Category Archives: Personal

10 Lessons from 10 Mentors

I’m a thief.

I’m constantly reading and looking for ideas or concepts to steal from people. These people that I steal ideas from become my mentors, whether they know it or not. Some of these ideas are useful. Some I try and don’t like. Some really stick with me.

Here’s a list of 10 lessons from 10 mentors that really stuck with me. I take advantage of all of these, every single day.

1. Checklists save lives. Use them liberally. (Atul Gawande)

Your mind is fallible. You forget things. You skip important steps, especially in times of stress. That’s where checklists come in. A simple checklist gives you a baseline of performance, so you never fall below that standard. At the very least, you’ll do what the checklist says. Not only that, but the very act of writing a checklist forces you to evaluate a process and ensure it’s as effective and as simple as it can be. Read Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto for more on this.

2. Take a shit ton of notes, on everything. (Tim Ferriss)

I carry a notebook almost everywhere I go. I have Evernote on every device I own. And I use Twitter to capture ideas I’m thinking about or pondering. It’s not important to me that I can reference my notes — the very act of writing things down helps to cement things in my head, and stimulates more ideas. Tim calls this note-taking tendency ‘hypergraphia’.

3. To improve anything you’ve written, read it to yourself, out loud. (Tucker Max)

At Book In A Box Tucker recommended this as the best way to edit any piece of writing. Sit down, and read it to yourself, out loud. You’ll notice awkward phrasings, weird repetition, spelling mistakes, and much more. Tucker said that any author should always record their audiobook before the written book is published, because you’d pick up so many things to improve that the book would be 10-20% better. Another Book In A Box team member, Hal Clifford, is a fantastic writer and editor with decades of writing experience. He told me that anything he writes — from a 3 word text message to a 50,000 word book manuscript — he reads out loud before he submits it.

4. If you’re thinking about buying a book, just buy it. (Ramit Sethi)

Books represent the best bargain you can possibly find. For £10 or less, you can get the benefit of someone’s entire professional expertise or wisdom, in easily digestible form. And one good idea from a book can provide 10-1000x ROI. This has personally been true for me more than once. So just go ahead and buy the damn book already.

5. Eliminate all the minor annoyances in your life. (Joshua Kennon)

Your life is the sum of all the small moments in your day. If there is something that often frustrates you or annoys you, that’s a suck on your energy. You don’t want to spend a lot of your small moments annoyed by something that’s easy to fix. So go ahead and fix it. I was annoyed by one of the door handles in my apartment — it was loose, and every time I grabbed it, it would come out of the door a little. This went on for weeks. Then I finally grabbed a screwdriver and tightened it. It took 5 minutes. And now I don’t get annoyed every time I leave the room. That’s a big difference to my quality of life. Now multiply that across all areas of your life, and think how much better things could be. You can see an example of this in Joshua’s post here about fixing his front door.

6. Cash is king and creates optionality. Debt is fragility and slavery. (Nassim Taleb)

Having cash in the bank — liquid, easily accessible cash — gives you options, freedom and peace of mind. Private investor Brent Beshore says “Cash is the ultimate call option with no expiration date or strike price.” Imagine if you have the cash on hand to buy when the market tanks. When there’s a fire sale on assets and you’re the only buyer. On the flip side, imagine if you have to be the one to sell in a down market because the bank’s called in your loan. Or you have to stay in the same job you don’t like because you have credit card debt, and can’t afford to risk taking on a new job or starting your own company. Cash is king. Read Antifragile by Taleb for more on this.

7. Minimise decision-making. Forget the trivia and focus on the important things. (Barack Obama)

In this Vanity Fair profile, Obama told author Michael Lewis that he only has two suits: grey and blue. He likes both, and looks good in both, so he either wears one or the other. He doesn’t waste time or energy deciding what to wear each morning: he just picks one and gets on with his day, to save his energy for the important things that he needs to be ready for. Where are the areas in your life that you can remove friction and free up mental energy?

8. Write down your top 25 goals. Now narrow it down to the top 5. Those are your goals — and the other 20 are distractions you must avoid. (Warren Buffett)

Your attention, time, energy and capital are limited. You can only do so much. And so you have to focus. So focus on those top 5 goals, and don’t get distracted. Goals 6 to 25 on your list may seem worthwhile and deserving of your time — that is why they are such powerful distractions. Focus on what’s truly at the top of your list, and ruthlessly cut out everything else. That’s what the world’s best investor recommends.

9. Use fixed schedule productivity as the meta-habit for your work. (Cal Newport)

Decide when you will start working, and when you will stop. Then stick rigidly to those hours. That’s what fixed schedule productivity really means, and it’s a game changer. It is a forcing function that means a) you need to make sure you’re working on the right things, and b) you’re being productive when you’re doing it. 60 minute meetings become 15 minute meetings. A disjointed, unfocused afternoon turns into a great session of important work. It takes discipline, but it’s worth it.

10. Write down 10 ideas a day to exercise your idea muscle. (James Altucher)

Just like any other muscle, you need to regularly exercise your idea muscle. You don’t have to do anything with the ideas; the important thing is that you get the reps in. Your ideas can be about anything and everything — you just need to do it every day. It will change your life within 6 months. You will become an idea machine. And hey, you might occasionally get a blog post out of it.

Those are my big 10 takeaways from these 10 mentors of mine. Do you have any big lessons you’ve learned from mentors? Drop a note in the comments.

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

How I got fired from my dream job — and what I learned

Tucker Max fired me, two days before Christmas.

I was the first full-time employee at his new startup, Book In A Box. I quit my corporate job, and moved to Austin, Texas, at the start of 2015. I lived there for three months and then came back to the UK and worked remotely from home.

The role was everything I’d wanted in a job for years. I escaped the prison of dull, unfulfilling corporate life and leapt into a fast-paced startup, working in a niche that I loved, not having to be at the office at any given time, free to work when and where I wanted. And I was working for someone that I had followed and looked up to for nearly a decade.

In the 12 months I was at Book In A Box, I helped grow the company from 3 people to 9 people, and from $50k per month to $400k per month in revenue. I worked with authors from all over the world, helping them to publish their books and share their wisdom with the world. I met some fantastic people, and had some amazing experiences.

And then I was fired.

And it was all my fault.

