realized… “I worked really, really hard for this! I shouldn’t feel ashamed for working hard.”

    That’s when my whole world changed. I made a promise to myself that I would defeat luck at every corner by simply working hard through the rough times.

    I continued working at this job for awhile. My mother would see me coming home daily looking like a beggar boy, all torn dirty and greased up. She was not at all happy with me working at such a young age.

    But what could I do? I needed to support my father. I needed to take matters into my own hands. I needed to become something… anything but something.

    I was not willing to give into luck, I could not and did not have the luxury to choose between going to school and work. I had to man up, and really just work as hard as I could to become what I wanted.

    At the time I couldn’t really find a better job but it was OK because I was determined to use this opportunity to save myself and my family from the likes of luck. I was determined. Every day was a new day. Every day I came an inch closer to becoming something, to conquering my demons and gaining the success I craved and longed for.

    Then came the day when I was able to escape the shop, the shop that taught me, no matter what life throws your way, you need to get right up, focus on what matters and get to work.

    A friend of mine was working in a call center. He told me to clean up and to go with him the next day.

    This is where I told my luck, “enough is enough… it’s my turn to throw the punches.”

    It was a walk-in interview, I still remember walking up to the interview room, trembling. Praying with all my might to get a chance, just one chance to prove myself.

    The interviewer asked me where I was working right now, I introduced myself and told him my story. After hearing me out he selected me for the training! It was a US based call center and operated during the nights due to the time zone difference. The most difficult part for me was to convince my family to let me work the nights.

    I told my parents that I wanted to learn English and since we could not afford a language institute, I would take this call center training and learn English. To my surprise my parents agreed and that was the first SALE I ever closed!

    I pursued my career in telesales and worked in a number of call centers.

    It never got easier because I used to work nights and go to college in the morning. But all the hard work had already started paying off and for the first time in my life, I was able to give some money back home. I was able to become my Father’s son. I was able to now help him support our family.

    2012 was when I decided to up my game and applied for an opportunity at a logo and web design company as a Customer Support Supervisor. The industry was new and exciting for me, and I loved every moment of it! In 2013, I made another jump and started working for a US based Software Development Company called ‘Accunity’ as a Business Development Executive.

    I didn’t know much about technology at the time, but I worked hard and learned about all the different software development protocols. I used to spend extra time in the office and sit with people from other departments to understand and learn how things work. Technology became my passion and I realized that it’s all about developing a multitude of skills and working hard in every single direction. The goal was to never stop growing, never stop learning.

    In July 2016, I accepted a position as a Business Unit Manager at Digitonics Labs where I am currently managing and supervising a team of designers, developers and project managers with a core focus on business development.

    You know what my father told me when I showed him the company maintained car I’ve recently earned? “I am LUCKY to have a hardworking son like you”.

  • ,

    This is why it’s ok to not be passionate about anything

    not passionate - man eating food

    Full disclosure: I’m a millennial. Obviously, I’m writing this piece from a trendy coffee shop packed with bearded hipsters wearing sleek-cut shirts, while drinking a $7 frappe macchiato, and listening to alt rock on Spotify. Generations are clichés, and millennials catch a lot of flack for theirs. But we’re also characterized by our determination to live with passion. We care deeply, and we want to translate those passions into professions that can provide value to us and to the rest of the world.

    Millennial lore is dominated by stories of individuals who channeled their passions into purposeful careers that provided everything they could hope to attain. But translating passion into a sustainable career might be stressful, especially if you don’t have one and the world around you is just screaming “find your purpose, finally!”

    But… what if I don’t have a passion?

    You won’t know until you try. 

    Contrary to stereotypes, millennials are a skilled generation. In fact, we are the most educated generation in history with 40% of millennials attaining an undergraduate degree. We’re described as tech-savvy, connected, multitasking fashionistas. But without being tech-savvy, well-connected social media fans we’re also lost.

    The whole world is yours”, mamma would tell you as you were growing up. And you truly believed that.

    “Find your passion. Realize your dreams. You can do anything!”, grandparents would encourage as you’d just scratch your chin contemplating on what is it that you’re meant to do.

    But what if you’re not meant to do anything – what if you have to learn stuff, get good at it and that’s how you’ll realize your purpose?

    not passionate - woman in glasses

    Millennials have a buffet of educational opportunities including public and private colleges and universities offering both undergraduate and advanced degrees that cater to millennials’ desire to be equipped for all types of work. The problem with our education is, that we are teaching kids the things we are aware of, for the professions that don’t even exist yet. A dubious proposition.

    In the workplace, millennials are entering the job market at a time of upheaval and change. Millennials can choose between careers in large corporations, independent startups, non profits, open work spaces, or work from home. These diverse options exemplify the broader array of choice including housing (urban or suburban), lifestyle (vegan and organic), values (secular or religious). The opportunities are endless, and finding a fit that matches your passion feels like inverse career Russian Roulette in which one option will fulfill your passions, but you won’t know until you try. This is a crippling idea.

    Even more to that, add a whole bunch of unexpected circumstances that shape us in one or another way and – here you go – you have the full package.

    Here is some news: it turns out that passion doesn’t necessarily create purpose. Our greatest passions often arise as a result of personal skills, life circumstances, professional opportunities, and the diligence to stick with something long enough to see a product. In other words, passion is a rewarding result rather than a path to follow.

    Therefore, instead of stressing out about matching passion with purpose, just do it. Do something. Anything.

    When growing up, I wanted to be 1,000 different things, starting with a salesgirl and finishing with an athlete. The thing is, I was never good at sales nor was my physique built to compete against others in professional sports. I started working at the age of 15 as a marketer, helping a small local company and was trying to realize what is it that I was meant for. In a while, I got my first promotion and a raise, after that – a position change and then, completely randomly, I was offered a job in another company.

    My work satisfaction raise along with my responsibilities and I ended up having a well-paid, well-respectable position. Most importantly, my hobbies and wishes did not come true, but provided me with the ever-burning lust to discover, experience and say “yes” to new things I wasn’t even aware I am capable of.

    From there on, my work became my passion instead of a so-praised reverse way.

    What’s your passion? You don’t have one? No worries.

    Utilizing your skills, persevering through seasons of doubt and finally embracing the opportunities by saying “yes” more often are enough to get you where you want to go. We millennials are an eccentric group, but we have a lot to offer. We will find that we are passionate when we are pursuing and that we don’t have to understand our passions to begin the process. And that journey of self-discovery is quite an amazing one.

  • ,

    How This One Facebook Status Made Me $75,000

    Joseph D Lazukin - Facebook status

    This is the story of how one Facebook status made me $75,000. Not only that, but it unlocked the keys to a better life, a better network, and better opportunities.

    What does your Facebook profile say about you?

    Does it resemble who you are, the values you stand for, and skills you are a capable of?

    Facebook is an incredibly powerful way to show the world your talents.

    If you take a look at my personal profile, you see that I post about myths regarding the Facebook Pixel, share tips on how to increase revenue by segmentation, tips on growth hacking to scale your business, to random tips on here and there on how to increase conversions via small but lucrative changes to your business websites.

    If you look at my business profile, while less maintained, you’ll find similar attributes, but also a treasure trove of motivational statuses and openly shared passive income business ideas to supplement your income or self-fund your own startup.

    As a business professional or entrepreneur, there is a right and wrong way to use social media. If your personal profile, your public Facebook page, your Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are not landing pages, lighthouses for what you are capable of, then you are missing out on potential business, consulting, and growth opportunities.

    Now before I tell you about the status that made me $75,000 I want to say that I never used to leverage my personal profile for business purposes until very recently.

    All of this happened over a timeline of 30 days.

    At the time, I, like anyone else who’s been on Facebook long enough, had thousands of friends/lurkers who were connected to me, but rarely if ever interacted with each other… and while I had achieved a lot of success early on in my life creating million dollar marketing funnels and co-founding successful SaaS startups, nobody knew me on Facebook for what I did. Unless I explicitly told someone, nobody knew as I wasn’t broadcasting my message, my values, or my skill set.

    So then I had a thought…

    What if I could gamify Facebook to bring clients to me, and growth my way through curating my Facebook presence?

    That idea lead me to delete over 3,000+ of my friends at the time except for my business contacts, re-writing my bio and trashing any old images, statuses, or videos that had nothing to do with my message, values, or skill set.

    Most people use Facebook to be a “highlight reel” of their social lives. Mine, on the other hand, was going to become a highlight reel of my business acumen, values, and skill set.

    The results were immediate.

    Facebook stopped recommending me every pretty girl in town (I’ve had my personal Facebook profile since I’ve been 15 haha…I think that’s all the backstory needed to be said there), and started recommending thought leaders, high-caliber entrepreneurs, celebrities, and millionaires from every industry, aka potential clients. Curating my audience was done, the next step, was to broadcast my message.

    There is ONE question and only one question that you need to answer when it comes to broadcasting your message (and this applies to content your businesses share as well), and that question is…

    “What value can add to the lives of others?”

    A lot of people I knew growing up were too focused on money and hadn’t adopted the proper mindset to recognize that all business is at the end of the day, is solving for how you can provide value to the lives of others.

    Money is the byproduct of value, and value is for sharing, and sharing value is hands down one of the best ways to exercise the law of attraction, and attract the right people into your world.

    So what did I do?

    I made the conscious decision to give some of my best trade secrets away… for free

    These were secrets that I had used to generate thousands of dollars for myself and my clients.

    While it may seem counter-intuitive to give away the strategies that set you apart from your competitors for free, you might be overlooking the fact that broadcasting that information makes you become the “best expert” in your field.

    When people think of marketing on Facebook, they now think of me, not the thousands of other consultants out there. Up until that point, I was just another face in the sea of consultants.

    Since my profile was still pretty early on in the curating process, I shared those tips within various marketing groups on Facebook, and immediately after my first post went up, my inbox became a firestorm of inbound requests. I had dozens of people asking me to consult for their business, if I had a marketing course they could buy, or were asking if I could teach them over a Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangout. Even my personal network took notice and thought leaders who had never recognized me before reached out to hop on calls or bring me into their business.

    My life, my network, and my business ultimately changed overnight because of one post, and the conscious decision to make a change and lead value first.

    Since that day, I have signed two contracts to the tune of $75,000 plus royalties, and have more leads coming in daily as more and more people become aware of the value I share.

    So let me ask you again, what does your Facebook profile say about you? Is it a landing page for everything you stand for? Does the content you share add value to people’s lives? If not, you have some homework to do, but rest assured this is the fun kind of homework that unlocks the keys to a better life, a better network, and better opportunities.

    Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed the read, gift someone with the gift of perspective by sharing this with them. Remember, sharing value is the key to growth, and the value of having the proper mindset, should never be underestimated!

  • ,

    The one key to getting what you want in life (and how to get it)

    getting what you want in life - girl jumping

    My name is Thomas and I am currently a full time student in college, attending UAB for business. As a college student and the owner of several business, at only 18 years old, I have learned to rewire my brain to focus on success and nothing but success.

    I do not consider myself an entrepreneur. Rather, I consider myself to be an executer – – meaning that when I have an idea I do not complain or make excuses about how hard it is. If I do not understand the concept, I do not sleep until I understand what I am working on. I currently am the CEO/Founder of Young & Successful Co., which is a motivational speaking company. We travel to different conferences proving that no matter your age or your situation – you can be successful – it all starts with you.

    I have learned that when it comes to success, it’s all about execution. Plain and simple.

    In my opinion, the number one reason why people are not where they want to be financially, physically, or emotionally is simply because the human mind gives you excuses…. and you accept them.

    It is much easier to say, “I am sore so I don’t have to go to the gym today” than it is to get up and actually go.

    Accepting what the mind tells you can be incredibly self limiting.

    The best piece of advice I can give that will help you execute is to cut the crap out of your life.

    getting what you want in life - dress shoes and skateboard

    If you want to stop making excuses and 10x your execution, the solution is pretty simple. Stop watching full seasons of Netflix at a time, stop playing 2K17 for 4 hours in a night and sit down and execute.

    You know what you it is have to do, so do it. It is that simple. You need to prioritize your tasks and your success over everything that can get in the way of your dreams.

    One quote my father told me when I was in sports still sticks with me today. “Successful people do, what unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” I remind myself of this everyday, especially when I make finding myself making excuses to not execute on my dreams and goals.

    Execution is something you need to form in your DNA and make a permanent aspect of your personality.

    I am blessed enough to have had this work ethic imbued in me from an early age. To this day, I am so stubborn that if I can’t complete something I will not sleep, eat, or do anything but that task until it gets done.

    Mentoring several young people has given me the opportunity to realize that not many people have the ability I do and that I am fortunate in that respect. Teaching people how to execute over “instant pleasure” is no easy task. Motivation only lasts so long, so you have to find the inner drive and passion to go above and beyond the hard times.

    One quote I love using with clients and speaking to everyday people might impact you like it has hundreds of others – “I am either going to be successful, or die trying.” – This quote drives an inner fire in me like nothing else has ever done.

    When I talk about excuses over execution with my clients, everyone of them seem so fired up to go and knock out there dreams. I usually will follow up the next week and the fire is gone. You have to be able to find out what drives you emotionally and use it to your advantage because anybody telling you execute is entirely different than when you are working for something personally.

