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    How to create intrinsic motivation in your life

    goth girl with blue hair and nose ring

    How often do you hear one of your friends or yourself saying I’m just not motivated enough to ____?

    Well folks, it ain’t easy to stay motivated nowadays.

    I mean, there’s so much Impractical Jokers to watch (am I the only one who loves this show?!),  loungin’ to do, online shopping to get done, Pokemon Go to play, and so on and so on.

    Seriously though, I don’t know about you, but I go through periods where I am super AMPED and motivated to accomplish. Like crash through the wall Kool-Aid man style AMPED.

    intrinsic motivation

     

    Then there are the days when the very thought of working or accomplishing anything makes me want to run and hide.

    So, how the heck do you create intrinsic motivation within yourself that you can tap into at a moment’s notice?

    I can only speak from my perspective and the respective ways I have found to make myself more driven but when it comes down to it, I think it is quite simple.

    You are not motivated because you’re setting the wrong kind of goals!

    Let me ask you this. When you conjure up whatever motivation you can muster, what is the purpose of that motivation? What is the goal it is supporting?

    Does it look something like this?: I want to be motivated so that I can.

    … make six figures next year.

    … get 100,000 followers on Instagram.

    … win a gold medal at the Olympics.

    … meet Elon Musk.

    These are great goals and I can certainly relate to setting goals that are results-driven. However, I have found that these are not the immediate goals you should be setting. I have fallen into this line of thinking on countless occasions.

    When I first launched PRSUIT and started building other online business I was very much focused on the finish line – I wanted a million monthly readers, I wanted to sell $50,000 worth of product a month, etc.

    In my sales role, I wanted to close $1MM in my first month.

    It was good to have these goals and metrics to achieve, but I was putting the cart before the horse and as a result, my motivation just wasn’t there. I struggled to find my drive day in and day out when it came to achieving these goals.

    Why? Because I didn’t have intrinsic motivation tied to these goals.

    intrinsic motivation

    In my example above, I was pushing for longer-term, extrinsically driven goals that did not have intrinsic value and as a result my motivation was wavering.

    If you can relate to wavering motivation, the problem is that you’re probably thinking too long term! You should be thinking short-term! – short term growth provides the intrinsic motivation you need to eventually push to your larger vision and goals.

    What?! Short term?! That goes against most advice.

    I would normally say that you should always be thinking long term. Long term success, goals, etc. I am not saying that you should be more realistic about your goals, but rather you should adjust your perspective. When it comes to motivation and finding the drive to achieve your long term visions, you need to think short term. You need to visualize short term growth.

    The reason I say this is because there are generally two types of goals. Performance goals and mastery goals.

    The above goals are performance goals. They are goals aimed at demonstrating that you have achieved a certain level of output, talent, etc. They are quantifiable, extrinsic and usually measurable by rewards, numbers or recognition. 1 million readers, gold medals, 100K followers.

    Mastery goals, on the other hand, are intrinsic goals centered on learning or improvement around a certain skill set. They are growth goals.

    Mastery goals would be along the lines of the following: I want to

    … improve my last race time. (aka, run faster)

    … become a better software developer. (aka, code better)

    … get more followers this week than I did the last. (aka, grow faster)

    Herein lies the difference.

    While the actions and steps you take to accomplish both a mastery goal and a performance goal are closely mirrored, the mindset and motivation associated with each are different. When you’re focused on mastery goals, I have found that I am much less likely to get discouraged and that I find my motivation levels constant.

    With mastery goals, you’re more focused on shorter term growth rather than finish-line accomplishments and this motivation mindset keeps you pushing forward.

    Here’s what I mean.

    Rather than focusing on how to make six figures next year, instead, focus on identifying and growing your skillset and experience in areas that will pay you that.

    Rather than focusing on how to get 100,000 followers on Instagram, better develop your ability to produce value for your followers so that you can push your content to get shared, go viral and cause your followers to grow organically.

    Rather than focus on winning a gold medal at the Olympics, focus on becoming a better athlete for your perspective sports (duh!). Focus on getting a new PR or setting a new milestone for yourself.

    Rather than focusing on meeting Elon Musk, focus on developing your network so that you can leverage that to meet him. Also focus on the value you would have to offer when you did. Why would he want to meet you?

    By positioning your goals on growth rather than events or recognition, I have found I am able to find more frequent accomplishments relative to my growth and as a result, I crave more – and my motivation levels are more constant.

    What it boils down to, is this.

    Let short term growth be your intrinsic motivation and the eventual rewards of that effort be your extrinsic motivation.

    You need to have a vision of who you want to become (performance goal aka extrinsic motivation), but you should back up to understand what it will take to get there (mastery goal aka intrinsic motivation). Prioritize the development of the latter while continuing to work towards your larger goals.

    By setting mastery goals, watching yourself grow relative to them and becoming more confident in the process, I think you will find your intrinsic motivation much more constant.


    I’d love to hear how you keep yourself motivated. Let me know! case@prsuit.com

    More on master vs. performance goals in this study and this article which inspired this piece.

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    How to have the best road trip of your life

    group on a road trip

    People f*ck up opportunities to have great experiences all the time. I want you not to do that.

    I’m a road trip fiend and I think I finally cracked the code.

    We have a romantic idea of road trips. The wide open road and all your worries behind and having those life experiences that you need to have before you’re old. We ruin these romantic ideas by acting unromantically (trying too hard).

    These were my rules for my most recent cross-country road trip and they made it a life-changing experience. For the first time, I had a road trip that was everything it was cracked up to be.

    These are the 10 ways to have the best road trip of your life.

    roadtrip2

    1. Plan extra time

    If you feel pressed for time then the whole thing won’t work. The wide-open road becomes another check on your to-do list. What could be a freeing experience becomes a practice in practicality.

    Not having enough time by itself will ruin a road trip. It kills every chance of wandering and every feeling of freedom.

    2. Don’t use a map

    Digital maps are even worse than the paper ones. Google Maps will constantly remind you of your progress. Didn’t you want to leave progress reports at home? You will be looking forward to getting to the next green dot. You will watch the time go down. You will be blind to all the amazing sh*t that you’re passing by.

    It’s exhilarating to be driving without knowing exactly where you’ll be. It throws you into a sense of wandering that is so important (more on that later). It may be scary at first. Then it will be scary again when you are 15 miles down some Texan dirt road and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to get to the other side and your phone has no service so you couldn’t get directions even if you tried. It will be liberating though. It will give you the sense of adventure that your childhood was probably robbed of. The same sense of adventure that our culture aims to kill with comfort. You’ll get that. And it’ll be amazing.

    Figure out whether you want to head North or West or East or South and then follow the compass. You’ll get where you want to be.

    3. Stop as much as you want

    I pulled over for every idea that came through my mind. I wrote half of a screenplay and a book of poems doing this.

    Pull over when:

    • You have an idea that you want to write down.
    • When you have any inclination to stop. This is better than meditation. Just follow what you think will be the most interesting thing to do. The most interesting times in my life have been thanks to chasing a whimsy.
    • You see somebody that would be interesting to talk to. You don’t even have to talk to them, but it will be more fun if you do.
    • You see anything that looks interesting.
    • You get bored. If you’re bored then you’re f*cking it up. Pull over and look at a rock. Write in a journal. Take a picture. Introduce yourself to a stranger. If you get bored, think about what it means to be bored.

    I stopped in the middle of the desert and experienced one of the most perfect moments of my life sitting on top of my car writing a (terrible) poem. Driving up the west coast on Highway 1 I stumbled onto Big Sur. Stopping randomly in the Olympic Peninsula taught me what hitchhikers smell like… and that they aren’t all as interesting as you’d like them to be.

    4. Drive slow

    Drive the speed limit or slower. 55-60 MPH max. Slower is better. When you get up towards 65-70 MPH you can’t take in the scenery, and the shifting landscapes is one of the coolest things about traveling on the ground instead of the air.

    Driving fast signals to yourself that you need to be somewhere. You’re on a road trip, damnit! You need to be on the road. When you slow down you appreciate the whole thing more. It’s another way to stop worrying about getting somewhere and throwing yourself into being where you are.

    5. Don’t think about destinations

    A road trip is a perfect place to practice focusing on the journey instead of the destination. In this metaphorical microcosm of life you will be able to instantly feel how different your experience is when you’re focused on the destination instead of where you are.

    You’ve got your compass. You’ve got your speedometer. You know you’re moving West at 45 miles per hour. You’ll get to that other coast eventually, chill out. Stop worrying about checking things off a bullsh*t list. Stop worrying about getting your picture in front of things you’ve seen on postcards. (Postcards!? F*ck me, just other people’s Facebook walls.)

    Stay focused on where you’re at.

     

    6. Your trip is not a trophy

    Nobody gives a sh*t about your picture of Mount Rushmore. Or your story of how big the Grand Canyon is. Or anything else that we’ve all heard and seen a million times before. That doesn’t mean that those things aren’t worth seeing. The Grand Canyon will give you a sense of awe that no space video ever could.

    The point is, you’re going to have a terrible time if you take a trip with the goal of impressing others. You’re going to get to the top of some mountain and feel compelled to report it to your social networks.

    If you think your trip is a trophy then it’s already ruined. There’s no way you’ll be able to think about anything but destinations.

    This trip is for you.

    You need to be open to weird serendipities and roads that nobody has been on before. You need to be open to doing embarrassing things. You need to be open to meeting strangers. None of these things scores high on the Facebook Impress-O-Meter.

    Your trip has the potential to change your entire life. Don’t poison it by considering anything besides your own sense of exploration.

    7. Do Drugs (or don’t… it’s your choice)

    I smoked marijuana on the top of some mountain in Yosemite with a pretty girl. She was wearing a fox-tail and I kissed her. It was one of the greatest things of my life.

    Maybe this should be “kiss somebody”. But then I also got really drunk with a few different people and it was amazing. We shot off fireworks upside down and shot pistols. I shotgunned a f*cking cactus in half.

    There is no better way to learn about somebody’s most elevated ideas of life and their deepest fears than drinking with them. You’re on the road, you’re not going to be spending weeks with these people. Be drunk with them. Be high with them. Find god with them.

    Exploring the road is better when you’re exploring your mind, too.

    (Notice that you don’t really need to do drugs to get any of these benefits… and I classified alcohol as a drug. Whatever.)

    8. Write

    Fill up a journal. Not so much because you’ll revisit it later but because you’ll deepen your experience on the road by doing it. Write about the things you did that day. Write about the things happening around you. The f*cked up people you met. The lady you met who paints because her daughter died of cancer. The meth-addict who’s okay now but his daughter is in jail for selling grenades.

    Write a sh*tty poem. Draw a sh*tty picture. Pen a sh*tty story. If you’re good at those things then do them well.

    There’s no better time or place in the world to reflect than on the road. The new environments are stimulating your brain. The fact that there’s nothing you need to do gives your brain the freedom to wander.

    9. Have a kiss

    Human intimacy allows you to soak in a new environment in a totally different way. If you’re single then things are more exciting because the people in different towns are different. If you’re a couple then you’re kissing automatically gets spicy by new environments.

    10. Have an “I can die now” moment.

    There has been no better source for me of “I can die now” moments than wandering slowly on my road. Looking at a traffic light. Going down a mountain in the rain. Sitting on the back of my truck in the desert. Staring at a tree. Kissing on the mountain.

    These were some of the best experiences of my life. They were these transcendental moments that may never be revisited, and they don’t need to be. Knowing they happened is enough.

    Title Photo Credit: flickr
    This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog
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    Why you should put down your phone and have a real conversation

    girls on phones in the woods

    In a world becoming increasingly integrated with technology, having a real conversation is becoming a thing of the past. Relationships that were based on conversation in the past are now virtual, to the point that we may feel we know people as well as some of our good friends having never met them.

    We need to get back to having real, meaningful conversations – not just over text or messenger.

    When we speak to each other, we speak in sarcasm, metaphors, and idioms. We personify, hyperbolize, and stretch the truth to create lively conversation. These figures of speech spark emotions and reactions that build trust, depth, and value in a relationship in ways reading text simply can’t.  And so when we strip verbal, face-to-face communication and replace it with text and virtual learning, we simply can’t get as much out of our relationships and friendships as we could in the past.

    Seriously though… lack of conversation is causing real societal problems.

    The number one cause of mental illness in Canadian Universities in 2013 was loneliness. I can only assume that this is caused from the false representation of ourselves on social media, and the lack of traditional communication. The way we post about our daily lives isn’t a proper reflection on the days we live, but more of a highlight reel that shows our followers who we are and how we live.

    When it comes to education, the most powerful exercises are those where young students have the opportunity to talk and learn with each other. The problem solving that occurs during this time of action and reaction simple can’t be matched. As one student makes a mistake, calculations are being made and expressions are read from the other people in the group that may teach them more than the teacher ever could.

    This experience, conversation and interaction is invaluable and can’t be replaced.

    Too often we hear about a shift in technology to be more focused on an ipad format, where students can grow and learn at their own pace. Though this is very valuable, the interaction between students proves to be incredibly important in the development of social skills.

    As students move from the younger grades and into high school and university, it becomes less about the conventional learning, and more about the development of friendships. A recent study by mobileinsurance.com has revealed that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone, which may not seem like too much, but when we think about it closely, it means that over 10% of a typical day would be looking at the screen. Thinking back 10-15 years ago, these phones didn’t exist and we had 10% of not only our day, but our year back as well. This suddenly becomes a staggering statistic all of the sudden.

    We are spending too much time staring at a screen.

    What is scarier, is that these statistics are now considered old. While the U.S. did not lead global markets in terms of amount of time spent on social media networks, it was far and away the highest consumer of monthly data, spending the most time per day on their phones with a staggering 4.7 hours. Considering that the average American is awake for just over 15 hours a day (seeing as we sleep for an average of eight hours and 42 minutes), this means that we spend approximately a third of our time on our phones. Sure, using your smartphone isn’t mutually exclusive with completing other activities, but still, 4.7 hours is a significant chunk of the day.

    Conversations can’t be replaced. We’re losing the way we communicate and people are suffering as a result. Yes, the cat video was hilarious, but was it worth losing (or failing to make) a friend over?

    You can read more here on digitalrends.

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    How to start a side business while balancing everything in life

    woman at a laundromat

    I started a side business while attending school full-time, working a job and while in the process of writing my book plus a million other little things going on. I created Tezara Collection because I am determined to accomplish anything I set my mind to.

    Time is an asset if used wisely. We all have the same 24 hours in our day. How we choose to spend it is vital and will dictate if your side business is a success or not.

    Starting a part time business is all about using your time wisely.

    Starting a business does not have to mean an end to your everyday activities, but it does mean an end to time wasting endeavors which do not contribute to your growth. I have discovered that the choice is always yours and choosing to allocate your free time to growth is crucial to your success. I have also learned that launching a business on the side can lead you in a lot of new and exciting directions. If you can align your business with something that has intrinsic value you to on a personal level, I can confidently say that it will lead you in exciting and successful directions.

    I have always been inclined to inspire and my side business idea reflects that.

    From an early age, I found myself always wanting to lead those around me to bettering themselves and reaching their greatest potential. I have always believed that a positive mindset and focus are key ingredients to success, and so the story of my business began.

    work harder to start a side business

    I started Tezara Collection because I wanted to create a genuine brand which will in turn allow me to give back, inspire and practice my passion. I am now in the process of collaborating with different charities to take part in giving back, as proceeds from each purchase is distributed to charities across the world.

    My side business’ brand is built on transparency, quality and focus on design. What makes it different from other handcrafted bracelet companies is our intention of giving back, our genuine approach towards becoming a part of the changing and evolving world, our focus on the purchase experience and above all our values. As Tezara Collection grows as a brand, my aim is to further inspire customers and all those who join our journey to become their most empowered self. The goal is to create a community of leaders, where honesty, unity and trust become the leading values of business.

    My experience starting a business has taught me that there has never been a better time than now to start a business.

    The why is self explanatory – you no longer have to wait for opportunities to come to you because they can be created – by you.

    The time to sit back, contemplate, and make excuses is over. If you have even the slightest idea of what you want to do in regards to business… start now.

    The formula is as simple as this: work hard each day towards your goal, focus on it and on it only, stay positive, go for it.

    You may now think, easy to say hard to do. I disagree! From my own experience, I have come to earnestly believe that nothing is hard to do when your heart yearns for it, nothing is hard to do when it is your calling, nothing is hard to do if you truly enjoy the journey.

    No excuses in the world are allowed.

    Ask yourself: am I serious about my business idea?

    If the answer is yes, go and do it and do it now. Procrastination is a dream killer. I speak to you now as someone who is young, ambitious, and, in my mind, unstoppable – someone who has never let anything get in the way of achieving my goals, but most importantly someone who has overcome all obstacles which have been placed ahead of me.

    To conclude, the purpose of this article is strictly to inspire you, to remind you that you can start where you are, with what you have and most importantly with an honest intention to give.

    Making money can be simple for some, but creating a brand which the world will recognize as a leader towards improvement and empowerment… is priceless.

    So the only question remains, will you do it? Will you start now, today, where you are with, what you have? Ask yourself: How can I create value for the world and I promise you, the answer will always be found within.

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    Jake Paul’s 8 keys to success, social media & Yeezys

    jake paul pink wall

    If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, Vine, Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram you probably know who Jake Paul is. He’s a goofy 20 year old who has created a storm of viral videos and amassed a HUGE social following in the process.

    15 million followers and 4 billion video views HUGE. Oh and he’s also turned that into a 7-figure income.

    Jake Paul social following numbers

    But there’s a lot more to Jake Paul than silly viral videos and millions of followers.

    Jake (and his older brother Logan… who you might recognize as well) is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and grew up wrestling and making silly prank videos with his friends. He currently lives in Los Angeles and has created an emerging social media and talent empire in the form of Team10 and Teamdom – his social media label and marketing agency.

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Jake this past week with my partner Matt on our podcast The Hustle Sold Separately and I was blown away by what he had to say.

    It’s easy to assume that Jake is just a goofy kid with a knack for making funny viral videos, but I quickly discovered that he is so much more. I came to quickly learn that Jake Paul possess an unparalleled work-ethic and that he is using this drive to build a seriously impactful business empire.

    During our conversation Jake dropped a ton of amazing value and nuggets of wisdom.

    From our conversation, here are Jake’s 8 keys to success.

    (go ahead and press play here to hear our conversation and then keep reading)

    [smart_track_player url=”https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/starworldwidenetworks/episodes/mp3/b1691a2c-dd94-4ea5-8ad1-932328c80af2.mp3″ title=”Jake Paul-Influencer, Entrepreneur, Actor, Content Creator, Social Media Evangelist-Taking Risks” artist=”The Hustle Sold Separately” ]

    Jake Paul in People Magazine

    1. You have to create momentum for yourself.

    Here’s the thing about Jake – his success is anything but overnight. Yes, he got his start on Vine about 4 years ago and grew faster than anyone on the platform, BUT digging deeper I came realized that his growth was a LONG TIME in the making.

    “There was a build up before Vine even. I started on Youtube when I was 10 years old. We were just making videos for fun…doing dumb stuff being bored in Cleveland, Ohio. 

    We kept on growing our following and developed a natural ability to create these videos. I did it for a couple of years with virtually no success – I think our videos got 500 total views.”

    A lot of people want results and they want them NOW. Jake lived by the motto that “one is better than zero” and that patience, persistence and vision paid off. His growth was the result of an intrinsic desire to create cool content and out of a competitive itch.

    Then this app Vine came around and I downloaded it on the first day and just started creating videos for fun not really knowing what I was doing.

    I showed my brother [Logan] the app and got into competition with [him] seeing who could make better videos. We were in the middle of Ohio spending hours a day making 6 second videos, so eventually they started turning out pretty good. We had this previous experience with Youtube and we had fun doing it – and that came across to our audience. A couple weeks go by and one of our videos went viral.”

    Good things happen when you’re patient.

    “Ever since that day wth that little momentum and spark, we haven’t looked back. It’s been up and to the right since then.”

    2. Never be satisfied.

    “For us, it was building blocks – turning one thing into another and never being satisfied with where we were at. Those first 5,000 followers turned into 50,000 then 100,000 then 250,000 and eventually a million. From there we started doing brand deals and developing ourselves in the space.

    The next thing was… how do we take this social media thing to the next level? How do I create something bigger than just Jake Paul?

    We just ran with that dream and hustled as hard as we could to make those things happen.”

    Jake Paul goofy

    3. Never stop building.

    Jake started building when he was 10 years old. Now he’s 20. He started with 500 views and he was fine with that because he had vision. Now he’s at the top of his game. A game that is the result of competitiveness and consistency.