I want to preface this by saying that Tucker and his co-founder Zach are great people, and I have no bad feelings towards them at all. We’re still on good terms, and they were 100% right to fire me. In fact, their biggest mistake was not doing it sooner.

So why was I fired?

The easy answer is to say that I was fired for performance — or, rather, lack of it. I wasn’t doing a good enough job, so I was fired.

But that’s not a complete answer. WHY wasn’t I doing a good enough job? What caused me to fail so badly, when I should have wanted to succeed more than anything?

I’ve thought about it a lot, and now I need to write about it. I need to unpack all of my issues, assumptions, biases and irrational behaviour. I’ll warn you now — this post is long, and quite self-indulgent, but I hope it will help me deal with these issues, and stop others from falling into the same traps.

It’s painful to write about it, because it’s painful to document all the different ways in which I screwed up. To write, in detail, about how I failed. But I need to do it anyway.

What it boils down to is this:

I was working remotely, in a job I didn’t like doing. Combined, these two things led to chronic, debilitating procrastination, and I would put off work for hours (or even days), and as a result, didn’t get enough done.

That’s the crux of the matter — but again, we need to go a layer deeper than this. Why didn’t I like the job I was doing, and why did I choose to procrastinate so much?

To start with, let’s look at exactly what my job was.

My role: Publishing Manager

Book In A Box helps people write and publish their own book. Our clients were typically CEOs, entrepreneurs, speakers and consultants, who were publishing their book to establish their authority in their niche, build their personal brand, and act as a lead gen tool for their business.

As Publishing Manager, I managed their whole project from start to finish. I was the client’s main point of contact throughout the whole process, and talk them through every step of the way.

That sounds straightforward — but in that description are the seeds of my downfall, namely:

  1. I was the main point of contact for all our clients — so I spent a large part of my day answering emails and on the phone, in responsive mode rather than actively creating things.
  2. I was the main point of contact for all our clients — so if they had problems, they came to me, and I had to deal with them and solve them.
  3. I was the main point of contact for ALL our clients — I was the only one doing this job, and the only person at Book In A Box that our clients would interact with for long periods of time.

These attributes of the job, by themselves, aren’t bad. In fact, for some people, this job description sounds amazing. But not for me. They combined with some of my own personal issues to create real issues in my job. Issues like:

 

1. I don’t like working remotely, especially with a big time difference.

This is actually a fairly simple issue. I’ve often struggled to create routines and structure for myself — I’ve failed when I’ve tried to pick up habits like exercising regularly, meditating, dieting, and the like. So for me, the structure that comes with a 9-5 office job is actually a good thing, as it forces me to get up at a reasonable hour, go to an office with other people, sit down at a desk, and work for a good number of hours. It forces me to be accountable.

When I started working remotely, I loved it at first — I could go to the gym at 11am when it was quiet, or go to the driving range mid-afternoon and hit some balls — but I quickly realised I wasn’t actually getting much work done.

To try and impose some discipline on myself, I rented some office space, and would go there every day. But with the rest of my company, and most of my clients, asleep until about 1pm UK time, I would usually sleep in. I might go to the gym first thing, and get to the office around 10am, where I’d basically browse Reddit and listen to podcasts until about 1pm, when everyone would wake up and start posting on Slack, which is when I’d get to work. I would also finish working around 6pm, when my girlfriend got home from work. I was basically working 5 hours a day.

In many jobs, this would be enough to get everything done. But in a fast-growing startup. I was struggling to keep up, because it just  wasn’t enough time to get all my work done.

The other issue is that working remotely is lonely, especially when most of your company isn’t awake until halfway through your working day. There’s a lot less banter and talk between colleagues, even with tools like Slack. Some people don’t need that interaction, and like the peace and quiet that comes from working at home. I’m not one of those people. I’m naturally an extrovert, and I need the daily interaction and the energy it gives me. There’s no substitute for having people sat next to you that you can talk to, or having your colleagues sat next to you working hard, and making you feel like you should be doing the same.

And when you’re working remotely, it’s a lot easier to ignore a problem. I didn’t take ownership for the issues that I noticed or that were under my control. In fact, I didn’t take ownership for myself: for my own productivity and work habits. I let myself be a victim to my circumstances, instead of doing the hard work to fix it.

 

2. I am too eager to please people, and I don’t like confrontation.

I said that a big part of my job was solving issues for our clients. Unfortunately, these problems were sometimes partly out of my control — for example, if we were waiting on some book cover designers from a freelance designer. I was usually too eager to please the client, so I’d give them unrealistically short timeframes for when we’d have the designs back. That date would come and go, and the client would follow up with me, annoyed.

Rather than deal with that issue, I’d just ignore it, and not answer their email. This happened multiple times, and as you can imagine, this is really bad customer service. But seeing as though I was the client’s only point of contact, there was no-one for them to complain to–so I could get away with it. At least for awhile.

I was struggling to keep up, because the company was growing so fast, and I was the only one dealing with all of our clients. We could have hired more people to help me. But I didn’t say anything to Tucker or Zach about it for a long time, for a couple of reasons:

  1. I felt guilty about not working hard enough, because I knew the problem was partly my fault; and
  2. I didn’t want to complain and make it sound like I was causing problems. I was too eager to keep them happy, and just decided to suffer in silence, rather than raise the issue and have a difficult conversation (for me) about how to solve the problem.

This actually had a really harmful effect: I kept expecting to be “found out”, so I would put off opening up my emails or Slack in the morning, because I was always convinced that today would be the day someone would realise I suck at my job, and there’d be an angry message waiting for me, telling me how bad I was.

And this anxiety meant that I dreaded opening up my laptop every day. I buried my head in the sand, and refused to face the issue. Which, of course, only made things worse.

 

3. I am sometimes humble — to a fault.

I’m a smart guy, but I’m well aware that I don’t have the answer to everything. And having followed Tucker’s career and looked up to him for a long time, I knew he was extremely smart, and a good entrepreneur. But I looked up to him too much, and often substituted his judgement for my own.

I remember one occasion where we were talking about when we’d need to hire someone else to do the same thing as me — how many clients we’d need to get before I would reach breaking point. I thought the answer would be about 50. Tucker thought it was more like 100.

