Please, listen to what I am about to say. I beg you.
I am the person who cares about you and loves you.
I am the person who wants to see you thrive.
I am the person who has looked in your eyes and cried with you while you share your pain.
Please, listen to me. I want you to understand.
I know it’s difficult to trust me when so many have broken your trust.
I know it is difficult to hear the love in my voice when you struggle to love your own.
I am not trying to fix you. You said that, not me.
To fix you would assume that you’re broken, you’re not.
You have everything you need to thrive in the world.
Before I continue, I want you to know, I understand.
I’ve heard your story.
Physical or sexual or mental abuse.
No parents growing up.
Struggles with not thinking you’re enough.
I don’t say these words lightly. I know they carry a lot of weight.
But do you know what I’ve also heard?
I’ve heard stores of people who have left harmful relationships and are happily married (and have been for decades).
I’ve heard stories of people who have lost 130 pounds and turned their life around.
I’ve heard stories of fatherless men who are making sure their boys grow up differently.
I know these people. The hope is there. The potential is there.
Again, this is not about fixing you.
This is about a healthy perspective so you can thrive.
Perspective starts with you. Perspective is your beliefs about the world. I know your upbringing would make you think otherwise, but the world does not need to be that way.
The world is what you make it out to be.
This transition will take time, and effort, but it starts with intentional change. I know certain beliefs about the world and I struggle myself to live certain ones out every second of the day. I’m not saying a better way of life is easy, but it is simple when you look for it.
I hope you hear me. I hope you really hear me.
I hope you feel the care in my voice.
I hope you put what I am saying into action.
I am sharing this because your pain affects others. It is not hidden, it is not obvious, but it is felt.
Novelist John Barth said it well: ”The story of your life is not your life. It is your story.”
I urge you, start today, and begin writing a new story.
Be mindful of your self-limiting beliefs.
Make peace with the past.
Find the courage to ask for help and move forward.
The world is waiting.
Questions? Send them privately.
Photo credit: I took the above photo at a retreat this past weekend where we increased our self-awareness and refined our beliefs.
I’ve been writing and sharing here for 270 days in a row.
When I hit 100 days, I shared what I learned (and how you could write for 100 days).
Here was the reasons I was writing:
1. To help me articulate thought.
2. To exercise the creative muscle of writing.
3. I believe in sharing life.
Here were unexpected things I learned about myself:
When I started writing, no one asked. It was an experiment. A very large part of what I wrote about was around self-awareness, self-improvement, and personal growth. I’ve also shared about business and startups.
I have had the privilege of having coffee and lunch with several interesting people. People who read things I shared and wanted to meet up. I was privileged to be able to share time with others and learn more about their life.
Since I learn, then share, and then proof read what I share, I have found that I recall concepts and ideas much quicker. This memory and ability to articulate such things has helped when speaking at colleges or high schools or even in general conversation.
Concrete is being poured. My foundation is being laid. Learning, experiencing, writing, and reflecting on what I write, has helped me come to love the person I want to be. Being vulnerable through sharing and strengthening the person I want to be has been meaningful.
I wrote about my thoughts on careers and had great feedback (as well as dozens of other articles). I have also had dozens (if not hundreds) of people share back with me when I share my thoughts and I have really grown a lot from those conversations. It’s helped me to re-articulate thoughts or challenged me to even change my beliefs (which I have done).
I have been sharing random musings and it is time to focus. I have refined my writing muscle and I know what I enjoy and where I’m going to focus. I’m excited to be launching a new site soon that will encompass my writings with a greater focus and purpose.
I am stopping writing every day so that I can focus my writing and be more intentional about writing great pieces. I am shifting my writing from quantity to quality. My writing muscle is strengthened and I feel ready to channel it into a greater belief which I’m extremely excited about. It’s something that is closer to who I am at my core.
What will happen to this site?
I will use this site to aggregate all of my writings, guest posts, videos, etc. Everything I do across the internet will show up here.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. I appreciate every second of your time and look forward to sharing more. If you’re interested in my new project, drop a comment and I’ll notify you when it’s live.
I used to say that I’m a maximizer.
I maximize the odds of the game of life, or business.
Now, while this may be true in some instances, it’s not true in your personal life.
In a car, if you want to maximize how fast you get from point A to point B, you can go fast - but at what expense? Safety? Inefficient fuel consumption? More stress on a car’s engine?
Back in 2007, I maximized my time and the projects I was working on. I worked a lot, I kept myself very busy (and I enjoyed it). I maximized my potential in those moments.
This unsustainable life because obvious when I fell asleep at the wheel driving and drove into the intersection (more here).
