Learning to swim

A pig swimming
I’m the pig.

This June, my best buddy and I are doing a triathlon.

I’m super confident when it comes to the biking and running portions…but I have no idea how to swim even one lap without having to stop to rest.

So I did what any sensible person would do: I recruited a friend for help—she was a D1 swimmer and has 14 years of experience competing and teaching.

I felt bad for adding another commitment on her plate, but she got even more excited than me. (As I said in my article about exchanging value with friends, people usually love sharing their skills with others.)

Yesterday was Day 1. She arrived with training equipment and a set of drills to improve my technique and stamina.

I thought swimming correctly would be incredibly difficult…

And it was.

It was one of the hardest fucking things I’ve ever tried to do.

She showed me how to properly align my shoulders, chest, and hips in the water. I would watch her and swimmers in nearby lanes swim down and back with ease. It all made sense to me.

Then I would push off and try it all myself and after swallowing a liter of water I’d have to stop about halfway to catch my breath. I’d come up laughing and shaking my head. It looks so easy, I thought.

I kept reminding the both of us that this would take practice. While slightly discouraging, I knew I wouldn’t become amazing at it immediately.

“This is why we’re here,” I repeated to myself.

She was patient and supportive and slowly but surely, I could feel slight improvements. I was able to swim further and further without stopping. By the end of our hour and a half time slot, I could swim from one end to the other without taking a break.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a big deal. But compared to my first attempted lap, I felt like a totally new person.

Day 1 was a success. It was fun. And it was my first step to being prepared for this triathlon.

The major lessons:

• You don’t need natural ability to improve in something.

• Just focus on getting 1% better right now.

• Ask people for help; they’d probably love to take part.

No matter what

There are plenty of days where I don’t feel like writing this blog.

I have no ideas and resist exploring my thoughts.

On other days, I’ll spend 45 minutes hashing out a thought.

What matters isn’t the amount of time I spend writing or even the quality of the writing.

What matters is that I show up every single day and do it.

What could you get really good at if, no matter what, you had to show up every single day and do the work?

Unfamiliar environment

This weekend, I’m staying at my mom’s house. They’re out of town and I’m watching the dogs.

Trying to follow your normal routine in a different environment is strange.

Although I have access to all the same things as any other day—food, a space to work, a comfortable bed….

It’s not the same.

I feel out of place. It even feels like I can’t do the same quality work.

Our brains are odd in that they designate certain environments for certain tasks and regimens.

I love these dogs…but God am I looking forward to going back home.

Some questions

Questions to ask yourself consistently:

• What’s begging for my attention right now?

• What Resistance am I running into?

• How am I complicit in the discomfort in my life?

As always, I’d love to hear and discuss your answers.

Bowling is…cool?

Last night, while waiting for a friend to join me at the bar, I overheard a guy talking to his buddy.

He was explaining how good he was at bowling.

Firstly, I love hearing about anyone’s passions…but if you’re going to start bragging about something, maybe bowling isn’t the ideal activity.

But more importantly, my eye-rolling reminded me of an important fact:

If you’re good at something, other people will say so for you.

Be a guide, not a boss

A sign that says "Don't be a prick"

One of the first lessons I gathered from my coaching mentor:

“People don’t do well with solutions they’ve had little or no part in creating.”

I’ve learned this through experience…

Coaching people who want to make a change. Giving unsolicited advice to friends. Preaching on this blog.

No matter how good your advice is, how useful it is, or how “right” you are…you simply can’t make or force anyone to do, think, or feel a certain way. They have to reach that place on their own.

The solution? Provide people a space for them to explore and make decisions. Listen deeply. Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.

This is contextual, of course. Sometimes, tough love is needed. When I was in my darkest place, listening to Joe Rogan and having him proverbially grab my shoulders and tell me to get my act together was exactly what I needed.

But I write this in response to what I see so many people doing (including my past self). That is: Feeling frustrated because you’ve given a person the correct answers and they keep doing the same things.

