Blog

The passion for learning

I’ve always been a curious person growing up.

When I was little, I would stare up at the stars and wonder what those things were.

“How do I get there? Can I touch it? How far away are those stars?”

My mind was filled with imagination.

I wanted to learn how this life worked.

Going through high school and college

In my high school days, I was learning but honestly, it was mostly memorization.

I was struggling with home life, so I barely had time to think about school.

I did enough to study, get decent grades, and apply to college.

However, the real learning began in college.

In fact, I had no choice.

It was do or die for me at that period in time.

I had just lost my father, and I had no other family.

In my mind, I HAD to get a job. I HAD to make money.

I HAD to survive at all costs.

And the only way I could achieve that was by studying.

More importantly, learning everything.

So for the next 4 years, I studied feverishly. All day, every day, while at work, eating dinner, hanging with friends.

In my mind, I had ZERO doubt that was what I NEEDED to do.

I worked multiple jobs, studied all day, dreamed about how I would be successful.

I thought about how things would get easier.

I visualized it every day.

How I developed a passion for learning

Learning is a process.

Learning is a habit.

Learning is dedication.

Learning is a way of thinking.

I understood immediately that the only way I was going to survive was to level up.

I NEEDED to be smarter. I NEEDED more knowledge. I NEEDED to understand what was happening.

This, in turn, changed everything.

I started loving studying because I was learning how things worked.

From science to finance to greek mythology, I enjoyed it. Some classes less so of course 😅

But overall, I learned to enjoy the process.

I was able to make SENSE of what I was learning.

I also found that I LOVED helping and teaching others, which I still do to this day.

When you find a way to be curious and wonder how things became the way they are, that’s where true learning emerges.

You begin to enjoy the fine details.

Steve Jobs was like this.

Questions to think about to build your learning passion

The truth is we all live busy lives, so taking the time to learn can be challenging. However, it can achieved.

Start with one fundamental question, “Do I want to learn?”

We can’t begin to learn anything if we don’t have the desire to.

So ask these questions and see how you feel:

  • Do I want to learn that new skill?
  • Do I want to learn about that new job?
  • Do I want to try out that new sport?
  • Do I want to be better?

Having a desire is the first step towards the path of learning.

Enjoy the journey and process

Like everything in life, learning is a process. It’s a journey.

Learn to love it.

Learn to love every minute of it.

Things take time.

But when you do achieve something new as a result of spending time to learn, you feel amazing.

To this day, I learn everything.

I keep an open-mind to all perspectives.

I love hearing what people have to say, whether I agree or not.

So there you have it.

Keep learning, keep growing, and most importantly, have fun.

Life’s short, kick ass, and spend it with people you love.

Enjoy!

Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity will encourage you to take bold actions, start new projects, and force you out of your comfort zone.

Go back to the last time you truly asked questions about life, your career, your relationships, etc.

At some point, we lost our curiosity of the world.

Be bold, be fearless, embrace life.

Be curious.

Be daring and live the life you want and desire.

No one – and I mean no one – can say otherwise.

Be curious, stay curious.

Be 100% authentic with your true self

The only way to live a full, true, happy life is to be 100%, fully authentic to your true self.

What does that mean?

It means being yourself even when no one is around to watch you.

Life is short.

Time is valuable.

Spend it graciously and abundantly with people you care about.

Protect your time.

Be authentic.

Be yourself.

5 Best Subreddits To Learn From

If you love learning, consider Reddit.

There’s so much information out there that it can be difficult to decide where to look.

I believe the best place to learn and grow is on Reddit. Yes, there’s controversy. Yes, it’s not always accurate.

But when it comes to learning stories and gaining perspectives, you won’t find a better place than Reddit.

Here are my 5 best subreddits I love going to every day to learn and grow.

Let’s dive in.

1: r/AskReddit

The r/askreddit subreddit is the place to ask and answer thought-provoking questions.

You’ll get a mixture of topics ranging from serious down to comedy.

Example: “People who haven’t pooped in 2019 yet, why are you still holding on to last year’s sh*t?”

If you love learning and gaining insights from people all over the world, r/AskReddit is the place to go.

2: r/SmallBusiness

The r/smallbusiness subreddit is great for those who own a small business.