What I should have said was:

“Tucker, I think you’re wrong — here are the issues with what your estimate, and here’s why my answer is more likely to be right — and if I do need to be able to handle 100 clients, here are the problems we need to solve to get there.”

What I actually said was…nothing.

Instead, I thought to myself, “OK, Tucker’s smarter than me, so he must be right about this — even though I’m the only one doing this job and have a lot more information about it than he does, and he has a habit of anchoring to high expectations. He’s probably right.”

I doubted myself too much, and looked up to Tucker too much to question his judgement. So I didn’t step up to the plate and deal with the issue.

Again, I also felt guilty about not working enough, and thought, “Well, if I just work harder, I’ll be able to solve this problem.” And I didn’t want to face the issue, and couldn’t deal with the confrontation.

 

4. I liked the status of what I was doing more than I actually liked doing it

So with all of these issues, why didn’t I just quit? Why not just say “You know what? Good luck in the future, and I hope you all do really well, but this job just isn’t for me.”?

Well, partly because that means admitting the problem and dealing with it, rather than ignoring it.  But there were two other reasons that stopped me.

First, I liked the status of the job. It’s fun to be able to have conversations like this:

Me: “I work for a startup founded by a NYT best-selling author. I was employee #1 and flew out to Austin for a few months to help them get the company off the ground. I’m going to our next quarterly meeting in Las Vegas next week — we went to New York in the summer, but there’s a couple of conferences in Vegas that we want to go to this time round. I used to work a corporate job, but it was just too dull, I had to go and do something exciting!”

Friend: “Wow, that’s so cool! I wish I could do that!”

Me: “Well, I had to work hard and hustle to get this job, but I’m so glad I did, I could never go back to being a corporate drone again.”

Those conversations, and the looks of envy that they generate, are addictive. It feels great to say things like that about yourself, and have people think more of you. Even if it’s just a facade, and the reality is that you’re anxious, miserable, and don’t ever wake up actually WANTING to work.

The second reason was that I really like Tucker. I really like Zach. And I really like Book In A Box. They are great guys, running a great company, with fantastic people, and it will be a huge success. And even if it’s not, I had a blast with them and the rest of the Book In A Box team, hanging out at our quarterly meetings in Austin, NYC and Las Vegas, drinking amazing wine and eating incredible food, having great conversations, and all helping each other improve personally and professionally. I LOVED all that.

I just hated the work I had to do for the actual job.

But admitting that might mean jeopardising my place in the team — and it’s a hard problem to face, and I don’t like confrontation, and I just wanted to please them, and it’s always easier to avoid issues when your co-workers are thousands of miles away.

So I ignored it.

 

The Culmination

You see how these all add up? There’s a lollapalooza effect of multiple issues here, creating a perfect storm that led to chronic procrastination, and a general inability to actually do work beyond that which is immediately necessary to prevent getting fired (in the short-term at least).

But it wasn’t enough.

I actually recognised and started to face a lot of these issues in mid-December, when I started having daily and weekly check-in calls with one of my co-workers, Kevin. I started to tackle them and make progress, but it was too little, too late.

By that point, I’d been underperforming for months, and Tucker and Zach had to take the decision to let me go, to protect the rest of the company. That was 100% the right decision — and like I said, they probably should have done it 2-3 months sooner than that.

I don’t begrudge them at all. I still had a lot of fun times working for Book In A Box, and learned a ton about writing, publishing, marketing, running a small business, customer service, project management, process improvement and about 6 other things. But here are the main lessons I take from this experience.

 

What I learned from my time at Book In A Box

 

1. I need to take extreme ownership

Ironically I got this from a book that Tucker recommended to me, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. You can listen to a podcast he did with Tim Ferriss here too.

The idea is this: everything, absolutely everything, is down to you. Willink uses the example of a platoon commander. Obviously things like his orders to his men, and the tactics he uses on the battlefield, are the responsibility of the platoon commander. But if his CO doesn’t give him the equipment he needs, then what can he do? That’s outside of his control, right?

Wrong. It’s the platoon commander’s responsibility to effectively communicate to his CO what he needs, why he needs it, and what the consequences are if he doesn’t get it. And if he still doesn’t get it, then that’s his fault, because he didn’t sufficiently communicate that need.

It was my job to do my job — but it was also my job to tell everyone else what I needed, how I was doing, what problems I was having, and ask for help to solve them. So if I was struggling to keep up, I needed to own it and make that clear. If I thought a process needed to be changed, even if I couldn’t do it myself, I needed to speak up. That was all my responsibility, and I didn’t do it. And that’s especially true in a startup, where you need to be able to operate under uncertainty, and iterate your way towards solving problems. Ignoring it and hoping that someone else will tell you what to do is a recipe for failure.

 

2. I need to be around people who will challenge me

I actually spent the first three months of my time at Book In A Box living with Zach in Austin, on the same street as Tucker. We spent a lot of time together, and I drastically improved professionally and personally — I picked up the job quickly, I became a lot more effective, and I also lost 20 lbs and got in great shape.

It’s not a coincidence that all that happened at once (while NOT working remotely). That’s the power of being around people who challenge you. Not just associating with them, or talking to them via email, Skype, or Slack, but PHYSICALLY being around them. Eating dinner with them. Going to meetings. Sat at a desk across from them.

I know I should not work remotely (at least not full-time). I know for a fact that my next job needs to be in an environment where I am around other great people: role models, mentors, friends, and people who will challenge me and push me to be better. Not that they’ll do the hard work for me, but they’ll a) support me and motivate me and b) call me on my bullshit and make me realise when I’m not facing up to issues.

 

3. I am actually pretty smart, but that’s nothing without action

I actually recognised a lot of these issues in myself as they were happening. I knew what I needed to do to fix them. But I knew that it would be hard. And I didn’t think I needed to do it immediately.

So I put it off, and didn’t do it. Which is why I got fired.

This also happened with business issues. I would spot a problem, and think through a solution. I would think up the 5-6 steps I’d need to take to implement that solution, and solve the problem. Then I would congratulate myself on being smart enough to recognise a problem and think up a solution.

The missing piece, of course, was actually taking any action.

Tucker or Zach would often come to me later and say, “Hey — I’ve noticed this problem. Here’s a good solution though. Can you get that done?” It was often the same problem and solution I’d spotted myself, but hadn’t done anything about. Which meant that I started to get a reputation at someone who couldn’t really see things through, and get things done.