But the correct answer isn’t enough. We all know what simple things we could be doing to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Yet we don’t do them.

Why? Because we have to come up with those answers (and why they’re important) on our own.

In the life coaching sphere, we say, “Coach the person, not the problem.”

We all have similar problems but we differ in how we see them and how they’re impacting us.

It’s hard work, but we must be a guide, not a boss, if we want to bring about change.

A guide helps people maneuver through places they want to go. A boss tells people where to go.

You’re nobody’s boss. But you could be a guide to anyone.

I’m not a natural

At a recent dinner, I heard one of my least favorite compliments.

When discussing my coaching business and my podcast, someone claimed, “He’s a natural.”

They were trying to show support and truly meant well, but I’d like to dissect that claim a bit.

Though it’s not the intention, using the word “natural” tends to ignore the countless hours of practice, anxiety, and discomfort a person must go through.

You would never call Tom Brady a natural. He’s been playing football almost every day since he was a child. Along the way, he’s been intercepted, sacked, and doubted tremendously by others and by himself.

When people tell me…

• I’m a natural at podcasting, they haven’t heard my first podcasts where I couldn’t string a single idea together.

• I’m a natural at coaching, they haven’t seen all the hours I put in each week to be a better coach and business owner.

• I’m a natural at living a disciplined life, they haven’t seen my first 23 years of being a true mess—failing out of college, accruing massive debt, and trying to end my life.

99.9% of people aren’t natural at anything. This shit takes work.

You never know what’s going on behind the scenes. The next time you see a master, don’t think, They’re really good at this; instead think, They must’ve been practicing this for a long time.

Remembering

We know how to live better lives.

We know that:

• being fitter will make us look and feel better
• more time on social media will make us more anxious
• staying up super late will make us exhausted the next day
• more time with loved ones and with our passions will make us more fulfilled
• expanding our comfort zones will provide us more opportunities….

So why do we struggle with all these things we know to be true?

Because in a sense, the day to day hustle and bustle of life clouds our vision. We get distracted. We forget.

When I’ve had a long ass day, my brain’s not thinking about how to optimize my wellbeing before bed; it’s craving the dopamine of watching another YouTube video as I slide under the covers.

I’m thinking: Yes, I know that in the past staying up late watching YouTube makes me more tired when I wake up and it makes the day harder…but this time, I really need to stay up and watch YouTube.

I forget.

Then, like clockwork, I wake up the next day and remember…usually with some self-loathing.

But what if I was able to remember before suffering the consequences?

One strategy I use to remember is by reinforcing the fact that I tell myself lies.

“I won’t regret: staying up late…eating a sixth donut…skipping the gym…blowing my friend off…”

Lies. All of them.

One of my best friends once said:

“Resistance always comes in reasonable forms.”

Our forgetting what is good for us always seems rational in the moment. It’s only after the fact that we see what’s really going on.

Let’s get in the habit of remembering what we already know.

Otherizing

It’s incredibly easy to “otherize” someone.

They’re just another:

• refugee
• thug
• liberal
• Republican
• straight white man
• bossy woman

But if you were to go up to any individual who ticks the boxes for any of these categories…after one conversation, you’d discover a complex world of struggle, stress, and livelihood.

Take me for example.

I’m a straight white man—as are many of my closest friends.

Does that encapsulate me? Does that define who my friends and I are as human beings?

I certainly recognize and acknowledge the privileges I have, but no one who knows me would say I’m just another straight white man.

Yet when we don’t know a person or a group of people intimately—regardless of their size, shape, or color—it’s all too easy to place them in a box.

I used to think that super left-wing people were overemotional and irrational.

Only when I actually put in the time to have good-faith debates and discussions with the more liberal-minded people I knew…did I begin to see my error in thinking.

When I wouldn’t get yelled at for stating my opinion…when I would hear reasonable and well-constructed arguments…I would think, Wait, but they’re liberal. Aren’t they supposed to be crazy emotional and triggered right now?

I was otherizing them.