As a business owner, there is too much to learn and it helps to go to a community that provides guidance and help.

I’ve found this subreddit in particular very helpful, with topics ranging from sales and marketing down to how to manage taxes and LLC formation.

If you have a small business or planning to start one, consider this r/SmallBusiness.

3: r/PersonalFinance

The r/personalfinance subreddit is great for those who need to boost their personal finance knowledge.

When I started my career, I struggled to understand 401ks, Roth IRAs, and other best money-saving tips.

So when I found this subreddit, I immediately found a sense of relief.

This subreddit also jumpstarted my FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) mindset (more below).

If you struggle with money or just need a community to learn best practices, consider r/PersonalFinance.

4: r/FinancialIndependence

The r/financialindependence (FIRE) subreddit is great for those who are serious or are considering living life on their own terms.

What do I mean?

When I found this subreddit back in 2016, I was struggling with why I felt apathy toward my job and career.

I realized it was because I could be working for the REST of my life…

So I set out to understand what I needed to do to stop that from happening.

More importantly, to live life on my own terms and not be tied to a corporate job forever.

I came across this subreddit, and it forever changed my perspectives. I was taught early on that you graduate from college, enter the workforce, build a “career”, and that’s that.

Never did I ask myself, “How much do I REALLY need to live? What is that number I need to achieve to NEVER be tied to another job ever again?”

Through FIRE, I learned that number (it was MUCH small than I thought).

I also learned how to make money in different ways, how to cut unnecessary expenses, how to negotiate for things like salary and expenses, and so on.

If you’re on a similar path to financial independence and freedom, consider r/FinancialIndependence.

5: r/Space

The r/space subreddit is a subreddit dedicated to all things space.

From astronomy to space exploration, this subreddit has everything you need to learn about space.

Whether you are a beginner looking to learn more about the universe, an experienced space enthusiast, or someone that’s curious about those bright shiny objects out in the sky, this subreddit is the perfect place for you.

Ever since I watched Interstellar, I couldn’t stop thinking about the stars, galaxies, black holes, and the cosmos.

If you’re curious too, I highly recommend r/space.

P.s. I am STOKED for the James Webb telescope! You can follow along here.

What are your favorites?

Learning and growing are tough when there is so much information out there.

But I believe the cornerstone to learning comes best when it’s with a community.

That’s where Reddit fits in.

What are your thoughts?

What are your favorite subreddits?

Let me know!

Book Review: “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh

It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves. (it’s not all about money)

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

A business can be more than just about money.

It can be about making customers, stakeholders, employees, and families happy.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh shares the insights and learnings he developed during his tenure as CEO at Zappos.

Let’s dive in.

What it’s all about

Delivering Happiness shares the insights and learnings Tony developed during his time at Zappos and with the sale of his first startup.

Despite selling his first startup, he noticed something about the culture:

We knew the outside world probably thought we were jumping up and down and doing cartwheels, but instead our mood was a strange mix of apathy and relief. The excitement of LinkExchange had disappeared long ago.

Knowing this, he set out to create a culture at Zappos that focused on making employees, teams, and customers happy.

For example, whereas every business at the time hid its phone number, Zappos displayed it right on its homepage.

Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth.

Short story, Zappos did incredibly well.

They eventually sold to Amazon with Tony continuing to manage the business.

The key message

Businesses can be fun and still serve their purpose of helping people.

Focus on an amazing culture.

Focus on making customers love your business.

And as always, do what’s best for the customer (forget KPIs).

Why I loved it

I share a lot of the same feelings Tony has about business.

My near-decade in Corporate Finance showed me culture is a problem for many businesses, small and large.

Additionally, I’ve seen many businesses not do what’s in the best interests of their customers.

This book will remind you why having a great culture, focusing on customers, and, overall, making people happy matters.

Why you should read it

I believe all founders and company executives should read this book.

It’s a great reminder that businesses thrive when people are happy.

It’s also a reminder that businesses ALWAYS start at the top.

No amount of MBA and studying can teach you that people are people.

Customers, stakeholders, employees, executives.

Focus on happiness.

You can buy the book here.

Memorable quotes

Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth.