    “My competitive spirit and seeing my peers doing well on social media fueled me… a competitiveness within myself too. 

    I would post a video and I would want to top that. I’d want to do something bigger and better. It’s non-stop. I’m making Vlogs every single day now and every day I wake up and I’m like ‘how do I top what I did yesterday?’

    It’s also about consistency. A lot of people aren’t able to keep up and they become content. They find a little bit of success and they don’t push the boundaries. BUT when you do, that’s what takes you to the next level. That’s what helps you find the next level of success.”

    In talking with Jake I came to realize that everything he’s involved with – social media, business, Hollywood – it’s all just a ladder and Jake is humble about knowing where is currently is and where he wants to be.

    “You have to just climb those rungs. For me, starting at the bottom of the ladder on social media, I knew that if I was consistent and worked hard, I’d get to the top.

    Now that I’m there it’s about remaining at the top and that’s all about hustle and creating the best content I can.

    On the Hollywood side of things, I’m just on the first rung and same with business. I love the challenge. It’s a new space to learn, I’m taking risks and I’m failing and learning. It’s the whole social media process all over again.”

    4. Make yourself relatable.

    Jake is a lot of things – an influencer, entrepreneur, actor, author, mentor. His talents are varied so I asked him what his one talent is that enables him to be so successful.

    “My talent is teen marketing… millennial marketing, whatever you want to call it. I am able to market to these people because I am one. I understand them a to z.”

    Jake made it clear that once you understand how your audience thinks and what they want, the rest becomes easy and it becomes about your ability to execute – something Jake does on a daily basis.

    “The way I go about my content… everyone wants to laugh. They want the lifestyle… teenagers want the perfect life.. cool cars, nice house, hot people around them, nicest clothes, they want the Yeezys. If you go about it in a strategic way, that’s how I construct my videos.”

    Jake’s content is all on purpose. No detail is left unattended. He creates an image and lifestyle that people can relate to and want to be a part of. That lifestyle is what keeps his audience coming back time and time again.

    Jake Paul looking forward

    5. You have to send the elevator back down.

    What started as a creative and competitive outlet for Jake soon turned to a business opportunity.

    “When I first started making videos it was me and my brother and a couple other big Viners collaborating. And then we’d have random friend in video and they’d hang around. And then you’d look one day and they’d have half a million followers. I’d be like “What?! Didn’t you just have 1000?!”

    At that point, Jake realized there was a larger opportunity at hand.

    “I was like ‘OK, Im going to find awesome people and sign then to a social media label called Team10 and naturally and authentically help them grow huge followers online and do it strategically to create an empire where we can place anyone in our content and grow from 1,000 into the millions seamlessly.”

    Jake put that idea to the test as a small vision and it started to take off. He started signing people and helped them amass huge followings.

    “I live with them and they’re my friends but it’s a business now. It makes sense because it was happening naturally anyway and no one was capitalizing off of making their friends famous.”

    The coolest thing about chatting with Jake is that he knows his ‘why.” He understands the impact he has and the ability he has to change lives for the better. That is not lost on him.

    “It’s really cool to be able to change my friends’ lives and give them these opportunities. It’s a full circle thing where it feeds back into itself and they help the next person.”

    6. Know your goal and know your why.

    It’d be easy to get caught up 15 million followers and just let things come to you. I asked Jake what his ultimate, intrinsic goal is.

    “The overarching vision is for me to be able to become as influential as I possibly can throughout my life whether that’s acting, social media, music… whatever it is.”

    Success without fulfillment and giving back is hardly success at all and at 20 years old, Jake seems to really preach this.

    For Jake, to reach a level of global influence is his goal, but on top of that is to help others get to that same level and reach that same success. He told me that he wants to help people avoid the mistakes he’s made. He wants to help others create and understand the business of social media and he wants to help them from a business perspective.

    “If I can do those things, then I am happy and a lot of other people will be happy too.”

    Jake Paul book You Gotta Want It

    7. You have to take risks.

    Small town Ohio boy moves to Los Angeles with no real plans and a couple bucks in his bank account. I’d say that’s a pretty big risk. But as with all things, no risk… no reward.

    “The biggest risk I’ve taken is saying ‘hey, I’m going to drop out of highschool and fly to Los Angeles with nothing planned and not knowing anybody and see what can come from it. No one knew if Vine was going to work. I had no idea what the space would become. It was a huge risk.”

    There is a huge difference between taking risks when no one is watching and taking risks when everyone is watching. For Jake, it was the latter from the onset and continues to be that way today.

    “There were a lot of people watching. It was the people in my home town…rooting for me to fail, telling me that I’d be back, Vine would die, you won’t do anything. Even my teachers would make these remarks in front of everyone.”

    It was a huge risk where Jake could have failed miserably. But through that risk Jake learned that the bigger the risk, the more you have to prove yourself which makes you work even harder.

    “The bigger the risk, the more inspired you are and the more inspired you are the less the little stuff gets in the the way, the fewer distractions get in the way and the more you want to work.”

    The thing about risk is that it makes you realize the potential of failure and this in turn fuels you to do anything to make it work out. That’s exactly what Jake did.

    “When I moved to LA. I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no idea what the difference between an agent and manger was. I had to watch Entourage to figure it out.”

    Another risk for Jake was deciding to grow TeamDom. He had already amassed a huge following, was working with big brands and making a name for himself in LA. But that wasn’t enough.

    He was up and running his Team10 social media label but it was something he had become comfortable with. He could have slowly grown Team10 but instead he decided to take it grow it to the next level. Deciding to take that venture to the next level was a risk.

    Part of the risk was that I had no idea what I was doing on the business side of things. I had never raised money. I was taking investor meetings and had months of non stop days. My content almost came to a complete halt. My followers growth started to slow but I knew that eventually I would raise the money and hire a team to focus on biz and I would ramp my content back up. That was a risk for me. It still is.

    Entrepreneurs know that growing a business is scary. It’s the most pressure that you can go through. It’s different than playing a sport. Investors are breathing down your back, your employees are counting on you. Your team is counting on you and you really have to be able to execute and go into knowing that 9/10 startups fail int he first year.

    “Now, a lot of people are watching me – this kid doesn’t have what it takes’ . Can this goofy kid who does dumb stuff all day grow a business?’

    That pressure weighs on me.

    People are scared of risk because it’s hard. and it is. But, what comes from it is happiness that lasts forever. Knowing that you did something that is remarkable and that you can talk about for the rest of your life… that is worth it.”

    8. You have to stay driven.

    Having a goal is one thing… staying hungry for that goal is another.

    To stay consistent and stay driven…. you have to WANT IT. It’s that simple.

    So many people are like ‘hey I wanna do this, do that, I want a nice car, I want money, whatever – something Jake hears every day in his line of work.

    “Especially being in LA I hear this EVERYDAY. I always say – do you REALLY? Will you do ANYTHING to get there? People say ‘anything is possible if you believe’… I say anything is possible BUT you gotta want it. Every second of the day. “

    If someone calls me at midnight and wants to shoot a video, I’m there. If an investor wants to talk at 3 am in LA because he’s in China, I’m there.

    You’ve gotta want it. 

    The most successful people aren’t necessarily the most talented…it’s their drive, hunger and hard work. They want it and nothing is going to stop them from getting where they want to go.” 


    Be sure to listen to our interview w/ Jake:

    [smart_track_player url=”https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/starworldwidenetworks/episodes/mp3/b1691a2c-dd94-4ea5-8ad1-932328c80af2.mp3″ title=”Jake Paul-Influencer, Entrepreneur, Actor, Content Creator, Social Media Evangelist-Taking Risks” artist=”The Hustle Sold Separately” ]

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    How to find your state of flow while traveling and working from your laptop

    girl on a laptop at a cafe

    Freelancers, consultants, contractors and entrepreneurs are stepping into living a laptop lifestyle in droves. It’s more common than you think.

    Living a laptop lifestyle simply means that you make the rules about when and where you work.

    However, just because you are living the laptop lifestyle, doesn’t mean you are making money.

    The difference between someone that merely survives working remotely, and someone that thrives doing is in their mindset – their state of flow.

    As someone who has dedicated her life to studying the art of flow (the state where action and awareness merge) and then teaching my friends, colleagues and clients how to create an optimal environment for flow in all areas of their lives, I have learned a lot about optimal work environments.

    I have learned that in order to thrive as a laptop lifestyle entrepreneur or even a remote employee, make more money on the road than you do at home, and grow your network authentically, you need to step into what I call #flowstateofmind.

    As a leader in the Flow industry, I have spent years studying it on a physiological level with my clients, the students that I teach globally and most importantly on myself. What I have found is that when you step into the proverbial “Flow” and get your mind right, your movement right, your creativity mediums and your productivity & creativity rhythm right… you allow the universe to bring you opportunities that serve your highest truth.

    I recently connected with PRSUIT’s editor-in-chief Case Kenny and he urged me to help PRSUIT’s loyal readers find their state of flow when on the road, working from a laptop or traveling the world. What follows are the keys I have discovered personally and from my clients on how to truly live a fulfilling laptop lifestyle.

    Follow these 7 principles to find your state of flow and be successful living a laptop lifestyle.

    rooflaptop

    1. Establish a rhythm with creative work, productive work and self-care.

    Freelancers who work from their laptops are highly susceptible to multitasking, workaholism and burnout. I coach people to understand the wave in which your brain can optimize work life balance.

    Flow State of Mind Pro Tip: write out all tasks for the week on Sunday.

    Decide if these tasks qualify as creative work (requiring original thought; writing your body of work, filming video, content development), productive work (requires doing, logging on to websites, writing emails or proposals), research (reading, collecting information, examining competition) or self care (working out, meditation, yoga, nature walks). Once you have all tasks written on a main list, schedule out a self care day, a research day, a productive day, and a creative day in that order. Schedule your 2-5 tasks each day, in a planner and cross them off as you complete them.

    2. Maintain in person meetings weekly, or via Skype.

    We live in a time where we don’t need to be physically present to build solid business relationships. Use that to your advantage. Asking a person for a Skype meeting or Google Hangout is the norm for laptop entrepreneurs, and practicing social intelligence during the meeting is key to success. Asking the deeper more meaningful questions that get people thinking is a surefire way to take that next step in business with them.

    3. Schedule time to unplug.

    So many entrepreneurs are running the whole show, working around the clock and just plain letting their business own them. Don’t be afraid to take a critical look at your business model, decide if it is making you enough money to warrant your extreme work load, and if it’s not CHANGE something. Remember, you own your biz, not the other way around.

    Making time to unplug from emails daily is critical to maintain balance. Even better, I like batching all of my calls and email follow up into three days every two weeks. I work super hard on getting everything done and in motion, and then tie my free time for travel, exploring, adventure, yoga and stepping into Flow.

    4. Polish your website.

    Get crystal clear on the services you offer, define them in excruciating detail so that when your potential clients research your brand they know exactly what to expect. Writing good copy means speaking directly to your ideal client, solving their problem, and creating trust.

    If you’re website is sub-par, you can’t expect to generate business consistently. Polish that baby like a diamond.

    5. Identify your top revenue streams, and streamline the process to closing the sale.

    Whether that means automating your store, or using apps for scheduling exploration calls (I use calendaly.com to eliminate wasted time going back and forth with crazy schedules), find the areas where you are leaking efficiency and clean it up.

    Good “laptop lifestyle” practices for maximum profit mean minimizing the time spent between initial interest and making payment. Make it as easy as possible for your clients to do business with you, period.

    6. Drive traffic to your online business in an interesting way.

    There are so many avenues to bring people to your domain, but the ones that really stand out are unique and hold your interest. You have a chance to make an impact on people through your brand’s web presence.

    Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Facebook private group or an Instagram gallery, every single time you share content make sure it has that x-factor that makes people want to look further into your work.

    7. Create a team.

    The smartest move you can make when truly stepping into the laptop lifestyle A-game is hiring people to help you. For me, hiring contractors to carry out my coaching work at my local yoga and fitness studio gave me 20 extra hours a week. Next hiring a social media expert to help me organize and optimize my online presence freed up even more time. I hire designers, photographers, filmmakers whenever I need an expert eye or professional branding work. It’s easier than you think, once you get past the fact that you are spending money. It is so worth it to have your precious time back, to create and run those higher level business meetings.

    I will be the first to say that living the laptop lifestyle on the road full time is not for everyone. It takes a fearless and driven entrepreneur to really embrace the traveling component. Even if traveling abroad isn’t for you, these tips will help you stay balanced and engaged in your work, and most importantly take care of you.

    Questions? Get in touch via my consulting website www.summerhuntington.com to schedule an exploration call.

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    How Derek Andersen became an entrepreneur and now impacts 10 million people each month

    startup grind

    Derek Andersen is a man without childhood roots, but a man with more depth than people can imagine. He grew up moving ten times over the course of ten years, six of which were throughout Europe. Through these experiences he developed a humble nature, relentlessness, compassion, and an empathetic heart – core values that have allowed him to make an impact in both his personal and professional life.

    Today, Derek Andersen is the founder of Startup Grind, a global business which serves 10 million people a month, has produced 5,000 events, and is represented across 98 countries. In the early days though, Startup Grind was just like any other startup in Silicon Valley – working out of a garage, just a blimp on the radar, too small for anyone to pay attention to.

    But today, Startup Grind is at the forefront of the conversation around entrepreneurship, connecting founders to resources they need to grow their visions and build successful companies.

    What is is about Derek that enabled him to grow Startup Grind to what it is today?

    Derek Andersen profile

    Experiences that shaped Derek’s early days.

    Derek studied marketing and communications at BYU. One of the most profound experiences during his college years was attending a mission trip to the Cook Islands/New Zealand.

    People probably laugh or roll their eyes when they see a Mormon missionary, but that experience taught me that the most fulfilling time I ever was in my life was when I was serving and helping other people.”  

    When I asked Derek about attending BYU and founding a startup while everyone else was getting married, he said “it never gets easier to start, the earlier the better.

    At a young age, sometimes we think we have all the time in the world, but before we know it, life happens and we have a family and our dreams go untapped.

    Not Derek.

    Post grad life and the formation of Startup Grind.

    After college, Derek started at Electronic Arts (EA) as an intern and then became a Product Manager. EA shaped his life vision as he began to see the light for his potential in the real world. He said, “I gained confidence performing on a global scale and realized I could be as good as anyone if I worked hard.” This was proven true through his work with the game Burnout Paradise, where he took on a leadership role in the game’s development and helped connect online racing communities around the world.

    Before long, Derek set his eyes on a new horizon: entrepreneurship. One variable that helped push him over the edge was living in the “Startup Mecca” of Silicon Valley, which provided him with the essential brainfood he needed to begin stepping away from EA and formulate ideas of his own. Additionally, with small successes and the fundamental skills he gained in the corporate world, it was an ideal time for him to jump on the entrepreneurial wave …  but little did he know, this wave would throw him into the entrepreneurial deep end fighting for his life.

    Experience Is what we get when we don’t get what we want.

    There seems to be a common denominator between successful founders. The first company they start is not an instant success. It takes time to understand all the pieces necessary to build a successful company.  

    This truth holds the same for Derek.

    The first company he started failed. It was a good enough idea for him to quit his job at EA, but he couldn’t figure out a sustainable revenue model to keep it going. It took him 3 failed startups before he scratched the surface of a company that would one day scale to 98 countries.

    What his failures taught him was pivotal: he recognized the needs of entrepreneurs when it comes to launching a company and felt this was an under-served market. As an entrepreneur, what if Derek had more resources and more of a “what to do / what not do” manual before starting his other four startups? Or better yet, just a support group of people who understand the founders “world”?

    Derek Andersen selfie

    These ideas became the seeds that provided the foundation for Startup Grind and just like that, the early days of Startup Grind saw Derek starting out of a garage serving the needs of founders in Silicon Valley.

    Once a repeatable and scalable process was built in the Bay Area, the question for Startup Grind now became… was there a need for Startup Grind outside the Bay Area? Much to his surprise, the needs seemed to be even bigger outside because other areas of the country and world didn’t have as much of an emphasis on the startup culture and grind.

    Startup Grind’s glimmer of hope.

    After 2 years of developing Startup Grind and working out of garage and paying the bills, Derek and his team started to see the light. He was betting on all the positive feedback he kept getting from attendees and organizers.

    The first two to three years of a startup is not guaranteed, but what kept the Startup Grind team going was their relentless vision, passion, excitement, and ability to see a world they could create that didn’t yet exist.

    The Startup Grind snowball effect began after they hit 20 cities with events. The next big challenge was getting to events in 50 cities, and then 75, and so on … Derek recalls, “In the beginning I couldn’t see beyond 50 cities”.

    startupgrind

    When I asked Derek to dive deeper into what he saw when others didn’t, he mentioned, “I was with a friend and then we met up with his friend. Before long, we had exchanged professional info and the guy said, “I know of Startup Grind … I read your blog … I love what you’re doing.

    Derek asked, did my friend tell you beforehand? The man replied “no”.

    It was at this moment Derek knew he had something on his hands…

    Fulfillment on the journey.

    Many founders and entrepreneurs start their business as a result of identifying a personal problem. When I asked Derek about his personal “why” for Startup Grind, he said, “I love the relationships between cities and directors. We are genuine friends who look out for each other. Our culture has a family feel and we are making leaders. Simply, we are one big startup family and all invested in each other. That’s what makes me coming back everyday.”

    Derek Andersen interviewing Sam Altman from YC

    (Derek interviewing Sam Altman from YC)

    Startup Grind epitomizes the dream for many startup founders – doing good and profiting from it. Making a difference and impacting lives.

    The future of Startup Grind.

    When I asked Derek about the future of Startup Grind, he remarked, “there is a bigger pie and we have only cut into the first sliver. So the question is how many people can we impact? … how can we scale and and impact 400 Million entrepreneurs?

    To conclude, Derek said, “I remember when we first started, we were knocking on everyone’s doors to speak at our events, and now we have top tier CEO’s applying through our site  who want to speak with us. This still kind of blows my minds considering how it started.”

    Things have changed for Startup Grind, and before they know it, maybe Zuck and Musk will be speaking at their events.

    Authors Note: Special thank you to the Kairos Society. This article would not have been possible without them. Kairos focuses the next generation of entrepreneurs on today’s biggest challenges.

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    Want to become your own boss? Ask yourself these questions first.

    man on phone at sundown

    The world of an entrepreneur can easily be compared to that of Hollywood. But if you set aside all the glamour for a second, it’s like you’ve entered into a new dimension completely different than your 9-5. In order to survive becoming your own boss, you need a combination of determination, patience and a little bit of luck.

    Before you jump into the world of being your own boss, there are several important questions you should ask yourself.

    The answers to these questions will help you better understand whether you’re cut out for the entrepreneur lifestyle or not.

    These are questions I ask myself whenever I dive into a new venture. I have hundreds of ideas a month, but if a business doesn’t align with my interests and capabilities, chances are I won’t pursue it. The same goes for deciding when to make the jump and become your own boss/create a business.

    As an entrepreneur, I have brought dozens of products to life with companies like Yes Man and Cork Supply Co, I’ve been a part of Kickstarter campaigns raising a total of over $1 million, and I now run a startup called Sourcify that helps entrepreneurs find right manufacturer. All the businesses I’ve spent my time on align with my interests and skillsets.

    Each time I think about starting a business and am deciding how to become my own boss once, I ask myself these questions to ensure my passion is present and I have the sweat equity necessary to make the venture a success.

    With nine out of ten businesses failing, it’s crucial to identify what your passions are as they will help you get through the challenging phase of becoming an entrepreneur. Many wantpreneurs – or those who wish to be entrepreneurs – usually skip this step thinking they can just cut corners and succeed in the process.

    Here are the 6 questions you should ask yourself to decide whether to take the leap, become an entrepreneur and your own boss.

    become your own boss - woman on computer

    1. Why do I want to become an my own boss?

    Though everyone will obviously have a different answer to this question, it’s still important to answer on a personal level. If you simply wish to make more money, for example, then there are certainly easier ways than entrepreneurship. Think about why you want to go down this path and then consider the alternatives. In case there’s another path that leads to the same goal, weigh the pros and cons. Creating your own business from scratch probably sounds perfect to some, but when you take everything into account, it might not be as ideal as you might have originally thought.

    2. What are my strengths and weaknesses?

    Being able to recognize the areas you excel in as well as those that are giving you trouble is incredibly important for entrepreneurs. Say, for instance, that your planning skills are subpar. Since this is a vital skill to possess, you’ll need to work on improving yourself before going any further. Once you identify your strongest areas too, then you can actually start building towards your goal. Which takes us to the next question.