Conclusion

No matter how much you think otherwise, you can’t actually know a person until you get to know them.

You don’t have to love them or agree with them, but you can recognize that they are in fact a human being—made of the same set of organs, bones, and worries that you’re made of.

2 stripes

Last night, I got my first two stripes on my Brazilian jiu jitsu belt.

This is my first ever milestone in the sport. It tells others, “I’m still a newbie, but it’s not my first day.”

I remember in the first three months of starting, I literally thought to myself, I’ll never get better at this.

It’ll be so fun to think back to that thought when I earn my blue belt, purple belt, and so on…

The lesson:

If you feel like you can’t get better at something, practice it every single week for a year and see what happens.

Sitting by the river

Yesterday, one of my best friends from Rwanda and I took a lovely stroll around a local nature park.

While we were sitting and chatting on the dock by the river, I zoned out for a second while she was talking.

The good news is that it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in what she was saying.

I zoned out because I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I have access to such beauty and fulfillment in this life.

I have:

• Daily access to food and clean drinking water.
• A comfortable bed.
• A job I absolutely love.
• A tribe of friends and family who are alive and healthy.
• This blog, where I can write out my thoughts and hear what others think about them.

It can be easier said than done…but one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself (in good times and in bad) is hyper-focus on what you have and what you’re grateful for.

Work and play

A little boy playing in a pile of leaves

After a week-long vacation, I’m back in my home office itching to get back to work.

I’m grateful to love what I do.

People talk about work/life balance. I have no idea what the perfect formula for that is or if it even exists.

My typical process is this:

Spend a few weeks working → Crave a vacation → Take a vacation → Crave getting back to work → Get back to work → Repeat

It works for me (get it?).

What I love about this process is how much better I get at my work by taking intentional breaks. Like letting our muscles recover after a workout, we counterintuitively get better results the more we set aside time for fun and relaxation.

I can’t stand when people say they sleep less so they can get more done in a day. That’s ludicrous.

You get more done in a day when you’re well-rested and full of mental energy. If that weren’t the case, insomniacs would be the most successful people on earth.

Sleep. Rest. Fun. Play time.

These are essential to our productivity and our well-being.

Take that trip. Go on vacation.

Then get the fuck back to work.

Lessons from Denver

The Rocky Mountains

As always happens, the incredible vacation I’ve been enjoying this week is suddenly coming to a close.

Tomorrow in the early morning, I hop on a plane back to Maryland.

Here’s a short list of my favorite things I’ve done this week in Denver as well as the lessons from them:

1) Spending every day with some of my closest friends.

Friends are meant to spend quality time with. We’re social creatures and the relationships in our lives shape who we are and what we’re capable of.

Yesterday was my best buddy’s birthday. We all spent the day at the biggest park I’ve ever seen, drank spiked Kombucha, and played spike ball. (Wow, so much spike.)

Visit your friends. Invest time and money into the people you love. It pays dividends as the years go by. I’ll remember that day at the park forever.

2) Playing chess every day and going rock climbing.

There will always be a part of me that loves to party: staying up late, drinking, experimenting with drugs…

But at the ripe age of 27, I find I don’t have time anymore for relationships where that’s all we do.

It’s important to find friends you can do challenging things with, have beautiful conversations with, and inspire each other to learn and take action.

I brought my buddy into the world of chess. It excites me to see him beat his other friend with the lessons and practice we’ve shared. It also excites me to show him how much I improve at rock climbing since he and his partner brought me into that world.

3) Waking up to the view of Denver and the Rocky Mountains.

From my friends’ high rise apartment, I can look out right now and see the entire Denver skyline, Red Rocks amphitheater, and three enormous snowcapped mountains.

I’ve never seen so many dogs, Teslas, and open spaces for humans and dogs to roam around…in one place.

It’s important to go exploring. It’s always a lovely learning experience when you get out of your little bubble and meet other humans in their bubbles.

Getting out of my bubble for a week has been well worth any amount of time or money I put into this excursion.