    So ask yourself this question: what are you working for?

    Financial freedom?

    Living life on your own terms?


    Not having anyone tell you what you are worth or controlling your schedule?

    These are just some things that drive me personally .I was tired of being told what I was worth, not living on my terms, not being truly happy, and this drove a fire in me to execute over excuses.

    To do this, you have to say no to excuses.

    Excuses are the easiest way to get out of doing anything. You will convince yourself to not do what you need to do and you will follow through with that excuse so much more easily than you will go through with the task at hand. You have to be able to train yourself in self discipline to say “no matter what, I am going to the gym today. I do not care about my feelings.” Deep down you know what is right and you need to find the ability to get over yourself about not feeling great and execute.

    The biggest excuse I come across when working with clients or talking to partners is, “I do not have enough time.”

    I will bet anything – you can find 30 minutes to go to the gym or find that hour to stay late at work to finish that report. I have studied my clients and in every case, I have found an unaccountable 4 hours on average of wasted time. Most of this includes watching TV or Netflix, playing video games, taking an hour nap even my personal favorite, “I have to get my 8 hours of sleep or I can’t function.”

    We all have 24 hours in a day, I have the same as Micheal Jordan, and so do you. I live off of 5 to 6 hours of sleep while running 2 companies and am a full-time college student. Time management is key to execution. I do not have the time or the effort to come up with an excuse not to execute.

    I just do, with no questions asked.

  • ,

    The Awkwardly Simple Solution To Becoming Successful

    man wearing glasses

    We doubt ourselves way more than we should. We question our ability to create and perform when intuitively we know we have the stuff.

    Not only do we innately know we are highly capable, but our very lives are a reflection of our brilliance. Sure, we’ve had our failures.

    But look at your life. Look what you’ve done. You’re more than enough.

    The problem with your success isn’t your ability.

    It’s how you continue to perceive a lack thereof. It’s that you continue to allow yourself to be far less than you know you are.

    Tony Robbins felt this way. Until one day, it hit him square in the face. This is what he said:

    I remember the moment my life changed, the moment I finally said, ‘I’ve had it! I know I’m much more than I’m demonstrating mentally, emotionally, and physically in my life.’ I made a decision in that moment which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually every aspect of my life. I decided I would never again settle for less than I can be.”

    Living Up To The Person You Already Are

    We waste loads of time trying to pre-qualify ourselves for opportunities we arealready qualified for.

    You don’t need more experience, knowledge, connections, money, or abilities. You have enough. More than enough actually.

    Just put out the creative work that genuinely reflects what you know and who you are. You’ll be stunned and amazed by how impactful it is.

    What have you been wanting and waiting to do — but erroneously believe you’re not quite ‘there’ yet?

    You’ve been taught to ‘act as if’ you’re successful so you can then one daybecome successful. That is all well and good. But you’d be better off ‘acting as if’ you are who you already are. Quit the craziness of believing you’re less than you really are. You’re brilliant and ready.

    You have work to do. It can only be done by elevating your pessimistic perspective and finally accepting the limitless and powerful person looking back in the mirror. You know who that person is. It’s time to let the world see that person. Please stop waiting and stop believing you need more.

    Your work is going to change the world.

    The Startling Results Of Accepting Your Brilliance

    Being inspired in your work, relationships, and life is your natural state of being. Your challenge is that you’ve disconnected from your true self and your true source. You’ve been fed a lie and come to believe it.

    Luck, miracles, and brilliant opportunities will not be rare once you disconnect from the matrix you’ve plugged yourself into.

    Come back to the real world. Miracles are the natural way of living here. You have the power to create and shape the world around you.

    The closer you’re aligned to your reality, the more instantaneous your desires will manifest.

    Stop Hiding

    Perhaps Marianne Williamson said it best:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Stop hiding.

    Stop lying to yourself and trying to pre-qualify. You’re qualified.

    Now live and be powerful and change the world.

    Connect Deeper

    If you resonated with this article, please subscribe to my personal blog. You will get a free copy of my eBook Slipstream Time Hacking, which will change your life.

    This article also appears on benjaminhardy.com and is published here with the permission of the author

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    Want to start a blog and travel the world? Can it still be done?

    woman blogger sitting on her bed

    You’ve heard the stories about that guy or girl who started a blog, had a couple pieces go viral and now they do it full-time, making a living and working from whatever beach they want.

    In fact, outside of those exceptional few who make a living from blogging, millions of everyday people have blogs.

    If you don’t have a blog these days, then it may seem like you are living under a rock and have a serious feeling of FOMO. While it might seem like everyone has a blog for something that there is simply no hope for new bloggers to make a name for themselves and stick out from the crowd. WRONG.

    Starting a blog and gaining traction certainly isn’t easy… but it’s easier than ever before.

    Although it isn’t impossible, it takes a lot more time and dedication than you may be lead to believe. Many “new” bloggers are getting attention in their niche market these days that have been working for months, even years to get to where they are today.

    Working online has provided me with incredible opportunities I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. We are fortunate to be living in this digital era where starting a blog and eventually making a career out of it is not completely bat sh*t crazy. But 2 things it’s not: a get rich quick scheme and easy work.

    I speak to people everyday who say to me, “Jelena, I am starting up my blog and I am looking to monetize it and live off the blog, how can I do that?

    My response is always the same:

    Creating a blog just takes time.

    There is no difference between being a concert pianist to being a pro-blogger. They both require countless hours of dedication, repetition, focus and commitment.

    Here are my 3 tips.

    1. To make a blog successful, you have to brand

    When launching your blog, this can be the most exciting time because you are still exploring yourself, your passions and what niche will you directly fit into.

    Determining your exact market takes a lot of time and research. It is crucial to find a hole in the market you are looking to fill with your blog and dive into that niche head first. This will make it easier for you to stand out from the thousands of blogs that already tell the same stories. If you are passionate about your brand and honestly stand behind it, people will notice your authenticity and become loyal followers.

    For example, I love traveling. My boyfriend and I recently transitioned to the vanlife lifestyle and I share my experience of working as a digital nomad and living the part-time vanlife.

    2. You have to grow an audience to build a successful blog site.

    Growing your following takes time. It is a grueling process but if done correctly, your core base of followers will stick with you for the long run.  Starting off, it is important to respond to any comment that people post. This will increase your engagement and have people be more willing to follow you.

    Commenting on similar blogs, Instagram accounts, and Facebook posts will get people curious about your page and come over to check you out. Although this is time consuming, it can be very effective. Highly targeted Facebook ads linking to a free gift to sign up to your mailing list can work wonders too.

    The mission is to serve others and not yourself. Provide really good value and content and this will help you build a sustainable fan base.

    Try guest blogging. If you are just starting out, email or DM some well known publications in your niche and offer to write a blog post about something that is related to you and the publication. This is another great way to spread the word about you and your blog.

    Join engagement groups. If you are looking to grow your following on social media and increase traffic to your blog, joining engagement groups can really help propel your following. Due to Instagram’s new algorithms, influencers have created engagement groups where people like and comment each other’s posts so they can increase their chances of coming up in other peoples’ explore feeds.

    Use all Social Media. I mean all of them : Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, etc. If you want to be an influencer, you need to be creating various content, daily. If you have an iPhone you can make daily vlogs easily. You can even edit them with a simple app on your phone. It really doesn’t take much other than consistency.

    3. If you want to learn how to blog, learn SEO to get discovered.

    It is crucial to have a basic understanding of SEO optimization on Google.

    Just type it in your Google search and there are countless blogs and Youtube videos explaining it to you for free. If you are using WordPress like I am, there are several plugins that help you improve your blog posts and improve your SEO. This is important because if you write very specific blog posts, then you will have a higher chance of ranking in the top of the Google search and this will bring you lots of traffic. Also putting in backlinks to other pages on your blog and external pages will help improve the chances of your blog coming up as well.

    As you can see… it takes time.

    Figuring all of this out on your own just takes time. It can be discouraging and frustrating in the beginning but you need to stick to it. If you are really passionate about your dreams and the subject then it will be fun and not necessarily something you dread doing every day. If it isn’t fun, don’t do it. Don’t force yourself to do something just because other people are doing it.

    Do it for yourself and do it with a positive attitude and the rest will come.

  • ,

    13 millennials share how they overcome social anxiety (and how you can too)

    man taking picture

    Do you get excited when plans get canceled?

    Have you ever wondered to yourself if you’re introverted or just an extrovert with social anxiety?

    Do you find yourself over-analyzing your social interactions?

    You’re not alone in your social anxiety and it’s something that can be overcome. Take the advice from these 13 guys/girls who did it themselves.

    These are 13 ways to overcome social anxiety and step into your full self.

    1. Force yourself to talk to others.

    I talked to people a lot. The only way to get good at something you’re bad at is to do it poorly for a long time until you become good at it. (u/StomachUlcers)

    2. Face it head on.

    The only real way to get over anxiety about something is… you just have to push yourself to do it. If you can’t do that, then just thinking about it for 40 mins until you don’t feel anxious anymore does help, then work your way up to more.

    Anxiety is a very primitive, basic response. Fish do it. It’s a non-thinking survival response to keep you alive. Don’t try and out-reason it, it just doesn’t work like that. The only way past it is to show the part of the brain that runs anxiety that the situation isn’t dangerous. That requires repeated exposure.

    I wish more people knew this.(u/PennyLisa)

    3. Make friends with extroverts.

    I became best friends with a very charming extrovert and followed her to all the parties she was invited to! Being with a close friend helped a lot because I knew she was a safe space for me to retreat to if things became too much. And I pretty much just watched and learned from her socialization style until I was able to mimic it well enough to do good on my own. I never told her how much she meant to me, gotta do that soon (u/pinkiepie_notabrony)

    4. Start over.

    To get over that really huge first hurdle, I did something silly… I moved away from all my family and friends and attempted to start anew. As in hundreds of miles away. It worked out, thankfully. But that first few weeks of being completely alone with no support group at all was a very dark period. (u/throwmyselfaway0)

    5. Take care of yourself.

    Take care of myself. I hated being in public because I think people would stare at me and judge. I dressed better, worked out, got a decent haircut, now I’m much more confident. (u/thehurricane490)

    6. Be independent.

    I think one of the biggest influences is independence. You can easily hide behind others. When you rely on others to overcome your anxiety you never really overcome it, you just hide behind them one way or another. When you’re forced to act independently and act on your own and look after yourself, that’s where you learn to overcome social anxiety. (u/GreyInkling)

    7. Stop being self-centered.

    I stopped being a self centered narcissist when it comes to my self image. People don’t care about what I look like or what I’m doing in public. I’m not the focus of their attention. My anxiety came from viewing myself from the lens of other people. But they didn’t view me at all. (u/CaptnCarl85)

    8. Force yourself to do things (even when you don’t want to).

    I generally just FORCED myself to do thinks. For example, until recently I was terrified of buying things. Like, going up to a counter and handing over money. I stuck to self service. But one day I took a deep breath, walked right up to the counter and there was no turning back. Now, this time I actually had 30p less than I needed to buy the jumper I wanted and was turned away… but I didn’t let this deter me! That’s important, too. Not being deterred. (u/seawaif)

    9.  Be more open with others.

    I try to be as open as possible with other people. That is, if someone says hi to me I don’t assume they’re being sarcastic or wanting to embarrass me. I say hi back. I don’t turn away. Sometimes people mistake shyness for aloofness and asking people questions can stop this. (u/seawaif)

    10. Go out on your own.

    Every time you do something alone and on your own you tame the anxiety a little more. It’s a too easy to shy away from something because there’s no one you know, or to make sure someone you know is nearby you can hide behind. Just going out and doing everyday tasks and errands alone, day by day, will build up your confidence more.

    When you’re familiar with an environment that helps to. Going for walks just to explore, or just going for runs regularly and trying different routes, walking into strange restaurants for lunch, or exploring shops on your own, or even walking into university campus buildings or hallways you don’t have classes, you familiarize yourself with your environment and it builds up confidence in your control and ability to perform in that environment. (u/GreyInkling)

    11. Make yourself uncomfortable.

    The hard truth is you have to force yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable/trigger your anxiety. You don’t have to jump right in, that could just make things worse. But ease yourself in. Take baby steps.

    The more you avoid things that make you anxious, the more anxious it will make you.

    I used to hate phone calls. They would always trigger my anxiety. Last summer I ended up getting a job at the front desk of a hotel. I was forced to answer the phone all day. Some days I’d have 10 back to back calls. I was terrified at first, I felt sick, I wanted so badly to quit. I replace my anxious thoughts with the thought that I needed that job. I needed the money so I could go to Calgary this September. It helped me push my way through and I was able to over come that part of my anxiety.

    Also look into Cognitive Behavioual Therapy. I’ve been going to therapy for a couple months and I’m blown away by how much it’s been helping. It’s really an eye opener to my anxiety and really realizing it better and knowing how to counteract it. (u/FanWh*re)

    12. Embrace it.

    You don’t lose it, you live with it. I was just honest about why I’m weird with the people I know don’t give a crap. Most people I know have some sort of mental thing going on. I’d be more surprised to find someone who claims a full mental state of health. (u/WorldsGreatestP**p)

    13. Stop caring.

    Realize that everyone has some level of social anxiety and awkwardness. Making the first move in social situations usually lets other people relax and in turn lets you relax a bit. In simpler terms, DGAF about what other people think. (u/MeowSayDingDong)

  • ,

    3 ways to overcome negative self-image (and get unstuck)

    overcome negative self-image - woman in bedroom

    It’s human nature to get stuck sometimes. Stuck at a job we don’t like in a town we would rather leave, stuck in bad relationships or toxic, destructive thought patterns.