    3. Can I set clear, well-defined goals?

    As a future entrepreneur, you must always have specific goals in mind and I don’t mean vague statements of the “I want to become successful” variety. There’s a considerable body of scientific literature that talks about the relationship between goal-setting and performance, the importance of setting challenging goals, especially when you want to disrupt an industry. When you have a clearly defined picture of whatever it is you wish to accomplish, then every little task you complete will motivate you further, according to Barbara Parshall of Baarb, an innovative new platform enabling people to intelligently book travel (this is their exact plan to take on larger travel sites and sets them apart from the rest of them).

    4. Am I prepared to invest my time and effort?

    While some of the most successful entrepreneurs can make up their own work hours, they’ve all gone through periods where their business endeavors took up most of their time. If you want to become an entrepreneur simply to have more flexible hours, you should know that it isn’t going to happen in the beginning. Instead, you’ll be working late hours and weekends at first. Consider your current responsibilities and think about how you can divide your time otherwise you’ll be met with some unpleasant surprises.

    5. What experience do I have?

    Being excited and motivated about a business doesn’t mean you can actually pull it off. Instead of rushing into this tremulous world, think about how you can gain more experience in your current area of interest first. Go and work at a startup company to get an intimate look at how they operate and talk to as many experts as possible. If things are different than you originally thought, consider spending some time to gain experience in the field before delving in deeper.

    6. What support do I have?

    It’s a simple fact of life that many new businesses will fail for one reason or the other. While no one wants to think their business will not be successful, you still need to have a backup plan or two in case that does happen. Know that entrepreneurship is risky business and think about what kind of support you have in a worst-case scenario.

    After carefully asking yourself these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of whether the entrepreneurship path is the way to lead your life or not. By not getting so caught up in the dream, you’ll set yourself up to become better prepared for the challenging yet fulfilling entrepreneurial life ahead.

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    How my love of fast food, pizza and ice cream helped me unleash my creativity

    eating mcdonalds french fries

    How I’m using food to build a better ‘me’ in 2017…

    Everyone leads a busy life in one way or another, and my life is no different. 

    2016 was a year where I felt all over the place in my life with no consistency and I just needed something to set in and ground me. In my case, it was a food blog I had started years ago but hadn’t kept up with posting – it’s called Danielle’s Dish.

    My blog had started out as what I like to call a ‘joke’ at work back in 2014. Apparently I was sharing a lot of commentary with my co-workers about the foods I love to eat – Olive Garden, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s to name a few. I like to say I am the ‘anti-foodie” since I REALLY enjoy fast food, chain restaurants and the simple pleasures in life such as pizza. My friends and colleagues told me that I should blog about what I eat, so I did… creating my blog that year.

    eating pizza - unleash your creativity

    My blog was not very advanced, but it was perfect for the purpose of a new hobby to offer consistency and balance in my life. The site was built via Blogger, and if I ever needed to ‘code’ anything, I knew I could find all of that information on Google. I also figured out how to integrate my Instagram posts into the site, which was an accomplishment for me.

    Danielle’s Dish was strong for about 3 months… I was posting my food reviews and pictures multiple times a week.

    But then life happened. 

    I got engaged and my husband and I moved out of the city to a house that changed my commute from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours each way. We had work to do on the house and due to finances we did the initial work ourselves. 

    All of this homeowner stuff was new to me. We also adopted a puppy and on top of all that, we were planning a wedding. And then there was Danielle’s Dish, sitting on the back burner where it stayed for 3 years.

    But Danielle’s Dish came back in 2017. Here’s why:

    I learned that I needed a hobby to occupy my time that felt consistent AND manageable.

    laptop on floor - unleash your creativity

    2017 is the first year where I don’t have to worry about wedding planning, and if you’ve gone through wedding planning you know there’s a lot to do (plus I was always wedding crafting because I made my own wedding place cards and table decorations). From my experience, I learned that going from something that takes up all of your time to none of your time makes you feel like you have nothing to do once it’s all over. 

    I was at a loss because I didn’t have a use for my creativity or something to keep me on deadline. 

    That’s where my blog came back in. It forced me to keep up with new fast food trends, understand what was going on in the Chicago food scene, and got me out of my comfort zone to go to new neighborhoods where I can find, for example, lemonade drinks that are served in lightbulbs. 

    I also made a goal to myself to post on Danielle’s Dish once a week. Previously I posted on Danielle’s Dish multiple times a week and that didn’t work so well. I learned that by taking a step back and making a manageable goal, I can take baby steps on my side project and eventually come to post on Danielle’s Dish multiple times a week.

    While my blog is just for fun now, it allows me to think about its future and the long term potential.

    Danielle’s Dish isn’t making money right now. Actually, I’m just SPENDING money since I’m buying all of the food I review. But the great thing is Danielle’s Dish COULD make money in the future, so that’s something I’ve thought about when it comes to my little side project and I’ve learned to embrace this potential. Maybe in the future I’ll start advertising on Danielle’s Dish. Maybe I’ll start video reviews. Maybe I’ll expand beyond the fast food / chain restaurant / desserts spectrum and review other types of food. 

    One little side project (no matter how small) can have a load of potential.

    I get a lot of enjoyment from the food I like to eat, but I need to think about my health too.

    Sure, a majority of the foods I blog about aren’t healthy. Sure, I have some vices that I need to fix, such as not drinking soda in the morning before I take the train to work (and not having coffee once I get to work). However, eating what I want to eat is enjoyable to me and something I look forward to during lunch and dinner. At the end of the day, I, as well as anyone else, shouldn’t be eating like I do when it comes to long term health, so I’ve learned that I need to take a larger look at my health and greater well-being. 

    In January, I joined a gym that does interval training classes. My goal is to do a class every weekend. Surprisingly, that’s been manageable and I’ve been doing it consistently. 

    I’ve been incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet thanks to a husband who is taking strides in the right direction toward healthy eating. While the BBQ ranch salad I’ve tried isn’t as good as a hot dog, I guess it’s passable once in awhile 🙂

    I’ve learned that having something consistent that you enjoy doing does amazing things for you.

    It helps keep you on a schedule. It provides potential for the future and it allows you to pass the time by being productive.

    I have a goal for you: find your own Danielle’s Dish.


    Danielle Donlon does digital ad sales by day, and hangs with her husband and their dog Pants at night.  Reach her at Danielle’s Dish or on her Instagram @daniellesdishgram.

  • ,

    Why we need to rethink work if we want to truly be happy in life

    man wearing tank top

    The days of the 9-5 are soon to be over – at least in the traditional sense. Technology is changing faster than ever before and as a result, how we work, why we work, where we work and when we work is changing. What doesn’t seem to be changing though, is how we find jobs. I don’t know about you, but I’m still seeing friends and colleagues draft up the same old standard resume and apply to as many companies as possible, get a few interviews, and take the first one that sends over an offer.  

    It’s no wonder that tenure is shrinking, workplace happiness is generally low, and the word ‘work’ has a negative connotation associated with it. Hive Chairman Ryan Allis made a great point in saying that it was odd that we spend 832 weeks going to school and around 4 to find a job. Crazy, right?

    It’s time we changed how we are attracted to work, and how we find happiness through it. 

    And then I ran into Eric Termuende, author of Rethink Work which has just launched on Amazon today (I encourage you to pick it up). Eric is the Co-founder of NoW Innovations, Lead Content Strategist for True Calling Canada, a signed international speaker, and leading the charge on changing way we talk about work. 

    Eric Termuende - author of Re-Think Work

    In his book Eric talks about the importance or articulating the stories of people, not just organizations, and really getting an understanding of the experiences, feelings, and values of people. Eric talks about something that is sorely missing from today’s dialogue about work.

    Not just ‘what’ we need when looking for work, but also the importance of differentiating who we are and knowing what to look for if we are to find happiness at work (and in our lives as a result). 

    The biggest takeaway for me when reading the book though, came from his explanation about generations and how he took the ‘millennial’ stereotype and completely abolished it. What he said was that because of the rate of technology change, and that there is no way that we can possibly suggest that we all grew up the same… there are simply too many variables at play. In addition, he points out that some millennials are now 35, while others are just finishing college. In other words, some are saving for their kids’ education while others are just starting to pay their own off. Simply put… we are all very different, have different priorities in life and are at vastly different stages of life and development. We should be approaching work with that in mind.

    Eric’s book offered a fresh perspective that indeed, we can all find happiness through the work we do.

    No, there isn’t a recipe for success, and success looks different to each person, but there is a common denominator.

    As I got deeper into the book I gained a further appreciation for what we are doing at PRSUIT as we know that our readers can all find happiness by being their most unique selves, and that we can all truly ‘rethink work’.

    rethink work - for hire sign

    In reflecting on my own experience in initially joining the workforce following college and then jumping around a couple times until I found a good fit, I believe that we should be optimistic in our search. We should be forward-thinking and empowered during this process, knowing that what you bring to the table does matter and that you have the ability to cast aside the negative connotation of 9-5 and instead create an environment for yourself where you can flourish.

    Far too often, we dehumanize work by allowing it to assume a corporate veil that lacks a sense of self-empowerment.

    We need to realize that the purpose of your employment is two-fold.

    Yes, it is to create a successful and ROI positive company, but more than that, on a personal level, your 9-5 is meant to improve yourself and your skill set. You should be selfish when approaching your job. You should be selfish in deciding if it is empowering you or trapping you.

    I have had 4 jobs since graduating and by millennial standards I suppose that’s not so bad, but the reason for jumping around is that I felt I had plateaued personally at my first three positions. I was not able to envision my next “level up”. I didn’t see my personal skills and qualities being able to be enhanced in those scenarios. My ‘work’ had become more about the organization and it’s processes than it was about me as a person.

    What changed and what truly allowed me to re-think work was when I switched to a sales role at a new company that really understood culture and personal empowerment.

    In this new role and the people I worked with, I was encouraged to see work as an opportunity to build a future self. Yes, it was about creating a successful company in the immediate, but my peers and management were clear in acknowledging the fact that my role was one designed to create the best version of my future self. It was a very human role that was about me. My managers acknowledged the fact that I might not be at this company in 3, 5, 10 years and that was OK. For this company, work was personal and designed to improve me as a person.

    In this role I came to realize that there is no universal standard for work.

    There are too many variables at play, people are all different and technology is changing work incredibly fast. The one variable you can control, though, is your tolerance for failure. In my new role, I was encouraged to fail time and time again. This became my key to success and truly showed me that when you re-think work from being a daily task that pays the bills to a daily personal opportunity to fail and build your skill set for the future – things changed.

    Work is about the people, not the organization. Companies that understand this and allow you to try, fail and learn so that ultimately YOU become a stronger person and more skilled employee… those are the companies that I want to work for (or… as an entrepreneur, create)

    If you’re looking for that next read, definitely check out Eric’s book here and pick up a copy today. 

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    From stuntman to entrepreneur: how I have defined my own success by being a ‘jack of all trades’

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    How I made money, lost money, got my butt kicked by Jackie Chan and I’m still moving forward… My name is Sam Parham and this is the story of how I became an entrepreneurial jack of all trades.

    What follows is a brief timeline of my business endeavors from youngster to age 29. I’m just getting started but I have learned that there is no replacement for lessons learned through personal experience. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I’m growing better with each one. Here’s how it’s all gone down.

    From a young age in school, I would buy bulk DVD’s from a local second hand store. I designed myself a brand with a hardcopy catalog and set to selling DVDs to my classmates at the beginning of each class.

    After finding out about Costco, I then bought bulk bags of candy, re-packaged them into smaller packets and added them to my school catalog for double margin profits.

    School wasn’t the only market though, and I soon began breeding ‘stick Insects’ at home with my brother Mark. We contacted the local pet stores and began supplying the stores with stick insects as our collection grew.

    My entrepreneur hustle had begun – I had set out to create my own measure of success.

    Fast forward to college. I needed money to get through school, so I wrote a 30 page detailed plan to help people get a flat toned stomach or ‘6 pack’. I listed it on eBay at $9.99, the orders rolled in, and I emailed my customers their ‘eBook’.

    This soon paid my way through University, where I took my passion for Parkour / FreeRunning to the next level.

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    Being a young parkour/freeRunner wasn’t enough, so I co-created a company called 3RUN with a team of Parkour stunt performers and took the business international. Before long, 3RUN had me traveling the world, producing commercials with Yohan Blake in Jamaica, performing alongside BOB in China and winning Guinness World Records in China.

    Under my influence and alongside my business partner, the company expanded further, offering a full Parkour curriculum for students in our purpose-built 3RUN Academy in Basingstoke, UK. We also built a full clothing line for FreeRunners and Sports Enthusiasts.

    Then I became a stuntman.

    From there, I began performing in feature films from World War Z with Brad Pitt, to Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise. In another movie I even I got my butt kicked by Action hero Jackie Chan.

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    This is where the value of investment comes in.

    So many people that earn money find ways to spend it… and often they spend it fast! Sure, I bought my dream car at the age of 26, and I might have blown the engine up after 6 months, forking out another $20,000 for a replacement engine. BUT, I also invested in properties and more businesses. After all, you have to speculate to accumulate!

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    I used these investment opportunities to build additional income for myself. First, through rent on my properties, then through investments in a lucrative investment portfolio. Additionally, with my now business partner Scott Fidgett, I invested in some exciting new electronic transportation devices we saw while performing in China and theAirWheel.com was born.

    The first thing we did was buy 40 Airwheels, took them to the Gadget Show Live Exhibition and sold out in the first weekend. I invested everything back into the company, and fast forward 2 years, The AirWheel has AirWheel Hover Boards and Electric Unicycles in the hands of Justin Bieber and Chris Brown just to name a few celebs.

    Trips to Vegas and more business trips to China became common but the business, never stopped.

    We had no idea about running an electronics distribution company, but we found our way into over 100 stores in the UK alone and owned a local warehouse with a delivery staff and technician team all in place.

    But the hustle never stops, and the grind never ends. The electronics company soon hit a huge bump in the road out of nowhere with issues of fraud from customers and supply end issues, which knocked a lot of our profits.

    We picked the pieces up and did what had to be done. Rebuilding isn’t easy, but such is the real test. After all, it really is only when you go from hero to zero, that your mental is truly tested.

    While these processes continued, I headed to LA to pursue more opportunities.

    I teamed up with another global Parkour brand (WFPF) and began to take performance teams to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago. With many more projects in the pipeline, I made good use of my time while remotely managing my other projects and businesses.

    I am also invested in and now co-own several other businesses ranging from a gym clothing company called Gym Rat to a physical talent agency.

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    Most recently with my investment in “The Best Private Hire Taxi Company in the UK” – according to TSI Awards – Go Green Taxis.

    If you can’t tell, like to diversify and not pull all my eggs in one basket.

    The two things that have always resonated with me when it comes to being an entrepreneur, is to always grow from strength to strength!

    I’m only 29 and I’m just getting started. Like I said at the start of this article, there is absolutely no replacement for lessons learned through personal experience. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I’m growing better and stronger with each.

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    So, what have I learned?

    In business and entrepreneurship, you often hear people say that you have to find something that you love in order for it to grow into a success. And while this can be very true for many, it can also be the case that opportunities present themselves that at first you don’t have love for, but they can grow to become that!

    Afterall, its unlikely that the top toilet paper manufacturers had real love for toilet paper when they started out! I’m sure they have fun with it now though!

    Even more important is your personal mission.

    You have to stay focused on your ‘why’ – why are you doing it? What is it all for?

    When I was faced with the chance to buy another Audi R8 or buy a new Mercedes SUV fully kitted out with disability mods for my father, who suffers from MultipleSclerosis, it was a no brainer. That’s the ‘why’ right there… to give back to the people that matter most. New disabled friendly Merc fully spec’ed out on the drive way.

    The keys from my experience so far have been:

    • Never give up.
    • Don’t feel like you have to focus on just one thing – sometimes its OK to be a ‘jack of all trades’.
    • Create different revenue streams.
    • Residual income is key – Make your money work for you while you sleep!
    • If something doesn’t work out, its OK to drop it and try something else.
    • Find like minded people to collaborate and work with.
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    5 money saving tips for young and first time entrepreneurs

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    As a “success coach” (is that even a real title?!), I teach young entrepreneurs how to find their authentic voice when creating their ventures, how to tap into their most potent creative work and how to become more efficient leaders. I educate people on both the art and science of Flow, and how #flowstateofmind mindset and actions matter in your business.

    After years of traveling, coaching and teaching internationally, I have found that the most success in business ventures comes when brands have heart.

    What does heart mean in business you ask? Well, connection leads to compassion. Allow me to walk you through five ways to start ramping up your ability to genuinely connect with your ideal client, the ones who you can’t wait to do business with.

    Observe a simple psychological phenomenon – creating trust with another human. When we are given the space to talk about ourselves, we build trust almost immediately. The brain releases serotonin and dopamine when someone listens to our issues or problems, and we show empathy as a result. Authentic branding works when you create content that matters to the individual, content that empowers people because it has the element of human connection.

    The easiest way to improve your branding & lifestyle content is to get inside the minds of your ideal customer/client… to get to know them and their needs. Not just the ‘static’ followers, those folks who are watching from afar with no intent to use your products or services. Zoom in on the ones you can connect with and help them solve their unique problem with your product, service or brand.

    These are 5 ways to create authentic branding on the cheap, without sacrificing quality.

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    1. Invest in high quality photos.

    Establish Core Values of the brand. Those core principles should be woven into all content.

    -Photos are content, and are extremely important for branding. Start budgeting for quarterly photo shoots with vibrant photographers to build your brand. They are critical for social media, web presence, other marketing materials.

    -Make sure hair, make up, wardrobe and shot list (with props) are planned ahead of time. This will make everything run more smoothly on the day of the shoot. If you are camera shy, now is the time to step into Flow and just be yourself and own it!

    2. Create an intro video for YouTube

    …with you speaking directly to the camera about your philosophy for the brand, who you help, and how you help them. Be specific with exactly who you work with and how you deliver. Smile, laugh, pretend you are having coffee with a friend who you are so excited to reconnect with and you have exciting news to share with them. *Bonus points if you also put it on the front page of your website.

    3. Hold in person events or attend them, and work on emotional intelligence.

    Making in person connections is an opportunity to learn from others. Spending time to talk in person builds trust and authentic relationships, but asking the right questions is key. I love getting to know what other entrepreneurs are on fire passionate about and how they serve and give back. Those conversations go a lot farther than the dreaded, “what do you do and where are you from?” Get personal.

    4. Find your highest truth in your brand and speak to that.

    Not sure how to find your best content creating voice? Start writing in a journal, attending a personal development retreat, releasing your fears and self limiting beliefs in business and creating a mindset of Flow. By developing the self, you inadvertently improve your brand. Your truth is activated in your higher level brain, which can then communicate with the highest truth in others. Skip the material and surface level “safe” branding, and get right to the heart of things. Practice being vulnerable often. People want to know You in lifestyle brands, so communicate the bigger message in your content. Again who are you helping, and how to you make the choice to serve with your brand.

    5. Collaborate with others who have similar core values, and raise each other up.

    Whether it is through representing other brands in social media or hiring other entrepreneurs for contract work, align yourself with people who take pride in their work. Investing in skilled graphic designers and social media marketing experts saves you time and gives your brand a more professional feel. I will often make a dedicated post about how amazing a person is to work with, and how authentic their brand is. Tap into gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside and with other entrepreneurs doing their part to create beauty and connections in this world. Raising others up raises your own energy, and people can sense that. The market is big enough for everyone to be successful, so practice stepping out of scarcity mindset and into Flow with other leaders in their respective industries.

    I want YOU to tap into your own personal power, freedom to design your lifestyle and the ability to create and scale businesses that are an extension of your highest truth. Success starts with establishing integrity, creating a Flow State of Mind in everything you do, and attracting the right opportunities and people to your brand.

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    Want to make a difference in the world? Time to rethink your “why”

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    I want to make a difference. I want to have impact.

    I want to change the lives of the people in my community and around the world for the better, and grow while doing it. Come to think of it, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t. Whether we work in forestry or hospitality, consulting or as an entrepreneur, we all want to make a difference in the world, and we all want to make impact.

    But what if we’re looking at how to make a difference all wrong?

    What if impact wasn’t the goal? What if impact was the result?