In short: Visit your friends, find friends you can do challenging things with, and get a dog…or a Tesla.

Learning to climb

Someone rock climbing up a mountain

Yesterday, my friends took me to their local rock climbing gym here in Denver.

I’m deathly afraid of heights. As in: when I look down and see nothing between the ground and my feet, I lose physical control of my body.

It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating watching my friends climb up the 50-foot wall, seemingly with ease.

Naturally, I started small. Just some low-level bouldering.

It was challenging, exhausting, and exciting. I would slip and fall off close to the top of my little 12-foot wall and my competitive nature wanted to jump right back on it and try again.

It was a humbling reminder:

With anything you want to do in life, you have to start on day 1.

Most people are afraid of the discomfort of the early days of improvement.

You could embarrass yourself. Everyone else is an expert and you have no clue. You don’t belong here.

But that’s all nonsense.

Anyone who’s better than you at anything…they started on day 1. The only difference is that now they’re on like day 1149 and you haven’t started yet.

So if you want to improve, start. Then do it more. Do it a lot. Get really fucking good at it.

Eventually, someone will look at you and think, I could never do that.

Then you’ll gently remind them that you were there too once.

One day, I’ll climb that 50-foot wall and talk about how I used to be terrified of heights.

Wholeself

We can only provide a large amount of focus and attention on a few things at once.

My last few blog posts have been quite short because I’m visiting friends.

Rather than spending 45 minutes crafting and building on an idea, I prefer to sit and talk with my buddies and sip coffee.

You can’t do everything at once.

So choose what’s most important to you right now and give it your whole self.

Late night sacrifice

Last night, my best buddy (who really doesn’t drink) and I stayed up late drinking beers and playing chess.

Out of his element, he was a silly and giggly dude. But this morning is looking rough for him.

He said, “I’m not a late night kind of guy.”

When I asked why he stayed up, he calmly said, “Because I wanted to hang out.”

In other words:

You make sacrifices for the people you care about.

CO

Yesterday I flew to Colorado to surprise my best friend for his birthday.

We Zoom and chat on the phone each week…but nothing beats sitting in the same room and laughing together.

50 years from now, I won’t remember the uncomfortable hours of sitting on a plane. I’ll just remember having a lovely time with my friends.

Visit yours.

87

Last night, I talked to one of my best friends on the phone for two hours.

I remember doing that when I was seven years old.

I hope I’ll continue to do it until I’m 87.

Picasso’s napkin

Beautiful mural of a colorful cat

There’s a popular anecdote in the personal development world that accounts one woman’s encounter with Pablo Picasso.

Much of it has been lost in translation but it goes something like:

A woman saw Picasso at a cafe. He was sketching something on a napkin. She went up to him and asked to buy his doodle.

He agreed and asked her for a million dollars.

Baffled, she said, “But that only took you five minutes!”

He calmly replied, “No madam. It took me my whole life.”

The moral of this story is to never undervalue what you do. But I didn’t truly understand it until recently.

After running my own business for several months now, I finally have something to relate that little anecdote to.

At some point in my life, I’ll charge someone $100,000 a year for my coaching. Is that because I’ll be spending 80+ hours a week with them?

No.

They won’t just be paying for sessions with me. They’ll be paying for everything it took to get me to that point.

• All the thousands of dollars I spent on coaching and programs for myself.

• The countless hours of being on the brink of tears from doubt, uncertainty, and fear.

• The hundreds and hundreds of conversations I’ve had with people—powerful and awkward alike.

• The journey of my life: From attempting suicide to getting my shit together (and wanting to help others get their “shit” together).

So…when I get to that point, when someone asks me why it costs $100,000 for one year of coaching, I’ll simply tell them that they’re not paying for one year.

They’re paying for my entire life.

Without your fears

One of my favorite powerful coaching questions is:

If you removed all your fears, doubts, and worries…what would be left?

I ask that to you, dear reader.

Let me know what comes to mind.

I love Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome:

• Doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.
• Finding it difficult to accept your accomplishments.
• Questioning whether you’re deserving of accolades.

