“Why” Post – Advice to Myself

Hey All – this is more of a “why” post than a “how” post.

As I navigate the waters of mastermind groups and fellow entrepreneurs, and notice parallels and contrasts with the music world and the salaryman world from my Day Job, I’ve also been listening to several interviews with Ryan Holiday, who wrote The Obstacle is The Way, the title paraphrasing a Marcus Aurelius quote that’s a tenet of stoicism.

I’ve posted this on social media, but this is really advice to myself. If it were more succinct I’d find a way to tattoo it somewhere –

1) If something seems easy, or you get a “hookup” offer from someone to whom you’re not manifestly providing value, be suspicious. Real success doesn’t smell like that. (i.e. the one job offer you get when your resume’s crappy. The person who wants to date you when they don’t know you yet.)

2) I hate the word “networking”, but making friends with people with common interests is inarguably important. I think the hack is Give Value without an expectation of reciprocity. Reach out to people both “ahead” and “behind” you, always with a pure desire to give value. (Not with the expectation of a “hookup” from those “above” or appreciation from those “below.”) This works even better in scarcity contexts where everyone wants a hookup, because you’ll distinguish yourself in a hurry.

Also, have value to give. As Seth Godin said, and as I’ve parroted here, “pick yourself”. Somebody will spot you for the last rep of a challenging weight lifting set you’ve worked up to. They won’t lift the weight for you from the beginning.

3) It’s not about you. Taking either success or rejection too personally is narcissistic. Get gigs? Product sold? It’s not because you’re awesome as a person, even though you are. It’s because you met a need. Get turned down for something, or no one wants your product? Yes, there are lessons to take and apply, but again, it has nothing to do with your value as a person. It’s not about You.

That’s it! See you soon!