    Part of what I love about my job so much is that I am able to talk to new people and have numerous ‘aha!’ moments a week. Yesterday, for example, I was speaking to Joel Brown, founder of the incredibly successful Addicted2Success.com. The website has reached over 120 million people, has 1.4 million podcast plays, and is undoubtedly making an incredible impact.

    During our conversation I tried to really challenge Joel on his goals for the year. We talked about how he had his financial goals, sure, but that he had a responsibility to grow Addicted2Success not just for himself, but for his community. Joel knows that if he can grow the community, that the money will follow. If he changes his mindset from revenue generation to value maximization, then revenue will be a by-product of value being received. He feels he has a responsibility to provide value, not make money.

    Think about that mindset shift for a second.

    The money will come if the value is there. Provide value and reap the benefits of a community that feels appreciated.

    how to make a difference - man overlooking city

    But it was this shift in thinking that made me think that we have the idea of impact all wrong.

    What if impact isn’t the mission?

    What if fulfilling our responsibility is the mission, and the impact is the result of it being achieved?

    So maybe we shouldn’t aspire to make impact our goal. Maybe we should aspire to understand what our responsibility is, and work hard to get it done.

    Impact will follow; it is inevitable.

    Take one of Joel’s stories for example. After having an in depth conversation with Adam Braun, the founder of “Pencils of Promise”, Joel and his community were able to raise $51,000 in three weeks to build this school for children living in poverty in Laos. This conversation inspired him to become more aware of his responsibility and he worked to ensure it got done. It wasn’t about the ambiguity of ‘impact’, it was his dedication to completing what he believed was his responsibility that made it happen.

    This lead me to realize that the word ‘impact’ is a bit of a catch-all. In a world where social entrepreneurship is thriving, and everyone wants to make the world a better place, we can almost stop saying our goal is to make a difference.

    how to make a difference - man walking into subway station

    Perhaps the shift then, is to talk about what we feel we have a responsibility to do.

    If we can articulate what that goal is, then it is clear as to what the impact, or result will be.

    Joel also proved to his Addicted2Success community that you don’t necessarily need a lot of money yourself to make a difference. Joel donated $2,000 USD himself to the Pencils of Promise campaign and then raised more than $12,000 on top of that by offering his unique skills and abilities of online business development and marketing to others in return for donations.

    This in turn inspired others in his community to do the same which created a ripple effect of awareness and action in his massive online community.

    Joel believes “the ultimate level of inspiration is to show others what is possible through your actions”. He realized that it is his responsibility to just that.

    When it comes to Joel, I believe it was his focus on his responsibility to build a school that allowed him to complete it… instead of just hoping to make ‘a difference’, or ‘impact’. As he takes this thinking into 2017, there is no doubt that he will continue his exponential growth both personally and professionally.

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    The one thing that truly taught me how to live a complete life

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    Death.

    Death is inevitable. We will all die some day and it’s nothing we should fear or be afraid to think about.

    I read once that a person who has learned how to die has simultaneously learned how to live life to its fullest.

    This perplexed me and stayed on my mind for days on end because at first it seemed like such a hard concept to grasp. How does one learn how to die, and once accomplished, how does it teach one to live? I decided to take a look at my own life and see if I had learned how to die yet and if not, how could I? (yes a very odd question to ask oneself).

    I first started by realizing three things about life and death.

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    One. I’ve seen a lot of death in my time from friends in my younger years who unfortunately became products of a heroine epidemic. This trend polluted my hometown of Dallas, TX in the early 2000’s, and during that time period I lost a lot of friends to overdoses and even watched one of my friend’s little brother overdose and die right in front of me.

    Two. During all of the funerals I attended and even afterwards, I never cried or wished my friends were still here with me. I always thought it was selfish to wish someone I cared for to still be here with me suffering from his/her addiction or whatever pains they were enduring in life.

    And finally, I never feared my own death. I have walked on the wild side my fare share of times and had a few moments where I thought life was over for me and not once did I ever fear my fate. Thankfully I’m still here to this day. With that being said though, I still don’t think I ever truly learned how to die, so next I thought that maybe if I took time to visualize my own death it would help me to learn how to die, or at least give me a better understanding of what the phrase really means.

    So there I sat in my room, eyes closed, and meditated on my own death (and hence my own life).

    I pictured watching my own funeral service and thought about how old I was at the time of my death, the specific people who attended my funeral, and what was said during my eulogy.

    At that moment, things started to click. I imagined myself dying at the then current period of my life, a young 20 something year old aspiring musician funding my dreams with drug money with an arrest record as long as the Brooklyn Bridge. True I was a driven entrepreneur, but I was living a life fueled by material excess with no fulfillment or positive impact being made what so ever.

    Tears started to roll down my eyes as I thought about how I could have died… would it be from a drug overdose like my friends? – very possible considering I was doing 3.5 grams of coke a day.  Maybe a horrible car accident? – that wasn’t far fetched considering I had been in three horrible ones in a span of two years because I had a knack for drinking and driving.

    Then I thought of what people would say about me as they dropped my casket into my grave. The last thing I wanted to be remembered as was some drug using/dealing fool who had a big heart and a lot of potential, but never did anything with his life because of the path he chose to walk.

    Then I thought about how I actually wanted to be remembered by the ones I left behind. I’ve always been a giving person and even an inspiration to many. I had become a walking contradiction because of my lifestyle, so I realized I would like people to say things like, “He was such an inspiring person” or, “Even though he had a rough start, he turned things around and lived a life of purpose and impacted a lot of lives for the better”.

    Then I thought about how I wanted to die and, though I have never feared death, I much rather would like to die in pursuit of my passion for adventure and travel than die an old washed up addict with no motor skills or even worse in some violent shoot out that left half my face missing. It was then during that massive moment of clarity and reflection of my own death as a result of my current life that I learned how to die and then started learning how to live.

    I realized that to learn how to die is to first accept that it’s okay to see death as a glorious thing.

    Though tragic, it signifies the closing chapters of the most original story ever told-the story of your life; only you have to decide how that story is told and that’s the major part of learning how to die -identifying how you want to be remembered. Once you’ve learned how to die you become free: free of any constraints, free of any strongholds, free of any bad habits, addictions, or fears. Essentially you become free of death itself and free to live a life of your choosing.

    Change doesn’t come easy so naturally it took a while for me to give up the life I once chose to live.

    Once I did, however, I was able to leave my life of crime behind for good and make a commitment to live a life worthy of an honorable death. Once the commitment to live a life worth dying for was made, I stayed clean from drugs, swore to never hustle again, left the people who were having a negative effect on my life, and decided to use my talent for writing to make a positive impact in people’s lives in anyway that I could.

    Fast forward three years and I’m now a successful business owner. I write poetry for niche perfumers as a way to connect their online audience to the art behind the fragrance. I mentor troubled youth who have walked the path that I’ve walked, and I travel as often as possible and I’m even preparing to move to Europe this time next year with no definite time frame of when I’ll return to the U.S.- maybe I’ll spend a good chunk of my life visiting as many cultures and countries as possible-who knows?

    Sure, my life has had its ups and downs just like yours, but I gladly accept any and all challenges because I believe they come to add more flavor to the story of my life as well as assist in my continued education on how to live.

    I’ve now become a man of honor, purpose, value, and adventure all because I learned how to die.

    Because of that life changing lesson, I now know that when ever the reaper hands me my ticket for the long ride, I’ll accept it with a smile on my face because I know it will be a death worth dying.

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    What you do outside of work determines your success (5 things to do in your ‘off hours’ )

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    You haven’t eaten anything since breakfast (you ate breakfast, right?), you’ve been putting out fires all day, a customer chewed you out, and let’s not even talk about your inbox. What’s this inbox zero thing that people are talking about anyway?

    It’s finally hit 5pm and you’re exhausted. You want to face plant onto your bed, order a pizza, and binge on Game of Thrones for the evening. Or you hit up happy hour with friends and decompress by downing some cocktails.

    As painful and difficult as it sounds, your hustle shouldn’t stop when you punch out of work. Whether you like your job or not, you need to continue your hustle after hours if you are committed to making an impact.

    It’s your off-hours lifestyle that determines your success during your business hours.

    Here are the 5 ways I am making sure that what I do after work reflects my hunger for success in all aspects of life.

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    1. Creating vs consuming.

    We browse Instagram and Facebook for entertainment and escapism. Be selective in the content you consume and use it to educate yourself. Instead of scrolling through my News Feed, I have decided to read books on the Kindle App. I’m educating myself during my commute, on elevators, in the doctor’s waiting room, and in a Lyft. I use this to fuel my creativity, generate ideas, and find inspiration.

    There’s nothing wrong with consuming content but I think you should shift the weight in creation’s favor. Create more than you consume.

    I use creationism as my escapism. In fact, I’m not creating, I’m documenting. Thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, I’ve embarked on a journey to become a better version of myself. I am using my blog to document my journey of self-improvement.

    The byproduct of my self-improvement journey is that as I become a better person, I become better in business – I improve my ability to communicate, prioritize, and develop relationships.

    2. Learning new skills.

    One time when I was interviewing for a job, I told the hiring manager about a marketing certification I had previously attained outside of work. Since I was selling marketing analytics software, this certification helped me connect better with marketers. The hiring manager was shockingly impressed. Skills aside, going the extra length shows people your dedication and commitment to success.

    The workplace is constantly changing. Jobs are being outsourced or replaced by robots. Simple tasks are being automated by software.

    Technology is rapidly evolving every day. The iPhone you bought yesterday will be out of date in six months.

    The question is—how are you using changes in technology and the workplace to improve your stock? Employees are required to wear several hats and this is going to require people to learn new skills.

    Thankfully, technology is making it easier to learn technology. Udemy, Udacity, and YouTube make it simple for us to learn new skills. Even Harvard is offering free courses. There is no excuse not to increase your value… it just requires a trade-off of your time. Do you go to happy hour? … or take those two hours to learn Python. Do you watch four straight episodes of Westworld? … or use that time to become a social media master.

    3. Explore your hobbies.

    These are the things that really light you up. This is the outlet that gives you clarity on the things that are most important to you.

    I love going for walks. I’ll listen to music, podcasts or TED Talks and wander the Seattle neighborhoods for hours. When I check back in with reality, I’m crystal clear on the things that are important to me. I’ll then get to work on those things that get me closer to my goals.

    4. Mind the people around you.

    The garbage in, garbage out concept can also apply to the people you surround yourself with.

    It’s difficult letting go of people that don’t bring you up. Your friends might be reliable and attentive, but if you’re looking to level up then you might have to distance yourself from them and find others who have similar goals.

    Napoleon Hill discussed in his book, Think and Grow Rich, the mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of people who have ambitious goals. The group members work together to encourage, support and carry out their goals.

    There are meetups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and forums to help you connect with other like-minded people.

    5. Health.

    Mind, body, soul, and relationships. What are you doing to fuel your mind? Are you exercising and eating healthy food to keep your body in optimal shape? Do you have a spiritual practice to keep you centered? Are you spending time with loved ones?

    After all, taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to keep you on your game during business hours. I’ve even incorporated off-hour practices into my business life. The two practices I’ve implemented in are mid-morning meditations (three minutes at my desk) and an afternoon walk (10-15 minutes). This way, in the midst of a chaotic work day, I can take a few moments to ground myself, then re-engage into my work.

    Back to you.

    With all this being said, what are you doing outside of work to set yourself up for success at work?

    Your dedication to the hustle outside of normal business hours is what’ll propel you forward at work. I get cases of FOMO on Friday nights when I’m at home honing my craft while my friends are out partying. While they do boozy brunches the following morning, I’m at the gym working on my body so that’s it’s ready for the mental gauntlet I put it through.

    This is not going to be easy. Punching in at 9 and punching out at 5 is not enough. It will take discipline, persistence, and sacrifice. When you’re invited to a happy hour, or an epic bar crawl, you’ll have to look deep inside yourself and make a tough choice.

    How committed to success are you?

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    Feeling stuck in your job? Here are 4 ways to get unstuck

    man in snow looking up

    Do you feel stuck right now in your work?

    Do you have a specific problem getting you stuck? Maybe you have no idea what you want to do for work, but know it’s not what you are doing right now.

    You also might feel stuck, but you’re unsure why you feel that way.

    Feeling stuck is a perfectly normal feeling. It’s a tension between two opposing feelings. On one hand, you know the path you’re on is making you feel miserable and is no longer an option. But the path forward is still unclear, so you don’t know how to move forward. Feeling stuck sucks, but that’s how you grow.

    I’ve been there. I got deeply stuck in my career twice! After getting laid off in 2000 I had no idea what I wanted to do for work. I knew I was tired of working for someone else, but didn’t quite have the confidence to work on my own.

    I wandered between freelance gigs, short-term jobs and business school for 5 years, until I finally moved to a new city. It provided me with a fresh perspective on my life. I finally realized self-employment was the lifestyle for me!

    A couple of years ago I got stuck again, but for only about 18 months or so. Ironically, I got stuck while I was producing a podcast all about getting unstuck! It’s still up on iTunes, search for UnStuckable. That experience taught me a ton of lessons about why we get stuck, how to recognize when you are stuck and of course, how to get unstuck.

    I’ve interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs about what gets them unstuck.

    You ready to get unstuck?? Here are 4 ways to get unstuck and make some serious moves with your life and career.

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    Method #1: Recognize you’re stuck.

    Seems pretty obvious, I know! BUT, I’ve stayed stuck much longer than necessary because I didn’t recognize I was stuck. Even worse, sometimes I knew I was stuck, but couldn’t admit it. Even to myself!

    Both are HUGE mistakes! If you want to solve a problem, you have to first identify the problem.

    To help you more recognize the next time you are stuck here are 4 red flags:

    You lack motivation. You have trouble focusing or you feel tired. You’ve lost interest and get distracted from the task at hand. It might be temporary lasting hours or days or it might be more chronic lasting weeks, months or even longer. You are out of touch with your values, your needs or your sense of purpose.

    You lack an answer. There is a piece of knowledge not in your possession that is the missing piece to solve your problem. The harder you think about it, the more elusive the answer becomes. You might also have all the information you need, but  can’t make the necessary connections to find your answer.

    You lack a resource. You need more money or more time. You need to learn a new skill.  You are one introduction away from someone who could transform your business. You are at a loss about how to get this missing resource.

    You lack clear direction. There’s no clear path forward. You may have several options to choose from or none at all. You know you can’t stay on the path you are on, but the way forward is not immediately obvious to you. You don’t know what to do.

    Next time you are starting to feel stuck, stop and recognize it. Say it out loud to yourself. Write it down. Get as specific as you can about what is getting you stuck by referring to the 4 most common ways of getting stuck.

    Method #2: Stop doing what you’re doing and let go.

    As soon as you recognize you are stuck and are even able to describe exactly what’s getting you stuck, stop working. Stop working on the task that’s getting you stuck. Even stop thinking about it.

    If you keep doing what you are doing, you will most likely only get more stuck. As they say when you are in a hole, stop digging. Trying harder to solve the wrong problem is a dead end. Solving the right problem with the wrong solution is also wasted effort.

    Ever have someone tell you to sleep on it? You know why that’s so frequently recommended?

    Scientists believe sleep provides two primary functions. First, we sleep to restore our energy. Second, we sleep so our brain has time to process all the information it collected throughout the day. It does this by building new neural connections.

    Even when you consciously let go of a problem that is getting you stuck, your brain is still working in it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to bed stuck on a problem. Then when I woke up the next morning I had a solution to my problem! At the very least I gained new insights for solving the problem getting me stuck!

    Give it a try.

    Method #3: Make new connections by gathering new perspectives.

    When you get stuck, the connections in your brain get overloaded.  You are preventing new pathways from forming. To gain new insights, your brain needs to make new connections.

    You can help your brain form new connections by seeking new perspectives. Here are 4 exercises to try:

    Go for a walk.  Changing your physical environment gives your brain a new perspective. It provides new stimuli to focus on instead of the problem getting you stuck.

    Go talk to someone. Staying inside your own head when you are feeling stuck will only make you more stuck. Engage and connect with another human. We evolved to help each other out, not to go it alone. Talk out your problem with a trusted colleague or friend.

    Go do an enjoyable activity. It might be a favorite hobby or something that you find relaxing. What’s important here is to use FUN as a distraction to help you break the train of thought that is getting you stuck.

    Go learn something new. Our brains like a challenge. The process of learning creates new pathways that might help get you unstuck.

    In summary, go distract yourself as best you can. You’ll create more new connections in your brain, the more you engage with new challenges, connections or surroundings. The more new connections your brain forms, the more it can help you get unstuck!

    Method #4: Try a new approach.

    We often get stuck because we stay in our comfort zone too long. We keep trying the same approach because it’s familiar to us even though it’s not working. We don’t know what else to do, so we keep doing what we know. We end up getting stuck!

    Embrace discomfort!  Try a new approach. Even try the exact opposite method you’ve been using. Work in a different place and in a different way as a trigger to your brain to seek out new perspectives.

    As you try your new approach don’t expect immediate results. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to solve the problem at hand. Learning a new approach takes time, but it will create loads of new connections in your brain!

    Your solution might not arrive in the way you might expect, so do your best not to force it. That’s one of the reasons you go so stuck in the first place!

    Stay Unstuck

    Do you want to get stuck less often? Or do you want to get unstuck faster the next time you get stuck? I’d like to share another little secret with you.

    You need to get to know yourself better. You need to understand stuff that’s both holding you back and your unique abilities that maximize your potential. The better you know yourself, the less you’ll get stuck.

    Want to learn more about yourself? I’ve designed a free 12-week self-assessment challenge. Each week you’ll focus on one aspect of your life to get to know yourself better than ever before.

    If you want to get stuck less often, definitely start learning more about yourself. It’s the most important subject never taught to you!

     

  • ,

    3 keys to self acceptance & why you should stop trying to “be somebody new”

    woman wearing sunglasses

    If you’re anything like me, your past is filled with failed attempts at your seasonal definition of greatness, littered with triumphant attempts that amounted to nothing and genius ideas/plans that never launched due to inaction.

    In my experience, the twists and lessons that life throws at you will either solidify or devastate who you think you are (or even who you think you want to be).

    These twists and turns are what allow you to grow and eventually come to completely accept yourself.

    I have seen both great success and great failure, have reached the “top” and hit the “bottom” of a preconceived notion of achievement — both cruising at six figures and scrapping the ash tray in my car for gas money. I have worked through a child born with a condition that confounded many doctors, and I stayed strong through the pain until it was resolved. I have had to process losing friends to tragedy, losing relationships in heart break, and battled the regrets connected to both. 

    These experiences have a weight connected to them — and that weight will either make you stronger through resistance or crush you under its  pressure. In either case, both will cause you to question, doubt, and battle who you are or who you want to be.

    January just closed out… are you the ideal you yet? You know — your ideal self. Your ideal self is taking the ideas and thoughts of the things you want to do or how you want to be, and actually becoming those things.

    I actually find that very thought process of becoming your “best self” disturbing.

    Why are there so many people that are either so unhappy with who they currently are, or don’t have a clue who they are, to the point that they say: I want to be somebody new?

    When I was a younger kid (because I am still a kid, just bigger, with a beard and bills and many leather bound books) my mom would read me the Dr. Seuss book, I Want To Be Somebody New by Robert Lopshire.

    It’s a story about a Seuss-size talking cat named Spot explaining to a couple of children how he thinks he would be happier if he were somebody other than himself. He transforms into many different animals but just can’t get it right – he fails at being an animal other than himself, and the children he is showing this trick to are not convinced that being something other than himself is the right choice. 

    Spot’s mantra throughout the entire story is, “I want to be somebody new.” In the end, the children convince him that he should just be himself — he is enough, he is special, he is worthy — and it’s what makes him special.

    It can be difficult to feel accepting of yourself. After all, who knows your mistakes, flaws, and failures better than you? We can be our own worst critic, our own worst enemy, and even our own reason for not pursuing the progress that would make us the happiest.

    How do you accept yourself?

    It’s a weight question with a history as old as humanity itself, but over the years I have learned more and more about myself and what makes me tick and what it takes for me to truly be happy.

    These are the three keys that have helped me learn to accept, and love who I am.

    self acceptance - man on mountain

    #1. Learn to let go of the past.

    Like I said in the opening, if you’re anything like me, your past is filled with failures, inaction and lots of mess ups.

    If you’re also anything like me, you have hurt others in the process of living your life, have made foolish decisions with your money, and have broken promises to yourself and others to change for the better. Welcome to being human!

    The past has significance because your decisions are a reflection of who you are and what you want to be, but the past should never define who you are becoming. Learning to mindfully live in the present moment and love yourself now is a skill that few possess — but it is VERY powerful to a path of self acceptance.