    While it might seem obvious to just walk away from that job or that town or that relationship, the reality is, no matter what changes we make on the surface, (even though those can sometimes be the best decisions we will ever make) the biggest, most important step to getting unstuck, is to begin with the mind.

    To overcome low self-esteem, you must become more mindful.

    Often, the reason we settle for the job we are over-qualified for or the partner who doesn’t respect and value us, is because we are stuck in the grips of our own negative and disempowering thoughts.

    When we experience setbacks and blows to our progress and self-esteem, it’s natural to want to take a step back and go into hiding.

    I’m incredibly guilty of this, myself. But staying in that safe place where nothing bad ever happens to us isn’t doing ourselves, or the world around us, any favors. When we feel hopeless, unsure, confused, frozen in place, unable to make decisions or take a leap of faith, it’s a clear sign that there is work to be done internally.

    The good news is that we all come equipped with the tools to get unstuck; we just need to make to the first move and the universe will follow our lead. Several factors contribute to feeling stuck; low-self esteem, negative self-image, and poor habits to name a few, but with a little self-evaluation and self-care, transformation is possible.

    Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” -Mandy Hale

    Here are 3 ways to get unstuck and better yourself by overcoming low self-esteem.

    overcome negative self-image - girl looking at camera

    1. Evaluate your self image.

    Negative self-image has the ability to destroy us from the inside out, if we allow it. Do you ever catch yourself literally hearing your own voice in your head criticizing you and cutting you down? Ask yourself where this is coming from. Is it the voice of a parent or teacher from your childhood who once projected their insecurities on to you?

    Our minds are incredibly sneaky and have great success at tearing us down when we keep those thoughts silently to ourselves. But when we share them aloud, we take away their power. Make an agreement with yourself that when you hear those negative thoughts rolling around in your head, you will call a friend or write it down in a letter to yourself. Would you call up a friend and tell them how stupid and ugly and boring and nerdy you are? Would you journal about all the excuses your subconscious mind feeds you as to why you’re not good enough? Negativity is a silent killer, and it loses its power when we don’t allow it to eat away at us.
    So when you find yourself in that situation, you have two choices: share those thoughts out loud, OR, find a way to change them. Sometimes calling a friend and sharing your pain is a great way to flip the dialogue and get some positive feedback, and other times, just the thought of calling them up and telling them how awful you think you are is all that you needed to make yourself realize that its all lies. By changing your thoughts and forcing yourself to see the good, you are bringing light to a dark place. The more you are able to utilize this practice, the brighter you shine from the inside out.

    Whenever you notice your thoughts detour in to attack mode, say out loud or to yourself: happiness is a choice I make.” –Gabrielle Bernstein

    2. Make intentional choices.

    The other day I went and saw a speaker named Joshua Reeves give a speech called “The Power of Yes”. He said that every day, the average person makes somewhere around 30,000 decisions.

    These decisions range from small ones, like which foot to place on the floor first, to big ones, like whether or not to sell off all of your possessions, move to another country, and become a monk. But with every moment, therein lies an opportunity to choose. And not every choice is a choice between something “good” or something “bad”, but every choice we make, whether it’s a conscious choice or a subconscious choice, alters the flow of our lives.

    When you feel overwhelmed with decisions, it’s helpful to break it down in to smaller pieces so you are able to more easily digest the flow of life. Take a moment to slow down and make intentional choices. What are you saying yes to? Are you saying yes to growth, or yes to destruction? Which choice will bring you closer to your goals? Closer to yourself? Closer to the light you wish to emanate? Or as Oprah says, “what is the next right move?” What can you let go of that will allow you to chose the path of highest integrity?

    Being conscious of the choices you make gives you power, and the more powerful you feel, the more confident you become and the more capable you are of getting unstuck.

    It only takes one spark to light up the dark” –MC Yogi

    3. Get moving.

    Our emotions are stored in every cell of our bodies. Prolonged negativity can lead to illness, chronic pain, weight gain, and disease, to name a few. There is no separation of body and mind when it comes to our emotions. Sitting stagnant on the couch or at a desk trying to think of solutions is like sitting on the shore of a lake without a pole, hoping a fish will jump out and land in your basket. You have to cast the line.

    You have to make a move. Movement creates flow not only of our blood, but also of our thoughts and our creative juices. Go for a walk, do some yoga, walk amongst the trees. Some of my greatest ideas and revelations have come to me when my thoughts were silenced and I was focusing only on the physical task at hand. Bringing awareness to your breath and to your movements forces your mind out of the hamster wheel of negativity and in to a place of receptiveness. Putting one step in front of the other, one dance move before the other, or one breath in front of the other opens your mind to the endless flow of ideas and possibilities available to you.

    The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” –Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

    Overcoming negative self-image and low self-esteem is possible. When you find yourself feeling stuck, ask yourself to be the representation of love. Choose the most loving voice in your mind, to be the most loving voice in the room, and the most loving voice in the conversation. Let go of the inner conflict and anxiety and intentionally choose the path that leads you to your highest self.

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    You can’t be a successful entrepreneur without this one thing (do you have it?)

    successful entrepreneur - woman with camera

    Lots of people talk about the tactics behind building a business and becoming a successful entrepreneur– get on Pinterest! Use this free WordPress template! In reality, these are just minuscule parts of a successful business. What I haven’t seen is a gritty guide that takes you through the process of starting a business and shows you the warts, the mistakes, and the things other people won’t talk about.

    That’s why I wrote my new ebook, Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business, which tells you everything you need to know about starting and growing an online business. This is based on my (and my students’) experience scaling businesses from zero dollars to millions.

    In this post, I wanted to share one of my favorite lessons I’ve shared. It’s the lesson on the mindset of successful entrepreneurs––how to overcome failures and setbacks, stay focused, and develop unshakable confidence.

    What sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest is their mindset.

    When most people burn out and give up, successful entrepreneurs power through. When most people get exasperated over getting stuck, successful entrepreneurs find another way. Here’s how they do it.

    I remember my trainer stacking on weights and saying, “OK, 10-10-10.”

    He meant 10 cleans, 10 push-ups, 10 pull-ups… times 10. I just shook my head and got started. On the 5th set, I had slowed way down. I was catching my breath when I heard the voice in my head, “I can’t do any more. My heart is beating too fast. I should just sit down and rest.”

    I hate that voice. I hate it because every time I listen to it and quit, I regret it and want to go back in time and slap myself in the face. But it was getting louder and louder in my head.

    Then something happened. As I was thinking about quitting, I saw my trainer add more weight for my next set. I was about to quit, and he was adding more weight!

    He said, “COME ON!!” And I shook my head again, took a deep breath, and went for it.

    I wasn’t the fastest, but I finished. And as I walked out of there, I realized I’d learned more in that one training session than from reading 20 books about business:

    I thought I couldn’t go on, and I was getting ready to quit, but instead of letting me quit or even coast, my coach pushed me to do even more.

    And I did it. This was a magical moment for me.

    It made me think about how easy it is to quit — and how rare it is to find someone who’ll push you harder than you even thought was possible.

    Mark Divine, my friend and retired Navy Seal Commander, shared a similar experience. He was on the verge of Hell Week during SEAL training. Hell Week is generally considered the most arduous period of military training in any special-ops branch in the world.

    His instructor said to him: “Don’t worry about this. This is an easy day. You’re capable of 20 times what you think you are.”

    They started on Sunday. “By Wednesday I was getting more alert,” Mark said. “My body also started to get stronger. I actually started to develop muscle mass. So by Thursday of Hell Week I was developing muscle mass and I was starting to feel really strong, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

    What’s any of this got to do with you growing your online business? Everything.

    In every entrepreneur’s journey, he or she will run into incredible resistance. Take a look:

    successful entrepreneur - the startup curve

    It’s in the “Trough of Sorrow” where mental toughness becomes crucial. It’s where many entrepreneurs give up, and let the short-term setback stop them from building a 6-figure business.

    These moments are inevitable. Most entrepreneurs go through it in some form:

    One of the hardest things about failing from the get-go is I felt I had to hide it from my friends and family… It was a really hard time in my life.” — Bryce C.

    About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to try the online [business] thing. I actually left my full-time position at my company… That was really the first time where I experienced putting effort into something and then crossing my fingers and hoping for a result and seeing absolutely nothing. It’s like you’re used to succeeding your entire life and then all of a sudden, you’d come up against a brick wall.” — Tom M.

    I was afraid I’d have to move back home to Alabama. I kept asking myself, ‘Am I doing this right? Am I making enough?’ I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay rent.” — Sarah J.

    The entrepreneur’s journey is infected by the Facebook effect. Most business owners compare their day-to-day to everyone else’s highlight reel. You go on Facebook, what do you see? “Oh, I love being on the beach. Costa Rica is so beautiful on a Wednesday!”

    At home, you’re like, “What? I’m sitting in here trying to launch this online business. What is going on here?”

    The tools to weather the journey and stay mentally tough are just as important as your email newsletter tool or your email capture form, if not more so.

    Want more advice on navigating the “Trough of Sorrow?” Grab a copy of Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business here.

    The Power of Unshakable Confidence

    We all know that person. Someone who’s got it all figured out… their business is taking off, they are amazing at their 9-5, AND never miss their kid’s football games. You look at them and wonder, “How are you so confident? How do you have it all under control?

    I call this “unshakable confidence.” How can we as entrepreneurs build it?

    Imagine you wanted to build an online business similar to IWT. You look at what it’ll take. First, you’ll start a blog. Then you realize, “Oh, no, I have to get a domain. I have to register it, and then I have to set up an email list, and then I have to write every day. Wow, that’s overwhelming.

    It is overwhelming… yet to someone who’s been doing it for years, it seems effortless. They wake up, write a blog post, and hit publish. Ten thousand people see it and 200 leave a comment. If we’re starting out, how can we do the same?

    What’s the difference between the 2 people? One difference: Realizing that almost anything can be figured out. In fact, as my friend Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure-out-able.”

    One person, who’s not confident, sees all those challenges to starting an online business. Email list, domain, URL, writing all the time… “Ahhhh! Overwhelming! No, that’s too much stuff. I can’t do it.

    The second person has to go through the exact same things, but their mindset is totally different. Instead of saying, “Oh, my God, that’s overwhelming,” they say, “Okay, what are all the things I possibly need to do?” They write them down, as many as they can.

    Next, they look at their list. “Okay, each of these things is going to be valuable and it’s going to be fun. I’m going to learn something new.” Setting up an email list? No idea how to do it. What does it involve? What are the best vendors? How much does it cost? They start Googling. And instead of feeling overwhelmed, they think, “I’m going to learn how to set up an email list. Once I learn, I’ll know it forever.”

    You repeat this process over and over again, for each item on your list. With each step, your confidence builds, slowly creating powerful, unshakable confidence.

    How to Never Be Afraid of Failure

    successful entrepreneur - have the right mindset

    Failure is one of the big “F words” in our culture. I want to tweak the way that you think about failure, because I’ve failed a lot over the last few years. In fact, I fail so often, I have a failures folder set up in my email account. If I’m not sending five to seven failures there a month, I’m actually failing at failing. I know that I’m not trying enough, so I’m not failing enough, as well.

    You can see just in that simple example how I think about failure totally differently than many people. Many of us believe, if we fail at something we’re going to be marked with a scarlet letter forever. In fact, some of us have never experienced failure at all.

    Think of something you’re not particularly good at. For me, it’s math. I was never really good at math. Yet, my businesses include online business and personal finance. I cover conversion strategy and becoming rich, and I do math on a daily basis. There are a few different options to get over the idea of failure and get on with your business.

    First, actually get better. There’s no way around this. It can be difficult or challenging to practice something over and over again, forcing yourself to get better. In my math example, that would mean reading math books, practicing problems, etc.

    For running your business, it might be writing blog posts. Or staying on top of all the business administration. Or selling your goods or service. The unsexy but powerful thing is to just spend the time getting better at something you’re not good at.

    Second, reframe failure. Let’s say that you’re terrible at cardio. You hate running on the treadmill, like I do. I’d rather do pull-ups until my arms fell off than get on that treadmill. So what can I do?

    I reframe failure. I say, “Okay, yesterday I ran for 7 minutes and I was exhausted. I felt like I was going to die. Today, I’m going to just try for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. If I run for that extra 30 seconds, it’s undeniable that I’m getting better.

    See how that’s a reframe? Frankly, it’s embarrassing for me to admit I can only run for 7 minutes, but I reframed it. By adding the 30 seconds, it becomes a growth trajectory.

    Another powerful reframe my students use: “It’s not a failure. It’s a test.” No one clicked on your email? Not a failure, you just tested that headline. No one bought on your sales page? That’s a test of your offer, now you know you need to rethink the benefits of your product or service.

