Die Empty

Graveyards are full of good intentions, untold ideas, disconnections, and missed opportunities.

As we celebrate year-end holidays and look to 2022, it’s easy to make audacious plans for what’s next, but perhaps it’s wise to pair big ideas with small actions?

This obviously means something different for everyone. For example, there are times in our lives when we seek to do so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when cool ideas, good intentions, and even positive action doesn’t lead to the anticipated outcome. For those who face this mental mountain, first give yourself grace by remembering that we either succeed or learn. This will help you find closure with past failure(s). As you push through this self-limiting mindset, lean back into your community of fellow founders. It’s even harder to show up when you’re experiencing a dip, but movement activates motivation and leaning into the prosperity of others will percolate helpful conversations. Pair this curiosity with a pinch of vulnerability and you’ll be reminded how generosity builds trust and helps you solve new problems.

In contrast, there are other times when a profound sense of accomplishment leaves us wondering what more can be done? This would seemingly be a privileged state, but our sense of purpose can waver when goals have been met. This can cause even the most ambitious spirit to feel lazy. A sense of achievement dysmorphia can also set in, which downplays our accomplishments in an effort to create space for more. Perhaps one way to counter this type of mental moment is to pair celebration with relaxation, creativity, and humility. Rejuvenation often emerges from self-care rooted in gratitude. This form of vulnerability brings peace, which often provides clarity on prolific ways to make a deeper impact on familiar fronts, or energy to explore brand new ways to fuel positive change.

The nudge you need will be dynamic based on the complexity of your ever-shifting environment, but a willingness to persist allows us all to keep building.

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The YDNTB audiobook was just released and listeners love it! It is now available as a direct download (with bonus features) in this special Holiday Bundle. It can also be found on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.

It’s impossible to measure the amount of time and effort it took to narrate, edit, and professionally publish this 5-hour audiobook (here’s how I did it), but that’s not what matters. What matters is that I have a remarkable relic to be proud of forever. Enjoy the show my friends!

Along with what you’re able to undertake, appreciate all that you cannot. When idea machines have an opportunity surplus, it’s easy to over commit. It’s much harder to stay cognizant of our personal bandwidth when our connected era is always introducing new ways to spend your time. These are crossroads where you’re invited to be honest about your own purpose, by allowing the superpowers of others to activate something you can/should not. As you share the love, deliver ideas, resources, connections, and opportunities without hidden agendas. You can’t take such things with you, so boldly give them away with a sense of abundance and find renewing joy in helping others bring more good things to life.

My hope is that after reading this year-end reflection, you observe the blunt title less around loneliness, and more as positive encouragement for doing all that we can with our precious time in this life.

A sustainable cadence leads to longevity, but a profound legacy awaits those who exhaust all their love, intelligence, connectivity, and energy to leave satisfied in the end.

Santa is Real

Humans tell stories.

Storytelling is the way we communicate and a key to humanity’s evolution. The stories we share come in all genres, but each one builds a different type of connection.

Stories often exist in the moment, but some are passed for generations. The most successful stories humans have ever told may be science, religion, mathematics, or money, but holidays may also land somewhere on this list of extraordinary, generational storytelling.

In the United States, 11 federal holidays are all observed in their own way, but Christmas (and comparable year-end celebrations around the world) creates a special atmosphere. In fact, the entire calendar and our fundamental sense of time seems to revolve around this cozy time of year. It’s when we pause to remember the year that was, and then look forward to what’s next. With such a shared inflection point, the year-end holiday season has created many recognizable symbols. Many holiday traditions revolve around religion, and just as many do not, but the legend of Santa seems synonymous with the holiday spirit. Whether you believe in Santa or not, it’s hard to argue with how well this jolly character embodies the essence of joy and generosity.

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Balancing this reflection made me feel like a scientist without a clear thesis, but watching our little one lean into the holiday spirit makes me grateful and full of pure wonder.

Our generational stories, decorations, music, events, letters, gifts, movies, and all that is the holiday season, can spark an undeniable truth. Great stories bring us together and if the result is anything close to the beautiful innocence of a child’s sparkle this time of year, I’m a believer and thankful that Santa is real.

Generosity Builds Trust

The art of connection aged in a readiness to consistently Show Up and #GiveFirst, often leads the willing to endless opportunity. Let’s explore the why.

Long story short, generosity builds trust. Such benevolence also instills wonderment from others. When our practice includes perennial actions that accelerate others, the ability to deliver on a promise is proven. This earns credibility and allows curiosity to spark new ways to collaborate, which over time, equates to endless opportunity from/with/for people you trust.

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Delivering on a promise sounds heavy, but passing this test can be as simple as suggesting a strategic introduction and following through, arriving on time, or providing the product/service/value a paying customer expects.

At a community level, when more people assume positive intent, tribes are tightened and become able to support more people with bigger ideas. The vulnerability required may introduce new challenges, but the risk is worth the reward when we’re set free to collectively build at the speed of trust. This can be hard to understand for those who have been hardened by the competitive nature of capitalism, but for those who see through the lens of abundance, when more people find their own definition of success, it translates into fresh ways for everyone to thrive.

Slow & Fast

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” -Kerty Levy

This tweetable thought randomly emerged over coffee today. It’s interesting how philosophies on life, wealth, and happiness evolve from entrepreneurial endeavors.

Perhaps it’s the personal nature of building your own business that causes such reflections? It might be the transformative skill of verbalizing your thoughts and ideas with others? Maybe it’s less about business and more like a beautiful side effect of mindfully aging?

The reason(s) and frequency at which you allow yourself to explore big ideas surely depends on the environment, people you interact with, and knowledge you pursue.

This makes me thankful for my own entrepreneurial experiences, but more important, the immeasurable blessing it can be to expand our minds by plugging into startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems. A willingness to show up and the trust built through such generosity has allowed me to become apart of so many other founder stories. As I mention throughout YDNTB, consistent action over the long run is required, but the remarkable insight we pick up along the way can provide a path toward true understanding for anyone, on almost any front. As we support entrepreneurs through the art of connection, the invitation to have more diverse discussions is unlocked more often. Whether it’s strategic, tactical or philosophical, what a gift this can become.

Along with stimulating conversations with agreeable people in a support network, it’s important to weave in perspectives from a challenge network. This is a group of disagreeable people we trust to point out blind spots, which helps us overcome our weaknesses with critical feedback we may not want, but need. Curious interactions within a challenge network also unlocks humbling opportunities to be wrong. This helps us avoid misguided confidence through intellectual humility, and brings us closer to the truth.

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Smart people change their mind all the time. Find joy in discovering you were wrong. You’re now less wrong than before, and when we admit it, we’re not less competent, we’re being honest and displaying a willingness to learn.