At the time I thought that was a bit unfair, but it’s 100% correct. Thinking through a problem is great, but the perfect solution you don’t implement is exactly the same as no solution at all.

 

4. All of these issues stem from a deep, deep fear of success

These other problems — failure to take ownership, the need to be around other people who will push me, and my failure to take action and solve problems — reflect one underlying condition: my deep, deep fear of success.

On the surface, fear of success sounds ridiculous. Think of the words that you associate with success: wealth, prestige, power, fame, accomplishments, satisfaction. All those words sound pretty great, right? Who on earth is afraid of success?

I am. I’m terrified of it.

I’m scared that I’ll get to the top of the mountain and all of a sudden, people won’t like me.

My parents won’t like me because I’ll have more money than they do. My girlfriend won’t like me because success will somehow change me. My friends won’t like me because they won’t be able to relate to me any more. Strangers won’t like me because they’ll resent my accomplishments.

I’m also scared that everyone I know and love won’t understand me any more.

When you’re talking to family or friends about your work, how many people say things like this:

  • “Can’t complain!”
  • “Same old, same old — boring, but I’m getting paid well.”
  • “It’s pretty easy, I honestly don’t know how I haven’t been fired yet!”

I’d guess it’s greater than 90% (at least for me). This is especially true in middle-class England, where we’re all humble, quiet, understated, and generally don’t like to make too much of a fuss.

Which means that if I succeed — if I even START to do the work I need to do to get to where I want to be — I know that I’ll be an outlier. Some people will judge me for that. Some people will criticise me. And some people won’t ever understand me.

That’s terrifying. And it’s exhausting, too. At first, it’s fun to be unconventional and get those envious looks, but when you’re faced with the difficult reality of the work it takes to be different, and the energy you need to keep going with it, it’s so much easier just to give up.

I remember when I first quit my old job to go work for Book In A Box, and someone very close to me said, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to being an accountant.”

That was one of the first things they said to me. Of course they were supportive as well, but that support was diluted by the constant reminder that it would be easier to fail, and go back to my rightful place.

Of course, it’s much better to fail now, early on, than it is to get to the top, and then fail.

Because that’s the other big fear. That I’ll achieve success, but won’t be able to cope with it, so I’ll fall back down to Earth. I don’t have faith in my ability to stay at the top once I get there. I’m afraid that I’d get everything I ever wanted — and then I’d lose it all again, and there’d be no-one to blame but me.

Then I’d have suffered the hard work, odd looks, and the long periods of not being understood, and it would all be for nothing.

I wouldn’t even have my comforting self-image of being destined for great things. If I try and fail, then I have to discard that. Then I’ll have nothing left but the voices in my head that say “I told you you would fail”, and dreams of what might have been.

Honestly, as much as it sucks to be fired, I’m still more afraid of what it takes to succeed.

 

The Aftermath

When I got fired, at first I was relieved. No more stress. No more anxiety.

Then I was angry, at myself. I had an incredible opportunity, and I wasted it.

Finally, over time, I accepted what had happened.

On reflection, I’m glad for the whole experience. I realised some deep issues about myself that I need to solve if I’m going to achieve what I want to achieve. It’s been 3 months since I got fired, and I haven’t solved all of these issues yet. But now I’m aware of them, I’ve accepted them, and I’m dealing with them — and I’m a better man for that.

Thanks to Kevin Espiritu, Zach Obront and Tucker Max for their feedback on early drafts of this post.

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

Weekend reflection and reading

Morning all. Happy Easter weekend! Here’s what I’ve been reading and thinking about this week. It’s pretty business and startup-heavy this week, so if that doesn’t interest you, just check back in next week.

Books

Links

  • Serial entrepreneur Jay Samit on the SellPersonal podcast: I’d honestly never heard of Jay Samit until I listened to this interview, but I was blown away. He clearly and concisely laid out how you can look around for problems that need to be solved, and go solve them, and build great companies in the process. I also picked up his book Disrupt You! after I’d listened to this interview.
  • The only entrepreneurship reading list you need: my old boss Tucker Max continued his Asshole to CEO series with a fantastic reading list on startups and entrepreneurship. I’ll give you the Cliff Notes: Paul Graham, good, Guy Kawasaki, bad.
  • Paul Graham on how to get startup ideas: Tucker’s list sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole on Paul Graham’s essays, but this is one of the best. Just like Jay Samit said: look for problems that need solving.
  • The Marc Andreessen Guide to Startups: again, one from Tucker’s list — I hadn’t seen these essays before, but Marc Andreessen (Netscape, Opsware, Ning, Andreessen Horowitz) is basically the best there is when it comes to talking about tech and startups. He talks from a place of huge experience, and this is a great read. Pretty short too.
  • 90 Day Goal Setting and Action Step Planning Template: this is one of the resources from my friend Taylor Pearson‘s book. Hugely useful and practical way to break down your long-term goals into 90 day steps, then monthly, weekly and daily. I’ll definitely be using this.
  • 10 Habits of Unsuccessful People You Don’t Want to Copy: Taleb would call this “via negativa”. Munger would call it “inverting the problem”. Whatever you want to call it, you can really progress by just trying to avoid making mistakes. Here are 10 habits you should stay away from.

My hot streak of writing has continued. Now up to two weeks, every day, without fail. I like it — I like the routine, and I like that it forces me to commit thoughts to paper. I’ll continue with it.

Last week I wrote that I had 3 main goals right now:

  1. Building a repeatable, scalable way to get leads for my copywriting business
  2. Getting back in the gym and in shape
  3. Finding a weekly goal review and tracking system to use

On 1) things are good. I signed three more clients this week, probably for longer-term work, which is great. I think the main channel of growth is going to be word of mouth — and right now, I’m busy enough that the word of mouth engine is in full swing. My plan from here is to basically get enough clients that I’m working full-time, and if people are still wanting to work with me, I’ll slowly increase my rates to manage demand. I know that a lot of people want to do the same, so once I have a little more time (and I’m sure I can turn it into a full-time business) I’m going to write up a full case study of exactly what I did, and the results I got. I’ll include all the emails, spreadsheets, and other resources that I used as well.