Maximizing my usage of time negatively affected other areas of my life. My focus, my driving ability, and the like.
Optimize for impact without negatively affecting other areas of life.
To maximize is to make as large or great as possible.
To optimize is to make the most efficient use of.
Focus on optimization because optimization is sustainable.
For much of my life, I’ve spent time strengthening different areas.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours investing into myself and my understanding of business, technology, and humanity.
This past week, I took 4 assessments on myself (which I shared yesterday).
One fundamental approach to these assessments is that they start with what you have and then focus on optimization.
For instance, the Strength Finders test identified 5 strengths that I possess: Strategic, Relator, Activator, Futuristic, and Connectedness. I am choosing to focus on activator and optimize that characteristic of myself.
Prior to this moment, I’ve looked at different areas in my life as lacking.
I was always lacking in understanding. This mentality is rooted in shame and the fear of not being enough.
The mentality of shame is a mentality that society feeds off of.
You’re not enough, so you need proper hygiene to be accepted.
You’re not enough, so you need the right beauty products to look enough.
You’re not enough, so you need to do well in school and go to college.
If you want growth, have a growth mindset. Take inventory of what you have and choose to focus on what you want to evolve.
Don’t focus on what’s lacking and try to make it “enough”.
That game doesn’t lead to fulfillment or happiness.
What are you focused on strengthening? Would love to hear from you.
I once led a group of people taking the Strength Finders test. There was about 6 of them. I was one of many leaders leading such a small group at the time.
And you know what? I hadn’t taken the Strength Finders test myself.
Matter of fact, I refused to take it.
"Why?" I would often ask myself.
At the time (~4 years ago), I didn’t believe I needed something to define me. I didn’t believe I need to learn more about myself… because hey, 4 years ago, I really knew myself.
My perspective was wrong.
This past week, I took 4 different assessments on myself.
I took the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) assessment, MBTI (also known as Myers Briggs), EQ-i (assesses my emotional quotient and compares it to fortune 500 leaders), and the Strength Finders test. (I struggled on a Style Insights questionnaire so I didn’t take it)
I used to think that such assessments would define me and I used to think that I didn’t need that.
These assessments are simply assessments to help you better understand yourself.
They are guides.
They don’t define you or tell you about who you are.
You define yourself.
Focus in a specific area you want to strengthen and define that area of yourself.
The bigger question you must ask yourself:
How do you want to define yourself?
Who do you want to be?
Last year, I went on an unretreat with Freeman in Portland.
Freeman and I spent a week talking about life, business, where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we want to go.
It was a time to stop, pause, and get life in sync.
We spend so much time focused in life that we sometimes forgot to focus on life. This is true in business and it’s true in our personal lives.
The problem occurs in life when who we are is not in sync with what we do.
Within this gap lies unhappiness, frustration, and it’s simply not sustainable.
Unretreat NYC is for entrepreneurs who want to align who they are with what they do, get inspired, and lay down a game plan going forward. (Among other things)
Check out Unretreats.com for more info.
Freeman and I also shared more on our latest Startup Riff:
Communication is the foundation of human connection.
The more we share, the more connection is formed.
Ideas are birthed.
Every opportunity to communicate with someone else is an opportunity for connection.
Maybe connection happens as soon as you share a thought.
Maybe it happens a year after-the-fact.
I have experienced both.
I’ve had moments where I’ve begin a dialog that lasted 5 hours. Depth in connection was created.
I’ve had a moment where I’ve recalled a phrase someone told me during a lunch that didn’t resonate until a year later.
If you’re seeking change, new relationships, or want to give yourself dots to connect, communicate more.
Photo credit: Taken during the recording of an episode for the untretreat in NYC. More info at unretreats.com (I’m a co-host).
When I was in college, I experienced a few moments of “friction”.
During one year, I took 54 units. 18 in the fall, 18 in the spring, 18 in the summer. Since this is not normal, I had to push my way through to make it happen.
I remember watching different departments and learning the schedules of staff so I could go back and ask (after they rotated shifts) if I can get into a class.
I heard no many times.
When it came to my graduation, I talked with multiple counsellors and advisors to make sure I would finish as I expected to.
In life, in discovering truths, I do the same thing.
I experience a truth many (many) times before I accept it as truth.
Too often, many want to grow up too quick.
When you’re young, you want to be an adult.
When you’re an adult, you want to be young again.
Don’t accelerate your understanding of truth simply to be “grown”.
Constantly question your foundation.
Challenge the things you believe.
The more you search for your truth, the deeper your conviction.