    When you come to the realization — “I made those choices and I am responsible for the consequences, but they don’t define me or my future” — you are actively accepting and loving yourself.

    #2. Stop comparing yourself with others

    Comparing yourself to others is a difficult habit to break for individuals that are highly driven to succeed and who set measurable goals to achieving that success.

    Don’t get me wrong… a healthy level of self assessment can be a healthy exercise to help determine if the decisions we are making are accurate and healthy for us personally or professionally. 

    I determined at an early age that, compared to my peers, perhaps basketball is not where I should focus my energy for self development. Perhaps in a market assessment BlockBuster would have realized the competition is changing, and therefore they should too. This is not the comparison I am writing about.

    The unhealthy comparison with others occurs when the assessment turns into discontent, and jealousy, making the exercise demotivating. This is the comparison that says, “Look how pretty /wealthy /successful /quick /funded /muscley /published /respected, etc that person is. I’ll never achieve that, so what’s the point of trying?” 

    Unhealthy comparisons cause you to devalue and even hate yourself. If you fall short of any measurement you impose on yourself and also view others are more valuable than yourself, a significant negative change in you mindset can occur. 

    #3. Remember that you are more than what you see.

    Go deep with me for a minute. Close your eyes. Look into the soul of the universe and summon your spirit animal.

    Not really … but do go deep with me and remember: we are more than a body and a mind… we are also spiritual beings. Spiritual beings are given more power and and knowledge than we realize.  A power that was instilled in us through an infinite world we can’t see with our natural eyes.

    Call it faith in God, karma, enlightenment, or whatever you desire, but our spirit being isn’t measured by material success, failed endeavors, or the judgment of others. There will come a point in our existence when what we see in the mirror, our ability to create wealth, or our developed acquisition skills, won’t matter.

    What will matter is the love and kindness we have given to others. What will matter is the legacy of hope we have left for those we were connected to. What will matter is that we mindfully lived our true selves and loved that person.

    Charles Bukowski wrote, “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”  Loving yourself can actually be the most challenging obstacle in our innate ability to love.

    I want be somebody new? Nah. I want to be ME.

  • ,

    Don’t feel successful yet? Ask yourself this one question (3 ways it will change you)

    man looking out of the window

    My name is Evan Zakow and I am a 22 year old, recent college graduate working full-time as an accountant for a hospital in New York City.

    Right now I am doing alright for myself. I just graduated college, got an awesome job and am in great health. What more could I ask for?

    Along with my great job and health, I am also studying for my CPA, coaching a youth club lacrosse team on weekends, serving as the recruiting chair of local town professional group, and am in the early stages of starting a clothing line with a couple buddies of mine. It sounds like I’m on a pretty good path, right? It also sounds like I am pretty successful, right? Yeah, for a 22 year old I am doing alright and am on a good path but my no means would I call myself successful… yet.

    I am not successful yet, but I am confident that I will get there because I ask myself the right questions. Specifically… the right question.

    I have asked myself this one question and it has changed the way I live:

    Am I living the life I have always dreamed of OR the one I settled for?

    Although I am on a great path and doing alright for myself, I oftentimes find myself falling into a version of the latter part of that question.

    Could I continue on this path and be successful? Yes. But if I don’t go after the first part of that question, then the answer turns to a cold hard no.

    I could go about it two ways from here: shrug my shoulders and tell myself whatever and that it’s OK to justify that it’s alright and that I’m doing great, OR continue to do great and chase after my dreams so I never have to wonder again. I choose that path. I never want to wonder, doubt or have regret. 

    Here are the 3 ways that choosing this path have positively affected my life.

    guyswalking

    1. I am finding answers to life’s many questions.

    Regardless of the outcome, when chasing your dream you are going to answer some of the questions that you find yourself asking again and again. Questions like could I actually I achieve my dreams? Will my dream give me the lifestyle I want to live or can I even live it? What if….?

    Finding the answers to those questions will lead you to a new life. A life of relief and confidence. It did for me. It has led me to a life that I can be confident in because now I will know what’s for me and what isn’t rather than wondering about it.

    No more “I could’ve been this or I could’ve done this.”

    2. I am understanding that it’s not going to be easy.

    It’s called life. There’s going to be ups and downs. I have discovered that I need to sacrifice and give up things that are important to me whether it’s friends, going out on weekends, etc. These are things I have had to completely re-evaluate. I have come to firmly believe that no one else can dictate what’s important to you and what is not. That’s just the reality whether you like it or not. You have to decide what’s more important to you in the long run.

    Making the decision to forgo certain comforts, friendships or plans is not easy, but I am finding that they are leading me down a path where I am less likely to look back with regret or doubt. For that, I am thankful and confident that I am heading in the right direction.

    3. I will continue to fall victim to my own excuses.

    We get organized, eat healthy, do this, do that and then take a day off or two and go back to the old ways. Time to change that now. I have always wanted to write a book and become an author. Today I start sticking to the rules above for good. I am holding myself accountable, and I will add becoming an author on to the list of excelling at work and becoming a CPA (more on that in a bit).

    Let me guess… you are probably sooooo busy, right? You have work, or school, or need to sleep or this or that. The list goes on and on if you want it to. Yes, if you want it to. You make the decisions in your life regardless of you think your parents or boss are making you. You may call them choices, or obligations, or something else to satisfy yourself. But really they’re just excuses.

    Now yes, some things are extremely important and need to be taken care – family matters, your job, eating, etc. These things limit the amount of time in your day and can limit the amount of time you have to work on that dream of yours. But once again, it’s your choice. Its your life. You choose how you want to live your life so it’s up to you.

    And guess what? You only get one shot at it.

    You want to go see the world? Save properly or get a job that travels.

    Want to get in shape? Eat healthy and hit the gym everyday.

    You think your app will change the world? Build it. Learn how to code or find investors.

    Want to do them all? Go for them all.

    You may already have a great job, good salary, good health, ton of friends, and even an awesome relationship but in the end is your life really that good? Is that what success looks like to you? Are you satisfied and happy?

    If you answered no then what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking and it doesn’t stop.

    Here’s what I’m going to do.

    The book I am going to write is a self-help book. Yeah that’s right self-help. A genre dominated by people with PHDs, fame, wealth, and success (or online gurus with no merit to what they’re writing).

    Why would a 22 year old who is a “nobody” write a self-help book? That question is exactly why the working title is Who am I to Say?. The purpose of the book is to show how much alike our thoughts people are and that there’s no right and wrong in certain situations… it’s purely opinion.

    I am 22 and unaccomplished in many ways but I am going to write it anyways because it’s dream of mine and I believe that my advice can help many achieve their goals and dreams. I will continue to stay focused on my other goals because they are equally as important and block out all the noise people throw my way.

    It doesn’t matter where you are in life: successful, famous, wealthy, or poor – people are going to judge you one way or another. Although you must listen to yourself in the end, respect and listen to what others may say as well especially those close to you. They know you best and will give a different perspective. Separate the noise from constructive criticism and decide what to do on your own.

    Today I stick to the rules and in due time I am going to achieve my goals and never again will I wonder if I could… because I will have done it.

    I challenge you to do the same regardless of who you are and what’s going on in your life. If you have been chasing your dream for a little while now and it’s going well, keep going but know that there is always room for improvement to re-evaluate and become more efficient. The sooner you get it done, the more time you have to focus on other goals.

    The last bit of advice that I am going to leave you with is to enjoy it. Take breaks when needed, find a balance of schedule, and go have fun. Get organized, get motivated, and let’s get going… the clock is ticking!

  • ,

    I traveled the world & worked from my laptop for a year. It was not what I expected.

    woman standing near a temple

    In November 2015, I ripped up my roots, packed a backpack, and left everything I knew behind by buying a one-ticket to Bangkok. The result? I traveled, lived, and worked remotely in twelve countries for a year, and my top learnings from the whole experience were things I never expected.

    This is what I learned from traveling around the world for a year.

    travel the world - Starbucks coffee cup

    Change is easier than you think.

    During my journey, I lived in three places long term: Bali, Barcelona, and Morocco. Every time I set up camp in these digital nomad hubs, I got an apartment, roommates, friends, a coworking space, favorite eating spots, and a life in the city. But since I was traveling with tourist visas, no matter how settled I became, I had to move out of my new life every 1-3 months.

    Every time before I had to leave I’d think, “Aw man! I just made a life here. I have my daily routine, my friends, my running route, my favorite lunch journaling spot, I’m sad to leave! I’m going to miss it here so much!

    Then I’d leave. And as soon as I got to my next destination, my mind was completely transported to the present and I instantly adapted to living in my new surroundings. Every single time it was as if my “last life” was out of sight, out of mind, and I was fully ready and amped to conquer my even newer life.

    I’ve found that what stops most people from doing something new is that they’re scared of change and to leave their current comfort behind. Here’s the thing, though: your current comfort goes away almost immediately when you make space for the new. Sure, you always remember your old experiences, but there’s nothing like continually exploring the unknown until that becomes your daily normal. Before you know it (like within a day), everything but your right now is just a figment of the the old you.

    New friends are fast to come (and can last a lifetime).

    They’re open, friendly, down-to-earth, and just get it in a way that friends from home don’t. They’ve seen things. They’ve done things. They’ve been there. They’ve started million dollar businesses from fishing villages in Asia. Best yet: they’re often location-independent, which means they just keep traveling to new places, so you’ll see them again in a different amazing world location to explore.

    traveling the world - caitlin in hammock

    In fact, I hung out with my Bali villa-mate in Kuala Lumpur where we danced at a ridiculous party on a rooftop. I hung out with a friend from Morocco in San Francisco. 

    The rest? The friends I made great connections with I still talk to regularly, and I know that I will see them again in some awesome part of the world in the future. If you don’t want it to be, nothing is goodbye forever.

    Your environment is everything.

    Here’s the thing: when you work in a 9-5 and do the same thing all day everyday, you don’t have the mindset that anything else is possible. You want to start a business and be location-independent and put yourself out there and conquer the unknown? Very difficult if the people you are around all day every day don’t see this as possible.

    So you want to live your dream? Leave. And do it now. Put yourself around the people who are living what you want to do, are being the kind of person you want to be, are thinking the way you think, and you’ll get there.

    That’s exactly what I did: I wanted to travel the world while working remotely. So I bought a one-way ticket to be around all the people who were traveling the world and working remotely. Now I am one of them. My dream is now my reality.

    You define what’s possible for you.

    Mindset is everything. What you believe to be true is what you take action on. What you take action on yields your results. Your results make up your reality.

    So, don’t believe it’s possible to travel the world by yourself and work remotely? Well, you will never do it. But shift your thoughts to instead believe it is? See you on the next flight.

    travel the world cheap - Machu Pichu

    I had daydreamed about traveling the world and working from wherever for about four years before I finally did. Why did I finally do it? Because I decided to believe that I could. That it was possible. That by doing this I would find the path I really wanted to find.

    Without this belief shift? I’d still be at a desk in San Francisco. Plain and simple.

    We always prove our beliefs to be right, because we take action based on what we think is possible. Learn this now, and use it to your advantage. Take a solid look at everything you believe to be true and false, possible and not possible, and if they do not serve you and your goals and dreams, change them. Shift your beliefs, shift your reality.

    Nothing is that hard (you can travel the world cheap).

    Never once did I not have a place to sleep, no matter how last-minute I booked a hotel. I only got sick twice in a whole year (and I didn’t follow the cooked/peel/canned rule for more than a month). There are people everywhere that speak English, no matter what. There are hubs of expats literally all over the world, even in tiny little fishing villages in Africa.

    There is wifi everywhere. Local sim cards in almost every country. A flight home is one Google Flights booking away. There is always a bus or car to get you from point A to point B. It’s not that expensive. If you do your research, are vigilant, and don’t do something incredibly stupid, everywhere you choose to go is generally safe.  

    travel the world for a year - beach

    Traveling the world or doing something big and new is not that hard. It just takes the balls to actually do it.

    You will develop extreme confidence and independence.

    A given. In fact, growing an insane amount as a person is unavoidable. I mean, when you travel the world for a whole year, alone, this is just a default side effect.

    I love hanging out with myself. I talk to almost everyone I encounter. I make friends easily. I’m self-sufficient. I can literally figure anything out. I depend on myself. I can pack up my bags at any moment and go anywhere in the world without a blink. And when I get there, I’ll make it my new home instantly.

    Solo travel is a killer of shyness, co-dependence, fear, and self-consciousness. So beware: Choose to do something big and new? You may not recognize your old self after.

    What’s life like after an experience like this?

    I will never be the same. I will never go back to who I was or where I was or what I was doing before. I can’t. It’s impossible. Why? Because I have seen so much more. I’ve seen the limits that the average American puts on themselves. I’ve seen how limiting beliefs hold people back, and how it’s so possible to change your thoughts and change your reality. How literally anything is possible if you just freaking do it.

    I’ve lived around the world. How could staying in one place, let alone my old stomping grounds, ever compare? It can’t. Now I have to grow. I have to change. I have to push myself forward. I have to do scary things. I have to put myself out there. Anything else would be a disservice to myself and my potential.

    I strongly, strongly encourage you to do the same. Do that big, new, scary thing you’ve always wanted. You’ll never look back and you’ll end up on this insane path that you’d never find otherwise. It’ll change you for the better. Promise.

  • ,

    Life as a model & influencer: Levi Stocke on success, 600,000 followers and great hair

    levi standing next to a taxi

    Even if you don’t know the name Levi Stocke, you’ve likely seen him in an ad for Levi, Diesel, H&M, Nordstrom or Fossil… or maybe you heard of him because of his larger than life social media following.

    Levi is an LA based model who has quite the head of hair and model looks to boot.

    He’s been featured across the globe in TV ads, magazines, fashion shows and, with over 600,000 fans on Instagram alone, has amassed quite the following and loyal fanbase.

    But he is more than just a model.

    Levi came to Los Angeles 11 years ago to follow his dream of being successful in music and has sung and played guitar and piano in a variety of bands on the underground scene since.

    Upon moving to LA, a path to modeling success was opened for Levi and he has taken full advantage of it.

    Levi Stocke at agency

    Levi has representation from LA Models, D1 Models London and Kult Germany and he is best known for campaigns with Diesel, Levi’s, Andaz, Equinox, Tod’s, Blue Moon, H&M, Nordstrom and Fossil just to mention a few. Oh… and he was also in a Sprint Superbowl commercial.

    2017 is shaping up to be a huge year for Levi and we were interested in what makes the man tick. He is not your quintessential model who obsesses over looks and fitness. He enjoys riding his Harley around the hills of LA and drinking whiskey. He has a motto we LOVE:

    “An open mind is the key to adventure…”

    Levi Stocke motorcycle in LA

    Tell us a little about your backstory. I know you are a musician and have played in a lot of bands. How did you transition from the music industry to the modeling industry?

    There was a lot of in between but I was actually discovered shopping in a supermarket here in LA. Performing my music in front of an audience definitely helped me with modeling and working in front of the camera.

    When you were starting out, what was the biggest struggle you faced in becoming a successful model and how did you overcome it?

    I think the biggest struggle people deal with is just being on time and easy to work with. Since day one I have always taken pride in those things. Be a good person and good will come to you.

    Levi Stocke modeling pic 1

    People often assume the life of a model/influencer is all fun and games. What are some of the challenges you face that are not obvious to someone outside of the industry?

    It takes 24/7 dedication and hard work. You can’t shut it off and you constantly have to be reinventing yourself or seeing how you could come up with better content. Also it’s very difficult because as much as you want to be able to respond to everyone, you can’t. That’s why I always say if we cross paths come say whats up I am always down for good conversation.

    What other projects (business or otherwise) have you pursued in addition to being a model, and how have those contributed to your success?

    I have always been an open book and run with opportunity when it knocks. I’ve always believed that you need to have 5 things you are working on at a time… That may vary person to person but we always need to be moving forward in success. I have had a jewelry company, had signature sunglasses, created my own Clay Pomade and am currently working on a capsule release of something I have wanted to do since I was a kid that I will share soon…

    Levi Stock relaxing in pool

    You now have agency representation, what did you do before that to get noticed and eventually signed?

    Through getting discovered I had a client introduce me to where I call home now with LA MODELS.

    You’ve been in many well-known campaigns for companies like H&M, Blue Moon, Equinox. What is it like doing these shoots? What has been the coolest thing you’ve done for a shoot?

    These big production shoots are amazing. It is really neat to see how everyone has a part to play and without just one person these productions would not be able to happen. The true magic is all done behind that final product that everyone sees. I’ve been blessed to experience some pretty interesting things… I have worked with wild wolves, been put in a hang gliding machine in front of a green screen, driven old/new classic cars, spent 9 days sailing on a yacht around the islands in Croatia and gotten to do some stunt work for a few motorcycle companies just to mention a few. Pretty fun stuff!

    Levi Stocke - tattoos

    How big of a role has social media played for you getting to where you’re at now?

    Definitely opens you up to worldwide friends that you would have never met and also allows you to share your work you are proud of. You always just hope everyone likes it.

    What is one piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to become a model/influencer?

    Find something you love then build a brand and lifestyle around it. Just because fashion changes and times change… find a way to remain true to yourself yet meet those expectations. Believe in yourself.

    Levi Stocke running in city

    Do you have any big plans for 2017?

    Very big plans for 2017! This year has already taken off with speed. Lots to share in the coming months I wish I could share now but I have to keep it under wraps.

    All photos courtesy of @levistocke on Instagram

  • ,

    How embracing vulnerability will supercharge your life

    sam outdoors

    Vulnerability.

    I’m sure yo’ve heard it tossed around in business and self-improvement vernacular all the time. For years I didn’t understand what it meant or how it might fit into my life. My name is Sam Sawchuk, and I am the co-founder of Sandwich for a Story.

    Sandwich for a Story began four years ago when I was eighteen years old living in Vancouver. This was my first venture from home and I spent my summer internship working for a tech firm that built health applications. As a company, we were on the forefront of some of the world’s most innovative health technologies, but between all the bits and bytes I saw a greater problem in society. 

    Like many people my age, I used to view a risk as trying something new — but this summer I began to perceive risk in a very different way…

    I started to understand what it truly meant to be vulnerable. 

    Every day, as each of us is going about our daily routine, we pass by people from all walks of life from cashiers to bankers to consultants to teachers classifying each individual with a title.

    A title provides us with a sense of comfort for a brief moment. We have trained ourselves to stay within the realm of vulnerability by placing X and Y’s on those around us. 

    On June 13th, 2013, as I was walking through the streets of Vancouver, BC, I approached a busy intersection filled with workers, students, and shoppers galore. It was an iconic street filled with some of the world’s most recognizable storefronts — brands that represented a successful life lived in many people’s eyes. 

    Between all the glitz and glamor that surrounded me, I paused. Looking around, my eyes zoned in on a man in a plain white t-shirt and blue jeans – a stark contrast to the plethora of tailored suits that created a patchwork down the city street. 

    Something was holding me back.

    I couldn’t quite piece it together, all I wanted to do was say “hello,” but for some reason, I couldn’t. He was a person, after all, a man who had never seen me and an individual who never had the opportunity to develop a picture of me from based on what he saw on social media. 

    So what prevented me from being vulnerable and reaching out to this man?

    I had met other men like this individual in my life before and they fell into the same boat as every Sam, Cathy, Matt and Robert I have met. They were all people with a heart, a voice, and a story.

    We have all been in those situations where we just wanted to say ‘hello,’ but getting there can be extremely challenging — an inner battle to toss away the perceptions of those around us.

    That day I took a risk I stepped out of my own shoes and said “hello.” 

    Flash forward a few minutes and there I was, legs crossed sitting with Jeremy on the street… his hand pointing up to a glistening glass office tower that stood high above us.

    A single risk — a simple hello, and there I was awestruck. I remember looking over at my co-founder Evan struggling to piece together what we had just heard. It all started when I inquired to Jeremy about his life at home. 

    He explained to us that he had a relatively normal childhood, just like you and I. He grew up playing football and had a loving relationship with his sister and his mother in Ontario, Canada where they grew up.

    Through a variety of twists and turns, circumstances and ups and downs Jeremy found himself here and his sister found herself just steps away. 

    Was Jeremy’s sister also homeless? 

    In fact, it turns out she was far from it. Jeremy revealed to us that his sister was a senior partner at a firm that overlooked that place where he slept every night. Like me, you are probably sitting there reading this thinking how is this even possible?

    By being vulnerable we allowed space for Jeremy to do the same. Through our conversation, we learned that Jeremy and his sister share many common traits. They each have a voice, a story and a set of circumstances that have shaped their life experience.

