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.

One & Only

The weight of one is heavy. Something so rare makes us feel like we only have one chance to get it right. If it’s inanimate, we never want it diminished. If it’s alive, we seek the futile tranquility of immortality.

These desires pressed against the tension of time can make the uniqueness of one feel overwhelming. This can devolve into a fear of change and selfish preservation, but perhaps there is freedom within the timeline of now.

Being present is hard when we’re always reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, but what choice do we have? Altering the past is not an option. All we have is now, and yet, the present never stops passing.

Within this endless transition, gratitude provides peace. It invites us to cherish our one and onlys in life. Such appreciation acknowledges the past, allows the present to be a gift, and instills hope for what’s next. For all that is one and only, I say thank you.

#1 DAD

Little startups that pay in love are a blank canvas that comes to life through you.

By nature, parents want to provide the means for children to go beyond their potential. As entrepreneurs, when we see the best of ourselves in someone we care so much about, a sense of renewed purpose often emerges. To celebrate Father’s Day, here are a three parenting tactics I’ve found especially interesting.

You’ve Got Mail

Secure an email for your little one, then use this communication channel to write to them as they grow up. Whether you start writing before they are born or begin this practice later in their life, imagine what a gift an inbox full of thoughtful updates will be in the future! This new email can be shared with family and used for future account setup if you want, but at a minimum, you will have created a personalized time machine.

Along with all the sentimental content you’ll deliver someday, your kids will appreciate having a solid address to use as their primary email someday. Such a preferred email address may not be available years from now, so I’d suggest securing something they can use long after childhood. For example, firstname.lastname@gmail.com is a safe place to start and while you’re at it? Perhaps it’s a good time to register a domain in case they ever want to build on their name.com.

They Grow Up

Similar to how death can inspire us to live, recognizing that kids will grow up, reminds us to enjoy everything about each moment. Everyone tells us to cherish the simple joys of life, but it may be worth getting a little extra creative. One way to enhance your family’s ability to relive memorable moments, is by using multimedia marketing skills to tell family stories in a way that makes memories easier and more fun to revisit. Most people have an endless collection of photos/video on their smartphone, but scrolling around a digital device doesn’t translate into something a group can enjoy together. As we all know, it’s easy for good things to get lost when there’s so much noise as well.

Your future self will thank you when you spend the extra effort to organize content outside of the latest social media platform. This attentive, pro-active organization will also make relics easier to craft. Whether it’s a photo slideshow you put together each year, a fun collection of audio recordings, something printed that sits on the shelf, or a video edit that highlights your adventures, the time spent compiling these legacy projects will rarely feel wasted.

Avoid Routine

“Time flies” and “they grow up so fast” is accurate, but I’m convinced that avoiding routine may slow down time. The freedom to be spontaneous is a privilege and everyone will define such freedom differently, but a proven path to explore such a reality is entrepreneurship. Boundless hard work, dedication, and resiliency are what it takes, but our own suffering provides a stronger sense of purpose and the chance to enjoy more treasured time doing things that make us happy.

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What’s your go-to parenting tip? Share it as a comment or hit me up!

The time and energy family life requires is immeasurable, but as the love from your kids somehow unlocks more hours in the day, new perspectives form and fresh motivation is released. Perhaps a reward for parents who lead by example is the opportunity to share everything with those who matter most.

Lone Wolves

A common misconception is that you must have a team to be successful. There is a limit to your own capacity, but it is possible to build rewarding endeavors all by yourself. Solving complex problems may require co-founders and a larger team, but your passionate dedication is all you need to get started.

Lasting energy is required to forge this path, but without the need to answer to anyone, you can stay nimble and be more efficient by eliminating internal delays. To avoid burnout, you must stay mindful of your personal bandwidth. Self-awareness will help you avoid market disconnects, The Headline Trap, and relationship problems as well.

To coordinate new initiatives into your career portfolio, consider how the project connects to your current work. Clear overlaps can be good, but can also cause unwanted tension. A project less related to your existing work actually makes everything easier to shuffle. Even when projects affect different industries, it’s still you making things happen. The option to build into what motivates you in different ways will energize your work on all fronts. Action on one project will provide fresh momentum for others. Learn when to say yes and no, then wisely activate your time on each front.

As a lone wolf, it’s easy to go hard toward your own dream, but know when you need help. The freedom of working alone is within reach, but execution still requires collaboration. The world is full of friends, community allies, and contractors eager to help. Outside assistance may slow you down, but it won’t dilute equity, and it may be the key to a new reality.

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Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Let’s have coffee.

If you venture out alone, prepare for intoxicating highs and crushing loneliness. The consuming nature of building by yourself will incite grit, but don’t let it blind you. It’s easy to build too far into the wrong direction without a team. This is why community and customer discovery are even more important for lone wolves.

39

It’s my 39th birthday!

I love using birthdays to reflect on what was learned, trying something new, or appreciating memorable moments from the past year. I also like to craft recaps (e.g. 33rd birthday / 2014 recap) for my future self to read. This year, YDNTB is quite the relic to always remember this moment in my life so instead of a personal narrative highlighting the past, let’s lean into the future by exploring the idea of retirement.

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“Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow.” –Naval

I always told myself I wanted to retire in my thirties. Financial advisors are quick to remind us that the golden years of middle class leisure will require around $1 million in savings, but perhaps there’s more to this story.

Yes, the traditional path to retirement is all about earning enough money to cover the burn rate of your life. A second option to realizing financial freedom is to reduce your burn rate to zero, but not many people are cut out to be a monk.

I prefer early retirement in the form of leveraging what you love to do. Similar to what I describe as Career Nirvana, peaceful satisfaction can be achieved when you do something you love so much that it’s not about the money anymore. This doesn’t mean the work stops or that the responsibilities of life fade away. It’s quite the opposite, as more opportunities tend to present themselves when you figure out what you’re best at and map that to what society wants. This forges an abundance of innovative energy you can’t buy. As you collaborate with those who feed off this energy, you soon realize that nobody can compete with being you.

As you build towards such transcendence and realize that a neon future awaits us all, I’ll close with a toast. May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows. Cheers!

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Good, better, best;
Never let it rest,
‘Til your good is better,
And your better is best.