    Third, prepare for failure. It’s okay to think, “I’m probably going to fail at this, so let me prepare.” I call this a failure expectation strategy, and it’s helped in so many areas of my life. For example, I had a failure expectation strategy when I was applying to colleges. I expected to get rejected by a number of colleges, including Stanford, because it’s a competitive school.

    I planned out ahead of time, “What will I do if I get rejected?” In this case, I was going to send additional press clippings from the newspaper. I was going to send an update on my grades and a new essay I’d written. If I failed, it would have just been another stepping stone to eventual success.

    In your business, the better your failure expectation strategy, the faster you’ll grow. For example, let’s say you sell a make-up tutorial course. You send it out to some friends and family who might be interested, but all you hear are crickets.

    Fortunately, you have failure expectation strategies up your pocket. You tell another group of friends, but this time, you bundle your offer with a complimentary 30-minute Skype consultation, and this time, you get 2 buyers. Interesting… You sell to another group, and bundle it with your favorite bronzer set, and this time 10 people buy.

    Suddenly, more orders are coming in, and you’re in business, because you used your failure expectation strategy. We also call this “failing forward,” because each failure propels your business another step ahead, until it’s inevitable that you become successful.

    A word of caution about failure: If you set really unrealistic goals, there is a cost to failure. If you say, “Okay, I’m feeling really motivated. I’m going to sit down and write an entire sales letter or write 7 emails pitching my product, which I’ve been putting off for the last 3 months. I’m going to buckle down and get it done…

    If you use generic phrases like “feeling motivated” and “I’m going to buckle down,” I can tell you you’re already going to fail. And after failing multiple times, you’ll start to see yourself as a “person who fails.” In other words, you start to believe, “I’m not the kind of person who can succeed in business.”

    If fear of failure is paralyzing you, then I strongly recommend you set a tiny, realistic goal for the day. When you achieve it, then move on to the next tiny, realistic goal. Your business is going to see better results from taking action on small goals then dreaming about unrealistic big goals that you never achieve.

    Failure is a normal part of business. You don’t have to be a weirdo and track all your failures like me, but if you don’t have 3 things you’ve failed at in the last 6 months, you’re probably not trying enough. A friend once gave me some great advice at a tricky time in my career.

    She said: “Ramit, nobody cares what you did. They only care what you’re doing.”

    This completely shifted the way I looked at failure, and is a reason for a lot of my success today.

    Stop Worrying About Falling Behind

    In my program Zero to Launch, students learn all the steps to build an online business. Inevitably, new students join, see how much progress other people have made, and they freak out.

    Here’s one email I got, where a student wrote: “I see many folks who seem to have been making progress within the course, and I not only feel left behind but confused as to where I might be missing something important.”

    The fact of the matter is, when it comes to this program, there are some superstar students, but they’re probably only about 5% of the student population. They just happen to post frequently, and so you see their results.

    It can get uncomfortable after a while, I get that. How did they get 2,000 people to sign up for their newsletter this week? How did they just make $15,000 in sales this month? What am I missing?

    I get that. I’m in communities, too, where it’s like, “What am I doing wrong? Did I miss a certain slide in the program, and everyone else got it except for me?”

    The truth is, this is supposed to be hard.

    But if you compare yourself to what everyone else is doing, you’re going to be stuck there forever for no reason at all.

    A while back I posted a short video of me bowling. Like any person who grew up in suburbia, I am the man at bowling. I go up, I look at the camera, and I said, “Here we go.” Boom! Knock them all down! Fist bump!

    If you watched it, you’d probably think, “Okay, this guy is pretty good.

    Except no one saw the other video we shot… Same cameraperson, similar set-up. I look at the camera, approach the lane, and completely EAT IT. I slip and fall down. The people next to me are laughing, the camera is shaking because the person is laughing.

    Interestingly, that one didn’t make it to social media. So if you had just looked at my feed, it just looks like I’m great at bowling.

    The fact is, that was just one success I happened to capture on camera, and the same thing is true when comparing your business to someone else’s. You might see someone who launched a $10,000 product. Amazing, good for them, and I want them to succeed even more. But what we don’t see are all the mistakes they made, all the misses, all the times they fell down. They’re there, trust me, they just don’t want you to see them.

    Here’s a simple technique that allowed me to eliminate 99% of these worries about what how others are doing. It goes like this:

    Focus on what you can control, ignore what you cannot.

    That sounds obvious, but when we look at our actual behavior, it’s actually quite unbelievable how much time we spend focusing on the things we cannot control. For example, the economy, politics, negative people, other people’s businesses, these are all things we generally cannot control, and yet we spend a lot of energy worrying about them.

    Once I was getting ready for a TV spot. I was getting my makeup done, and the makeup lady gets really angry with me. She said, “So you’re this finance guy, huh? You know they just started taking $200.00 a week out of my paycheck.

    Who’s they?” I ask.

    You know, the government.”

    I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t think the government is suddenly taking $10,000.00 a year out of her paycheck.” But she was convinced. She was convinced that the government suddenly decided to take $10,000 a year from her.

    What should I do about it?

    I smiled. “You know you could certainly look into that. You should try to find out exactly who’s taking this money out of your paycheck. But, let me ask you a question. Do you have a 401K?”

    Yes,” she said.

    Have you maxed it out?”

    I don’t know.

    “What about a Roth IRA?” I asked. “Do you know what that is?”

    “Yeah. I have one. I didn’t put anything in this year. Last year I contributed a little bit…” And at that moment, she kind of got the point, which is it’s easy to complain about what “the government” is doing, or how bad the economy is.

    Yet the things in front of her, the very things she has control over, she was not doing.

    Why is that? Because we hear from all the media around us how bad things are, and it actually feels great to be able to complain about it and stick it to somebody and tell them, “I can’t believe this!

    What we want to focus on is improving ourselves. Remember, building a business is supposed to be challenging, otherwise everyone else would do it. So I just focus on what I can control, and ignore everything else.

    For example, when I see someone who’s super successful, I don’t let myself get jealous. I force myself to reframe the situation. I’ll say to myself, “That’s great, I’m happy for them. We’re all at different stages. What could I learn from what they did?” If I can, I’ll even message them or shoot them an email.

    I’d say, “That is amazing. Can you tell me what part of the process helped you the most? How did you focus on your copywriting because I noticed that it’s really vibrant?”

    This is how we become amazing entrepreneurs. We develop the skills to become mentally tough, to push through the trough of sorrow that EVERY business owner goes through. Then we look at the other entrepreneurs around us and use them for support. We ask for help. We ask excellent questions. And together, we all grow.

    This article is an excerpt of the best-selling ebook Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business. The ebook is based on author Ramit Sethi’s 10+ years of experience growing a multi-million dollar business. Get your copy of the book here.

  • 100 life changing inspirational quotes that will make you think

    1. You are not the same.

    1. You are not the same.

    2. It's ok to be picky.

    2. It's ok to be picky.

    3. It's your world.

    3. It's your world.

    4. Set goals, be humble.

    4. Set goals, be humble.

    5. Vibes are everything.

    5. Vibes are everything.

    6. That's sexy.

    6. That's sexy.

    7. Your squad is everything.

    7. Your squad is everything.

    8. Being direct is good.

    8. Being direct is good.

    9. Focus and watch what happens.

    9. Focus and watch what happens.

    10. You only get one shot.

    10. You only get one shot.

    11. Do it because you want to.

    11. Do it because you want to.

    12. Your past makes you.

    12. Your past makes you.

    13. Strive for inner peace.

    13. Strive for inner peace.

    14. Do your thing.

    14. Do your thing.

    15. Listen to yourself for once.

    15. Listen to yourself for once.

    16. Lot's to do this year.

    16. Lot's to do this year.

    17. You got this. No one else does.

    17. You got this. No one else does.

    18. It's all about you.

    18. It's all about you.

    19. Relax. Be patient.

    19. Relax. Be patient.

    20. Don't listen to what they say.

    20. Don't listen to what they say.

    21. Be sensitive and proud of it.

    21. Be sensitive and proud of it.

    22. Stop waiting for others.

    22. Stop waiting for others.

    23. Embrace your weirdness.

    23. Embrace your weirdness.

    24. you can do things differently.

    24. you can do things differently.

    25. Have patience.

    25. Have patience.

    26. Find that person.

    26. Find that person.

    27. Be spontaneous.

    27. Be spontaneous.

    28. Make your own list.

    28. Make your own list.

    29. These are the best friends.

    29. These are the best friends.

    30. Discover these truths.

    30. Discover these truths.

    31. Do strange things.

    31. Do strange things.

    32. Be different than the rest.

    32. Be different than the rest.

    33. That's what shower time is for.

    33. That's what shower time is for.

    34. Being alone is a good thing.

    34. Being alone is a good thing.

    35. CEO first.

    35. CEO first.

    36. Don't be most people.

    36. Don't be most people.

    37. It depends on you.

    37. It depends on you.

    38. Strive to be anything but ordinary.

    38. Strive to be anything but ordinary.

    39. Yes please.

    39. Yes please.

    40. Don't let em bother you.

    40. Don't let em bother you.

    41. Freedom over everything.

    41. Freedom over everything.

    42. These are the best people.

    42. These are the best people.

    43. Be spontaneous.

    43. Be spontaneous.

    44. Talk about interesting things.

    44. Talk about interesting things.

    45. Do whatever you want.

    45. Do whatever you want.

    46. Be proactive

    46. Be proactive

    47. Effort is cool.

    47. Effort is cool.

    48. Just to make sure.

    48. Just to make sure.

    49. Real is best.

    49. Real is best.

    50. Your friends are everything.

    50. Your friends are everything.

    51. Never fake it.

    51. Never fake it.

    52. Surround yourself with real friends.

    52. Surround yourself with real friends.

    53. That's how it's done.

    53. That's how it's done.

    54. These kind of people...

    54. These kind of people...

    55. Keep it simple.

    55. Keep it simple.

    56. Leave some mystery.

    56. Leave some mystery.

    57. Good friends...

    57. Good friends...

    58.This is the dream.

    58.This is the dream.

    59. Do whatever you want.

    59. Do whatever you want.

    60. Enjoy the moment.

    60. Enjoy the moment.

    61. Do whatever you want.

    61. Do whatever you want.

    62. Experiences over everything.

    62. Experiences over everything.

    63.Get out of your comfort zone.

    63.Get out of your comfort zone.

    64. What's the point?

    64. What's the point?

    65. Find this person.

    65. Find this person.

    66. Mindfulness is everything.

    66. Mindfulness is everything.

    67. These are the best people.

    67. These are the best people.

    68. True friendship.

    68. True friendship.

    69. Be spontaneous.

    69. Be spontaneous.

    70. Know yourself.

    70. Know yourself.

    71. Do your own thing.

    71. Do your own thing.

    72. Exercise your brain.

    72. Exercise your brain.

    73. Have a home team.

    73. Have a home team.

    74. Be as weird as you want.

    74. Be as weird as you want.

    75. Be kind.

    75. Be kind.

    76. Make yourself better.

    76. Make yourself better.

    77. Growing up...

    77. Growing up...

    78. Find this feeling.

    78. Find this feeling.

    79. Do you.

    79. Do you.

    80. Read a book.

    80. Read a book.

    81. Find these people.

    81. Find these people.

    82. You're good enough.

    82. You're good enough.

    83. Stop comparing.

    83. Stop comparing.

    84. Follow this.

    84. Follow this.

    85. So many possibilities.

    85. So many possibilities.

    86. Morning coffee...

    86. Morning coffee...

    87. You can change.

    87. You can change.

    88. You should go for it.

    88. You should go for it.

    89. Stop thinking about others.

    89. Stop thinking about others.

    90. Support your friends.

    90. Support your friends.

    91. It's go time.

    91. It's go time.

    92. Embrace your life.

    92. Embrace your life.

    93. Enjoy being weird.

    93. Enjoy being weird.

    94. Embrace those moments.

    94. Embrace those moments.

    95. Be that person.

    95. Be that person.

    96. Be real.

    96. Be real.

    97. Work on yourself.

    97. Work on yourself.

    98. Leave some mystery.

    98. Leave some mystery.

    99. Embrace your life.

    99. Embrace your life.

    100. Do something random.

    100. Do something random.

  • ,

    What I learned about Entrepreneurship from My First Crowdfunding Campaign

    learned about Entrepreneurship - girl on laptop

    There I was, product in hand, ready to become an overnight success.

    And even if it didn’t happen overnight, which I was positive it would, I was still prepared to be a business mogul.

    I was to make it big online as a first time entrepreneur.

    The Kickstarter page was built, and I admired it. It was not a bad looking layout for the first go around of someone who was not very technologically advanced. Jot: a minimalist, undated, 30-day planner that takes everything into account from weekly calendars to grocery list templates. It even comes in two sizes!

    I was proud. I had given the planners out to my friends who loved them and were actually using them. I took a deep breath (all the dramatics and feels) and pressed submit. I waited…for days. Because it takes a few of those for Kickstarter to review and either approve or deny your campaign. I received the approval email and it was game on! Or so I thought.

    By day five of the campaign, I had raised less than $100.