I didn’t work out at all this week — again — but I did monitor my weight closely, and eat well throughout the week, so I still lost 1.5 lbs. But that wasn’t the goal: exercise was the goal. I failed. MUST fix this next week, as a matter of urgency.

And finally, I found a great planning and tracking system — Taylor’s90 Day Goal Setting and Action Step Planning Template that I linked above. Not much else to say here other than that it’s fantastic, and I’ll definitely be using it.

Goals for next week:

  1. Get in the gym at least once
  2. Continue to grow copywriting business
  3. Publish on blog every day
  4. Begin 90 day goal setting and action step planning

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

Turn Someday Into Today

Everyone, without fail, thinks that their future self will be better than their current self.

More disciplined. More virtuous. More rational, and less prone to bursts of emotion.

Today you can’t muster the energy to go to the gym, but tomorrow you’ll leap out of bed at the crack of dawn to get a workout in.

Today you procrastinate on that important work, but tomorrow you’ll be able to shut out all distractions and get it done.

Today you’re spending money you don’t have and racking up credit card bills, but you’ll tighten your belt tomorrow.

It’s almost never true. The best predictor of your behaviour tomorrow is your behaviour today.

Recognise that, accept it, and deal with it. It’s your life — live it today, not tomorrow.

 

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

The power of focus

When you fully and completely focus on what’s in front of you, great things happen.

The work you do without distractions rather than in a fragmented, piecemeal fashion isn’t just a slightly better — it’s usually orders of magnitude better.

The conversation you have without ever looking at your phone isn’t just slightly better — it’s often 5-10x better.

The experience you have when you fully immerse yourself in it, and forget everything else around you isn’t just slightly better — it can be incredible, unbelievable, and sometimes life-changing.

The funny thing is, there are two different ways to achieve this.

The first is to be engaged in something so enthralling — a personal passion project, an incredible first date, a once-in-a-lifetime trip — that you forget about things like Twitter and Facebook updates, and get lost in what you’re doing.

The second is to deliberately, consciously say no to distractions. To choose to immerse yourself in what you’re doing. To truly focus.

Once you realise that you can do that, it’s like a superpower. It’s just a choice you have to make.

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

Weekend reflection and reading

This is the first week in maybe 5 years when I’ve written as much as I have. I’ve posted every day for the last 5 days, and will continue to post daily for as long as possible just to keep the chain going. I’m enjoying the routine, and I’m enjoying the uptick in traffic too, so if you’re reading this, thank you 🙂

My big goal right now is building a repeatable, scalable system to generate leads for my copywriting business. Right now I’m doing a lot of haphazard, ad-hoc outbound sales and network marketing, which is OK, but isn’t systematic. I need a way to produce reliable, consistent leads and sales. I need to think about how best to do that, and how to build it.

On the plus side, I had some great conversations with potential clients and potential sources of leads and JV deals this week, which was really positive. They were the type of things that will probably lead to good income streams in a few weeks or months, but won’t put cash in the bank right this second. Which is fine, it just makes me wish I’d done them a few weeks ago, but there you go. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is now.

I didn’t work out at all this week — had a minor injury that I didn’t want to aggravate, so I skipped the gym, but I can already feel myself getting out of the habit. I need to correct that as soon as possible.

Also, in future I want to make this weekly goal review more structured and systematic too. I want to figure out a way to do that that isn’t too burdensome. I’ve seen some people use systems like this that look good on paper, but would be way too complex to start with, so I want something more basic. I’ll work this out this week.

Anyway, here’s a collection of things I’ve been reading this week, and recommend you peruse over your leisurely weekend. Enjoy.

Links

  • Real World Blueprint for a $5million week – Ramit Sethi goes into deep, intense detail about a product launch at his company, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Ramit is one of the best in the business when it comes to online sales and marketing, so you can learn a ton from him. But more importantly: don’t try super-advanced tactics if you’re just starting out. Get the fundamentals right, and build from there.
  • Career advice no-one tells you – job requirements are negotiable, imposter syndrome is a good things, and other unconventional job hunting advice. What I love most in this article is the concept of doing the job you want before you’ve got it. Just start doing stuff, and send it to the person you want to hire you. If it’s good, they won’t ignore it.
  • Don’t say “maybe” if you want to say “no” – good piece from Ryan Holiday on not being afraid to turn down things that you just don’t want to do. It’s your time, your life, so protect it.
  • The Million Dollar Question – this is an older essay by Sebastian Marshall that PERFECTLY encapsulates the issues and insecurities of taking an unconventional path in your career and your life. It’s a big fear that I have as I move towards more freelance and entrepreneurial projects, and something that I’m wrestling with right now, so it was good to read this again.

Books

  • The Millionaire Fastlane – I love the central idea of this book — that the only way to really get wealthy before you’re old is entrepreneurship and building income-producing assets — but god, the title is awful. It sounds like a bad infomercial and makes me not want to recommend it. A good read though.
  • Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders – I’m a huge Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger fanboy, and there’s more wisdom in this book than an entire MBA course. But it’s a long read — it’s just a collection of every letter to BH shareholders from 1965-2014. For edited excerpts of these letters, check out The Essays of Warren Buffett, and for more on Charlie Munger, Tren Griffin’s recent book Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor is really good.
  • The End of Jobs – my buddy Taylor Pearson’s first (but probably not last) book is a fantastic argument that traditional jobs are in terminal decline, and that you should start to move towards a more entrepreneurial career path. Taylor’s a great writer — his essays are testament to that — and this is an important and timely book. Pair it with Choose Yourself, which covers similar ground but from a more inspirational point of view (Taylor’s book is more the nuts and bolts, practical advice).

 

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

7 weeks in Austin, TX

I came to Austin, Texas in mid-January, leaving behind my girlfriend, family and friends back in the UK for a couple of months while I’m here to meet a bunch of new people, try the food, see some culture and go to SXSW. I’ve been here for 7 weeks now, and I’m heading back home at the end of the month.

Austin is a fantastic city with great food, drink, music, nightlife, and weather. There’s a reason it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the US. A typical conversation will include the question “When did you move to Austin?”, mainly because no-one is actually from here (a bit like LA).

