12 and a Half

When you can eliminate fear from your organization, very good things happen. If employees don't have to spend their time trying to outmaneuver one another, trying to kill one another politically, they may actually achieve the task at hand.

I just believe that leaning into your humanity is the actual strength that will help you survive and flourish.

One of the sad things about human nature is that negativity is louder than positivity.

Whatever you do professionally is normally going to be something that will take up most of your life, so patience is a practical way to get to your ambition. Lack of patience is a huge vulnerability and it has led to more bad decisions than any other factor.

Most important, you need to be patient with yourself as you develop these ingredients. Those who think they're running out of time get frantic and become vulnerable to bad decisions.

The growth potential of most businesses is limited by the emotional intelligence of their leaders. That goes for sports teams, families, and sovereign nations.

When you actually understand how unimportant business is in the grand scheme of your life, it allows you to enjoy it and potentially get better at it.


The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Be thoughtful and honest with yourself about your missteps, but don't start dwelling on them.

I just think we should reserve mourning for the death of people, not bad business decisions.

Positive emotional ingredients provide more sustainable fuel than negative ones. if you draw energy from gratitude, you'll find that it lasts much longer than energy drawn from insecurity, anger, or disappointment.

Anger and resentment are heavy ingredients to carry around. Gratitude is light.

The definition of complacency is "a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements."

If you're truly grateful for what you have instead of being envious of what you don't have, you'll be a dominant force in business and way more important, in life.

Self Awareness

Conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives and desires

There are many reasons why humans try to become someone they're not. Sometimes, it's just delusion. ( I don't say that in anger; I say it with empathy.) Delusional people lack awareness of their strengths and weaknesses.

Self-awareness has a close relationship with self-love and self-acceptance. Insecurity often leads to avoidance. People tend to be the most avoidant with their own flaws.

When you fully accept yourself, you're no longer scared of other people. On social media and in real life, humans tend to feel uncomfortable when they feel out of place. They feel that others are superior or that the insecurity they're trying to hide will be exposed. For me, a combination of self-awareness and humility is why I love being around people. Nobody scares me. Therefore, I don't feel the need to use my ambition as a crutch to get acceptance from others. Self-acceptance helps one embrace self-awareness, not avoid it.

Those who care too much about job titles are largely worried about other people's opinions.

Confidence makes self-awareness easier. I'm willing to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge all the problems I have in my life.

The best part of acknowledging your weaknesses is that you can then start navigating around them.

Instead of taking my reading skill from bad to ok, I'd rather spend that time taking my strengths from great to supernova. That takes self-acceptance and self-log. That said, I think you do have to improve your weakness, to a point. You need to be capable enough.

But I don't overstress this point, because most people work only on their weaknesses, not their superpowers. You'll find that it actually compensates for your weaknesses more effectively than trying to turn a weakness into a strength.


The fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility

People love to deflect blame from themselves onto other people. The greatest misconception is that avoiding accountability will lead to happiness when in reality the reverse is true.

I think of accountability as the brakes. It stops the momentum of pain that comes from blaming others. If your business partner screws you and you go into a dark spiral of blame, accountability gets you out of it. If you listen to two people arguing, you'll notice that the entire conversational flow changes the second someone takes a step toward accountability.

It excites me to know that nobody else is in control. If I created the issue, then I have the power to fix it.

Accountability is the most challenging ingredient for most people because their self-esteem is predicated on the outcomes of their actions. It's hard to take the blame when you're not kind to yourself or optimistic about the future; taking it leaves you completely vulnerable to other people's judgment. People fear others' opinions, so they develop an ego-defense mechanism against their own mistakes. It's a form of avoidance disguised as a solution.


Hopefulness and confidence about the future of the successful outcome of something.

Definition of delusion: "a false belief or judgment about external reality, held despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, occurring especially in mental conditions.

The opposite of optimism would be pessimism. Here's the definition of that: "a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future."

Optimism is being thrilled about your next at-bat while acknowledging that you're not guaranteed to hit a home run.

Rewiring your emotions takes time. Start by surrounding yourself with optimistic people, and limit interaction with people who drag you down mentally. Fill your ears with positivity through podcasts and video - 24/7, 365.

I think of optimism as a map. It helps me see my destination. It's one of the many reasons why I value the journey over the outcome. Optimism makes the journey so much more fun than pessimism. It's exciting to wake up in the morning and play my game when I have hope and confidence in achieving my goals. Optimism makes playing the game more enjoyable than winning it.

You can use pessimism with the tenacity to achieve your goals, but it's not sustainable. If you have confidence in a positive outcome, and you pair your optimism with tenacity, success has a better chance to come true and be sustainable.


The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

When you're empathetic, you recognize why people behave the way they do. I deploy empathy and kindness against gate because I know it takes more strength to be empathetic. From the outside, people think that those who come with negativity and aggression have the advantage in the interaction. I know it's the reverse.

Empathy is the ingredient that provides the answers to the test. When you can feel what another is feeling, you develop an extraordinary ability to manipulate human beings. I believe it's the ultimate superpower. You can create carnage with it, or you can use it to uplift the world.