    I was clogging up my personal social media feeds with great content about the product. I emailed all of my influential friends about possible Corporate Packages. I even reached out to social media accounts that concentrate on promoting crowd-funding campaigns…for a fee of course. I was doing everything right. I had this great product and I could not understand why no one wanted to buy it! Then, I learned my biggest business lesson yet, and paid handsomely for it might I add. I hired a PR and Marketing firm who “specialized in crowd-funding projects”. They said all the right things, hit all the right queues, laughed when they were suppose to laugh, and raved about how awesome and in demand my product was. This was it! This was to be my big break! Epic fail. I am still waiting for the fruition of that labor. I only saw a 2% rise in page views. That was practically zero.

    learned about Entrepreneurship - girl on laptop

    As a last ditch effort, I turned to Facebook ad promotions.

    I was skeptical. I had every reason to be. All of my efforts had proven stale. I saw some return from the targeted social media accounts, but not near what I had hoped for. I ran a few Facebook ads, and traffic started to come in. It still was not enough. I had one week left on my campaign.

    I was going to fail. I was a loser.

    My product was apparently crap. I mean, of course I love the product. It’s MY product. And just when I was losing all hope, I was approached by an acquaintance who offered me seed money to print my first run of planners. This was great! Someone was offering me cash to produce inventory!

    Once I came off of the high of an unsolicited investor, there was a real question at hand: what good would inventory do if I had no customers. I felt as though I were back at square one. A couple of days later, as I sat pondering this question, a notification popped up on my phone. “Guest” had pledged funds to my Kickstarter. I logged into the app to see just how big of a failure I was to be and to my surprise, I had surpassed my funding goal! “Guest” had just backed me with a good amount of money! Call it fate? Call it luck? I called it a miracle! My Kickstarter had been funded and I still had my investor on the hook!

    But, that lingering question was still unanswered: how do I get customers?

    Over time, I figured out that, though the Facebook ads and marketing posts looked nice, they really were not doing me or my company any justice. I needed a new avenue. I needed press. I gathered contact information on all of the magazines, blogs, and websites that I could find who took on articles around my type of product. I scored a huge success with a great magazine after sending my first round of emails. I built a pretty dope website that is user friendly, and sent out several promotional packages and samples to bloggers who agreed to write a review on their site. It was all about making connections with people who would end up being great to partner with, and putting myself out there by offering journalists a look into me, my product, and my company.

    I always assumed that crowd-funding was easy and that if I constructed a great product, the masses would crash my website wanting to buy it! Negative. But, the experience has been enormous and I have learned a lot of things on the front end and made mistakes early that I probably will not make again as the company grows. Pen-to-paper is reemerging as a premier analog tool. I set out with one goal: create a simple way to write things down. Jot has fulfilled that goal. If I can offer any advice, it is this: stay small until the product tells you it is time to be big. If you don’t understand what I mean by that, feel free to reach out and let’s chat!

    Sham is the CEO of Ink & Paper, LLC and creator of the JOT planner and notebook. www.inkandpaperms.com
    IG/FB @jotnotebook

  • ,

    Stop Trying To Be Somebody

    jumping man

    Make Something. Don’t Just Talk About It.

    When you watch reality TV singing shows, the hopefuls tend to be starry eyed dreamers, who’ll look into the camera and say “I’ve always dreamed about being a singer.” They never say they’ve always dreamed of singing.

    I think that’s a pretty important difference. If they really gave a shit about singing, they’d be out there every day and night, singing their fucking lungs out.

    Joining bands, finding gigs, recording music, filming YouTube videos, working their asses off to get in front of an audience.

    But they’re not. They’re dragging themselves across national TV for a shot at fame and fortune based on scripted drama and audience manipulation.

    They’re waiting for someone to make them into Singers. With the lifestyle, and the glamour to boot. They don’t want to do something. They want to be the person who does something.

    You can see this behavior in a lot of other areas, with a lot of other people.

    They don’t want to found a company. They want to be founders. They don’t want to create art. They want to be artists. They don’t want to spend hours coding until their eyes ache. They want to be developers.

    Life Is About The Shit You Do Every Day.

    Following your dreams, living your life is about getting up in the morning and going to work. It could be art, it could be music, it could be your own business. Work could be a stage, a studio, a swanky office or your bedroom, but it’s always work.


    It’s got nothing to do with what you call yourself, or what your lifestyle is like. It’s all about the shit that you have to work on, and accomplish every single day. That’s what matters, because that’s how you get somewhere.

    If you’re concerned with chasing the lifestyle, trying to take on the persona and gain the trappings, you’re missing the point. You’ll never make anything worthwhile, because making something isn’t even on your radar.

    The irony of being completely focused on being, rather than doing, is that without doing — you’ll never be anything.

    You’ll Never Feel Like You’ve Reached The End.

    I’m convinced that nobody actually like feels like they’ve become something. Or somebody. No one gets to the end of the line and says they feel like an entrepreneur now, or an artist now. Because it’s not a feeling you can ever capture.

    You’ll always be looking for the one big thing that will get you there, the one big shot that can allow you to finally stop and enjoy yourself.

    But it’s never going to happen. If you keep chasing that feeling of the ticking the box, and becoming someone, there will never be an end to it. You have to chase the doing, because that’s where you’ll find satisfaction and fulfillment.

    There is no point at which you’ve ever made it. There’s no point at which you’re home safe and you can just stop. Those singing contestants? They don’t believe that. They believe they can be happy, if they win this contest. Get this deal. Release this single. It’s not true.

    Your Work Is Going To Suck.

    When you’re only working to be somebody, rather than focusing on doing the work for its own sake, it’s going to suffer. The quality will be low and the level of effort you put in is going to be noticeably lacking.

    The work itself is important, it’s crucially important. It’s not just something that has to be ticked off in order to justify the way you present yourself, or the way you want to feel. It’s not there to give your lifestyle a reason. The work is everything that matters.

    You have to make good art. Write good sentences. Build good shit. If you don’t, if all you’re doing is paying lip service to your own ego, people will notice. The world will notice.

    Nobody Will Take You Seriously If You Don’t Do Shit.

    When you tell everyone that you are something, you are someone, they expect to see some proof. Nobody would listen to me as a writer, if I didn’t spend hours every day hammering out blog posts, working on a book and communicating with my readers.

    It’s the work that makes people sit up and take notice, not your bio or your introduction. If you want anyone to take you seriously, what you really want is their respect. And you can’t just be given respect. Nobody is lining up to hand it out.

    You have to earn it. You earn it by doing things that matter, and working on projects that matter and putting in the effort every single day. It’s the only way to earn it.

    You Won’t Improve, And You Won’t Learn.

    If you’re already content to call yourself a founder, and call yourself an artist, instead of founding, creating and working, you’re closing yourself off to improvement and the opportunity to learn.

    When you look at the work instead, and you spend your time trying to make it the best it can be, that’s when you have the chance to make a discovery. To experience your own Eureka moment.

    The work I do, that’s writing. And entrepreneurship. And marketing. And design. And speaking. But me? I prefer to think of myself as a student, before anything else. I’m here to learn. We all are. 

    You Have To Just Get Out There.

    If you want to make it, you’re going to waste your time trying to hit an impossible goal, and quite probably relying on a series of gatekeepers in order to get there. You won’t find happiness down the road, just a series of increasingly tough disappointments.

    If you want to actually do something, you’re going to find a great deal more satisfaction. There’s so many opportunities to do what you love, when you’re not worried about who you’re trying to be, or what lifestyle you think you should have.

    You can get out there, and make something happen. I like to talk a lot about a band called Fugazi, and another called Black Flag. They were hugely important to me, as a creative and an entrepreneur — because they never waited for a big break. They used to book their own shows, pay for their own records, and work their asses off.

    For their entire careers, they were focused on the doing, not the being.

    And that’s the better path.

    This article also appears on Medium and is published here with the permission of the author

  • ,

    How to get press for yourself as a young entrepreneur

    how to get press for yourself - cameras

    I want to share with you insider information that I’ve learned after getting a ton of press for myself and my brand Leave Normal Behind. As a young entrepreneur, getting press for yourself can make all the difference and my experience in getting in Forbes, INC and Entrepreneur Magazine has proven this.

    Getting press for yourself can make all the difference.

    Imagine someone Googling you because they want to check you out before they buy your book or your T-shirts or organic face cream,etc.

    Now imagine that the first two pages of search results are filled with press clippings from various magazines, TV shows, podcasts and digital media platforms (like PRSUIT), all saying positive things about you and your brand.

    All signalling loud and clear that you’re legit.

    How do you think people feels about you now?!

    Well this is literally what happens to me all the time.

    After being featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and Influencive I can tell you first hand that great press gets you more opportunities, higher speaking and consulting fees, and free VIP access to events and masterminds.

    Scott Oldford, founder and CEO of Infinitus, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses with online marketing, has experienced the magic of earned media exposure first hand after scaling his two-year-old startup past 7-figures.

    It’s HUGE! The ability to have PR and then use that PR to cement your true authority is something that can’t be underestimated,” Scott explains.

    On one front, there is the credibility factor. It’s the invisible “ROI” of being able to have someone know that you are someone they should listen to.

    On a second front, it allows us to reach new audiences that we wouldn’t be able to reach.

    “In real world dollars and cents, we secured a $100K+ client within 3 hours of sending an email linking to an article about me in Entrepreneur magazine to our email list — it’s what gave him the confidence to sign the deal,” Scott explains.

    When’s the last time you got that kind of ROI?

    Of course you’re asking,

    How can I get press though?”

    This is a common question asked by many young entrepreneurs.

    Before I tell you what to do to get press though, let me first warn you that there are dangers attached.

    You do not want to get media exposure if you’re not prepared to run a business that actually cares about its customers and the impact it makes in the world. Press is social proof on steroids,

    Press coverage is social proof on steroids,” says Geeta Nadkarni, media personality and founder of Baby Got Booked, an online course that helps visionary entrepreneurs use the power of PR for exponential growth.

    She and her work have been featured in outlets including the New York Times, CBC, CNN, Global TV, as well as Reader’s Digest, and she’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur magazine, Inc., and Global TV.

    I appreciate the insight that she shares because she is genuine and authentic.

    We’ve developed a system that helps you influence the influencers,” Geeta explains. “Most entrepreneurs have heard about the importance of building their email list. Well, building a list of media contacts and getting them excited about your brand is like multiplying your influence by 1000.

    I agree with this because each media contact increases your influence because they come with a built in audience of hundreds of thousands of people who trust them.”

    A warning – what press CANNOT do for you.

    If you try to gain press to mask a sh*t product or service you will do damage to your business reputation.

    People do not like to be fooled. It’s like having frosting on a cake that tastes like sh*t. No matter how good the frosting is when you bite the cake, it still tastes like sh*t.

    Just think about it …

    If someone reads your article that’s all frosting and has a terrible experience with you or your product later on, then they will never come back (and will tell their friends too).

    Worse, journalists are trained to research things. So if you make things that break or break your promises to your customers, then THAT is the story that will be broadcast out to millions of your prospects.

    If you have something great, however, press is going to accelerate your brand at light speed!

    Every time you land an interview, feature, or column on a media outlet, you get to add their logo to your website and marketing materials (“As seen on”) and that allows you to build credibility and trust with your ideal prospects.

    These are my tips to help you secure press.

    how to get press for yourself - iphone screen

    Speak in the language of the writer. Put their interests first and frame your story in a way that fits exactly what they are looking for.

    When a busy journalist is reading your pitch, they don’t care about you or your credentials — at least not at first.

    All they care about is what’s in it for their audience.

    According to Geeta, no matter what outlet you’re pitching and what your topic is, all journalists will evaluate your pitch using these 3 questions:

    Why now, why is this relevant to that particular audience, and why you’re the expert.”

    Here are some things to contemplate:

    Does it inspire, educate, empower or entertain the journalist’s audience?

    Would the reader, viewer or listener’s life be improved after they spent time consuming your content?

    Would they feel smarter?

    In other words, are you bringing massive value to that producer or podcaster’s audience?

    Ditch the press release and get journalists to fall in love with you by thinking of things in THEIR terms.

    Writers really appreciate when you lessen their workload. Which means you have to understand their priorities and make sure your content is aligned with them.

    Get clear on your ideal client (and then pitch a media outlet that is already talking to them)

    You need to think of what your perfect reader looks like. What are their interests? What problem are they dealing with right now?

    Create content that will help inspire, inform, educate and empower that audience.

    Over-deliver on value-packed content. People really appreciate it when you take the time to teach them something new, so go deep instead of wide. There’s plenty of superficial crap out there on the internet, so stand out by truly sharing something that makes people think. And be careful not to overshare!

    Write a killer subject line

    Something that inspires curiosity and makes a journalist, who’s checking email on her phone, unable to resist opening your email.

    Personalize your pitch

    Whenever possible, use a journalist’s name and include a sentence telling her how much you liked one of her recent pieces. Media pros are people too and we love hearing that our hard work is actually being appreciated out there!

    Include an image in the body of the email

    Instead of attaching a PDF press release or image (which will get you thrown in spam), put all of your text and images in the body of your email. Just drag and drop.

    Finish with a mediagenic bio

    This is the grand finale! Make sure this is short, quick, concise, and gently tweaked to fit that particular media outlet’s audience. Here’s a great template to write a mediagenic bio in less than 10 minutes!