It comes in many forms.

Not taking on a certain project or job. Avoiding reaching out to a person who intimidates you. Feeling fear and anxiety about not being worthy.

If any of these things paralyze or debilitate you from taking action, that’s not good…obviously.

But one thing I’ve realized about myself in the past year is something rather counterintuitive:

I don’t ever want these doubtful feelings to go away.

Of course, I don’t ever want these doubtful feelings to keep me from doing the things I want to do. But I’m okay with their existence.

These thoughts:

Can I really do this?
• Do I deserve people’s money?
• Am I actually able to make a prosperous career for myself?

They don’t keep me under the covers. They fire me up to get out my ass out of bed each morning and say, “Fuck yeah. I can do all these things. Let me prove it.”

Courageous and fearless are not the same thing. Being courageous is taking action despite feeling afraid.

I’m afraid almost every day. And I like it.

It makes me work hard. It makes me take action to be less fearful. It helps me connect with other people who are scared too.

So long as this remains true, I welcome my Imposter Syndrome with open arms.

Being fearless is overrated. Be courageous instead.

Uncomfortable leadership

Soldiers saluting the American flag

The skill I’m currently working on improving is the skill of leadership.

It could go by other names, but in general what I mean is:

Setting standards and limitations and sticking to them—at the risk of making myself or others uncomfortable.

This includes:

• Calling someone out for being late to a call.
• Telling someone I’m disappointed in them for not following through with a commitment.
• Being offered money and saying ‘no’ to a prospective client I don’t see as the right fit.
• Voicing frustrations to close friends, colleagues, or even acquaintances.
• Telling a friend I can’t or don’t want to hang out, without giving a long-winded explanation.

Putting some of these into practice has made my heart pound and my face hot with nerves.

It’s scary to risk tension with another human being. But so long as it comes from a place of love and respect, and not superiority, it’s absolutely necessary.

But again, this is a skill.

It’s an art and a science.

I’ve heard people try to be a leader when they were really just being condescending and belittling. That’s not effective.

What is effective is telling someone with your words or your actions:

I love and support you completely. Here’s what you can expect from me. And here’s what I am expecting of you.

Last month, I gave a client a challenge to create a step-by-step system for the business he wanted to start. Two sessions in a row, he didn’t do it.

As promised, I told him I was disappointed. Not because I am the big bad boss who gave him homework…but because he was neglecting actions to better his life and do what he really wanted. I said, “This is for you man, not for me. When this happens, it makes me feel like you’re not taking what we’re doing here seriously.”

That was that and we moved on. A week later, when we next saw each other, he looked over at me at some point and said, “Thank you for laying in to me and calling me out. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.”

I can’t promise every situation will be received so well. Again, this is an art and it will take practice setting your own standards and maintaining them.

People will get defensive. Some will fight back.

But so long as you are coming from a place that’s looking out for everyone’s best interests, trust that you’re not being an asshole.

You’re being a leader.

A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.

Tim Ferriss

A trick to getting what you want

A plate of pizza crusts

I love cliches.

There are TONS of them in the world of self-improvement. After diving deeper and deeper into that world for the past four years, I’ve realized that that’s because living a great life, while bitter work, is genuinely quite simple.

I could list out a bunch of my favorite, powerful cliches, like:

• Suffer now so you may thrive later.
• When you obsess over things you can’t control, you lose twice.
• Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

…But I’ll just focus on one for today.

If you dedicate yourself to helping others, you’ll get everything you want.

This is true in business, relationships, and your overall health and well-being.

Of course, you still have to look out for yourself. Not sleeping for five days straight because you’ve been helping every person you can is not ideal.

But in general, focusing on finding ways to serve others does several things to help get you where you want to be.

1) You make more money.

Numbers have never motivated me.

After starting my own business last year, I tried to come up with a financial business plan, but it never seemed to drive me to work better or harder.

Then, when I started coaching, I threw away all my “business plans.” The new plan was (and still is):

Have as many fun and powerful conversations with people as I possibly can.