At the age of 9, I started web development.
When I wasn’t on the computer, I was thinking.
I never really understood the concept of “boredom” or “killing time”. If I was relaxing, that wasn’t killing time and I wasn’t bored, that was me relaxing. Or playing. Because we need that.
I want to put this into perspective: It’s not about killing time. It’s about intentionally disconnecting. It’s about bringing more play and relaxation into your life.
Think about it. We have 86,400 seconds in a day.
Some have only weeks to live. Or months.
Why would you want to kill time?
Sounds harmless, but it’s a mentality.
If you want to relax, do it, and do it with something you enjoy that inspires you… but simply killing time?
I don’t get it.
I disconnect by mountain biking, watching a good movie, having a meaningful conversation, or simply sitting on my couch and thinking.
I don’t do this to kill time. I do it because I need it. This is healthy and I enjoy every bit of it. It is about energy management.
Please, don’t kill time.
Value your time.
Maximize the impact of your time.
Photo credit: I took this.
I spend a lot to time in reflection.
When I reflect, I think about my life.
I think about my past, myself, and my future.
And I make connections.
Sometimes I connect the past to the present, or the future to the past. I simply make connections. In the midst of doing this, sometimes, I blow my mind.
I blow my mind because I have a jolt of insight that I didn’t realize.
This is sustainable growth. It is growth that comes from within.
A lot of people crave external experience.
Things like travel, a constant stream of “fun” moments, or experiences that would radically alter the way one thinks.
This is backwards. If you want to blow your mind, you must dive within.
Sure, external experience may provoke internal thought, but the sustainable experiences are experiences that you find within your own life.
It’s about facing your own truth.
It’s about discovering your own realities.
It’s about uncovering yourself and then exposing yourself.
Would love to hear any insights you’ve had into your own mind.
Some schools of thought say to live in the present.
They say that the ego is what lives in the past and in the future.
To overcome this, you must focus on being present in the moment.
I struggle with accepting this.
Understanding the past and your upbringing and making sense of it all helps you to move forward.
Until you do that, your past defines you.
It operates at a subconscious level.
Until you put intentional effort to understand your subconscious do you transcend it.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
That is, the potential you possess as a human.
When you maximize your potential, you do better.
That is, you’re better at what you do.
You focus on what matters.
You maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of everything you do.
You act with the intent of impact and you make the difference.
You possess strength because you’re maximized.
I’ve lately been reflecting on who I am. I’ve reflected on strengths and how certain strengths have weaknesses.
For instance, I am thoughtful. It’s great, I see a lot of things that most don’t see. However, it also hinders me at times because I overthink.
Let me give you a specific example.
This past week I went to the gym four times at 5am. I went to sleep around 9pm most days. The first day, I really didn’t want to get up.
I was so comfortable I didn’t want to go. I was in my place. I was warm. I was safe. I attempted to rationalize on why I didn’t want to go.
And then it dawned on me: going to the gym does not require my brain. It requires my body. Thus, I need to focus all of my energy not on my thoughts but on physical movement.
When this thought occurred, it was a no brainer. I quickly had a flashback from this scene:
I then physically moved myself to get ready and left my place.
The secret to maximizing your human potential is embrace your wild state.
Increase your awareness.
Know your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly.
Execute your life’s work with great strength.
If this thought resonates with you, I’d love for you to leave a comment saying that it does. I aim to refocus all my writing around this belief soon.
(That photo above is from an unretreat I’m hosting in NYC with Freeman. See unretreats.com for more info)
I started web development at age 9. In web development, I have a vision for what I want to build and then I build it.
Sometimes there are problems, referred to as bugs in the code.
I have had problems take me anywhere from a few minutes to fix to months.
For as much as I don’t enjoy putting my vision on hold to fix a problem, I do it, and I figure it out because I know the growth and learning that will come from it will offset my time to pause.
I’ve applied the same thing to life: I like problems. I like problems because I understand the growth and understanding that result from them in every situation.
The question is: what problem do you want to solve?
Don’t think of problems in a negative light.
When you do this, it increases the time it takes you to conquer the problem. It causes procrastination.
If you loved what you were to do, you wouldn’t be procrastinating. Loving something can be a result of a change in perspective.
It’s not the problem you have to deal with. It’s you.
It’s how you view the “problem”.
I’m talking about all sorts of problems. Problems at work, problems from your past that you haven’t dealt with, or problems in relationships.
Think about problems as mysteries or a game.
If it’s a problem that involves others, bring in friendly competition.
Accept such challenges as part of the game of life or business.
And then, with unyielding force, handle it.