    These are simple steps that you can utilize to secure press and gain the media momentum you are looking for.

    There are too many people who are working hard and not receiving the type of press coverage they deserve.

    If you’re looking to gain press and build a strong personal brand without spending $10,000+ then contact me: rob@leavenormalbehind.com.

    Now … get to work and start sending out those pitches!

  • ,

    The real reason travel is so rewarding (and how to apply it to your life)

    man with camera

    Traveling (or as I like to do… backpacking) can be arduous, uncomfortable, and anxiety-inducing. When we see those picture perfect Instagram posts of people traveling the world they represent 1% of the story, glossing over the other 99% (such as the fact that blood, sweat and tears were shed to get to the top of that mountain summit  or the third leg of that flight).

    The chaos of finding yourself in an alien culture, where you’ve been stripped of all familiarity, is at the time nothing other than a test of survival.

    So why then is traveling so rewarding?

    Because when we travel we submit ourselves to the accompanying s**t in order to experience those fleeting moments of bliss — the moments that we recall when nostalgically reminiscing about our travels. We look back on our stories of being ripped off by a local taxi driver or how we got so lost in a place that they started crying… it’s all part of the experience… and we embrace it.

    Life is exactly the same.

    What gives our life meaning is our suffering, and what manifests from that suffering. For example when we graduate from school, our pride and joy isn’t derived from the fact that we now have a new piece of paper that we did not have beforehand. Instead we celebrate all the hours spent frantically studying late at night, our challenging progress in terms of self-development and maturity, or those lifelong friends we made by placing ourselves in new social environments when we would much rather have stayed at home.

    Take parenthood. 99% of being a parent involves doing thankless and repetitive tasks that nobody in their right mind would voluntarily agree to. Yet why is it that parenthood has been proven to be one of the most fulfilling pursuits in life? Because that 1% — seeing your offspring grow up — is so rewarding that the sacrifices which contributed to the end result was worth it.

    What should you take from this post?

    Embrace life’s difficulties.

    Don’t feel bad for not feeling happy all the time. Reframe your attitude to all those annoying micro tasks that need to be done on a daily basis because they are ultimately contributing to your desired end goals. Your sense of fulfillment and happiness should be viewed from an overview perspective rather than a fleeting snapshot in the here and now. Nobody wants to go to the bank to fill out endless admin forms, but perhaps that act is bringing you 0.001% closer to the person who are aiming to become.

    Every single person on this planet is battling inner demons, in one form or another. Empathy and compassion of this fact will go a long way to contributing to your success and well-being. The next time you see that “i have my life together” post on Instagram, take heart from the reality that what you are seeing is a surface reflection of the proverbial iceberg.

    Keep seeking.

  • ,

    Why you should skip your meetings at work and spend more time alone

    spend more time alone - man alone on steps

    The belief that working in teams makes us more creative is so widespread that we’ve stopped listening to our instincts. Solitude is out of fashion… but I’m here today to encourage you to listen to your instincts and be alone for a bit.

    Ever since kindergarten we’re taught to share, we’ve spent years at school solving issues in teams and now we work in offices without walls where we’re encouraged to brainstorm and reach synergistic goals to enhance each other’s creative capabilities. But what if I told you… it’s all wrong?

    What if I told you that years of learning the meaning of teamwork has taught me that you should be spending more time alone?

    Does being alone enable you to be more creative, effective and productive?

    We work collaborating and communicating with each other”… that’s what they’d say as they showed me my brand-new work laptop and a fancy stand-up table in a circle office with glass walls.

    We work together, we have lunch together and we encourage teamwork, which means you have to attend team meetings every day and meetings with the person you report to weekly. It makes us more creative.

    I remember my head buzzing around trying to calculate how much time it actually takes just to prepare for these meetings alone.

    Is that a normal practice here?” I wondered, looking around. I felt my brows meeting in one vivid unibrow showing disbelief in my future work practices.

    Yes it is”, my colleague answered with the brightest smile possible.

    Back then even my extroverted soul wanted to crumble and hide. Does that mean… I’ll actually be forced to spend time attending meetings where everyone will simply be updated what each of us is working on? What if there’s something we disagree on?

    “Okayyyy…” I whispered to myself contemplating where I ended up.

    Daily 20-30 meetings with teammates, weekly meetings with my manager and monthly 2 hour meetings with the whole office – that’s how my work was scheduled from that point.

    If you’re attending meetings all day.. you’re wasting your talent (and solitude might be the answer)

    spend more time alone - man alone on sea

    It’s not your fault, though. Teamwork and collaboration are at the core of today’s corporate work style (and that makes sense!). We hold frequent meetings to encourage knowledge sharing, understanding and consensus in the workplace and the our society is characterized by democracy and involvement. In other words, team meetings are compulsory, every attendant is not only encouraged but is rather expected to contribute and every prevailing issue is discussed out loud. Such practice is expected to foster creativity, brainstorming, flexibility and responsiveness as well as the ability to respond to change.

    I’ve got to admit that despite my initial ignorance I did find the meetings useful an engaging. And while nothing in business gets accomplished without the assistance of others, very quickly I found myself observing the negative effects that teamwork and frequent meetings bring along such as high interdependence and time wasting, to name a few.

    Too much collaboration can be detrimental… you need time for yourself to spend alone.

    Back in the 1890s, French researcher Max Ringelmann discovered what others later called the Ringelmann effect: the larger a workgroup, the more likely workers will mingle with each other and will waste time rather than get inspired and get the work done. That means that workmates will rather socialize and will also expect others to pick up the slack. He claimed that the maximum allowed number of people during the meeting is 5. After that, each extra attendee slows the process down and “extends the unproductive time”.

    My team meetings would usually feature an exact number of 5 individuals and in most cases even a smaller amount of people. In cases when attendee number would exceed 5 we were warned that we will stick to a certain schedule which would normally feature a strict meeting schedule and attendees would not be allowed to speak longer than 3 minutes at a time. Such meetings would usually allow to both express themselves and give a short feedback. Could that have been the secret of focus?

    Go be alone (but not lonely).

    Solitude itself is a state of seclusion, i.e. lack of contact with people due to (mainly) purposeful actions – longer-lasting focus, increased creativity and ability to fully relax. However a purposeful long-term solitude, where any human contact is intentionally neglected is thought to bring negative experiences.

    While collaboration is key to creativity, exceptional thoughts come nearly always in solitude.

    A number of highly creative people, such as Nikola Tesla, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka highly valued solitude since solitude was the only state of mind where they could use 100% of their potential. And while the brightest minds we’ve ever known would create in peace and solitude they would still seek for companionship for feedback.

    The belief that working in teams makes us more creative is so widespread that we’ve stopped listening to our instincts. We’ve stopped trying to understand what we need at that exact moment and we’ve stopped experimenting with ourselves.

  • ,

    Music and the brain: how listening to music can get you out of a slump

    Music and the brain - girl listening to music

    Music is the universal language. It’s a therapist, a healer, an old friend, a memory, a warm blanket, a trip to a faraway land, and a fire under our ass. It can inspire and motivate us, it can send us crashing to the ground in a pool of sorrow, it can bring us back to a single day of our childhood, sitting on our grandma’s lap with a popsicle in our hand, breathing in the smell of the cottonwoods and listening to the wind chimes.

    When we listen to music, we are not only tuning in with our ears, but our hearts and minds and souls.

    Music and the mind: music is the soundtrack to our lives and the blood in our veins.

    I’ve written about mindfulness here before, but really, being mindful all boils down to staying rooted in the present moment. There are several ways to approach mindfulness, the most obvious ones are usually focusing on the breath, doing yoga, meditation, hiking, etc., but music is sort of the unsung hero of mindfulness.

    Music has the power to completely change our lives if we truly tune in and we allow it to activate the parts of our brains that only music can.

    When I was 16 years old, I left a toxic home environment and was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment with no furniture, a twin-sized mattress, and a CD player on the floor. I had no dishes, no couch, no shower curtain, and no table to eat off of. But I was finally free and I had my big-ass book of punk CDs and those CDs were my lifeblood. I would sit alone in that empty apartment for hours and hours and hours on end and listen to songs filled with words that I needed to hear but no one else was saying to me; words that told me that I wasn’t a victim of my circumstance, but a warrior and a rebel and a fighter and a trailblazer.

    Songs that reminded me that I owe nothing to anyone but myself, to never look down and to keep my focus on my own lane and my own goals and my own dreams, not on the negativity and drama that was swirling around me trying to derail me. The ritualistic act of placing a CD in an empty disc slot, opening the liner notes, putting on my headphones, and fully immersing myself in the sound and the words on the page and the deeper meaning of it all was the epitome of staying rooted in the present moment.

    Music and the brain - guy listening to music

    When we go to a concert, we are fully present. We aren’t thinking about our appointments and that assignment that’s due or that guy who cut us off in traffic, because none of it matters. All that ever matters is the here and now.

    I didn’t know what “mindfulness” was at the time, but in those moments, with all of those positive messages seeping in to my soul, I was tuning out the world of negativity I had escaped from and was focusing only on the present moment. Looking back now, I can say with absolute certainty that the band Face to Face literally saved me from a life that could have very easily been filled with regrettable decisions. That would have been the easy way out, but music came to my rescue at a time in my life when no one else was around to be that life raft for me and it forced me to believe in myself when no one else did.

    Thankfully, it steered me down a path of bettering myself and giving a big middle finger to anyone who tried to stop me.

    This is your brain on music: it activates nearly every part of the brain:

    …the cerebellum, both auditory cortices, the memory centers, hippocampus, language centers, and the lowest parts of the frontal lobe.

    When our brains are firing on all cylinders, it sparks our flow and gets our heart pumping, acting as a source of strength and creative energy that literally transports us to another dimension. When we find a piece of music we relate to, it reminds us that our pain is not unique only to ourselves, but that we all suffer, we all dream, we all love, we all rage, we all experience sorrow and loss. So not only are we bringing awareness to our own state of being, but also to the connection we all share in this wild ride called life. Recognizing ourselves in another is the true definition of compassion. Compassion breeds love, and love is really all there is. Buddhists call this metta, or the act of loving-kindness, benevolence, and goodwill toward others.

    Music makes us more compassionate!

    Can you imagine doing a high-intensity cardio workout without music? Or dining at a fancy Italian restaurant without music? Without music, what would we dance to?  Next time you go to turn something on, pause for a minute and ask yourself “what mood will this put me in? How do I want to feel? What do I hope to get out of this song or band or experience?”

    Pay attention to how you are affected by the lyrics, the tone, and the message. There is one “artist” in particular whom, when I hear their music, it makes me absolutely cringe and want to pour acid in my ears, but right now, I’m hanging out with Miles Davis.

    What gets your juices flowing?

  • ,

    How to become more confident in yourself

    What is the one common characteristic of today’s great leaders, athletes, creators and doers?

    They know they’re the sh*t.

    That’s of course is a bit of an exaggeration but when it comes to success, if you’re not confident in yourself, your ability and your potential, you won’t get very far.

    That’s as far as I want to go with hyping confidence.

    I have read a lot of ‘how to hack your confidence’ articles lately, and they all seem to glamorize and simplify the art of developing confidence. Lot’s of fake it til you make it advice.

    Sounds like all you have to do is adopt a power stance, repeat self-affirming mantras to yourself, dress your best and you’ll be more confident than Kanye West!

    Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a lot to fake it til you make it and other similar practices you can do to aid in confidence. But in my experience, they are superficial and don’t last.

    how to be more confident


    I have spent the last couple of years in a client facing sales role. This entails daily meetings, entertainment, meeting new people and general schmoozing and “pitching.” If there’s any line of business where having confidence and charisma is a prerequisite, it’s sales.

    There’s a lot of pressure in sales to exude confidence.

    But a lot of the time, it’s quite binary. You either have it or you don’t.

    If you don’t, you need to fake it til you make it, otherwise, your time will be short lived.

    I have learned a ton over the past couple of years about what true confidence means and how to become more confident in all aspects of your life.

    I have learned that, truth be told, there is no way to quickly hack your self-confidence. There are no life pro tips that will give you outright confidence. The truth is quite simple.

    If you want to develop confidence, you need to practice. Plain and simple.

    I think the biggest misconception people have about self-confidence is that being confident means having blind confidence in yourself and your ability.

    how to be more confident


    When I first started in sales, I was far from confident. I didn’t have much success to build on, was new in the industry and was thrown headfirst into the gauntlet.

    I tried the fake it til you make it routine and projected outright confidence in myself, my product and my company. But it felt forced. And, in retrospect, it was!

    To project blind confidence in yourself is just silly.

    I have learned that to truly be confident in yourself, you need to be realistic about yourself and your skills.

    It’s ok to accept the fact that you might not be the best in certain respects. Accept that, move on and focus on the areas where you have true confidence.

    The best way to be realistic yet still have the utmost confidence in yourself without being contradictory is to understand the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem.

    Here is how I define it.

    Self-esteem is having confidence in your overall worth as a person.

    I have worth, potential and value to offer myself and the world

    Self-confidence is more action oriented.

    I have the ability to do whatever I set my mind to.

    The thing I have noticed about today’s great leaders, athletes and doers is that their self-confidence emanates from their sense of overall worth.