    Evan and I each took a small, individual risk that day to reach out and be vulnerable and we are thrilled to say that since then thousands of meals and ‘hellos’ have been passed on by Sandwich for a Story volunteers and those inspired by our mission.

    We made a new friend that day in Jeremy and he left us with a simple reminder of our reward for being vulnerable that day…

    “Strangers are just friends that we have never met before.”

    This year we asked a large group our friends and family what they would do if they found out one of their friends was homeless and had no place to sleep. In other words, we asked our friends what it would be like to be vulnerable and open up in a way they hadn’t before. 

    From Calgary to Costa Rica to Melbourne, to Glasgow people responded… 

    “I would offer them my couch and definitely make them dinner”

    “I would tell them the system has failed you and society have turned it’s back on you, but I refuse to let you fail. My home is your home.”

    “I would offer them a place to stay until they got back on their feet”

    “I would tell them you can move in with us. We don’t have extra room, so you can share mine!”

    The energy of compassion can be our strongest tool in giving people back the sense of dignity they deserve, a smile, a handle a hello. A reminder that even if you can not give monetarily we all have something within ourselves to give once we open up and be vulnerable. 

    All of us have a voice, a story and a set of circumstances that have shaped our lives – take a risk, be vulnerable, share it with the world and allow others to share theirs because sometimes the bravest thing you can say is hello.

    Now I truly know what it means to be vulnerable.

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    5 things snowboarding taught me about entrepreneurship

    snowboarder on a mountain

    I was around 10 years old when I got my first snowboard. I’ve since snowboarded every season for 9 years.

    In those 9 years I’ve learned a lot about myself personally and as an entrepreneur.

    I grew up on the mountain, going every weekend I could and skipping school on the occasion just to go ride. The feeling, as any snowboarder will tell you, is like no other. The wind stinging your face, freezing your lips and ice covering your goggles; your hands go numb and your legs get sore yet you can’t stop smiling.

    There’s nothing better than being high up enough to see across state lines then being at the base looking up at the Goliath you just conquered.

    When I started snowboarding, I had no clue how much I would end up loving it. I felt foolish falling all the time and not being able to make proper turns. Back then, I didn’t know much about myself. In particular, I had no clue I had a knack for business and entrepreneurship.

    Now-a-days I know what I love, and I pursue those things endlessly. It’s funny though, how much two unrelated passions can mix. Thanks to snowboarding, I’ve already learned great lessons for entrepreneurship, lessons that help me sit and work every day towards a lifestyle filled with passions.

    I’d like to share with you the top 5 lessons snowboarding has taught me, and how they apply to entrepreneurship. 

    snowboarder2

    1.) You’re going to fall.

    Learning how to snowboard can kind of suck. Don’t get me wrong, it really is fun to learn and progress, but the constant aches and pains in every region of your body can get old.

    I tell people, “Every person learning to snowboard has one big fall, and that will decide whether or not they are a snowboarder.” Turns out, entrepreneurship is not so different in this regard.

    Look at any list of characteristics an entrepreneur needs, I can almost guarantee you a majority of them will say something about being willing to fail, and it’s totally right. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be willing to fall sometimes, no matter how experienced you are.

    When you do fail, it’s what you do after that’s important and if you’re like so many snowboarders who stuck it out, you’ll stand up, brush off the snow and get back to work.

    2.) You need to take more risks.

    For a long time, I wanted to snowboard in the terrain park, but I always said I didn’t know how. I would try to hit little hops but would always be going too slow or swerve away because I was too afraid.

    It wasn’t until I swallowed my fear, and looked it in the face that I began to progress as a park rider. It was when I decided to take risks that I was able to develop my riding in terrain parks.

    In entrepreneurship, risk-taking is just part of the game. Nobody started a company on an idea that was 100% sure to win. Every single company that is around today has a story that involves risk. Maybe it was scraping by on a budget that simply wasn’t enough, or it was challenging the status quo in search of the next big thing.

    Taking risks, and being wise about which risks to take is huge in entrepreneurship, and it is the only way you can hope to progress.

    3.) You don’t know if you can do it until you try.

    I grew up riding with guys who were grades above me, this also meant they had a few more seasons under their belt. I watched these riders do all kinds of flips, twists, grabs, and rolls. When I asked them how they did it, I always got an answer along the lines of, “You just have to do it.”

    This answer frustrated me, but since I’ve figured out what they meant. You will never know if you can do something until you finally do it, until you finally get that flip and stomp the landing too.

    Do you know if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? I didn’t when I started. It’s lots of work and long nights that nobody tells you about. Media likes to make it seem like it’s a rocket to success but realistically success comes years after you start.

    It’s because of our view of entrepreneurship that it’s hard to imagine what’s ahead of you, you’ll only really know if you can handle it once you get going. That’s why when someone asks if I think they can be an entrepreneur, I look them in the eye and tell them, “You just have to do it if you really wanna know.”

    4.) You’ve got to challenge yourself.

    So you can snowboard all day and not fall, great, but does that mean you’re getting better? I love snowboarding for fun, but I also love getting better at it and trying new things.

    Even when you’re learning, there are certain plateaus you’ll hit, the only way to overcome plateaus is to take that step to the next level. For me taking that step means setting goals for the day, maybe it’s a record run or a certain number of park features. Whatever it is, you’ve got to challenge yourself.

    Entrepreneurship is just the same. One of my favorite pieces of advice was to look at my year plan and ask, “Why can’t I do this in 6 months?” It’s a challenge to yourself. It’s a challenge that makes you more productive because you want to reach the next level in your quest.

    Even setting out to be an entrepreneur in itself is challenging yourself. You’ve got to be willing to take on this challenge and set new ones for yourself, otherwise you will plateau, and never improve. 

    5.) There’s no feeling like looking back and seeing what you’ve accomplished.

    Every run is an experience all it’s own, and no two will ever be exactly the same. Maybe it’s different trails or maybe you went fast instead of taking it easy. Whatever the difference may be, the feeling when you hit the end of the trails is always the same.

    You stand up, you turn around and you see the thousands of feet you just sailed down. While you may be at the bottom of the mountain, that feeling as you come off the trail makes you feel like you’re on the top of the world.

    The same thing goes for entrepreneurship. No two people or businesses have the same story. Yet, when you ask an entrepreneur who has finally accomplished their goal for the past several years the reaction is almost all of the same. You can look back on your work, and truly be proud of what you accomplished.

    I can happily say that snowboarding has made me a better entrepreneur. It’s a sport I love and it’s a sport that has taught me a lot about myself and my other passions. It’s why even though I work five days a week at a full-time job, I’ll always find time for snowboarding, just like I’ll always find time for entrepreneurship.

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    Why millennials hate their jobs and leave: perspective from a millennial

    millennials on their tech devices

    Study after study is showing that job tenure is decreasing. Moreso, they are showing that millennials are leading this charge.

    Why are millennials bored at work?

    Jacob Morgan talks about the average Millennial tenure being less than three years, while the average tenure for people of all ages is just under five years. Further, Payscale released a study that shows the tenure of Fortune 500 companies in the US and what they showed was quite astonishing. Here are a few notables:  

    ss1

    These companies are those who have amazing reputations and are doing incredible things but are showing an incredibly low tenure; in these cases, about 1.1 years. Note too, the age of the employees.

    Now look at the Fortune 500 companies with the longest tenure. Again, note the ages of the employees:  

    ss2

    How could these companies, places at which many people of all ages could only dream of working, have such short tenure? And why are the the tenures of Millennials just that much shorter? Does age really matter? And what is it about companies with younger median ages that makes a difference?

    The first thing I’ll say is that it is impossible to make sweeping judgments on a generation and why they may or may not hate their jobs.

    womanreading

    Even harder perhaps, is to define exactly what that generation really is. It is tough to say that in the US, 80 million Millennials (born between say 1980-1995) want or need the same things.

    What I will say though, is that from personal experience, marketers are pretty damn good at telling us how great the experience at work is going to be. The fight for talent is a big one, and the pitches to get the right people is undoubtedly hard.

    What I think is forgotten though, is that despite working at a workplace full of bean-bag chairs, nap rooms, bicycles, pods, and open concept offices, it is still a lot of work. To be working at the biggest and the best, you have to be the best. So, while the amenities are there, the lifestyle might not be.

    In addition, the expectations of Google are so high, that it is really tough to live up to the hype. The same just can’t be said for Eastman Kodak or Aleris Rolled Products (#1 and #2 on the list). Under promise, over deliver right? Not in Google’s case.

    The second is that we are living in a time where we are seemingly competing to be happy.

    The 10 second Snapchat stories and Instagram posts aren’t representative of the lives we are living and then to create a sense of inferiority. The hours at work we spend ‘grinding away’ isn’t as glamorous as the freelance photographer on her way to Thailand.

    Third is that we are told to always ‘find our passion’.

    While the advice is seemingly sound, how do we know we’ve found it? I’m a believer in that we never do. Why? Because I think we can be passionate about so many things, in so many industries, working for so many organizations. For me, it isn’t about finding that one thing, it is about finding the things that make us feel passionate. If we found something that makes us happy, perhaps we’ll keep searching for that unicorn we call our ‘one passion’. I don’t think it exists.

    Finally, when hearing from the team lead for IBM’s Watson, I learned that 90% of the information on the internet today was put there in the past two years. The amount of information we have to sort through isn’t the same as it was decades ago. The world is busier than it has ever been.

    So what do we do about it?

    To fix the problem of decreasing tenure we have to start being more representative about what the experience at work is going to look at feel like. Be honest, use people as case-studies, and talk about the difficulties along with the benefits of working at our workplaces.

    We also have to be OK with knowing that not every day is going to be perfect, and that all good things take time. Know that we can be happy doing the things that make us feel passionate and know that there isn’t that ‘one thing’ that we have to keep looking for.

    Finally, know that marketing is effective, and that there are more compelling stories out there than ever before. Putting a personal filter on these opportunities that separate them from those which society says are great from the ones that benefit us is incredibly important.

    Tenure is shrinking, yes, but I believe we can reverse the unfortunate trend.

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    Why I decided to break up with my job (4 questions that made me realize it was time)

    woman in the street pondering

    I wish someone told me that jobs are a lot like relationships before I jumped into my first 9 to 5. It turns out, that much like a relationship, you have the courting stage (interviews), the honeymoon stage (being hired), working (where you get down to the nitty gritty) and well, the end (however that plays out). Mind you, I cut back on some stages, but you get the point.

    I ultimately broke up with my job because I came to realize my own worth.

    It wasn’t until I decided to weigh my own happiness, worth, health, and the time I had invested into my 9 to 5 that I truly assessed what the heck I had been doing. I came to realize that regardless of any shiny incentives or the fact that I was comfortable, no job, just like a relationship, is worth being miserable for. Let me say that again… comfortable! That is a huge one. I had settled because I had become comfortable in my job, just like we do with our relationships

    A job break up is much like ending a long relationship.

    And as with any breakup, it always seems too hard to start over, or we question ourselves… what if it’s worse?

    We become too scared to make that big change because we are comfortable and so we avoid it, until – burnout. We avoid until we absolutely can’t take being miserable anymore because we stayed too long doing something that didn’t truly align with ourselves. We do this in every aspect of our lives, and what usually remains true is that in every situation, we are the main deciding factor. It turns out that in every relationship or connection we create in our lives, we are manifesting what we already believe to be true about ourselves.

    With that said, I recently got to a point in my life where I truly assessed how I felt about my job and how that affected the direction I was heading in life.

    What follows are the thoughts that finally led me to make a choice in favor of myself – and when you’re a perpetual people pleaser like me, that is a feat in and of itself.

    These are 4 questions to ask yourself when considering to break up with your job.

    I decided to break up with my job - man by water

    1. Are you (really) happy?

    This should be an easy one right? But how often do we stay in relationships where we are unhappy? The same is often true with our relationships with our job. We trick ourselves into believing it’ll get better, or just a little bit longer, or just until I find something better. We play the waiting game despite knowing we still aren’t actually happy.

    I hit this point. I tried to change my outlook, I tried to stay positive – but no matter what I did, the universe kept showing me otherwise.

    So I finally accepted how things were and knew that I had to choose something different if I wanted things to truly change.

    2. Are you (really) valued?

    Just like in a relationship, you want to feel valued for who you are as a person. You want to feel like you contribute something and that your self-worth is a factor and is appreciated. When we start to feel that this appreciation is no longer present, we tend to not value ourselves and feel that we aren’t good enough. If you notice that your opinion is not valued or your voice is irrelevant, run! Not being valued in a job will slowly deteriorate your sense of worth and you will feel like a squeaky cog in a machine (it did to me).

    Another measure of value is (I hate to say it) – your salary. I had to live it myself to truly understand that an employer tends to pays you what you think you are worth. How often do we get that awkward, but necessary question before starting a job – what kind of salary are you looking for? And how often do we aim low in fear that we won’t get the job if we aim too high? I’ve learned this the hard way – I’ve requested what I thought I was worth, not what I knew I really deserved.

    Value yourself enough to ask for the things you desire and deserve. Don’t downplay your abilities or the amount you should get paid for those abilities.

    3. Are you (really) growing?

    You know how sometimes you can have a great relationship with someone, only to have it fizzle out over time? You were so excited in the beginning and ready for anything, but then you start to feel that you aren’t growing and that what existed before has completely disappeared.

    Well, jobs can have that same effect. Who isn’t excited when they first start a job? You’re getting paid, everything is new, and people are nice to you! But with time, you start to peel away the layers of what it really means to be a part of the team you are working with, you see what the work culture is like, what your day-to-day tasks are – you see the new reality appear after the high is gone. Over time we either continue to learn and grow in our jobs or we fizzle out like a quick romance. Which one you live is up to you.

    If you are no longer growing, you are idle.

    I got to a point where I was no longer growing – so all the above-mentioned factors compounded on the fact that personally and professionally I felt I had hit a wall. That’s when I knew that I was no longer aligned with my goals or myself.

    4. Are you (really) fulfilling your goals?

    Who we choose to share our life with is a partnership and a job is included in this equation. We decide who gets to go on this journey in life with us, and who gets to contribute to our dreams (or who takes away from them).

    If you feel that your job is not adding to the dreams you have for your life, or if it is in some way pushing you away from the direction you need to go, then it’s time to call it quits. We cannot reach what we want in life if we hold on to passive life jackets, because all they are really doing is preventing us from venturing out on our own, without restraint, and without fear. We can never truly face that fear and see what lies below the surface if we’re stuck floating on top safely.

    I held on to what I knew and was comfortable with, and I let this fear guide me rather than my goals.

    So, if you are mindlessly getting by at your job, in what I like to call zombie mode, then you are not growing. When you are so immersed in what you love, you will experience flow. You will be so immersed in it, you won’t have to check if it’s lunch time yet.

    Regardless of what you choose to do in life, ask yourself these four questions: are you happy, are you valued, are you growing and are you fulfilling your goals?

    If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to assess what you can do to change your immediate environment. 

    In my case the answer was no to all of these questions and that’s when I knew… I had to break up with a job that was no longer in line with who I was and what I wanted to do. Once I did that, I almost immediately had three jobs contact me for an interview.

    It’s like I finally stood up for what I was worth and the universe reacted in kind.

    Now I am more conscious of my goals, what I want in a job (and in life), and what I will no longer accept.

    Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Sometimes we have to have a job lined up in order to support our family and other responsibilities are weighing on us.. But never ever think that you have to settle and be unhappy when you can break up with your job and find something that honors your worth! The minute you choose to let go of what’s holding you back, you will be allowed to let the things that are truly aligned with who you are into your life.

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    Investing in real estate: 6 things I did in 2016 to have my best year yet

    man on nyc street

    The 6 things I focused on to reach $13,000,000 in assets owned/managed.

    Ever since my first PRSUIT article in December on how I went from clueless college graduate to $13MM in real estate in under 4 years, I have gained followers on social media, had an Instagram video get reposted by @AskaMillionaire (Shawn Thomas), and made another six figure investment.

    My success and growth in real estate investing over the past 4 years showed me what I am truly capable of.

    But more than anything, I have been getting asked: how specifically did you accomplish these things in just under a half decade?

    To me the actual “how to” is all about drive, consistency and relentless focus… it’s the intangible “easy” parts (to me at least) that have enabled me to accomplish what I have. There are no steps and any article with “x step process” is honestly B.S.

    This is not a “x step process”.

    When it comes to real estate investment and my personal success, these are the 6 things I focused on in 2016 – and continue to focus on this year.

    investing in real estate - man against wall

    1. Increase monthly income.

    I knew, in most scenarios, I would need money to make money (I can contradict myself there – which is another article in itself 😉 ) so I needed to find a way to raise my monthly income.

    Initially, people told me to save my monthly income. But all I could keep thinking was how, if I were like them, I’d be able to save a tiny $100 or $200 per month in which case would take me 1,000 or 500 months to have $100,000 to invest; or it would take me 10,000 or 5,000 months to have a $1,000,000 to invest.

    So I did not focus on saving to start. I focused on how I could personally make more and more income every single month. I knew more income would nearly automatically skyrocket my savings.

    I got involved in a direct sales company and rose to the top 1% of the company within 2 years. On top of that income, I still worked other jobs on the side…I was doing anything to raise my monthly earnings.

    2. Save the surplus.

    It wasn’t until I raised my monthly income that I began to focus on saving (while continuing to raise my monthly income even more). Most people who make $1,800 one month with $1,700 of expenses, who get a promotion or raise the next month and up their income to $5,500 also raise their expenses up to $5,300 – so they still were stuck at a $200 margin to save. I was determined not to be like the rest of the world.

    As my income grew and grew and grew, my expenses did not increase. If my initial expenses were $1,800 per month when my monthly income was $2,000 per month, my expenses stayed at $1,800 per month even as my monthly income rose to $4,000; $5,000; $6,000+; etc…

    This allowed me to start saving $2,200; $3,200; $4,200+ per month. This shows, that if you can save for a purpose, you can rack up 6 digits (with a comma) worth of savings rather quickly. You have some nice investment opportunities with $20,000 – to $99,000 but you have many more investment opportunities and options when you have $100,000+ saved up.

    3. Seek investments.

    This one is simple…I didn’t wait until I had money saved up to start looking for investments. I hit the pavement right away, even though I knew it might be awhile before I could have enough savings to make a significant investment. The price tag didn’t matter, the looks of a real estate property didn’t matter, what seemed to be a crappy deal DID NOT MATTER. I was window shopping ALL investment opportunities so I could learn and gain instinct!

    I would get boots on the ground as well as go over financials. I wanted to be ready, be educated and make quick decisions when it came time to invest…you don’t have very long to look at a great deal before someone else will scoop it up!

    4. Value buying, sensible financing, wise managing, & grow!

    I always buy things so that they are giving me a minimum 8%+ return on day one…and often my investments can return much higher than that in year one (one of my investments literally has a return of infinity – a future article).

    All that said, I also must be able to add more value to the investment so I can recognize even better returns once the value is added. For example, a real estate property that you can fix up the cosmetics and immediately raise the rents $100 to $200 per month… that’s value adding.

    I also always have sensible financing. I make sure we can easily cover our debt payments. And I always try to think ahead to when the term of a loan is done – whether its 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and what all I would have for options to refinance even if the world is coming to an end.

    My team and I wisely manage. We take care of and steward our investments aggressively, yet with the utmost care and attention. Never neglect to manage your investments – remember the last time you neglected to pay attention to the food you were preparing – it didn’t pan out well, did it?

    When I get into an investment – I am automatically locked in and focused 100% on growth. Expansion is key. How can you accelerate the growth of an investment, while keeping a rock solid foundation underneath it? I relate it to a bull in a china shop when I take over a business, I want to shake things up and blow things up (in a fantastic way) immediately upon investing.

    5. Double, triple, quadruple down on investments & asset integrity.

    Once my investments started paying me, I never once thought about buying a Lamborghini or copping up a Hublot for my wrist. That’s just not me. Not saying that one day in the future I won’t, but for now I want to use the money my investments pay me every single month to double down, triple down and quadruple down. I want my money to have kids, and for it to become a grandparent, a great grandparent and a great, great grandparent. (4 more generations, i.e. QUADRUPLE down).

    If you are still following me, that fifth generation money…the money after I quadruple down, that will be the fun money. That is where I might (I don’t know if I could), buy a Rolls Royce or a real fancy toy…but more than likely, I’ll pick up an NFL team and add it to the asset column.

