Hey Mom,

Know there have been a lot of ups and downs recently but you’ve been right there to prove yet again that you’re the best mom in the world. You’ve been there to help me when times are tough, and have sacrificed your time when it was scarce to help me.

You’ve been there to help me stay on my feet to get through school and life and it’s great to always know that whenever I’m down on myself, I can call you to pick me back up. I’m excited to get into the work world so I can work my butt off to put myself in a position where I can take care of you in the way you’ve taken care of me. You’re one of my main drivers and I’ll love you forever.

Here’s 2 videos I’d like to gift for you. They embody and represent the amount of love I have towards you so enjoy:

 



Love you more than anything Mom.

Love,
Sam

Realizing You Already have it. Stop wanting, start embodying.

I used to see my life and ambitions fall into two buckets: the things I did have, and the things I didn’t have. Whereas I thought my goals and ambitions were months and years away, I discovered that wanting prevents us from doing.

What if you realized that you wanting to achieve certain things, is really admitting defeat and accepting that you don’t already have what you want. Well… YOU DO. 

Well you do. It’s less about wanting it, and more about doing it, embodying it, progressing towards it.

In the words of Seth Godin, “your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.”

Think about it, it’s harder to attain things like happiness and charisma the more you want them and time you spend thinking about them… Take for example being “cool.” The more you want to be cool, the more you want people to like you, the more likely you’re probably lame as fuck. If you want to be fit, all the time you spend thinking about being fit, and wanting to be cut, is time that you could be fit and progress towards being cut. Don’t let you desires hold you back from attaining them.

Do, don’t wish. Act, don’t want. Actualize, don’t dream.

So let’s do a quick 3-step exercise to put this into action, I’ll even do it with you for better context.

 1. What do you want? Values > Feats. Feats wear off. Values live on. Plus, “if you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when you get what you want” – Charlie Houpert.

For me, “what I want” all circles around 4 values that I’ve identified that lead to personal fulfillment in my life. 1. Charisma & Relationships, 2. Actualizing Mission: To help people thrive doing what they love, 3. Fitness 4. Adventuring and Trying New Things… 

For this exercise I’ll focus on Adventuring and Trying New Things.

YOUR TURN. Write down 3 values. Pick one that really excites you.

2. Now that you’ve narrowed down, ask yourself, what is one thing you can do now (and begin to do more often over time), that would help you actualize this desire?

For me, I’ve always spent way too much time listening to music, and trying to take over speaker control whenever the parties getting started. I’ve marveled at the lifestyle and feel of performing as a DJ. Having the parties lifeblood at your finger tips.

Obviously, becoming the next Flume or Disclosure is a long shot, but I’m not interested for the fame, more so for the ability to breath life into an audience and recycle the joy I’ve found in good music.

All I needed to make this happen was to reach out to a DJ friend and ask if they could show me the ropes. Overtime, to build this into a habit, all I would have to do is learn the fundamentals and start to practice on my own time, so I did. Simple as that. Now I have an incredibly fulfilling thing to do when I get bored, so I don’t get bored. Super simple, little squeeze, lots of juice. Who knows where it’ll take me, but I don’t care, I’m focused on right now.

YOUR TURN. What is one action you can do to start to actualize what it is that you said you want? No lofty bullshit. One action. Doesn’t have to be the end all be all, but simply the first step.

3. When will you get this done by. Ask yourself, make a mental or physical note in your calendar. That way as the time approaches, you will have already internalized that you’re going to do it, so you’ll be less likely to put it off.

I will practice DJ’ing for one hour Thursday night after dinner. TOO EASY. Seems too good to be true, but it’s not.

Don’t focus on the end goal, only the beginning. As you’ll see, you’ll maximize your returns early on but building the habit. It won’t take years, it’ll take a week, and you’ll feel the returns immediately. 

YOUR TURN. Where and when will you take the first step. Write it down, make it happen.

 

So, to close on a thought. Why spend another minute wanting something, thinking about how great it’ll be once you have it; and instead ask yourself, what can I do right now to start reaping those exact same benefits. One option leaves you wanting what others have, the latter leaves others wanting what you have… The choice is yours.

When I was a youngin’ in the game, one of my best friends to this day taught me an extremely important lesson when he told me, “I hate asking other people for anything.”

At first I was really perplexed as I often ask others for stuff, whether it’s help, an intro or lending me something. As I grew, I saw certain people with huge networks who were able to get a lot because I assumed they had asked people.

What I came to realize was the power of self-reliance and the joy of offering something. Think about a simple instance of somebody next to you needing a pen. You noticed they were looking for a pen, so you went out of your way to offer it. They were thrilled to see that you noticed and cared, and you felt good because you felt useful.

