If you are procrastinating on a new project, this post might offer the inspiration to just start. Marie Forleo offers some simple, but well-needed motivation. I was supposed to start this newsletter last year, so I definitely understand. If you don’t know Marie Forleo, you should check out MarieForleo.com. The exemplary professionalism of her website and videos, along with her charismatic stage presence is what every thought leader should aspire to. If you want to get an idea of the potential of starting before you’re ready, check out Marie’s first blog back in 2006. 24 years of hard work have gotten her to where she is today. Start with where you are and put in the effort to improve. How much can you improve with two decades of experience?
“As humans, we tend to favour our present self at the expense of our future self. Our present self will eat an extra piece of cake, skip a training session, drink too much, stay up late, or procrastinate; our future self is left dealing with the consequences. This phenomenon is called temporal discounting. The further in the future the consequences, the least we pay attention to them.” Anne-Laure Le Cunff offers strategies to help us make better decisions now that will lead to better outcomes in the future.
Scott Young has a follow up to his post on how to learn new things. This applies to doing almost anything that takes consistent effort. (I recommend reading the Do the Real Thing post first, then Obstacles to the Real Thing.) “Business owners who spend more time printing business cards than finding clients. Students who create elaborate multicolored folders for their classes instead of sitting down and studying. People trying to get in shape who buy fancy workout gear instead of exercising. Pretend activity instead of the real thing.” I think we all succumb to this type of busywork to avoid what really needs to be done.
Seth Godin has pithy post on procrastination and doing important work. He links to an even better post by Derek Sivers. “When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, “That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!” Someone else did it. You didn’t. They fought the resistance. You gave in to distractions. They made it top priority. You said you’d get to it some day. The resistance is Steven Pressfield’s idea in his great book The War of Art. “Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what “Resistance” is.” These are simple ideas, but a good reminder to keep you focused. Bring something cool into the world!
Best-selling author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin Sharma is on Lewis Howes podcast this week. Robin’s recent book, The 5 AM Club is about spending the first hour of the day on exercise, reflection and meditation, and learning. I personally, am a night owl so I’ve always been skeptical of those recommending getting up early. However, when I do wake up early, I get a ton done and it’s a great start to the day. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Best-selling author and entrepreneur, Ryan Holiday explains his canvas strategy for building your career. Ryan Holiday apprenticed with author Robert Greene early in his career and has since worked with industry giants like Tucker Max and Tim Ferris. “Imagine if for every person you met you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them, and you looked at it in a way that entirely benefitted them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound.” – I certainly wish I invested more time in apprenticeships. Maybe it’s not too late? It would be great if mid-career professionals could have virtual apprenticeships of some sort. I think there’s a business in there somewhere.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff shares her simple analog productivity system she uses to stay focused on her 3 most important tasks each week. I love the simplicity of having a regular practice like this. She also shares the tools and process for writing three articles per week for her 14k subscriber “mindful productivity” newsletter at Ness Labs. In addition to writing all this content and running a startup, Le Cunff is also doing a master’s degree. She seems to have it all figured out.
This is not directly business-related, but I think it’s worth a listen. Shane Parrish interviews 8X Olympic speed skating champion Apolo Ohno. Apolo had some natural ability early on, but didn’t take training seriously when he first started. After a big push from his father, he decided to really go all-in into his training physically and mentally. He goes into detail about what it really takes to become world-class.
I think the importance of mindset can often be underestimated. Most podcasters quit before 10 episodes. Most bloggers don’t last 6 months. Most Indie Hackers don’t make any money. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to push through continual rejection and failure. You need to convince yourself that you will succeed.
Nat Eliason shares detailed, actionable advice on how to build your digital marketing skills with many good links to other resources. (Open in a new browser if you are past your limit on Medium.) I love the strategic process he recommends for gaining the skills in the three main areas of digital marketing: acquisition, retention and conversion. Getting good at anything takes a lot of work, but it is very achievable. This is a good article to bookmark for future reference.
Here is an interesting idea to help people work with you better. Julie Zhuo sends her team a user manual on how to work with her. “It creates clarity on how you work—what you value, how you look at problems, what your blind spots or areas of growth are, and how to build trust with you. It’s something you can give to your manager, the folks you work the closest with, or—if you are a manager—every new report who joins your team.”
I really like structured approaches to making work more productive and effective like this. Are you documenting your work processes?
Author Ryan Holiday has a great post on maximizing your effectiveness. Posts like this are easy to read and forget. Like all good ideas, they are only valuable if you take action on them. In yesterday’s newsletter, I mentioned the value of business templates to keep you focused and organized. The ideas in Ryan’s post would be a great personal productivity template. Read the post, but better yet, take the time to write out the list so that you can follow the advice every day moving forward.
Challenge: Try writing Ryan’s list in a notebook every day for a week so that you can reflect on whether or not you are following the advice. Anyone can skim a new idea and forget it. Few take action and make it a habit.
Here is a must-see video where Jack Conte, CEO and founder of Patreon, shares all the failures and setbacks on the way to building Patreon. If you’ve reached a plateau or are struggling with repeated failure, know that you are not alone. This video is a great inspiration to keep making and creating.