    Reinvesting can also mean, what I call “Asset Integrity”. It is important to infuse cash back into a previous investment so it continues to prosper and to grow. Remember, remember, remember; reinvesting does not always mean finding a brand-new investment.

    6. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    The more you repeat this process, the more you will be able to positively impact the world. Everyone’s goals are different and success is different to everyone, but the same principles from this article work when building relationships with people, or being good at a certain skill, etc.

    Nothing is more important than the actual work. No “3 step”, “5 step”, or stupid “67 step” process is going to get you there unless YOU WORK.

    Feel free to find me on any of my social media profiles (Instagram is probably the most popular) – I try to reach down and give back 10 to 20 times per week with FREE 10 minute mentorship phone calls for those who DM me and want help in specific areas.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for following PRSUIT!

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    How to create your own luck and opportunities in life

    man in raincoat looking at basketball hoop

    If the door is closed then it’s not meant for you.

    Those are words frequently shared to and by someone when an opportunity they wanted doesn’t work out for them. Another popular statement is… “God must have different plans.” Now I don’t know what God’s plans are and I certainly can’t tell you what is supposed to happen in your life, but I do believe it’s not either of the two statements, it’s the mere fact that we quit too early.

    If you quit too early, there’s no way an opportunity will present itself for you. Trust me.

    I’m currently reading a book and the author talks about how he got into law school. He completely tanked the LSAT and wasn’t accepted anywhere. That didn’t stop him one bit. For weeks before classes started and even two weeks into classes starting, he simply would wait for the dean outside of his office and tell him “You have the power to let me in, just tell me to go get my books.” After doing that multiple times a day, for weeks straight, the dean eventually caved and granted the young man entry into law school and after graduating, he’s now living his dream of being a lawyer.

    I read that story and I see that he could’ve just given up and said well that door is closed it isn’t meant for me, or that’s just not in the cards. Instead, he saw a closed door that he felt passionately about and he kicked it open.

    I ask you today… what is in your life right now that you may have felt like the door has been closed on but you know it’s for you? Are you going to give up or are you going to go kick the door open and make it happen for yourself? Most people never reach their goals because they stop after their first no or quit at the first signs of adversity.

    YOU aren’t most people… you are meant to win!

    I encourage you: go take what’s yours and create opportunities for yourself.

    I’ll never forget when I was fifteen years old I was sitting in a classroom talking to a friend and I told him I wanted to be a Division 1 athlete (to those who don’t follow sports, Division ! is the highest collegiate level at which you can compete). One of my other teammates overheard me, turns around looks at me laughs and says “there is no way you’ll be a Division 1 athlete, you wont even be a college athlete.”

    Right then and there I could have been defeated and figured maybe he was right because in reality there is a 1.7% chance of me reaching my goal. I just looked at him and said just you watch.

    As college came closer, I started hearing from schools, but they weren’t the schools I wanted. If I was going to be a Division 1 athlete I needed to compete with the best of the best. I remember one of my coaches telling me that maybe I should settle, it might not be in the cards to go to a major, competitive program and that maybe I should look at a program that wasn’t as good. In my heart I couldn’t accept that. I knew I wanted to be great, I knew I wanted to compete with the best.

    After countless hours of hard work, waking up early, running and working out on holidays, I’m proud to say I achieved my goal. Not only did I go Division 1 at Oral Roberts University to run track, but was one on a top 15 ranked team. Most people saw a closed door… I saw an opportunity ready to be taken if I wanted it badly enough.

    That opportunity would have never presented itself without the resiliency to keep pushing and putting in the work that nobody else wanted to.

    I get what you’re thinking: it’s easy to say that but it’s harder to live it! You know what you are absolutely right!

    It is hard not to quit, it is hard to pick yourself up, it is hard to make an opportunity for yourself, but what I can vouch for is that it is worth it! I’ve been there, self doubting, down on my luck, hardly any friends, no money in my account, an eviction notice on my door, crying to my folks not sure if I would ever make it or if it ever got better. I’m here to tell you that there is another side, a side of accomplishment, confidence, and resiliency.

    There is a sweet taste in knowing when most people crumble and throw their hands up to quit you dug a little deeper and made it happen. I’m not here to say life is fair but what I am here to say is don’t be the one who gave up to early, or took the first no as the final answer.

    Rise up, dust yourself off and run at that door again because it’s yours if you want it.

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    What they don’t teach you in business school: the art of growth hacking

    man hand goggles

    It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: the marketing knowledge you need for rapid growth on slim budgets simply isn’t taught in business school.

    The reason is simple: marketing management from business school tends to be more operational than creative/organic.

    But the essence of growth hacking is creativity. So, you may need to unlearn some of the more “management” style systems B school taught you. Or, learn to fit them into a creative mental framework.

    I am confident that any business or entrepreneur can benefit from a growth hacking attitude – something sorely missing from a business school curriculum.

    Every business can be grown rapidly in today’s competitive landscape. Even if you’re a roofing contractor, a coffee shop owner or a freelance designer, there’s a way to magnify your sales through creative, growth tactics and thinking. Take a recent example from my own experience.

    My recent growth hacking experience: exceeding my goal by 169%

    A recent client at Kale Pahoho’s and my business, K&J Growth Hackers – is the University of Delaware (UD), specifically their young entrepreneur venture contest “The Diamond Challenge”. They came to us looking to amplify their contest submissions.

    High school students starting businesses were encouraged to apply for over $100K in business grants and prizes.

    Together, with UD’s brilliant minds, and help from some interns, we came up with a plan in 2 days, built the assets over the next 5 and ran the promo campaign for about 20 days.

    Objective: 500 contest submissions

    The Campaign:

    • $500 gift card giveaway on Instagram
    • Growth hack Instagram, Twitter (12 scheduled Quote-on-Image posts)
    • Custom landing page using Bit.ly links to track clicks
    • Reach out to 130 HS business clubs & ~20 incubators & ask them to share with members
    • Instagram Stories “Founder’s Tip of the Day”
    • Email to partner’s list of ~20K college students

    Results

    • 845 contest submissions (or, 169% of our goal)
    • Grew Instagram from 300 to 2,800 followers & ~50 likes/post to ~90

    There are other growth metrics, but these were most salient.

    My remarks

    It was a huge success to all of us involved. The Instagram contest drove the most submissions.

    The HS business clubs were handy, but had much a slower turnaround for sharing.

    On Instagram, and our own channels, content was published immediately, and gave us more time to gather entries.

    A few other examples of growth hacking.

    •      UberFresh teams up with Snap Kitchen in Austin, TX to deliver free, healthy food on international hangover day, January 1 of 2016 – the day after New Years Eve parties. They capitalized on nearly everyone in town being exhausted and hungry. Then, they shared good will, great food and their own awesome brand. Talking to Snap Kitchen’s marketing manager, she explained “It was a huge success” and they planned to do it again. (marketing hack)
    •      VYRL (a new mobile platform): only allows influencers with 5,000+ Instagram followers on their platform. Then, encourages its members to help co-promote. Talk about exponential growth. They claim 550M+ reach, and are less than a 1 year old. (product hack)
    •      Nathan Chan, CEO of Foundr Mag invited a small, select group of readers to a private Facebook group and gave them early access to resources, and made himself available as a resource. He used his most passionate readers to share Foundr’s book launch and raised $205K for his Kickstarter in the process. (marketing hack)

    Remember, growth hacking is more a way of thinking than a marketing tactic or strategy.

    This frame of mind is usually embodied by those who didn’t have any other option, i.e. a startup with no marketing budget.

    If you’re in a cushy marketing manager position, with a confident budget, it tends to be more difficult to conjure up fresh, unique ideas for growth.

    Author Dan Pink studied the impact of finances on creative thinking in his book Drive. (Sidebar: amazing read). Large budgets / compensation can have negative effects on creative thinking.

    So, it’s important to remove yourself from the financial aspect: if your budget is slim: don’t think of “what can I afford?If you have a big budget – the expansive, but indistinct “possibilities” can harm action. Both cloud creative thinking.

    Only use your budget as needed, rather than as a starting point.

    Decide on the vision for your growth hacking campaign, then figure out a way to pay for it.

    When it comes to growth hacking your business, it comes down to these five tools.

    what they don't teach you in business school - barista growth hacking

    1. A niche

    Hone your target to a small, dense group of passionate people. You can start by reading “1,000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly. Use your customers as advocates for your product.

    By focusing on the top customers or prospects, they’re most likely to share your brand (even if just for their own benefit in some distant way).

    People naturally have good will and want to help other good people – or brands. Leverage that.

    With growth hacking, you’re often asking your customers to do something like share with each other and their friends.

    2. A loudspeaker

    Now that you’ve selected a tight-knit community, you need a way to broadcast far and wide within that group. Finding a marketing method for reaching these consumers is open ended – it could be a digital marketing channel, or it could be hosting a meetup.

    As mentioned earlier, I emailed 130 student-run entrepreneur clubs for UD.

    Another, I targeted Instagram accounts who “liked” motivational quote posts, and followed/engaged with them.

    3. A helper

    Get someone in the community on your side. Find either an influencer, partner brand or a community organizer.

    For my fitness app, I linked up with the leader of a running group with 8,000+ members on Facebook. Be mindful, these people are tough to get a hold of, to get time with and usually have full content calendars, so have a clear ask when you approach them.

    Also, it’s better to have someone recommend you to them or introduce you than to cold pitch.

    Have this figurehead shout out your campaign to their members, and offer the influencers some incentive, like co-promotion or access to your platform/products free – or even just great friendship/partnership.

    4. Control over your own product

    It’s important when you design a growth campaign to have control over your product features, because you may need to build social or sharing functionality.

    For Uber, every user gets a coupon code to give friends $20 toward rides, as well as $20 in their own pocket.

    Think about how to add value by rewarding your customers for sharing with their friends.

    5. A brilliant mind

    This campaign doesn’t necessarily need to be designed by you, but it absolutely requires your input. You can do a few things to get the creative juices flowing.

    I prefer to whiteboard a flow chart of how the campaign works. Then show it off to a friend for feedback and revisions.

    Or, you can get professional help from a company like KJ Growth Hackers, my partner and I’s growth marketing agency. We design custom campaigns on shoestring budgets. As mentioned, our recent client reached 169% of their sales goal using an Instagram Giveaway.

    If you hire help, make sure that person has variable experience that demonstrates their ability to come up with creative growth strategies, regardless the product or vertical.

    Remember, growth hacking is a way of thinking more than it is a single tool or method.

  • ,

    The one simple key to being a thought leader in 2017

    man staring forward

    Know the difference between creating content and being a thought-leader.

    At a conference I spoke at in Beverly Hills in 2016, Guruduth Banavar, Vice President and Chief Science Officer, Cognitive Computing for IBM (also leading the cognitive systems for Watson) said that 90% of the information on the internet today was put there in the past two years. 

    In addition, Cisco said that 2016 was the first year that a Zettabyte of information was transferred over the internet in a single year (a Zettabyte is 1e+15 MB!). 

    What this means is that there is more content, more information, and more noise online now than ever before – and it is only getting busier. 

    But if you’re an author, and working on being a thought-leader like I am, you were probably told that content is key, right? 

    Well, maybe not, if you’re looking to carve out your niche and be someone people look to for new information, a new way of thinking, and a new perspective. 

    thought leader - girl staring forward

    The key to being a thought leader is originality and experience. 

    Think Dan Pink, Oprah, Gary Vaynerchuk, Rita McGrath, Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, and many others. 

    What sets these people apart from other content creators is that their material is based on their experiences and what they’ve learned throughout the course of their lives. 

    When they create material, speaking from the heart and experience resonates much stronger to those who are listening because they aren’t twisting, molding, or tweaking something someone else has said before. 

    Too often I hear people that talk about needing to ‘start with why’ because they heard it from an incredible thought-leader like Simon Sinek.

    Now don’t get me wrong, he is just that, but that doesn’t make the material the ‘content creator’ produces unique. Instead, it just adds to the amount of content that is out there to read that doesn’t have the same ‘punch’ if it had come from the person who came to that conclusion on their own. 

    For example, if I wrote an article talking about why you should ‘start with why’ because I read Simon’s book, that doesn’t make me a thought leader, it simply makes me good at digesting his experiences and adding a spin to make it my own. 

    But if you were to hear it from Simon, the source, he would be able to tell you exactly how and why he came up with the lesson he now spreads around the world. He is able to be a thought leader because it was present able to articulate his personal experiences and truly someone who is creating real, original content. 

    So, for those who are looking to be a stronger thought-leader as opposed to a content creator, my suggestion is to be present and clear about the life you are living today. Each day we learn new lessons based on our experiences and each lesson is a story that has value and could be shared. By doing this, and using yourself as an example, the content can’t be anything but original and the message being told is new – no other person will have had the same experience you did and learn what you did in that way. 

    Lead thought, don’t recycle it. 

    Educate, don’t re-educate.

  • ,

    3 keys to living a life of purpose (that my near-death experience taught me)

    reaching out to a vast ocean

    BANG!

    My car suddenly sinks into the ground – I can feel the metal and parts of the underside grinding the highway pavement at 110km/hr.

    Cars around me are moving around frantically.

    Time slows down.

    I have only seconds to make it to the shoulder lane and stop my car before I spin out and flip.

    Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a single tire veering off into the embankment lining the highway—it was MY tire!

    SHIT. SHIT. SHIT.

    By the time the panic and adrenaline settles, I’m staring back at a car that’s been utterly destroyed.

    I’m sitting on the highway shoulder lane and waiting for the tow truck. I had been driving home to Calgary to complete my licensing exam to become a pharmacist.

    This exam would be my finale to 8 long years of university.  A lot was riding on this exam, so I was bombing it down the highway to squeeze in some last minute studying.

    That never happened. In fact, I was so shook up after the accident, I failed the exam.

    My misfortunes didn’t end there.

    I got fired from my secured 4 year contract from London Drugs for failing the exam (even getting escorted out by security), was deep in student loan debt, and I was 25 years old still living in my parent’s basement.

    While I had my life flash before my eyes and for some time afterwards I went through a dramatic shift in my life.

    My near-death experience ultimately drove me to a more purpose driven life and supercharged my motivation.

    Fast forward 5 years.

    I’m pioneering my province’s first women’s & children’s health hospital pharmacist team, traveling the world meeting athletes and interesting people, competing in kettlebell sport, happily living independently on my own home, and running my own company helping people quit smoking successfully.

    I can confidently say that I am living ,y most purpose driven life… a life that was brought on by my near-death accident..

    I’ll share with you three important lessons that will help kickstart your own life and enable you to find and live the purpose you’ve been searching for.

    manlookingback

    1. Do the work to find your community.

    Growing up and throughout my years of university, I was really disappointed in myself and was never able to meet people who shared the same social vision I had.

    While I was volunteering, going to gymnastics and salsa dancing, my classmates would be frantically studying to beat the curve, ignoring my invites to try out that new restaurant or event I organized.

    This left me feeling pretty depressed thinking this was as good as it was going to get.
    Deep down, I wanted to be around people who were pursuing REAL things – not for the sake of having good grades, to construct impressive resumes, or to indulge in the expectations others put on them.

    I wanted to be around more people who were not afraid of embracing challenges and constantly pursuing personal discovery and growth to live the life they truly wanted.

    My accident was a true wake-up call. I had to stop complaining about my social circumstances and really do something about it.

    I had to take charge of my life.

    I started by reflecting on the things I liked to do.

    One of my big passions is fitness and health. I love learning training methods, the science of getting stronger, mental psychology – you name it!

    Searching one night on Facebook and YouTube, I discovered some really cool kettlebell videos by Shawn Mozen of Agatsu in Montreal. I was so fascinated by his unique training style that I fired him a message on Facebook curious about kettlebell and gymnastics training, and we were able to keep in touch for a year.

    A year later, I’m in Montreal for a bachelor party, so I fired Shawn a message to connect for handstand private lessons and we finally meet in person. Having only chatted over the internet, this was a surreal experience and also an awesome one.

    Fast forward to now, I see Shawn and Sara at least once a year for an Agatsu training camp or course– sometimes even traveling to international destinations to train with high level athletes and trainers (for example, this year, I’m traveling to Iceland to train a week with world-famous strongman Magnus von Magnusson).

    Looking back, all this happened because I took the initiative to connect with people and communities who shared my passion for learning and experiencing the possibilities that life can offer.

    Things will never magically land on your doorstep (or the chances are extremely low).

    Take charge of your own life’s narrative. 

    2. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

    I was devastated after the car accident.

    I had no job, was in a pile of debt, and I felt like an outsider watching my classmates relish in the glory of moving onto their next life chapter as pharmacists.

    It sucks to fail.

    After wallowing in self-pity and frustration, I knew I had to snap out of it—there was a retest in 3 months.

    So I pulled myself together and started reflecting on what went wrong the first time.

    Even without a car accident, my knowledge was built on a bad habit of cramming and regurgitating information, never really understanding the material—I had to fix this.

    I also needed to train my mental muscle to adjust and adapt on the fly and deal with stress.

    This was probably one of the biggest reasons why I failed the exam—it was a screaming weakness that limited my resourcefulness and creativity.  I needed to work in a pharmacy to ‘train’ so I begged pharmacist owners to hire me to get the experience and practice.

    Some could only hire me as a volunteer—but you know what? I took it.  Any opportunity was better than doing nothing.

    The more time I spent in the pharmacy, the more confident I became with my skills. I started to rediscover my curiosity and love for pharmacy and the fascinating science of drugs and their effects on the body.

    I also hired a social dynamics coach during that time to challenge me with uncomfortable social situations—‘exercises’ included approaching groups of strangers at the mall or striking up conversations at the bar, all with the purpose of decreasing my anxiety and social awkwardness with strangers and help me develop my focus and conversational acuity.

    The hard work over those 3 months paid off—I became licensed in January 2012.

    Looking back, a lot of really good things came out of the experience.

    Because I had been so hardworking and driven to not fail again, the pharmacist owners I worked for helped connect me with other pharmacist owners. As a result, I had consistent work for 6 months and was able to clear all my debt, bought a home and moved out, and then landed a full-time pharmacist position working at the newest hospitals in the province.

    3. Take responsibility of your own sh*t.

    Growing up, I relied heavily on the advice of my father to guide my actions, but after the accident, a really big rift formed between us.

    In my mind, I blamed him for the accident–for not ensuring my safety in telling me to get a torque wrench when we installed the summer tires.

    I built so much negative emotion towards him, where at the breaking point I ended up sobbing one night in my room, listening to Cats & the Cradle. I knew deep down I had been wrong all this time trying to put the expectations of my own responsibility onto him.

    I knew this problem went beyond my relationship with my father. Growing up, I was always blaming others for not being there for me, but this was based on expectations I put on people, when instead I should be blaming myself for not taking responsibility in the first place.

    I stopped blaming my father, took responsibility of my automobile fears and went to Canadian Tire, bought a torque wrench.

    It takes little effort to prevent future catastrophic accidents.

    Taking responsibility over my own life has also allowed me to make my biggest leaps in personal growth and independence, including going to the Mayo Clinic to become a tobacco treatment specialist and becoming a Certified Tobacco Educator, to elevate my knowledge in tobacco addictions treatment to the next level to help smokers trying to quit.

    CONCLUSION:

    Discovering your purpose is one thing, but getting it off the ground shouldn’t have to involve a close brush with death to push you to take action.

    If you are unhappy, take time to reflect on what is making you unhappy.

    Not finding the friends you want? Find communities that will help support your growth.

    Stop taking failure so personally and instead see the moments where you’re not getting the results you want, as opportunities to learn and adjust going forward.

    Finally, be accountable to yourself—to truly live the life you truly want, you need to bunker down, do the work, and claim the life you want for yourself.

    You only have one life to live.  It’s precious.

    What amazing things will you do with it?

  • ,

    Why your attitude is everything when it comes to your success

    woman wearing glasses and Caps beanie

    Throughout my life, I’ve heard many attitude-related quotes before like “if you believe you can achieve” or “what you think, you become,” but I never experienced it for myself so they meant little to me.

    I’ve never understood why attitude mattered so much, or how much I could change or control my own beliefs and mindset for the better.

    But my experiences this past summer have convinced me that positive attitudes matter… they matter a lot.

    Over the summer, I attended a business incubator program for high school students, where I got hands-on experience in starting my own company. In the program, we were sorted into teams based on our compatibilities and our preferences, and together, we would try to solve a real-life problem with our company. All the work we did, including surveying, researching, and designing was in preparation for final pitch day at the end of camp in which we would pitch our ideas to an investor.

