Dan finished his education degree without ever stepping into a classroom.After he graduated, he realized he didn’t like teaching and wasn’t good at it. The very first day of student teaching, where the goal was to serve as an intern before accepting a full-time position, he knew that this was not the career for him. You’re probably thinking: hey, that’s life! He just had to stick it out, and then he’d be fine. And it’s true, sometimes there’s a learning curve on the road of purpose. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and it takes time to gain real-world skills. This was different, though. Dan really didn’t like teaching. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural. He knew he could probably soldier on through the internship, but he didn’t want to go any further. Read More
The other day I met with a small business owner. Her business is going well, she recently had a successful product launch that brought in a lot of funds and new customers. Awesome!But what interested me the most is what she said about it: “The success that I’m having now is what I planned for three years ago.” Three years ago, she set out to build the kind of business she has now. She settled on an area of focus and said no to other opportunities. Then, she took the actions she’d determined were most likely to lead to successes like her recent launch. Read More
Lesson: “Never give up” is bad advice. Real winners don’t hesitate to walk away from an unsuccessful venture.Contrary to popular belief, if you want to win, you shouldn’t always just keep going. You should regroup and try something totally different. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a lie. To win, sometimes you need to find a new game to play. You may be familiar with this old adage, often attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Einstein was right in that the real danger of going in- sane, or just failing over and over, doesn’t usually come from doing something new. Rather, the worst failures come from something that we’ve been doing for a while. Read More
Lesson: Improving “soft skills” can increase your value no matter what kind of career you have.Hard skills are things you learned through technical or academic training: how to make architectural drawings with certain software, how to properly administer medication as a nurse, and so on. Soft skills are just as important—if not more—but aren’t usually taught in school. To be more effective (and to become more valuable), spend time improving your soft skills in writing, negotiation, conflict management, and follow-up. Read More
Out of everything I wrote about it in Born for This, readers have responded the most to two things:
- “Winners never quit” is a lie. Winners actually quit all the time. They aren’t afraid to walk away from something that isn’t working to try something else.
- Not everyone should be a full-time entrepreneur, but everyone should learn to think entrepreneurially.
Before my dad packed up his cubicle and moved to a beachside office, he created a spreadsheet that displayed the number of days that remained until his retirement age.It soon became a topic of dinner table conversation: “Hey, Dad, how much longer at the day job?” I’d ask. He’d respond with something like, “Oh, I don’t know exactly . . . well, I guess I do. Looks like I have 673 days and 4 hours to go.” When you’re trying to escape a dead-end job or any other undesirable situation, create a calendar and count down the days to freedom. Read More
*My brand-new book, Born for This, is all about helping you find the work you were meant to do. This series explores some of these lessons.Lesson: Craft backup plans. They will allow you to take more risks and make better choices. There’s no shame in having a plan B, or even plans C–Z. Use the “if this, then that” method to make a backup plan for every career choice, and then make a backup for the backup. If one strategy doesn’t work, move to the next. Read More
Whenever I give a talk for the first time, I’m very nervous. Like a lot of internal struggles, I don’t think the goal is to pretend the nervousness doesn’t exist. It’s a talk, also known as public speaking, also known as the #1 fear for a majority of the population. If you’re not nervous at all, you're probably not treating it with the attention it deserves.If it’s a new talk or a one-off, something that I prepared entirely for a specific experience and won’t repeat again, I spend at least several hours beforehand thinking about it. Behind the stage, or in the nearby stairwell, or around the block outside the venue, I’ll pace and look at my notes and think through what I’m going to say over and over. Read More
If you won the lottery tomorrow, how would your life be different? Maybe you’d buy a new car or take a dream vacation. Maybe you’d quit your job... or maybe you’d keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now. The point is that you’d have a lot of new opportunities and choices all of a sudden. This short video, based on the lessons of Born for This, tells more.Read More
When you’re not sure what your “thing” is—when you don’t know quite where to look to find that job or career that brings you joy, flow, and a good income—the people you talk to every day can help you find it.The answer may come from your inbox, whether that inbox consists of the actual emails you receive with the same questions over and over, your social media feeds, or just the conversations you have with your friends. In other words, the people in your network may actually have a better sense of what your most marketable skills are than you do. Read More
*My brand-new book, Born for This, is all about helping you find the work you were meant to do. This series explores some of these lessons.Lesson: Make a commitment to resign your job every year, unless your current job is the best one. When you’re stuck in a rut or simply not sure if your current job is the best choice, here’s an idea: once a year, on the date of your choosing, commit to yourself that you will quit your job unless staying put is the best possible choice for you at this time. Read More
I’ve been a longtime fan of MyMorningRoutine.com, which regularly interviews interesting people to learn how they spend their mornings. Some of my favorite profiles include features from Steve Kamb, Lisa Congdon, and Yuki Shimuzu.
The founders recently asked to feature me on the site, and of course I was thrilled! You can read my full answers over there, or a brief selection below.***
What is your morning routine? (Please note the approx. time you wake up).
First things first: I’m on the go to at least 20 countries each year, in addition to more than 100,000 miles of domestic travel. At the moment I’m kicking off a 30-city book tour that has me waking up in a different place nearly every day for five weeks. Therefore, sometimes there’s not a routine, or at least the routine varies greatly by time zone.
I was recently in Jakarta, Indonesia and ended up working a modified night shift for most of the week. I worked on my projects through the night, woke up for “morning coffee" at 2pm in the afternoon, and then everything was pushed back from there. It felt a little disorienting because I’d show up at the hotel restaurant for “lunch” around 10pm, right before they closed for the night. Then I’d have “dinner” during normal breakfast hours before falling asleep as the sun rose.Read More
*My brand-new book, Born for This, is all about helping you find the work you were meant to do. This series explores some of these lessons.Lesson: There’s more than one possible path. Use the Joy-Money-Flow model to find the best one. There are plenty of things you could do with your career, but the people who are most successful have found the perfect combination of joy, money, and flow. They’ve won the career lottery by finding this combination—and they don’t have to choose between their money and their life. Read More