Since this adjustment in my mindset, I’ve made more in a few months than what I thought would take me three years to attain.

If you’re helping people…if you’re bringing them value…they will want to reciprocate with their own money, time, or attention.

2) You grow your network effortlessly.

Networking doesn’t have to involve suits, cocktail parties, and business cards.

That stuff’s fine, but not necessary.

A major lesson for me in the past year:

You don’t need to search far and wide for a diverse and valuable network. You have everything you need right in front of you.

I didn’t know this until I started reaching out to friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances from my past. I’ve had fruitful conversations with folks of all kinds of passions, skills, and personalities.

Naturally, this has increased my chances of being referred to. People have mentioned me to others when discussing blogging or life coaching. I’ve even helped a few people wanting to start a YouTube channel. This wasn’t because I’m a pro filmmaker (I only have 110 subscribers); it was because I have a YouTube channel and people in my network know that.

To mirror the first point, if you provide value to others, they will stick around. Not so much in a transactional sense, but because you make their lives better or easier in some way. And for the vast majority of people, they’ll want to give back.

3) It makes you happier.

There was a study done to prove this.

They had people fill out a questionnaire to measure happiness levels. Then, half of them were asked by an actor to do them a favor.

Not only did this mean they were helping another person, but they also typically engaged in light conversation with the actor.

The subjects took similar happiness quizzes at the end of the experiment.

92% of people in the “favor group” reported much higher levels of positivity, gratitude, and overall happiness.

Conclusion

The next time you feel stuck, ask yourself, “How can I help?”

Or better yet…”Who can I help?”

Finding ways to be of service to others will in turn help you prosper in your personal and professional lives.

The person you should be like

A blooming flower in a field

Until I was about 25, I thought relentlessly, Who should I be like?

I looked to successful friends, role models, even characters in movies or plays.

When I was in high school, I would listen to the music my friends liked even though I didn’t really enjoy it.

Last year, in trying to make YouTube videos on self-improvement, I tried my best to copy my favorite filmmakers who made the same content.

After starting my own business, I read countless business and self-help books to figure out who I should emulate to become prosperous.

In my work, my relationships, and my creative endeavors…I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time asking that same throbbing question…

Who should I be like?

As we get older, one of the frustrating (and uplifting) things we realize is that cliches are cliches for a reason: They remain true.

We can turn to one of the top five cliches to answer this uncomfortable question:

Be like you.

In a world of seven billion humans, there is only one person on the planet who has the exact same combination of interests, strengths, and perceptions as you have. And it’s…me.

Just kidding. It’s you.

Of course, it’s necessary to be influenced by others. Soak in ideas and motivation from the people you respect. There’s always something to learn from everyone.

But only you can take what you learn and make it totally your own.

I’ve written about 1000 blog posts on this site you’re reading. There’s not a single word I haven’t taken from something else.

My mom and teachers taught me how to read and write.

All my ideas have come from experiencing the outside world—conversations with friends, stories, and lessons I’ve learned and pondered over.

But they’ve made it onto this screen because they’ve traveled through the filter that is my brain and then out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

Thus making them mine.

The same is true for everything you do and say.

What do you value and cherish? What excites you? What do you love?

Do that. Do it all the time. Get really fucking good at whatever you hold dear to your heart.

Because that’s you.

When you do that, you don’t have to be like anyone else. You can be the coolest person on earth.

You.

All different, all the same

As a life coach, I have conversations with two to seven different people each day.

We discuss their goals, obstacles, mindsets, and ideas.

While there are certainly patterns and similar areas of Resistance, each session is wildly different than the last.

Why? Simple.

Each human being is wildly different than the last.

Two of my clients are wealthy and successful businessmen. One might think my time with them would be about performance and optimization.

But with one, we exclusively focus on his health and morning routine habits. We don’t even discuss his work.

With the other, we brainstorm ways he can add more creativity into his daily routine. Again, we never discuss any of his major business decisions.