Some thoughts on the trip so far:

  • I’m surprised that I haven’t been very homesick. Maybe I’ve just been keeping very busy. But I do really miss my girlfriend. This is the longest we’ve been apart since we’ve been together (nearly 7 years now) and it’s tough.
  • But everyone here is SO friendly and has made me feel at home. I don’t know whether it’s the city in particular, whether it’s a southern US thing, or it’s just all of the US. But here, it’s weird to get on a lift (aka elevator) with other people and NOT talk to them. The exact opposite is true in the UK.
  • The building I live in is great. Pool on the roof, and a gym, and free coffee.

This is the view from the gym balcony. Pretty sweet.

Just your standard roof pool.

Just your standard roof pool.

  • Meeting people out at events or bars is much easier because of my English accent – Love Actually was right all along – but the number of people who have accused me of putting on a fake accent is worrying.
  • The weather here is weird. The first few weeks it was amazing: 18-25 degrees pretty much every day, and plenty of sun. Now it’s gone cold again. In fact it’s colder here now than it is in the UK at the moment. But by the sounds of it, summer would be unbearably hot here.
This is my office, on the roof of our building.

This is my office, on the roof of our building.

I actually got sunburn, having been sat on the roof of our building for an hour or so. It was January. This is odd to me.

And having been sat on the roof for about an hour, I actually got sunburn. It was January. This was odd to me.

  • The food is INCREDIBLE. My first taste of proper Texas barbecue was at a place called Smitty’s in Lockhart, TX, which is about 30 miles south of Austin. There is no food like this in the UK at all. Franklin’s BBQ here in Austin has sold out every single day since they opened in 2008, so you have to get in line at about 8am to have a chance of actually getting something. But it’s so worth it.
This place has the best barbecue in all of Texas, and therefore the world. Seriously.

This place has the best barbecue in all of Texas, and therefore the world. Seriously.

Here's the line outside Franklin's. Waiting in line has actually become part of the authentic Franklin's experience.

Here’s the line outside Franklin’s. Waiting in line has actually become part of the authentic Franklin’s experience.

They start cooking this brisket at about 2am, and cook low and slow for about 10 hours. It's incredible.

They start cooking this brisket at 2am, and cook low and slow for about 10 hours. It’s incredible.

  • Given that we’re in Texas, the Mexican food is great too. I’ve never eaten tacos as good as what’s available from a random food truck on the street. Favourite’s so far: Taco Deli and Veracruz on E Cesar Chavez St (get the breakfast taco with egg, cheese and chorizo).
So good. And so fresh.

So good. And so fresh.

  • I’ve also got to give a shout out to the Beef Cake Food Truck on Rainey St that does the best sliders I’ve ever had in my life. Get the original and the barbecue.
  • This will seem like sacrilege to some people back home, but the beer is better here, especially in Austin. There are so many microbrews and craft brews to try that you’re bound to find something to suit your taste. I like The One They Call Zoe.
  • I feel like I haven’t done enough tourist stuff yet. I haven’t visited the Capitol building, I haven’t shot a gun. I haven’t even seen that many fat people.
But I have tried on a stetson hat, so that's cool.

But I have tried on a stetson hat, so that’s cool.

  • Living in a city with Uber available is great. I’ve taken some Uber trips that have been insanely cheap (and some that were ridiculously expensive, like the 5.7x surge pricing at 2am on a Friday night). They also have Car2Go here, which is like the Boris bikes in London, except they’re cars. That’s America for you.

Despite all of these amazing positives, I’m looking forward to going home. But if I was going to move to the US, I’d move to Austin in a heartbeat.

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

Principles

These are a few issues I’ve thought about enough to have a strong opinion on. I believe these principles provide a useful framework for making decisions, and that using this framework will ultimately make me happier. As with anything created at the grand old age of 25, I’m sure this isn’t the last thing I’ll write about it, and I fully expect to edit, remove or add to these principles over time.

1. Simplicity is good. It saves mental power for other things (this is why Obama only wears two colours of suit, to save decision-making effort for more important issues than merely deciding what to wear).

2. Minimalism – a lack of commitments (financial or otherwise) and a lack of possessions – also reduces stress. Books are the exception to this rule.

3. As a corollary to rules 1 and 2, I am prepared to pay for quality – if I’m only going to have a couple of pairs of shoes, or 4 suits, I want them to be good quality.

4. Likewise, I’m willing to pay other people to do things I could do myself if it reduces stress and frees up time for other things – money is renewable, time is not.

5. Keeping your monthly outgoings as low as possible and maintaining cash on hand goes a HUGE way to reducing anxiety and increasing happiness. Corollary: eliminate and do not use consumer debt. It’s like running with a parachute strapped to your back.

6. What people have actually ACCOMPLISHED is much more important than their qualifications. This is true for me as much as it is for anyone else.

7. Experimenting and tracking results is crucial to improving anything.

8. If we define “rich” as being able to buy anything you want, then there are two ways to do this: get more money, or want for fewer things.

9. Having said that, money is only one of three currencies: the other two, time and flexibility, are often much more valuable (see rule 4).

10. You can be good at more than one thing, and often it helps.

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

Why I’m a big fan of Genghis Khan

I was channel-surfing last night when I came across a show about Genghis Khan. I immediately stopped channel-surfing and sat engrossed for 10 minutes or so. My girlfriend walked in and asked what I was watching.

“It’s a show about Genghis Khan. He’s so awesome.”

“Why? Didn’t he just kill and rape a bunch of people?”

Always eager for a chance to prove my girlfriend wrong, I ran upstairs, grabbed my copy of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford, and turned to a passage I’d highlighted in the introduction.

In American terms, the accomplishment of Genghis Khan might be understood if the United States, instead of being created by a group of educated merchants or wealthy planters, had been founded by one of its illiterate slaves, who, by the sheer force of personality, charisma, and determination, liberated America from foreign rule, united the people, created an alphabet, wrote the constitution, established universal religious freedom, invented a new system of warfare, marched an army from Canada to Brazil, and opened roads of commerce in a free-trade zone that stretched across the continents. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination and tax the resources of scholarly explanation.

If that doesn’t inspire you, then I don’t know what will. Check out 9 lessons on power and leadership from Genghis Khan by Ryan Holiday. I’m also a big fan of the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, which is a historical fiction series based on the lives of Genghis Khan and his descendants Ogedai, Mongke, and Kublai Khan – which Iggulden calls “the greatest rags to riches story in human history” (start with book 1, here).

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.