    Their self-esteem gives them self-confidence. BUT, they are also realistic about their shortcomings. That is true-confidence. It is for this reason that fake it ’til you make it is not an effective means of developing true confidence. If you don’t develop the underlying self-esteem, you are simply building a house on sand.

    The great thing about self-esteem is that it is not something you are just born with or not. It is something you can develop and nurture.

    Self-confidence is a byproduct of self-esteem.

    In my experience, the real key to learning how to become more confident in yourself is to develop your self esteem.

    how to be more confident


    When you have developed your self-esteem, you’ll realize that you are okay with not being confident in certain areas of your life. You don’t adhere to blind confidence. And you’re okay with that!

    To develop this, you need to realize that your level of self-esteem is tied to what you believe is possible. This belief is entirely up to you and can be altered.

    The best way I have found to develop self-esteem is to ensure that your inner vision is tied to your external reality.

    Simply put, if your daily actions and decisions aren’t in-line with who you want to be and where you want to go, your self-esteem will suffer.

    You are essentially sabotaging yourself, and whether you realize it or not, it has a tangible effect on your self-esteem,

    To ensure this is not happening to you, you have to live purposefully and be introspective. You have to carry your goals front of mind and ponder them when making decisions.

    If your day-to-day actions are in-line with these goals, your self-esteem will build.

    Your self-esteem is the guiding force you have to gives you the confidence that you are capable of learning and acting. So let’s take a minute and focus on how to increase your daily levels of confidence to mirror that of your self-esteem.

    First, be aware that there are several kinds of confidence.

    Confidence as a result of skill

    Think of today’s top athletes. They are highly skilled, highly practiced and execute on a regular basis. Their confidence is drawn from the fact that they are damn good at what they do day in and day out.

    Confidence in self

    This is closely aligned with your self-esteem but is more aligned with your daily actions. It is the ability to rebound after failure. To see the glass half-full instead of half-empty. It is acceptance of the scenario and confidence to find the good in any result.

    Confidence as a result of success

    This one is a given, but confidence breeds confidence. Once you start seeing results and get success under your belt, it feeds your confidence.

    Which arena of confidence I have learned that the best confidence comes from doing. Doing is the only way to truly develop confidence.

    Here are 4 ways to learn how to become more confident in yourself.

    Loosen up instead of trying to be validated by everyone around.

    This is the biggest lesson I have learned over the past 3 years.

    Knowing who you actually are instead of focusing on some image of who you should be. I’m not talking in terms of goals (in which case you should focus on where you want to go). I’m talking about your personality and characteristics.

    By focusing on who you are, you are turning your back on the exterior image of confidence – status, money, career, cars, friends, popularity, etc. Your old mind focused on having these elements in order to feel good and confident about yourself. This is superficial confidence and is developed by accruing shiny objects. Once those things are gone, you have nothing.

    Instead of focusing on these external qualities, your focus should be on your internal self.

    When this shift occurs, your resilience will become unwavering.

    Failed a test, fired from job, weight gain, made fun of, weak… no matter what it is, your inner confidence remains strong.

    The only true way to grow this is through experiences. It is through those experiences that you realize that they aren’t lasting and that you will always bounce back.

    I call it living in your own bubble. Within that bubble, you are impervious. You are always yourself and you will never feel less than confident.

    So, let this be a reminder to be yourself. At all times. Be weird.

    how to be more confident


    Take action without regard to the outcome.

    I don’t mean to always go in guns blazin’. What I mean by this is to recognize that no matter the outcome whether it be success or failure, there really is no negative outcome. It is all a learning experience.

    Take action and learn as you go. Try new things, learn new skills. That is what will make you confident.

    Write down your accomplishments

    Perspective breeds confidence. Feeling stuck? Feel like you are not moving forward and this is affecting your confidence as a result?

    Take a minute and write down some of the things you have accomplished to date. Write down some of the positive qualities that enabled you to accomplish these items. Similar to gratitude journaling, this is a great way to remind yourself of what you are capable of. Time to get out of that rut and learn to not be realistic about your accomplishments.

    Surround Yourself with Inspiring People

    If your squad is winning, you’re winning too.

    If you want to have and emanate confidence, it is helpful to see what that looks like in practice. Surround yourself with people who exude confidence.

    how to be more confident


    I’d love to know how you develop your own sense of confidence. Email me! case@prsuit.com

  • ,

    How to better yourself by getting out of your own way

    how to better yourself - woman on phone

    Does this little scenario sound familiar? You are fortunate enough to know what you want out of life but you can’t get out of your own your way to get it.  Your calling is knocking on your door but you are too darn scared to take that first step, or you have no clue where to begin.  It is frustrating being you sometimes, right?  Well, you are not alone, my friend! I like to call this – Lights, Camera, Inaction.

    To learn how to change yourself for the better, you have to realize what’s happening.

    It’s when you get all fired up about your dreams but you don’t do a darn thing about it.  It’s almost as if there is a proverbial wall between you and your dreams and rather than trying to figure out a way to get through it, you just freeze.

    So here’s a little advice… your dreams are not going to magically appear!

    I am a perfect example of this unfortunate truth.

    From the time I was three years old I wanted to be an actor.  While I took classes through the years, I never fully pursued my dream for one reason or another. As I saw it, life always got in the way.  Every year brought up another obstacle. One year turned into 5 years and then 10 years until almost 40 years went by!  No really.

    Time has a crazy little habit of passing by quickly.

    how to better yourself - man taking picture

    I found myself working in the business world and doing very well, but guess what?  I was miserable.  I used to tell my husband that when I went to work I died a little each day.  Sounds a little dramatic now BUT that’s actually how I felt.

    Even after all those years I STILL had the gnawing feeling of wanting to become an actor.  But now the difference was that I feared I would NEVER do it. The last thing I ever wanted to do was look back as an old lady and say, “Wow I never even really tried”.  Ugh!

    So very long story short, I got laid off from my job and I finally went out and started taking acting classes, got my headshots taken and started to pursue my dream- one little step at a time.

    I have been acting now for several years and have been in films, TV shows, commercials and more.  I am in my glory.  Most people would have doubted that a forty-something year old mom could actually pull it off.  But none of this ever would have happened if I didn’t try.

    So, it’s really pretty simple, you have two choices when it comes to bettering yourself…

    You can either accept the fact that you have a dream that will always remain just that – a dream, or you can get busy and make it happen. I know the latter is easier said than done but trying is a whole lot more fun than just giving up.

    Here’s the good news… knowing what you want is a huge advantage.  Do you know how many people struggle with trying to pinpoint what they want to do with their lives?  Two words – A LOT. So now let’s get you moving in the right direction.

    The very first thing you have to do, can be done anywhere and at any time.  It’s simply making the decision to move forward.  Once you do that, the doors of opportunity will have the nod to go ahead and start opening.  Giving yourself permission to have the life of your dreams is sometimes the hardest part.  So go ahead and say, “I give myself permission to have a wonderful life and follow my dreams.”

    Enough said!  The key is to truly mean it when you say it (and to truly want to change).

    The next step is actually taking one small step.  This can be anything – a web search, making a contact or creating a list.  It can be whatever gets you excited and helps you move forward.  The key is not putting it off.  So take action today and be proud of yourself for doing it. Then get in the habit of doing something every day.

    Since we are starting off small, there is just one other step for now.  Close your eyes and see yourself living your dream.  I want you to not only see yourself, but to use all your senses to create a lifelike movie of your success.  Go crazy!  What does it look like, feel like, smell like, sound like and even taste like?  If you really get into it, you will start to feel all the juicy emotions that your dream will bring. This feeling will motivate you to keep taking action.

    So, whatever your dream may be, you have to be willing to take the leap to change it from dream to reality.  It will not happen overnight and may not be easy but time will pass regardless. So why not use it wisely?  I know you can do it!

    You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

  • ,

    How failing changed my life (and why you should fail more often)

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams cover

    My first failure was relatively early in my career, and timing-wise, I was lucky for that. However, when you’re just starting out, it can be harder to navigate around what seems like the biggest setback that’s ever happened.

    In reality, what I’ve learned is that failure is a jumping-off point.

    It shows us how to step up and move forward, and how to stay resilient.

    Without these qualities, the entrepreneurial life would be unbelievably challenging, because these characteristics are the making of a true leader.

    Failure is important for this reason.

    I believe it’s one of the fundamental steps on the path to fulfilling success.

    When I was first starting my journey after I made the bold move to drop out of college, the one thing I knew for sure was that I was passionate about the stock market, and wanted to learn more about it.

    I wanted mentors, because it made sense to me to learn from those who were already successful in this area rather than scrappily trying to figure it out alone. What was most important to me was understanding what kind of companies people invested in, and why. So, I searched for those who could be deemed “experts” in this area to absorb what they had to share.

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams collage 1

    Simultaneously, I was building an online platform and community for other people interested in learning about the stock market. I was inspired by the rating system used on Amazon and Ebay and applied it to a user platform where you could see who’s advice and feedback was most highly rated, giving them a higher gold star presence. I worked relentlessly on getting this thing off the ground, day in and day out, I was furiously passionate about it because I felt like I was creating the very thing that I needed. I was filling a niche, and one that I truly felt was going to support other people in their quest for knowledge, financial awareness, and creating success.

    I quickly reached over ten thousand users.

    Those that had 4 and 5 star ratings became a go-to source for me on getting educated more rapidly in the world of stocks and trading. In a way they became mentors without even knowing it. They were the reason I understood what price to earnings ratio meant, they were the reason I knew about balance sheets. They were the reason I started to see the landscape, and truly understand how people played on it.

    A CEO reached out to me and asked how he could get exposure to the investment community I was building. We’ll call him Rob. He told me I was pioneering investor relations in the digital world — and that stepping outside of the traditional model of getting exposure was more challenging for smaller companies like his. I was 19 at the time, and I went to see him at his office in the top floor of a beautiful building. His office was insane. It was huge, had a wraparound terrace, and overlooked the skyline.

    He gave me a tour, told me a bit about what he did, which intrigued me, and then offered me a job on the spot.

    “Why don’t you become our Director of Investor Relations?”

    I was losing it! This was the most exciting thing in the world to me at the time, because somehow, it also meant I had become an expert. He said he wasn’t bothered by me building my own business at the same time as long as I got my work done, and so the hustle began. I had a key to the office, and I would grind there every day until 3 or 4 in the morning.

    I did everything for this man — built a new website, did video marketing, got him written up in Wired Magazine. I wore one thousand hats, and never hated a minute of it because I was learning so much.

    I ended up building them up to have the largest shareholder base for a company of their size in the world.

    At the same time I was building my own website and company late at night after work. I was all in, and pretty wildly committed to it. During the year I was with this company, their stock went up 400%. Four hundred percent. A solid chunk of change. It was a testament not solely to how hard I was working, but I definitely let myself bask in the fact that I had contributed to this.

    I called Rob, and told him it was time to do a live demo of his groundbreaking tech product, so many people were paying attention to the company, and it could secure millions of dollars in funding for him to take it public.
    He handed the job to me, told me to organize the entire event, and to run with it. So, I did.

    I hustled, rallied anyone and everyone I knew as a resource, and knocked the planning aspect out of the park.

    But, when the day arrived where I would have to speak in front of all of these people, I was barely holding it together. I had cue cards I was nervously fumbling through in the bathroom, when Ron stepped in and told me all I had to do was be myself. “Put the cards away”, he said, and just get out there. So I did. I spoke, then the rest of the event was carried by Ron, and a demonstration of the battery tech that he had developed — the nano battery (a longer battery life than we could imagine).

    I’d gotten tons of important investors and people with a lot of power into a room to watch this demonstration. It’s what they came for.

    It was the live explanation of this technology that was going to change the world. And it didn’t work.

    On that day, on the stage, somehow they hadn’t prepared, and it didn’t work. People were screaming questions, swearing, asking if the whole thing was a fraud. It destroyed the biggest opportunity of their lives, and while I didn’t have a hand in that aspect, as the one who organized the whole experience, I felt responsible.

    I thought my career was over. I was the young guy who royally screwed up.

    What actually happened was that a few guys came up to me and gave me their business cards. “Hey Kid, you got me in this room. Call me.

    The coming days were where things changed. It’s where my real focus on mindset began. I realized that it didn’t matter that it felt like a huge public failure, because the only thing I could focus on was how to learn from my mistake, move forward, and recognize what I had actually accomplished — which was a ton.

    It was a turning point. I sat down and recognized — these are my talents.

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams collage 2

    This is what I’m great at. So, I started a digital marketing agency based on the motivation to move forward like a bat out of hell and use the experience to remind me that when you trust what you’re capable of, you just keep going, no matter what. I became one of the most sought-after online marketers for publicly traded companies in the world. It was a pretty big leap from being a 19 year old being responsible for an event that failed, and being involved with a company that ruined itself.

    I was managing six and seven figure budgets for companies that wanted full-scale marketing plans and execution, and I was barely out of being a teenager.

    A high percentage of companies fail. It’s good to study and experience failure for this reason, it can be inevitable. Without having some awareness of it, you’re not really understanding the whole picture of what it can mean to be an entrepreneur, be active in business, or to build something from the ground up. It’s part of our human experience, and it’s a valuable lesson that can change our lives beyond our wildest dreams.