We’re all the exact same in that: We are all constantly trying to make sure we’re spending our time well.

But that looks completely different for each of us.

This is progress

This morning will be the first organized public event I attend since everything shut down in March of 2020.

I’m pumped.

My sister cheers for her local high school. Their football team is playing the high school I went to.

Not only am I grateful to get to see her compete and do something she’s interested in…but going to an event makes me smile.

Progress is insuing.

People are getting vaccinated.

Things are opening up.

There’s much work to be done and people have certainly suffered unnecessarily, but we are taking steps to get back to “normal.”

At some point, you’ll be able to walk into a crowded concert hall and no one will be wearing masks and it’ll be totally natural.

That’s called progress (or Florida). And it should be celebrated.

Nothing’s wrong

Yesterday, I was being coached by my partner in my coaching program.

He and I were diving into the stress and anxiety I feel over money and growing my business.

I thought we were heading in the direction of:

“I’m doing great. I don’t need to feel this anxious.”

But then things took a turn and I had a simple but unexpected insight:

You’re very new at this whole ‘running a business’ thing. It’s perfectly natural to be stressed out.

Wow…yeah.

I’ve been coaching for nine months. Did I think I would be making six figures at this point?

I have 12 regular paying clients. I’m serving others. I’m helping people take action toward the things that matter most to them.

I’ve been thinking that something’s wrong because I’m not totally financially set yet.

But nothing’s wrong.

Everything is as it should be, including the stress.

Realizing that anxiety is perfectly normal makes me less anxious.

The only option for me is to continue doing the work and stay on this trajectory.

A year from now, I’m excited to look back and smile at this blog post.

How to win no matter what

I like to set up systems where no matter what, I win.

In my coaching system, for example, my goal is to have as many fun and fruitful conversations as possible. It has nothing to do with closing a certain amount of clients or making a specific amount of money. Ironically, that stuff often happens naturally when I just focus on bringing a ton of value to the conversations I’m having.

I reach out to a ton of people, and most don’t reply, which is totally normal and okay. But when someone does reply, even if they’re not interested in any sort of coaching experience, I get to catch up with someone from my past or meet someone new.

Even if they don’t turn into a paying client, I still win. I win when I have a conversation and enjoy it.

How can you turn a loss into a win? By changing the definition of winning.

I love chess and Brazilian Jiujitsu. In both, the only way to improve is to play (and lose) a lot. Having a competitive nature is healthy, but if you get pissed every time you get checkmated or tapped out, you’ll never become a grandmaster or a black belt.

The subtext here is that every time you make a mistake or suffer a loss, it opens the door for you to find lessons and make improvements.

I watched a YouTube video about how to defend an ankle lock in jiujitsu. Then, last year, a guy got me in an ankle lock, didn’t really know what he was doing, and yanked on my foot. I popped several tendons and was out for a month.

While that video was great, the experience will stay with me forever. I haven’t been caught in an ankle lock since. I’ve prioritized the defense so I never have to go through that again.

You can read the best book or watch the best video on what you want to improve…and you should!

But learning on the job is the only real way for you to track where you are on your journey.

Dive in. Make mistakes. Learn. Repeat.

Sometimes you don’t

Sometimes you don’t have to do anything profound or special.

Not every workout, idea, conversation, (or blog post) has to be the best one ever.

Usually, what’s most important is just sitting down and consistently doing the work.

The Four Tendencies

I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (And Other People’s Live’s Better, Too).

The tendencies help you understand how you respond to expectations—both internal and external.

Here they are (in no particular order):

Upholder

Meets outer expectations.
Meets inner expectation.

“I do what others expect of me—and what I expect from myself.”

Questioner

Resists outer expectations.
Meets inner expectations.

“I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it.”

Obliger

Meets outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.”

Rebel

Resists outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”


No tendency is better than another. And they each contain a wide variety of personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

I’m an upholder/questioner.

What about you?

Take the 60-second quiz here to find out and learn more about your tendency!