What I learnt from two years of online poker

I wrote this a couple of years ago on a poker forum I used to visit. Since then I have probably played poker a max of five times – but throughout university I regularly played at least 3-4 hours a day, pretty much 7 days a week. While it did keep me from having to get a “real” job while I was a student, I finally decided that online poker would ruin my life if I didn’t stop. Having said that, I wouldn’t change it, because the decisions I made along the way helped shape the man I am today. Here’s what I learned on my two year journey through the world of online poker.

I got my feet wet in poker just like anyone else: around 2005-2006 a few friends and I would get together on a friday night, drink some beers, and play poker. We were all 16-17 at the time, so we didn’t go out on the town as much as we do now – we just got our parents to buy us beer and give us a ride round to whichever unfortunate friend had been designated to host our night of rowdiness. Cue much drinking, beer spilling, chip-splashing, and the occasional hand of poker.

We played £5 entry, winner takes all, usually 5-6 of us. I remember one week when so many people had got wind of our fun that about 15 people turned up. We all sat around the same table to start with, and each hand took about 20 minutes. Then someone had the bright idea of splitting it up into two tables, by which time I had already busted out through my arrogant, aggressive playing style, and had to sit and watch everyone else for about 4 hours. Hey ho.

Back in those days, we all thought we were pretty good, but the best player was undoubtedly Omar*. Omar used to push us around on the table, winding us up until our 16-year-old adolescent pride couldn’t take it any more, and then we’d shove our weak pair into his nut flush. He would always say things like “this is such a waste of time, I could make more playing online than I could playing here”. One time he actually brought his Mac to the table, wearing his cherished Pokerstars hoodie, and played 3 tables of 1/2 limit hold ’em while simultaneously taking our pocket money. 
He bragged to us once at school how he had started with $50 on Pokerstars, and ran it up to $3,000, before his parents found out and made him withdraw everything except the initial $50. Then he did it again. And again.

I always wanted to be like Omar. It was my dream to be able to walk into bars and think nothing of buying drinks for all my friends, and then go out the next day and buy some sick new trainers, or a PS3, or a Mac.

But then we all turned 18 and drinking, not gambling, became the first concern for most of us on a friday and saturday night. Now that we could go out of the house and legally drink, we did. A lot. And life was good. I earned my money during the week and spent it on the weekend. I studied hard in school and got into a good uni, where I continued to drink and study hard and enjoy life and get good grades. And life was good.

Then, in the summer of 2009 after my 2nd year of uni, I was working some shitty temp job cold-calling people to do telephone surveys. It was soul-destroying, mindless, uncreative work, the kind of work that makes people strangle themselves with their own telephone cord, which I would have done, except for the fact that we had to wear wireless headsets.

I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way to make money than this.” And then I remembered Omar, and his Mac, and his trainers, and the rounds of drinks he would buy for everyone. So I posted on a forum that I used to frequent, saying “I want to be good at Texas Hold ‘Em poker. Where do I start?” And someone gave me a link to the TwoPlusTwo poker forums, and to a couple of strategy guides, and I was off down a path that would lead me on an emotional rollercoaster.

I devoured forum threads like they were crack. I read more poker theory than you can imagine. I heard about guys beating the $50 no-limit games and thought “woah, these ballers, how can you ever play for a $100 pot?” I deposited my obligatory $50 on Stars, and set to grinding the lowest possible stakes, 1c/2c blinds. I bought some software that tracks all your hands, and I was ready and raring to go. I started playing full-ring games (9 handed) until someone on TwoPlusTwo told me to play 6 handed tables instead because they were “more profitable”. Oh, how wrong he was.

But it started out well. I managed to turn my $50 into about $120, at which point I started playing the 2c/5c cash games. Then I went on a downswing, and it was boring. I had about $105 left in my account when I went out for my friend’s 21st birthday. We had a fantastic night in this great club, we got drunk, threw up – everything you’d expect from a 21st birthday party.

Then I got home at about 4am, and fired up some tables. In my drunked recklessness I decided to play what I thought were “high stakes” – the 5c/10c tables. I remember being really nervous that there was a 10c chip being used as a blind. Woah. Surely this wouldn’t end well.

But it did. I went on the biggest 4am drunken heater of all time, and won about $200 in less than 20 minutes, instantly tripling my bankroll. Boom. Now I was really playing with the big boys.

I continued to grind 5c/10c games for a month or so (joining DC during this time), until I spent all my money on booze and takeaways and needed to cash out my winnings. Being the genius that I am, I emailed one of my friend’s housemates, who I knew to be a good midstakes player, and asked him to stake me. He would provide the money for me to play with, and accept any losses. Any winnings we would split 50-50. I showed him how I had crushed the lower stakes games and wanted to move up. He agreed, and gave me $750 on Full Tilt to play with.

I then proceeded to lose $500 over about 2 months. And life was bad. I got stressed. I would stay up all night trying to grind back my losses. I remember getting into bed at 1am as I had lectures at 10am the next morning, and firing up a couple of tables. I lost some money, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to deposit $100 on Pokerstars to play tournaments. I played in a bunch of $1 tournaments all night until about 7am, when I fell asleep, still playing 3 tables. Total profit from 6 hours play: $0.30. I missed all my lectures.

My grades slipped. I was unhappy.

I so wanted to be like Omar. I wanted to have the money and all the stuff the money could buy. $500 was a lot of money to me back then. My constant losses were a blight on my soul, a constant reminder that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. It was hard to deal with. I spent hours and hours studying poker, reading books, reading strategy threads, and even got a coaching session or two.

But over time, I gradually turned into a breakeven player, and then a (very) marginal winner. I got a couple of nice “frequent player” bonuses from Full Tilt Poker. I won back all I had lost and more. I received my first paycheck from my backer, who I think was as relieved as me that I had stopped texting him at 2am saying “Still losing. Can’t figure out why. Sooo frustrating.”

I would still get stressed out by poker. The losses were still bad, but winning was a relief, a break from the constant emotional stress of being a breakeven player. It didn’t help that I was still spending all of my money on booze and takeaways, and not doing a lot besides playing poker and Call of Duty. My grades slipped a bit more.

