Page 2 of 37

My grandma last September gave me a three-step process for leadership. She advised that I should only go to the next step if the first step wasn’t effective. It’s as follows:

  1. Be peaceful.
  2. Be sneaky.
  3. Be militant.

Grandma’s wild.

If you find yourself saying “I shouldn’t be doing this, I shouldn’t be doing this, I shouldn’t be doing this” when you really want to do something, that’s addiction.

The voice inside your head is yelling, but you do it. Then you rationalize.

You say to yourself, “Well, I’ve already done this, no turning back now.”

So you do it, and you regret it. It feels terrible. But It’s human.

We’re all fighting this struggle.

Yours might be shopping or chocolate or a drink – soda or otherwise.

I just ate a bunch of chocolate and ice cream at 12:30 AM two nights ago.

It sucks. Recognize that it’s normal and get back on the horse.

You got this. Old habits die hard, friend.

Surrounding yourself with people who talk about their imperfections and vulnerabilities will help you live a better life in the long term because it will give you a greater grounding in humility and improve your ability to empathize.

These are the folks in the arena, fighting the good fight.

The alternative is to seek people who seem like they’ve got it together.

These are often the people at networking events who seem super businessy – the hotshots.

They’re seeking to impress and compete, not connect and build.

They’re thinking from a place of scarcity, not abundance.

 

 

March on.
Like a soldier, valiantly defend the wholeness of who are.
The expression of your full self: the shame, the sadness, the joy, the confused, the shattered, the thoughtless, the fearful, the excited, the content.
The everything.
Know that your feelings are likely felt by millions, that the things you love, others likely love.
The connection.
The trust.
The acceptance.

March on.
Like a general, courageously command the parts of you that are holding you back.
These are the feelings that you won’t measure up, the hesitance of failure, the scarcity, the uncertainty.
The darkness.
Know that these feelings are felt by everyone, and overcome by too few.
Connection does not require agreeableness.
Trust is not always warranted.
Acceptance isn’t distributed fairly.

And that’s okay.

You march on.
Despite the fact that not everyone will accept you – or your work.
Because recognizing that pleasing others indiscriminately is a sure means to a lost life,
That a life without risk, without going out on a limb, without facing blockades and storming the bastille of others’ opinions, professional opinions, is a life that hasn’t made the highest contribution that it must make out of an ineffable obligation.
One must forget the experts.
The critics.
The sideliners.
The colleagues.
And especially the gatekeepers.

One must speak the sincere truth that is within them without fear, without affectation, without deceit.
Being mindful of kindness and tact but honest nonetheless.

We are alive for a moment,
Here today, gone tomorrow.
We have one chance.
Yet so many are waiting for permission.

It’s never going to be perfect or easy or obvious.
It’s always going to take longer than you think.

Sacrifices will be made.

You are eventually going to fail.
Sometimes very, very badly.

Do it anyway.

Hedge your bets.

In Adam Grant’s Originals, there are numerous examples of creative-types and entrepreneurs who chose not to bank on making it on their own.

T.S. Eliot was a banker. The students that started Warby Parker were applying for other jobs while they built their business. Thoreau worked as a handyman. Whitman was a government clerk.

The stories you hear about people taking out a second mortgage, quitting everything, and schlepping it to millionaire-status or world fame, those are not good examples. They’re the exception, not the rule.

Don’t risk your well-being.

Don’t be a starving artist.

Live the life you want when you have some time.

If you don’t, you could end up a hack, doing work that’s similar to what you want to do but compromising for money.

It’s better to live the exact life you want in your spare time than suffer fighting for a rarer form of success that might not happen in your lifetime.

 

As a kid, my mom and stepfather had this really small collection of books that I thought was so cool.

I remember spending hours reading about Pen and Teller’s magic tricks, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding methods, and the interpretation of dreams.

These would ignite my imagination and allow me to peer into a new world.

Now that I’m a grown-up, I wonder often what would life had been like if there more for me to explore.

So every time I add to my now nearly 400-book personal library, there’s a part of me deep down that thinks about a child coming and pulling it from the bookshelf to see what’s inside.

I imagine giving them exposure to all these things I’ve found to be marvelous.

There are so many books a child would adore: The Complete Works of Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Matilda, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Cartoon History of the Universe.

“I have these,” I imagine telling them, “because these are the books that give me hope too. The world can be a scary place, and these books remind us, despite how bad it all can seem, there are always things to be happy about. There’s always wonder just beneath the surface if only we can remember how to see it.”

I encourage you to think about what that might have meant to you as a kid. Think about how awesome it would have been to have an adult show you that holding on to hope and happiness and joy were possible as long as you believe it is.