    By the time I was 24, I had built my business up to about $10 million a year.

    I was traveling, loving life, and taking full responsibility for having gotten myself to where I was. I can say with full certainty that I wouldn’t have realized what I was made of and where I could go if I hadn’t found it within myself to keep going after what felt like the world ending. It was zero to sixty, and I attribute it to the test of resilience and dedication I received to prove that I was ready and willing to do whatever it took to turn my mission and vision into my living.

    The keys are very simple: keep going, focus on what you’re good at, and stay fiercely moved by your desire to create the life you have in mind.

  • ,

    22 Life Lessons I Learned From My Mentors That Every Person Should Know

    life lessons - man on hill

    With every conversation I have, book I read, mistake I make, and new knowledge I acquire, I feel less sure about everything.

    French philosopher Voltaire said it best:

    The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.

    When I got my first degree in business, nine years ago, I was certain I knew nothing. So I got a master’s degree after that. That took me about two more years.

    Still, I knew nothing.

    So after that, I did my best to learn from mentors, family, business partners, clients, friends, colleagues.

    I tried to absorb all their knowledge.

    I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of wonderful people who I’ve learned a lot from. And if you also want to learn from people you look up to, just observe them. Understand how they behave, think, talk, work, conduct business, etc.

    That’s why I think everyone has mentors. But not everyone actively observes them.

    Most of us expect a mentor to show up and say:

    “As of today, I’m your official mentor. Here‘s lesson one: Don’t be an idiot.”

    I don’t know about you, but that has never happened to me. Instead, I find ways to spend time with people I want to learn from, and learn by observing them. That strategy has helped me a lot in recent years.

    Here’s a list of things I’ve observed my mentors saying. I hope you find it useful too.

    life lessons - man in sunglasses

    1. “I like to work because that keeps me young.”

    One of my mentors is in his seventies. If you believe scientists, he should be a rusty old man with only a few good brain cells. Instead, he’s a vital person. Good genes? Maybe. He doesn’t have time to think about that stuff. He just does things.

    2. “Adults don’t need to ask for permission.”

    Screw gatekeepers and naysayers. If you believe in something, do it. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness.

    3. “People who always complain give me a headache.”

    Don’t be a party-pooper.

    4. “If people want to go. Let them. And wish them well.”

    Over the course of your career, you’ll lose friends, colleagues, team members, employees, bosses, partners. Shit happens and people move on. Friends become enemies. Know when it’s time for you to move on. And never hold a grudge.

    5. “Be smart about your career.”

    Don’t be a sheep. Understand that everyone is competing for the same things. Be smart and think about winning. Just stay ethical. And yes, that’s possible. Life is not House of Cards.

    6. “Treat people well. The world is small.”

    We’re humans. And humans are emotional. And emotions make people do weird things. Don’t do weird things to people.

    7. “Life is not fair. Get over it.”

    Yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re sad. You didn’t get that promotion. No one cares about your product. These things happen. Don’t wish things were different. Just be better next time.

    8. “Know yourself. But also know your industry, business, friends, enemies, competition.”

    Self-awareness is the start of personal growth. But if you want to truly advance your career, you must understand your environment too. Otherwise, you’ll be a monk who only knows himself.

    9.“I always make the best out of everything.”

    Stop trying to find your passion. And don’t be a spoiled little brat. Just enjoy your life, have fun, relax, be a sport. You don’t need a dream job or a million dollars to do those things.

    10. “I hate it when people are not prepared.”

    No matter how small your next assignment is, come prepared. It’s the difference between an amateur and a pro. Know your shit.

    11. “Hard things will always remain hard. Things don’t get easier by putting them off.”

    Difficult conversations, firing people, admitting mistakes, saying you’re sorry. You never really get used to hard things. It’s always better to rip the band-aid. Just get it over with.

    12. “Not everyone thinks the same way you do.”

    I often hear people saying: “That person doesn’t understand me.” Have you ever thought that it might be the other way around? People are different. Do your best to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

    13. “Bad people only hurt themselves. I feel bad for them.”

    Never try to get back at bad people. Their punishment is that they are a bad person.

    14. “Always have a side-business.”

    Everyone should be able to make money independently. Create something of value. When people pay for it, you’re in business.

    15. “Everything comes to an end.”

    Your good health, relationships, family, pet, business. We all know how things end. Just make sure you appreciate the things you still have. Before you know it, everything will be gone. And so will you.

    16. “I fail all the time. I just don’t give up.”

    Failure is overrated. It’s merely a different word for learning. We just get all emotional about it. “I suck.” No, you don’t. But if you give up you do.

    17. “Why does everyone want to be happy all the time?”

    There’s nothing wrong with being sad, angry, frustrated. Just don’t stay in those emotions. Acknowledge it, and then move on.

    18. “People are in love with their own voice.”

    Sometimes it’s good to shut up and listen to other people.

    19 .“I hate fabricated fun. It’s not fun.”

    For the love of god, stop forcing people to have ‘fun’ at your stupid office party. It’s not fun to tell people to have fun. Just relax and be human, you weird android in a suit.

    20. “Resting is more important than working.”

    The art of resting is a difficult thing to learn. We’re all so restless. We want things to happen today, now, this very instant. Let it go. Just breath for a second. Rest.

    21. “I don’t give a shit.”

    I can’t tell you how often I heard my mentors saying that phrase. Somehow, happy people don’t care about shit that doesn’t matter.

    22. “My goal is to learn one new thing every day.”

    Learning is something you do deliberately. Remind yourself every day that you want, no NEED, to learn something new.

    What new thing did you learn today? After writing this list, I learned that all the stuff I know, I learned from others. Does that make me stupid? I don’t give shit anyway. It’s time to rest.

    Darius originally published this on his blog and it appears here with his permission.

  • ,

    11 introverts reveal how you can still be introverted and meet your significant other

    introverts - couple on beach

    We’ve said it before, but being introverted is a great thing!

    Introverts truly embrace who they are and they are better for it as a result.

    An introvert embraces who he/she really is. An introvert works and takes pride in their output, they connect well with others on an emotional level, they have the ability to determine what truly matters to a person, and they understand that the difference between success and failure lies in the actions we take.

    BUT, if there’s one area where being introverted can be frustrated it’s in dating – a space where being bold, outgoing and flirtatious has its advantages.

    So, we wanted to know…

    How can you be an introvert and still find your significant other?

    These are 11 quick stories from several self-proclaimed introverts and how they came to meet their significant other.

    introverts - couple on lake

    1. Be bold

    We’re both introverts, but I definitely can force myself to be bold. I was a waitress at a restaurant he came into. He asked to borrow my pen, I told him “only if you write down your number.”

    Sometimes introvert guys need a girl who is not afraid to make the first move.

    We’ve been together almost 14 years now. (/u/KlvrDissident)

    2. Be honest

    I told her, “If I weren’t so socially inept, I’d be trying to have a conversation with you.”

    Married almost 9 years. (/u/Moni3)

    3. Go shopping.

    I met my husband while I was shopping. I spent a good six weeks buying incredibly overpriced avocados from the shop he works at and then after coincidently winning at ‘fruit box weekly draw’ I added him on FB (through the shops FB page, minor stalker alert here) and just asked him out.

    And here we are, a year later, married.

    Bonus, The avocados are now free. (/u/NZ-Food-Girl)

    4. Be clever on Tinder.

    Tinder. His picture was him hanging upside down from a tree and his bio said “proof that nerds grow on trees“. We both made it clear we were looking for a relationship, met up the day we matched for coffee, hit it off, and that was that. (/u/zlae)

    5. Realize.

    Both of us work at a grocery store. I saw her and thought that she was the cutest there but never really did anything about it. She works as a cashier and I work in produce. She would always do the reshop and I soon realized that she was doing that for a reason and started flirting with her back.

    We have been together 11 months now. (/u/Smirking_Sheep)

    6. At the gym

    I’m a female… but I am very introverted. I met my now husband at the gym, I would always work out with my brother and my now husband thought I was dating my brother because we were always at the gym together (ew). When he asked my brother how long we had been dating, we both looked at each other and said “uhh.. we’re sibling so never…” He asked my brother if we could all work out sometime and I went full on awkward when we did.

    He was showing me a new work out and he almost smashed my face in with a dumbbell, I walked off because I was so embarrassed and started working out alone then he asked me out to lunch and we hit it off. (/u/beatbox28)

    7. Dog watching?

    She came over to me in a coffeeshop while she was on vacation in my country, to ask how to tip. We had a two-hour conversation, and then an amazing five-hour lunch two days later.

    She complained about her hostel and I offered her my spare bedroom. She accepted. Nothing happened although it seems crystal-clear in retrospect that we were falling for each other (duh). I didn’t want to be douchey and make her feel uncomfortable under my roof, so putting the moves on her was not something I seriously considered.

    Two nights later, I had to be gone for most of the night, on a work assignment, and I asked if she would please watch and walk my dog in my absence. I came home at 5 a.m. and was greeted by my suddenly very soft, very fluffy dog. She had somehow understood “Will you please wash my dog,” and apparently didn’t find that a strange request at all.

    The next evening, after we’d been talking over a bottle of wine for hours, it seems she’d had enough of my apparent indecisiveness, took the wine glass out of my hand, put it down, and leaned in for a kiss.

    That was 26 years ago. We’ve been married 23 years. (/u/DaytonaDemon)

    8. Find something that excites you.

    (He’s the introvert) he kept coming in to the bar I worked, and I kept asking him questions trying to get a conversation going. But l kept hitting a wall! For 4 days all we did was:

    me: question.

    him: answer

    me: …

    me: question.

    It didn’t stop me from trying though. (It confuses me to think back on, because I was also very annoyed with him!) But anyway. After asking about so many things, I finally on day 4, asked him about books… and the boy never shut his mouth there after!

    So to all introverts out there: asking questions is difficult, but you’re all passionate about something, whatever it is. Lead the conversation towards that one subject, that you feel confident talking about. Then all the rest will come more easily.

    I can’t believe my husband didn’t ask “so do you read any books? Who’s your favorite author?”, when he’s so passionate about them! (/u/flyingmops)

    9. On the bus.

    On the Greyhound.

    During my time in the Army I was stationed at Ft. Eustis, VA. On my way home (Denver, CO, at the time) for Christmas I saw her sitting across from and slightly behind me. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to her at first, but my buddy, seated next to her, did. After getting shot down repeatedly for a day and a half, he finally got off the bus. Shortly thereafter she came over and sat next to me and we started talking.

    After that we got split up (put on different buses) and I kicked myself for not getting her number. Then, when the bus stopped in St.Louis, there she was standing right there in the entrance, almost like she was waiting for me. If my bus had arrived 15 minutes later Id have never seen her again.

    Then I found out the bus to Denver was delayed due to snow, and wasn’t going anywhere for at least two days. She hurried over to the ticket counter and had my ticket changed to Des Moines, IA (where she was going) so I wouldn’t be trapped in St. Louis for two days. We spent the next four days getting to know each other, then I continued home. We had a long distance relationship for about six months until I came home permanently, by which time she had moved to Denver and rented an apartment.

    We got married three years later and have been together 10 years total. (/u/kevon87)

    10. Walk the dog

    I was living in a duplex with some friends. One day I decided to take one of my roommates’ dog for a walk, which I never usually did. Shortly after leaving the house I was stopped by a girl who asked “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” I had never seen her before, but it was enough to start the small talk.

    She helped me walk the dog around the block and we were basically inseparable from that point on. WHAT MY INTROVERT SELF FAILED TO NOTICE AT THE TIME: She had been “stalking” me for weeks, trying to get me to notice her. Walking her own dog past my house, riding her bike next to my car, waiting for me to get home from work when I would unknowingly street park in front of her house where she would be “doing yard work”. She succeeded by catching me walking that dog which, remember, I NEVER EVER DID, it was fate I guess. 6 months after meeting her I moved out of the duplex and 5 houses down the street, lol.

    Married 16 years now. (/u/Kalfu73)

    11. Volunteer

    Volunteered in Thailand to work with elephants. I was one of only two guys with 18 girls (volunteering is very often dominated by compassionate, smart women, especially if it involves animals). My girlfriend is an absolutely beautiful, amazing girl that is now a vet student. We are completely in love.

    I recommend volunteering to anyone, and especially to people who are depressed and lonely. It is rewarding and if you’re not a shit person, you will meet amazing people and​ have amazing experiences.

    Edit: I know this is a late edit, but I wrote this when I was tired and now I’m remembering how we met. I said we’re in love and I just get warm every time I think about her. The night it became obvious we liked each other, she broke my finger. Well, that’s what I tell everyone, by the truth is I was carrying her up some stairs to a movie theater and tripped. She landed on my hand on the corner of a stair and basically shattered my knuckle. I ignored it, we skipped out on the movie with the group and had drinks on the roof.

    It was one of the best nights if my life. I never told the instructor I broke my pinky because I didn’t want to get sent away and miss the rest of the trip with her, so now I can’t bend it all the way… It’s permanently disfigured. I love it because it’s such a good story and reminder of how much fun we always have. Hmm well, I tried to upload pictures of my broken finger and​ the two of us but it ain’t working. Oh well. (/u/sqectre)