Your own insecurities are like anchors weighing you down and preventing you from truly bringing value to others. In a business context, my biggest challenge with deploying empathy is balancing it with letting others learn on their own.

Empathy is like a cheat code in business and life. You can handle any situation if you can feel the feelings of others involved.


The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

If you're too empathetic and kind without balancing it with candor, however, you set yourself up for resentment later in life. When you're optimistic about the future, you can be the bigger person when others do wrong to you, but when time starts running out, you start lashing out. At the end of the day, I believe kindness beats rudeness.

The concept of kindness as strength is one of those things that society really struggles with. It's just not the way that trait has been positioned. I intend to push the narrative of kindness as a strength and see what kind of impact I can have. It genuinely, genuinely works.


The quality or fact of being very determined; determination.

If you want to be successful in anything, I do believe that tenacity is essential. However, it should never come at the expense of your peace of mind and happiness. There's a clear difference between the two: Burnout is physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Tenacity is determination.

The reason that this commonly leads to burnout is that such people are almost always trying to achieve those things for the approval of others, not for themselves. When you've put yourself in a position to base your happiness on outside validation and on material proxies of success, you will always, and I mean always, be on the cusp of burnout. This is why I try to communicate that these can't be the goals we put on a pedestal.

Being tenacious is about telling yourself, "I enjoy my process so much that I am able to push through what others normally view as obstacles along the way"

Conviction and tenacity work hand in hand. When you have conviction in what you're doing, it's easier to be tenacious.


A strong desire to know or learn something

When people lack curiosity, they dismiss new opportunities instead of taking the time to explore them. Curiosity mixed with empathy can lead to instuition. Then, after experiencing or "tasting" that intuition, you can develop conviction.

The two words that stand out to me in the definition of curiosity are strong and learn. To maximize the value of curiosity you need a strong work ethic. You need a strong desire to continue learning, no matter how much you've accomplished.


The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset

Patience is a core ingredient to the lightness i feel inside. When you have a good relationship with time, the pressure is lifted and you can do so much more.

When you're desperate to prove something to other people in the short term, you don't give yourself a chance to enjoy the process. When you don't ejoy the process, you become more vulnerable to burnout.

All great things should be hard.


A firmly held belief or opinion

Conviction is the north star that keeps you on track, helping you be tenacious throughout your journey, despite the inevitable difficulties. Without conviction, you'll miss big opportunities and lose because of other people's opinions, which is the most devastating of all.

When you follow your convictions agains society's pushback, one of two things will happen: either you'll be right or you'll be happy you saw it through.


A modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.

Humility is a requirement if you want to cultivate a lasting positive reputation and leave an admirable legacy. Leaders can't sustain success without it. That doesn't mean they can't ascend to senior levels and make money. Depending on the organization, leading with ego may land promotions and raises but those leaders will inevitably be talked about poorly behind their backs. If you want your reputation to endure the test of time, you absolutely need humility.

Humility creates a comforting feeling of safety that can help you move quicker in business. With humility and the self-love that comes with self-awareness, it would be easier to take accountability.

I don't feel the need to stay consistent with the decisions I've made. I can change my opinion in two seconds, and I do it all the time.


A strong desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work

Winning at all costs has consequences. Life is a joy when you have good relationships with your ambi9tions. I wake up every morning and chase my dream, yet I'm so not in need of achieving it. It's a beautiful blend of conviction and humility.

I love talking about my ambition publicly, in front of the world, because it holds me accountable. Doing so also gives the whole world permission to laugh at me if I fail. But here's where all the ingredients tie in together. Ultimately, I'm not doing it for anybody else but me.

What you don't want to do is come into the conversation with guns a-blazing. Anybody who starts the meeting with anger or aggression instead of kind candor has already set the foundation for an unfavorable outcome. It becomes an event that's far more detrimental to one's career than any perceived lack of accomplishments. If you come in hot, it's over before it starts.

Empathy and curiosity give you a chance to listen to what the manager has to say before you make a decision on what you do next. It sets the tone for a more fruitful one-on-one. When you receive positive or negative feedback, you have to deploy your conviction and keep in mind that the feedback is subjective. You're at the mercy of another human being's opinion about you in the context of this job. One of the reasons I've always loved being an entrepreneur is that the business results are the judge of whether I'm successful or not - not any one human.

Feedback from a manager or a colleague is often subjective. It's somebody's opinion of your work, and although it may be informed by data, it doesn't necessarily provide the full picture. When you think about it, that realization is actually liberating. So many employees who receive critical feedback at work end up going home and drinking a bottle of whiskey, smoking a blunt, or dealing with it in other ways. All because one person said, " You're not good at what you do. ". That doesn't mean you should ignore feedback, but when you realize that it's just an opinion, you can put it in the proper context. It's not a definitive stamp on your level of talent by any means.

Remember being optimistic doesn't mean being naive. By starting with empathy and curiosity you can get clearer feedback. Then accountability and conviction can help you decide what to do next.