Now think of that same instance where they asked you for a pen, sure you probably still gave it to them, but you didn’t feel good, you felt like you were their stepping stone. People hate to be used! So don’t use them!

People do things for themselves, not for you. People like to be helpful more than they like to help… When people give a homeless person a dollar, they like to help that homeless person, but are more so driven by the fact that they were helpful… and there’s nothing wrong with that, so use it to your advantage. Give people an opportunity to be helpful, instead of an opportunity to help you. 

So in practice…

  • If you want an intro, ask if they think the person you want an intro to would be helpful? They’ll probably say yes and offer up the intro.
  • If you want advice, don’t ask a question and put a burden on their time. Instead, say you think they can help.
  • If you want them to give you something you want. Give them something they want and you’d be surprised how often the favor is returned.

So please…. Don’t ask them and try to get them to do it for you. Instead of give them the mental spark and ownership of the thought and action of helping you!

Deal. Defer. Delete.

It’s a philosophy for instantly dealing with every email to achieve flow. Flow being complete absorption in what one does, focusing at the task at hand & nothing else and seamless moving from one task to the other without mental clutter.

If you keep that in mind, then you should only be focusing on the task at hand, because the any time you spend thinking about doing something and not doing, you’re wasting time and not in flow.
With Deal Defer Delete, you do one of three things every time you see an email. You either deal with it right away (good example of 2 minute rule – if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now), Defer it — (either via followup.cc or mailbox) until you need to deal with it so its out of mind until it needs to be front of mind, or you Delete/Archive it.
Ive found it best to purge my inbox via batching it (30 min once or twice a day dedicated to email) where you power through all your emails and either deal with it, defer it to when it needs to be dealt with, or deleting it.

For the past 4 months of my life, all I can remember is waking up to the deathly sound of my alarm clock. I wake up shrieking under my covers begging for 10 more minutes of unconsciousness. I would hit snooze until I forced myself to rush and catch up from the moment I wake up.

The past 4 days in a row, I’ve been able to debunk that habit… Finally. Now, I wake up ready to take on the day. Although the story I just told revolves specifically around waking up, this philosophy is transient throughout everyday’s workflow.

When you approach a to-do list, its similar to a snooze button. It’s a set of stuff yet to be done. You aren’t caught up until you get through it all. You are forced to scavenge through it all and feel as if you’re barely hanging on. Try switching it up for a second, and think about the power of focusing solely at the task at hand. You eliminate the mental clutter of everything you have to do, and are able to focus on what you are doing.

So I invite you, to take a second and not approach the task at hand with disdain for all that follows, but instead to focus solely on the task at hand. Don’t let anything else cloud the vision of doing that one thing well, for once that’s done, you can excel in what’s to follow.

Saying no can suck: There’s so much you want to do. So many people you want to help… The problem is there’s so little time.

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen awesome people make is spreading themselves too thin. I’ve been guilty and am right now. I go to school full time, work 3 full days each week at Fueled and do customer discovery consulting, all while trying to build my personal brand as a thought leader in the personal development space.

I’ve heard people say it before, and now that I feel like I’m waste deep from time to time I know it’s time to start saying no and turning stuff down. Quality over quantity. Some great work vs a lot of good work.

Learn from my learning and focus on what matters and nothing else.

 

On Tuesday June 25th, Mr. Alex Taub, Head of Biz Dev at Dwolla graced us with his presence and dropped knowledge like it’s hot.

As an avid biz dev learner, I’ve been fortunate to learn first hand from some of the greats, namely Scott Britton, BD at Single Platform who spoke at my last meetup and Scott Pollack, BD at American Express. Lots of the content I sift through gets very repetitive, but Alex dropped tons of tactical bombs.

First and foremost were the 4 golden rules of a partnership… Never before has something as vague as partnerships seemed so black and white. Fortunately, Alex broke all partnerships down into four collectively exhaustive (not mutually exclusive) goals within partnerships:

  1. Make money
  2. Save money
  3. Grow User Base
  4. Improve Product/Service

By putting potential partnerships through this lens, it really helps you clarify and amplify your value proposition by making it cut and dry.

After talking about the 4 golden rules, it was really insightful to learn about how to effectively go about pitching potential sales/partnerships.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten from my friends Drew Nagda and Charlie Houpert is when you’re trying to close something, it’s easy to pitch pitch pitch and get caught up being screened by the person you’re trying to close. In reality, that technique is whack! Your likelihood of closing goes way down. So instead of having them screen you, and doing whatever to stay afloat as prospects screen you, what’s much more effective is you screening them.

Alex made this tactic simple by using 2 simple questions… In reality, your time is your most important asset, so it’s not even worth pitching somebody if they’re not a good fit. So, low and behold, 2 simple questions, not only valuable to turn the screening tables, but also pivotal in helping you tailor your pitch:

  • What are you focused on?
  • What’s most important to you? What metrics are you measuring?