    When we first started out as a team, we over-emphasized the need to be successful when we should have valued other things such as the entrepreneurial experience or the connections we could gain. 9 out of 10 start-ups fail, but we were confident that we could be the 1.

    Because of prioritizing success too much, as a team, we began fighting over the most trivial things such as the color of a logo or who surveyed more people. We would argue for days, and no one would give in, so we couldn’t move forward. From our constant disagreements, we all developed overly critical attitudes and rejected each other’s ideas without seriously considering them. We stopped believing the team could work collaboratively and decided too quickly that our ideas were incompatible.

    The real reason that caused our team to break up wasn’t our quarreling, our idea, or our unreasonable ambitions but rather our pessimistic attitudes.

    Instead of trying to compromise and make things work, we just assumed it would not.

    In the end, after listening to the advice of our counselors and mentors, we were able to reconcile and establish a positive attitude. Instead of dismissing each other’s ideas too quickly, we learned to be open to all proposed ideas. We reminded ourselves that arguments were normal, that our team could and would work out. Our new hopeful attitudes allowed us to compromise and finally move forward.

    The big takeaway is that your attitude matters.

    Preconceived beliefs and self-defeating attitudes will stop you before you actually start trying. Stop thinking “I can’t do this, this won’t work out” and start thinking, “No matter what the problem is, I’m going to solve it.” Believing that you can do it is the strongest force that pushes you to success. Even if you still failed in the end, having believed ensures that you gave it your best attempt.

    But why did attitude matter so much? This question had plagued me for a while. Before this summer, I thought the most important factor to success would be actions and not attitude. After all, actions are actually working towards things right? It turns out that attitudes are have enormous influence over our actions.

    From the experience with my team, I have learned 3 valuable lessons about why positive outlooks and attitudes matter.

    attitude is everything - woman smiling

    1. Your attitude determines your commitment.

    Your opinions on something decide how much work you put into it. If you don’t value an activity, then you won’t put as much effort and time into it. If you believe that you’ll fail, you’ll try less and actually fail, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, if you believe that you’re capable, you might be surprised at how capable you actually are.

    2. People match their attitudes to the attitudes of others.

    People have a tendency to reflect the attitudes surrounding them. If you are optimistic and hopeful about working, others will pick up on it and also act similarly. On the other hand, if you are pessimistic and believe things can’t work out, this negative attitude will trickle in others too. 

    3. Your tone sends a stronger message than your words.

    What you say to others isn’t nearly as important as how you say it. In response to a flawed idea, you can say “No, that’ll never work out because of x” or “That’s an interesting idea. It could work if x was changed.” Both are rejections, but the second one sends a more positive response. The first has a critical tone while the second sounds more accepting and enthusiastic, which signals people that you’re interested in working with them.   

    Always have a positive attitude and believe. Whether it’s at work or at home, think less about why you can’t do something, and instead remind yourself that the reasons why you can do it. The first step to success is to know that it’s possible, and the second step is to do it. Even in the toughest times, remember: if others have done it, you can do too.

    A change in attitude might just be the solution to your problem.

  • ,

    4 things the Obamas can teach you about crushing your goals in 2017

    barack and michelle obama boxing

    In 2008 I was eligible to vote in my first presidential election.

    To me, it wasn’t just a big deal because I was a first-time voter, but it was big because I would witness history one way or another – either by seeing a woman be elected as vice-president for the first time in American history or seeing an African-American male be elected as president for the first time in American history. As a Black woman, this was particularly amazing to me because at one time women couldn’t vote and at another time people of color couldn’t vote! Now look at the individuals on the ballots and the individuals that are now able to cast a ballot- we had come a long way!

    That year, America was gifted Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America along with his elegant wife, Mrs. Michelle Obama. President Obama would go on to accomplish a lot while in office including the Affordable Care Act which revolutionized healthcare, winning a Nobel Peace Prize, becoming one of the biggest job creating presidents, and much more (all without a major scandal I might add). First Lady Michelle Obama would steal America’s heart by being a champion for a more educated and healthier nation, her remarkable speeches, and being a style icon.

    Interestingly enough, these accomplishments are not what first come to mind when I think of the Obamas.

    Whether you agree with their politics or not, I believe I speak for a lot of people when I say that Barack and Michelle Obama have simply been the President and First Lady of Pop Culture.

    Whether they were slow-jamming the news on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, dancing or doing push-ups with Ellen DeGeneres, singing “Single Ladies” in Carpool Karaoke, or delivering the famous farewell “Obama out” as the POTUS dropped the mic, the Obamas have proven to be pop-culture savvy and relatable. My life has changed because of this iconic couple.

    Personally, I have been navigating my way through life and society by myself, but Barack and Michelle have been my indirect mentors… guiding me through my twenties and helping me become a better woman and citizen.

    Here are just a few of my takeaways from their journey that I have applied to my own personal journey and how their example can help you in 2017.

    obamamicdorp

    1. Keep branding. Eventually the world will know your name.

    In January 2007, Barack Obama announced that he would run for president. *Crickets* If we are honest, a lot of us knew little to nothing about this politician. That would change quickly as he brilliantly capitalized on an authentic skill he possessed – being a masterful and transparent communicator. He knows how to work an audience, and that’s what has captivated people around the world.

    He would also be the first president to adeptly embrace social media. All of this is how the nation would slowly catch wind of his hype and before we knew it we witnessed the meteoric rise of a relatively unknown Senator from Illinois. His vision wasn’t just to be a great orator; but it was a key element to his brand.

    I had to emulate this strategy! I have had signs in my life lead to me be a writer at heart and recently I decided to take advantage of that and create content that will build an audience. I plan to spread my words across social media platforms. The vision isn’t just to be a good writer, but writing will play its part in the world seeing my name.

    2. Girl power!

    President Obama is a self-proclaimed feminist. He wrote an essay that tore into the ridiculous double standards that women face. My favorite line from the essay was “We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.

    As a woman who works in a male dominated industry, I know, all too well, about the fraction of men who are instantly intimidated by what a woman brings to the table. It is refreshing to know that the Leader of the Free World recognized this hindrance and became a voice for females. This keeps me hopeful that one day there will be an elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

    Of course, The President wasn’t the only resident in the White House that championed for gender equality and inspired women. Mrs. Obama once said “Like I tell my daughters, women and girls can do whatever they want. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” It’s like she dared me to buy in to that idea… not to mention she is living proof of the words. Because of her reminders and her unmatched example, I boldly face society and go after everything I am told I cannot do because I am Black and a woman.

    The FLOTUS made me and countless other women around the world feel like we mattered and she made us feel like we mattered to her. As a result, she has inspired me to join in on the work of women empowerment.

    3. Brush the haters off.

    No other president and first lady have faced more unnecessary criticism and attacks than the Obamas. Yet, both handled these tests calmly and with poise, while never backing down.

    As a sensitive and emotional person, I grew accustomed to verbally retaliating if someone hurt or misunderstood me. After I watched the Obamas in office, I realized that I have never been placed under scrutiny of that magnitude; so why is it the end of the world when I am wronged? I knew I needed to heed the example they were setting for all Americans.

    This doesn’t mean that criticism is excusable nor does it mean that it hurts any less when facing this challenge. Life is going to throw its fair share of haters your way. But take it from me… my personal life has been a lot better since I have adopted the First Lady’s motto: “When they go low, we go high.” Now when I encounter any negativity, I just do what President Obama taught me when responding to the attacks thrown his way in the 2008 Democratic primaries — (brush, brush motion) get that dirt off my shoulders!

    4. Be audacious and have hope.

    When Barack Obama was a senator, he wrote a book entitled “The Audacity of Hope”. It was a phrase from his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address — the first real glimpse of the rockstar speechmaker. But this phrase has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I have watched President Obama for eight years and one thing that I have learned is that I give too much power away to the professional politicians and it’s time to get involved in issues that I am passionate about. Before he took office, I just wanted a good job with good benefits. Today, I aspire to be a playmaker for our economy as an entrepreneur.

    The Obamas have shined the light to help us see that young people “got next” and I am very optimistic about that. I know what some of you are thinking: there’s still more work to be done. You are right, and I am hopeful for a better tomorrow for America. And if you ask me if I think that we can ALL come together and play our part in that better “tomorrow”, my answer is: “Yes, we can!”.

    The opinions expressed here by PRSUIT.com contributors are their own, not those of PRSUIT.com.

    Image credit: wikimedia

  • , ,

    How to become a doer (and not just a thinker)

    man jumping near ocean

    quilllogoNote: Huge thanks to Quill.com for making this post possible! The good folks at Quill just launched its line of Star Wars inspired copy paper and we’re helping spread the word.

    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… thinking things through is a good thing! It’s a great thing!

    I’m glad the engineers at Volvo thought through their plans when designing my childhood car. I’m appreciate of all the detail in my Nike Air Force Ones. I’m a big fan of all the thought that went into designing my Samsung SmartTV. I love the attention to detail that went into Quill deciding to put Star Wars characters on the box of printing paper at my office.

    OK, now let me totally contradict myself and tell you this… stop thinking things through!

    While the brands I just mentioned have spent some serious time and energy thinking and planning their products, they have spent equally as much time DOING. They have found a balance between doing and thinking and recently I have found this to be a seriously lacking trait in many of my gen-y friends, peers and colleagues.

    Do you ever find yourself overthinking things and never acting?

    You might be the most driven, smart and creative person in the room, but if you never act, your talent is a waste.

    This past year I have built a media company, 2 e-commerce companies, a podcast, a clothing line, and was promoted twice at my day job. It taught me a lot about DOING.

    Here are the 5 things that have helped me stop overthinking and start doing.

    friendsjumping

    1. Realize that your ideas are actually holding you back.

    Buckle up because this might sting a bit…

    Your ideas mean nothing! Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

    An idea is just an idea.

    Once you recognize this and come to terms with the fact that ideas themselves can actually act as limitations in your life, you’re on your way to a totally new perspective on life.

    Coming up with ideas over drinks with your buddies is fun! Sitting on your couch and writing down notes on a big Europe trip you dream of taking is exhilarating! Strategizing about that app of yours that is “totally going to change the world” feels great!

    Do you know why ideas are problems in disguise? They offer you a small sense of accomplishment and exhilaration that ends up replaces doing. Sitting down and ideating (as I call it) releases dopamine and it feels good! You feel accomplished and that you’re on your way to accomplishing big things.

    But, for the majority of us, the process ends there. That feeling is satisfying enough for most us, and unless you realize what’s happening, you’re likely to be content with planning and planning and planning and planning and…

    For me, this realization has had the biggest impact in my life. When I realized that if I acted on an idea within a small time-frame (say 48 hours), that I was much more likely to accomplish it… completely changed the way I live.

    Thinking of planning a big Europe trip? Instead of writing down all the places you want to visit, start looking at hotels and travel… start getting real.

    Want to launch that app that will change the world? Start by looking at what it would cost to develop it. Start acting.

    In a board meeting and have a great idea? Shout it out! Do you think whoever suggested the idea of covering copy paper boxes with Star Wars themed imagery thought it would be an idea that everyone unanimously supported? Doubt it. Yet Quill.com, an online office products company, had a unique idea to leverage the release and hype around the newest Star Wars film, and apply it to one of their key products. Well, Quill made the idea a reality. The Star Wars wrapped copy paper is wrapped in a fun graphic design that features iconic Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope characters, and is packaged in a reusable themed box that bring relevant pop culture to the office – perfect for any fan’s workplace or home office.

    By Quill suggesting the concept – the thought was taken out of the idea phase and into the potential phase. And guess what?! Voila… it is now a reality (and pretty cool I might add).

    quillboxes

    You get the idea.

    2. Realize if you don’t act, you’re making the decision to stay where you are.

    This realization also changed my life. It’s so simple but when you seriously and consciously consider the effect of not doing something, it can bring things into an all new perspective.

    Consider your current situation where I’m sure there’s something you want to change. Now consider the thing you’ve been thinking about doing or creating. Now reflect on the ways that carrying out that task or idea can impact your life.

    If you don’t act, nothing will change. Let that settle in.

    It’s a simple mindset observation but for me, it was life altering. My biggest frustration is lack of growth so, for me, this realization was a significant catalyst for change. It struck a chord deep down inside of me because I equate lack of self-growth with the potential for future regret… and I am terrified of regret. So, whatever it is in your life that motivates you to improve, think of that when considering doing or not doing something and reflect on the way it affects you.

    Perhaps it can do the same for you?

    3. Realize that you’ll never execute anything perfect.

    Now that you’ve stopped romanticizing ideas and you’ve turned your back on the small glimpse of accomplishment that coming up with them offers, it’s time to execute.

    But this stage is a problem for a lot of us who are a certain way – perfectionists.

    We’re all perfectionists in certain areas of our lives. Whether it be in writing your emails, ironing your shirt, cleaning your apartment, doing your hair, etc. I’m willing to be that there are certain areas and practices in your life where you refuse to accept anything less than perfect (by your own standards).

    Accept that what you do will not be perfect right away! Challenge your perfectionism.

    Instead of planning each step of your journey, plan macro goals and then execute on a micro level. Establish long term goals, short term goals and then weekly goals.

    4. Act FAST!

    I have interviewed close to 100 entrepreneurs on our podcast The Hustle Sold Separately and I have met hundreds of successful entrepreneurs in person over the past two years. The most common attribute they all share is one of acting FAST… sometimes to the point where you might think they are acting too impatiently. But, the reality is the these entrepreneurs act fast so as to ensure action and then they anticipate the need to change and be dynamic once they have launched.

    Think about what happens after the Superbowl or after a nationally-televised tentpole event. Businesses pup up out of nowhere – whether they be a new T-Shirt company that has a quote from that even on it, or a new product, these folks acted fast.

    In the realm of entrepreneurship, acting fast and taking advantage of pop culture trends is a great example of taking your life out of the planning phase and propelling it to that of action.

    Take the good folks at Quill, for example. They are innovating by using pop culture to create an office product that energizes and excites fans. They released this “idea” at the perfect time when Star Wars: Rogue One just opened in theaters, so you can see why thousands of Star Wars fans bought their product (and at an introductory sale price of $39.99). They acted fast and capitalized on something that might have sat on the drawing board as just an idea.

    5. Stop giving up!

    Wow, Case, that is profound!

    Stop giving up is the call of our generation – the call and response of the millennial hustlers and entrepreneurs. But it’s true.

    You need to be tenacious.

    For me, patience is no longer the most heralded attribute. Be patient on your long-term journey but tenacious and hungry in your execution.

    Being tenacious means embracing a cycle of planning, acting, understanding, learning, adjusting and repeating. Again and again and again.

    6. Baby steps! Get the ball rolling in whatever way you can.

    The largest structures in the world were assembled piece by piece. The most complex electronics and microchips were assembled piece by piece.

    I have found the same to be true for anything you want to accomplish.

    Thinking of the end product of what you want to create can be daunting and downright intimidating. Instead of thinking of the grand scheme of your vision, take baby steps to get the ball rolling.

    Elon Musk wants to revolutionize space travel and energy consumption – that’s some daunting stuff! But, he approaches it piece by piece and product by product.

    Figure out your vision and act on it FAST. Get the ball rolling in the smallest way you can.

  • ,

    ‘ I hate my job ‘: what to do if you find yourself saying this

    man sitting on bench

    Studies show that 70% of Americans hate their job. Judging by the fact you’re a reader of PRSUIT which by its very definition is full of #driven readers, I’d venture a guess you might not be amongst the 30% who are ‘engaged and inspired’ by their job. This is for you.

    What follows is my story and how it can guide you when you hate your job.

    *My story is also the hardest, longest, most difficult way to leave the job you hate, but I learned a lot from it.

    Statistics aside, many people are unhappy with their 9-5, and many people in this group think it wise to quit their job and pursue their passion or side-hustle. I’m all for going after your dreams, I even built a business to help people do so, but there is a better alternative to help you ease your way out of a 9-5 instead of abandoning ship outright. All it takes is a bit of patience, a shift in your mindset, and of course, a lot of hard work.

    But first, a quick backstory that sets up how I went from hating my job to self-employment.

    Two and a half years ago I was fed up with my first job out of college. At the time I was running two blogs, both of which weren’t large enough to support myself, my wife, and our soon to be baby. As much as I wanted to do my own thing, I bit the bullet and found a new job instead.

    My new job started off a bit shaky. It was a newly created position at this company and they really didn’t know what to do with me. At one point they had me counting inventory back in their dusty warehouse. I have a freaking industrial engineering degree, and there I was, using a skill I learned back in grade school to make a living.

    It was humiliating. I hated myself for leaving my old job. I hated myself for not doing my own thing. I felt stuck, trapped, and unfulfilled.

    What transpired over the following two years, however, was different story… one that has finally guided me to the precipice of self-employment. Just this week I informed my manager of my plan to exit in early June so I can do my own thing. It’s really happening. But let me tell you how I got here…

    Here’s what to do do when you hate your job.

    I hate my job - man at desk

    Have patience.

    Two years ago my wife was in her second year of pharmacy school. Not only was she not making money, but we were racking up a ton of student debt for her to go. Her plan was to finish school and apply to two years worth of residencies which meant that she wouldn’t be making enough money to support us until 2019.

    Back in 2015, 2019 felt light years away. But I had to accept this fact. Everything I did moving forward was to prepare me for 2019. As much as I wanted to jump ship, I needed the patience to see the situation as it was:

    I was the breadwinner, and would have to be for the next 4 years.

    I wasn’t in a situation to rely on my blogging side-hustle to support us, but that didn’t stop me from moving forward ever so slowly. I patiently built my subscriber list one reader at a time. I patiently wrote, edited, and published a book on my own. I patiently made connections with the right people. And just this past year, I patiently built and launched my own business from scratch.

    I didn’t accept my situation and sit on my hands for 4 years. I got to work, but with patience in mind.

    Here’s the lesson of this section: if you hate your job but you aren’t in a position to leave, learn to live with the fact that it might take another 2, 4, 5, 10 years until you can do so. But to get there, you have to create the opportunities yourself through your hard work. It won’t pay off immediately, but this is where the patience comes in and your time will come.

    However, there’s a second piece to this puzzle… what the heck to do at your 9-5 in the meantime?

    Shift your mindset.

    I don’t know you or your situation, but there is a likely chance that part of the reason you hate your job is you’re not deploying the right mindset. Instead of remaining in a reactive mode where I was waiting for work to come to me (aka counting inventory in a dusty warehouse), I moved to a proactive mode where I was constantly looking to add value.

    In the early months of my new job, I was also highly aware of how my new co-workers worked. I carefully watched their processes and asked a lot of questions. After sometime, I would notice ways they could improve their workflow by developing a custom report or tool in Excel specifically for them.

    It wasn’t easy saying, ‘hey I know I’m the new guy, but I think there is a better way to do your job.’ Some were apprehensive, others were really grateful. But after awhile, people started to take notice, including management.

    Once my real value had been discovered, I was yanked out of counting inventory and placed into a new role I had basically invented for myself. I continued to do this process over the next two years, always seeking ways to add value by making my co-workers jobs easier.

    And now, after talking with my manager about my exit, it turns out I’m a bit too indispensable, meaning I have all the bargaining power to possibly convert my full-time position into a part-time remote one.

    Lesson learned: stop thinking about your job as a drain and start looking for ways to add value. It can only help your cause in the long run.

    Put in the work.

    Working a full-time job, building my business, and being a husband and father is a lot of work. I take time for leisure on Sundays to watch my Steelers, but other than that, I’ve sacrificed a lot of my free time to go after my dreams.

    And as it turns out, other people took notice of my work ethic.

    A few months ago, I was hired on as an advisor for Praxis. The job is part-time and remote which means I can do it outside of my 9-5. But here’s the thing… this opportunity would have never been open to me if I didn’t work hard to change my situation. This opportunity manifested itself because of my efforts.

    It is possible to take action and change your life for the good. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

    Now with my job at Praxis, my own business, and my wife’s stipend from her residency, (as well as accepting a lower standard of living) I am free to exit my 9-5 this June – two years ahead of schedule.

    Let’s wrap this up… here’s how to leave that job you hate.

    If you hate your job, you have to be patient and accept the reality of your situation. But at the same time, you need to shift your mindset to a value creation mode to survive long enough in your situation so that you can put in the hard work for your side-hustle. After awhile, you’ll finally see the fruits of your efforts.

    Or you could wait for a dream job to come along. Or you could wait to win the lottery. I don’t know. Those hypothetical situations don’t seem fun or rewarding to me.

    At least I’ll I know come June, that my hard work paid off. I will finally reach my goal of self-employment… which, as it turns out, is just the beginning. But that’s a story for another day.