The what-if is position. It's a source of regret and emotional pain in your old age.

You don't know if an event is "good" or "bad" because you never know the alternative. Quitting your business might have led you to something incredible ( like a lifelong friendship_ or helped you avoid something horrible ( like an accident or a disease). I prefer to look at it through the lens of optimism.

If you look at every decision you make through the lens of optimism and layer it with kindness to yourself, there's almost never a wrong decision. If you look at it through pessimism, there are problems with every decision.

You need to be kind to yourself to keep external judgment from getting to you mentally.

People think that fast money is the answer. It's the greatest trick of life. Freedom comes in either extreme wealth or extreme perspective. Extreme wealth is extremely rare, and even then, many find that destination to be less of a cure-all than they had imagined. Extreme perspective is truly liberating.

Accountability and humility can help limit your frustration, anger, and disappointment. If you're aware of your weaknesses and recognize that you're not that special to begin with, then you're not stunned when other influencers start outperforming you.

Take a massive step back and think about what it was that slow down your growth. If it's your fault, great. You can be accountable, optimistic, and kind to yourself. You can pivot and reinvent your business. If it's out of your control, great. You can still focus kindness on yourself. You had to slow down for a personal reason. No matter what the reason is, there's no solution that involves beating yourself up.

Curiosity is a rare ingredient but maybe the most powerful of them all when deployed with a dose of humility on the front and the back. Have the humility up-front to stay curious and not divert the convo when you hear something you don't know about. Then, be curious enough to learn more. Add some more humility to put in twenty-plus hours of learning, not two minutes.

Through self-awareness, you will develop a sense of where you sit on the scale of insecurity and confidence. If you're insecure, it's harder to lean into kindness in tough situations. Without confidence, the weight of your own emotional problems is too much to bear.

Teaching is how you empower others to execute. It's the way to scale your talent so that you don't have to do everything yourself.

With these twelve and a half ingredients in your spice rack, you can navigate any situation, which means you can always be on the offense. You're in control of how you absorb the situation and respond to it. There's no reason to fear.

When you choose a customer or an employee over yourself, it's never the wrong idea.

Ambition is a beautiful trait, but like all the other ingredients, it's ineffective when it's out of balance. Patience helps balance ambition.

Anger and insecurity can create short-term boosts, but they'll rarely sustain you. In some cases, they can lead you to a dark place mentally over time.

Why accept a job where your performance is entirely predicated on how much you can improve on your weaknesses?

Emotional intelligence helps, no matter what you're doing, but it's even more valuable for managers because they affect more people. When you have employees or team members that you're responsible for, your emotional skills and failings are magnified.

Self-awareness not only helps you uncover your strengths and weaknesses but also provides clarity on where you're actually capable of improving. Once you're aware of your weaknesses, humility comes naturally. When you're self-aware and humble, you've laid the foundation to be accountable instead of blaming your team members or dwelling on your mistakes. When you're accountable, you come to your coworkers and managers with solutions rather than complaints.

If somebody in your family got diagnosed with an illness and you need to take personal time for that, that's appropriate, not something you should feel guilty about. If you just wake up on a Tuesday morning and decide you don't want to go into your business because it's a gorgeous day outside and you'd rather spend it at the beach, don't judge yourself for that either. If you find yourself always getting the urge to take time off, then you should assess whether you still enjoy running your business through self-awareness. However, don't overvalue your day-to-day output. Your overall journey is a more accurate reflection of where you're headed.

If you have genuinely good intentions as a CEO - if you're deploying these twelve and a half ingredients - employees who start out cynical will change their opinions. It's incredibly rewarding to earn people's trust, regardless of how much else you've accomplished.

If you walk into a conversation assuming that another person is quitely undermining you, you're setting yourself up for an unfavorable outcome.

After you get such news about somebody messing up your day, maybe your style is to take a long run or have a hard workout. Maybe you punch a punching bag. You need to get your frustration out, so you don't blow up on your employee. Then, I would assess the situation through the lens of accountability.

There's always an opportunity to make lemonade from lemons.

As you develop kind candor, gratitude, self-awareness, accountability, optimism, empathy, kindness, tenacity, curiosity, patience, conviction, humility, and ambition, you begin to work with minimal friction, you begin to work with minimal friction. Your colleagues feel safe, happy, and calm around you, speeding up execution.

By taking accountability for your actions, you can skip the two-week dark spiral of blaming others for a bad business decision. With self-awareness, you can focus on your strengths instead of spending your whole life checking boxes on your weaknesses. By practicing gratitude, you can limit the time spent dwelling on mistakes. With empathy, kindness, and humility, you won't be fazed when insecure people try to drag you down. When you're optimistic, curious, and patient, you can lead with trust and create scale. With kind candor, you can communicate feedback before resentment develops. All those ingredients will help you operate with tenacity and conviction as you move toward your ambitions.

For most people, it's easier and faster to put in a few extra hours to achieve their ambitions. However, tenacity out of balance is counterproductive, because it can bring fatigue, burnout, or lack of sleep. It needs to be used in combination with self-awareness and conviction.

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