Lastly, now that you’ve got an understanding of what type of partnership value you have to offer, and have screened prospects to see if they’re good fit, you can now tailor your pitch… but how do you get to the forbidden fruits of the close? It’s a lot simpler when you take these 3 simple tactics into consideration.

  • Sincere selling – If you do not passionately believe in what you’re selling, you’re fucked. Either address your causes of concern spot on, or move on. When you live and breath what you’re trying to sell, prospects get inspired and absorbed by the energy you emit. If you don’t, they won’t!
  • Use cases – Not only do use cases provide social proof that other brands are using your product/service, but it gives concrete examples of the difference you can make. It creates evidence to the point that your prospects should feel stupid for not going with what you have to offer. Also, use cases of a prospect’s competitors will definitely lead to FOMA (fear of missing out)
  • Urgency – People are natural procrastinators, especially when it comes to tough decisions. As my colleague Sharon Park (ex-Googler) always says, “time kills all deals.” So instead of waiting to here back from them, and seeing them slowly leave your grasp as they fall into the abyss of lost deals, create urgency. Whether you announcing a new launch and want to create the opportunity for prospects to become a launch partner, or you’ve got a big press release coming up, leverage the hell out of creating a context of urgency. Even if you have to fake it, it will help you go a long way.

So with all that being said, I hope you’re as inspired and reinvigorated by Alex’s thoughts as I am and can put them to use ASAP…. Happy closing!

Life is no small feat. When you accomplish something big, it feels great, but as soon as that feeling subsides, the bar is now higher.

As you continue to raise the bar it’s important to realize that in order to get over it, you need to optimize for learning. Not through reading but by doing.

School is interesting. Mainly because succeeding within school, by the traditional standard, is training you to become an academic. Good grades portray your ability to study and research, precisely what your professors do full time. Most entry level jobs, put you on the path of the long bureaucratic rise.

It’s funny because all learning takes place outside of your comfort zone, and as you continue to do what you do, you begin to miss out on the opportunities to further develop your skills by doing what you don’t typically do.

Think about it, when did you learn more, in the first month of your job, or in the second, third and even fourth months?

So, there’s a problem, the longer you do something, the more you begin to plateau… How do you go about solving this problem?

Initiative, in and outside of your job. Nobody’s going out of their way to expose you to new opportunity so you can learn more… It’s up to you to put it upon yourself. Whether it’s offering your time to a busy baller who’s #1 bottle neck is their time, or it’s doing something entrepreneurial with your life.

The best advice I ever got around hacking learning within your own life is starting a meetup group, thanks to Charlie O’Donnell, VC and legendary connector. Meetup groups give you a platform to invite some of the most influential thought leaders in to speak or be interviewed at your event! Not only can you tailor who you’re learning from and the questions you’re asking, but you’re doing it on stage, getting publicity, building your brand.

It’s a no brainer I’ve used to interview individuals like Charlie, Dave Tisch, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Scott Britton, all while learning first hand.

All in all, beware of stagnation, it will kill your life’s progress and rise to the top. Instead, take it upon yourself to do things you don’t HAVE to do, but rather things that will put you one step closer to reaching where you want to be a couple years down the road!

How have you optimized for learning in your life?

Both life, work and fun should be one in the same but in order to achieve that synergy, it’s crucial to make sure you delegate time to focus solely on one.

Way too many entrepreneurs work hard not smart. Long not efficient. Trust me, by no means am I one to knock the hustle but the hustle has limits and in order to optimize the hustle please make sure you spend enough time disassociating yourself so you can bring in your fresh perspective every day. 

Addictions are funny things. You think you have complete control but are merely a victim of ignorant deceit.

50 years ago, everybody smoked cigs and were under the impression that they were a good thing. Fast forward, there are still millions of smokers fighting to reclaim their mind and control, to no avail. 

Well today I would like to bring up a new addiction. Humanity’s new found love for the Internet.

“Everything in moderation,” a mantra Ive been learning in life over and over again. Well like all things good, too much is bad, and today I’d like to say, WE ALL USE THE INTERNET TOO MUCH.

Don’t get me wrong. The Internet is an extremely powerful force of good. It drives change and allows 2 people in a garage the chance to disrupt a century old industry. But, with great power comes great responsibility, and although social media/email do allow us to connect in scalable way, we often find ourself lost and aimlessly roaming in the Internet.

It’s a new world, in the same way a drug can take you to new places and alter your perceptions, the Internet can pull you in and send you in a cycle of never ending time wasting loops.

So my ask is simple… Ask yourself, “what am I truly trying to accomplish?” And “How will I use the Internet to help?”

And NOT the other way around, for that is where you will get lost.