There were some times when I would lose so much, and keep losing, to the point where I was literally in tears (times I’ve cried due to poker: 3). But I didn’t want to stop playing, so I fired up 12 tables of 9 handed games and played monotonically, soothed by the constant alert and chip sounds of the game. I had barely ever played 9 handed games before – I looked down on those who did. Everyone played so tightly. It was boring. There was no action. But I couldn’t bring myself to stop playing, so I played 12 tables, playing fairly tight preflop, and extremely tight postflop. And funnily enough, I would usually win back all my losses from the 6 handed games. Of course, I moved back to 6 handed straight away, because it was “more profitable”.

I talked with my backer, and he agreed to boost my roll up to $1500, so I could play in the 25c/50c games. Now I was ready for the big time. And then I promptly lost about $700. And I got stressed, and life was bad again. I would stay up all night trying to recoup my losses.

I remember the summer of 2010, when I was working night shifts at my local supermarket. I would finish at 7am, and then come back and play poker. I thought it would be a good idea to play some heads-up poker, one on one. The players were aggressive, the variance was ridiculous, but I didn’t care. I knew I could take them on.

I remember losing $250 in about 30 hands. I got stressed, and punched a lightswitch, then broke my desk chair. My parents weren’t happy, but they didn’t understand. I was tilted! I didn’t have an anger problem, it was this guy’s fault for sucking out on me with his combo draw.

One of my friends pointed out to me “Lynch mate, you’re an idiot. You lose money in one-on-one and 6 handed games, but make money in 9 handed games. Why aren’t you just playing 9 handed?”

I made some excuse about how those games were boring and how I was developing my game faster by playing in aggressive and getting in tough spots that made me think. He said, “No, that’s bullshit. You play poker to make money. You make money playing 9 handed and you don’t playing 6 handed. Simple as.”

I took his advice, and switched to 9 handed games. And something clicked. And I made a lot of money. I paid for a holiday to Greece in September 2010 purely with poker profits. I bought a computer, and some new trainers, and drinks for all my friends in a bar. I was Omar.

I liked being Omar. It felt good to have money for once. I started to play more and more poker – it’s not a gambling problem if you’re winning, right? I played 16 tables for 5-6 hours at a time. Why bother going to lectures when my hourly rate was so good? My backer was pleased, and moved me up to the 50c/$1 stakes. So I started playing that, and broke even for a bit, then moved back down to 25c/50c because it was easy money, and I like easy money.

I played 120k hands of poker in October. I won some good money. But I didn’t do much else other than play poker. My girlfriend got annoyed. But she didn’t understand – this was my job! I didn’t have a gambling problem. She just worried too much.

I played 90k hands in November. I made some decent money. My girlfriend cried because I played so much poker and never talked to her. So I promised to cut down the amount of time I played. Then she went to work, and I played 16 tables all night while she was out. She came back, and I told her I had been doing some reading for uni.

December was going OK. I had broken even for most of the month, and tried to play some higher stakes, but always got knocked back. Then one day I sat down at some 50c/$1 6 handed tables, and lost a hundred bucks. Never mind. Then I lost another hundred. Then I won three hundred.. Then I lost a grand. I moved back down to lower stakes to try and grind it back again, and lost another two hundred. In total that day I lost over $1100. And I cried, and I shouted at my parents, and I punched the wall, and I broke some CD cases.

I didn’t play again for a few weeks. I tried meditating, and practicing Buddhist things like mindfulness. I became happier. I did some serious introspection and self-analysis. I came to a couple conclusions:

– I definitely had some emtional problems
– I might have a gambling problem

Why did I force myself to go through all of this? It all comes back to Omar, and how much I wanted to be like him. I was so desperate to have the money, and the Mac, and the trainers, and the drinks for all my friends. I thought that would make me happy. And I thought that poker was the way to achieve that. I wanted so much to be able to fly to Vegas (which Omar did one summer, and came back $50k richer). I wanted the lifestyle. I dreamed of being a baller, with stacks of bills, and a limo, and a concierge. I thought that would make me happy.

And in pursuit of that, I made myself so unhappy that often I didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. I literally sat in bed all day playing micro-stakes, thinking that if I could just get a good run of cards, I would be on the path to happiness. I could quantify exactly how I felt about myself – all I needed to do was look at my results.

Poker was good to me in some respects – after everything I’ve been through, I’m still a winner lifetime – but in other ways it has been the worst thing that ever happened to me. I love the game, and the online community, and the rush you get from winning a big pot or making a sick bluff. But none of that is worth the 18 months that I sunk into poker almost full-time to the exclusion of everything else. As in poker and life, balance is critical. Doing one thing to the exclusion of everything else will seriously fuck you up, and it’s just not worth it.

And then my backer said he needed his money back, so now I couldn’t afford to play stakes that would be meaningful to me, so I stopped playing altogether. I became much happier, more productive, and more optimistic about life almost overnight.

So what did I learn?

– A lot of poker coaches stress the importance of emotional control. They’re not being paternalistic, or trying to make the world a better place. They’re doing it because it makes money. If you’re not evaluating your own emotions and mindset, you will make bad decisions and lose money.

– Never do what other people are doing just because you think it’s more glamorous, or will make people think more highly of you. Stick to your circle of competence.

– Losses always felt worse when I desperately needed the money. Having plenty of cash in the bank felt brilliant because I knew even if I lost one day, I wouldn’t go hungry the next. James Altucher talks about this a lot.

– Poker can be great fun, but it can be a cruel bitch. A common poker saying is “one day you will run worse than you ever thought possible.” I would add to this that poker led me to feel worse than I ever had before. When your self-worth is so wrapped up in your results as mine was, a big downswing can destroy you mentally.

– Never measure yourself against anyone else, only against yourself. One problem for me was that whenever I improved my game and moved up a level, Omar did the same. I bought myself some trainers with poker money, he’d buy a car. I bought a holiday to Greece, he went to Vegas for 3 months. I was constantly comparing myself to his success, and coming up short.

– Poker was a fun hobby, but should have stayed exactly that: a hobby. Once I was relying on it for income, it became my life and I played, studied and talked poker to the exclusion of almost everything else. But poker will be around tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Enjoy it, but don’t ever let it become your everything.

Poker gave me some great highs, and some horrible lows. But that’s all in the game, yo.

* name changed for subtle reference to The Wire

Want to turbocharge your career and boost your earnings? Check out my upcoming book, The Career Superpower.