We also offer a 365-day return policy for people who have trouble committing or making up their minds.

We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company.

To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative.

We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it.

They told me they really enjoyed the personal stories, and they said that, even though many of them had already read about Zappos in the press, it made a huge difference to actually hear it come from me. They told me they could really feel my passion for company culture, customer service, and Zappos in general.

In the end, it turns out that we’re all taking different paths in pursuit of the same goal: happiness.

I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are not in the business world because they almost always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationships tend to be more genuine.

Your thoughts?

Have you read Delivering Happiness?

How did you feel about the book?

Any interesting takeaways?

Let me know!

5 Best Productivity Tips For Solopreneurs

silver macbook on brown wooden table

As a solo entrepreneur aka solopreneur, it’s important to stay productive and focused.

I ran 2 businesses and a handful of side hustles as a solopreneur, and some days were unbearable.

Being a solo founder can be really tough.

You’re constantly fighting against the odds, and you’re always on your own. It’s a lonely job, and it can be really hard to stay motivated. But there are ways to make it easier.

These are my 5 best productivity tips for solopreneurs.

Let’s dive in.

Tip 1: Set Goals and Milestones

Setting goals and milestones can help you stay on track and achieve your objectives.

By having specific targets in mind, you can stay motivated and focused, making it easier to reach your goals.

Depending on your business, some goals could include:

  1. Evaluate your current marketing efforts and determine where you could improve.
  2. Develop a plan to increase traffic to your website.
  3. Create a budget and allocate resources to marketing and advertising campaigns that will help you reach your target audience.
  4. Streamline operations by picking the right software for your business (e.g. Zapier to automate processes)
  5. Grow sales to $X by running cold campaigns

Setting small goals that you can easily accomplish is often more effective than setting lofty goals that are too difficult to achieve.

So start small and work your way up.

And be sure to celebrate each milestone along the way!

Tip 2: Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your productivity.

Remember those late nights and the feeling you have when you wake up, feeling drowsy and out of sorts?

Yup, that kind.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to be productive.

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, there are some simple tips you can follow to help improve your productivity.

  1. Make a list of what you need to get done the next day and try to stick to it as much as possible.
  2. Establish a bedtime routine that helps you wind down before sleep. This could include reading or listening to calming music.
  3. Avoid watching television or using the computer in bed, as they can keep you from drifting off.
  4. Try to get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, so that your body gets a consistent rhythm of rest and relaxation.
  5. Get enough exercise. Exercise has been shown to improve your overall mood and energy levels, which can help you get more restful sleep.

Whatever tip you choose, stick with it and try your best to get much-needed rest.

Tip 3: Organize Your Time Wisely

When starting out as a solopreneur, it can be difficult to manage your time wisely.

Juggling work, family, and social obligations can feel overwhelming and lead to less productivity.

Here are three tips for organizing your time wisely:

Set boundaries.

Establish specific times during the day when you will be working and other times when you will be free.

This way, you know when to allocate your time and energy accordingly.

Break down large tasks into manageable pieces.

When faced with a large task that needs to be completed, break it down into smaller tasks that can be completed in short order.

This will help reduce the stress of trying to complete a large project on deadline.

I recommend ClickUp to manage this.

You can also refer to my post on how to set up ClickUp here if you’re brand new to the tool.

Take a break.

When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break to relax and recharge your batteries.

This will help you return to work with renewed vigor and focus.

I personally like to step outside, close my eyes, and take a deep breath.

Tip 4: Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology can be a great asset for solopreneurs.

By using technology, you can save tons of time and increase productivity.

For example, you can use software to keep track of your deadlines, manage workloads, or market your business.

Here are some example tools you can use to be productive:

1: Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free online tool that lets you manage your work and personal schedules.

You can add events, set reminders, and add notes to events. This way, you can keep track of all the important dates and details related to your work.

I love color-coding my calendar based on:

  • Activity type (meeting vs. focus time)
  • Category (business vs. personal)
  • Reminders

Whatever process you use, I recommend sticking to it and readjusting every month to see if it still suits you.

2: Notion

Notion is a software app designed to help individuals and teams manage their work and stay organized.

It’s perfect for businesses or organizations that want to be more efficient and productive.

With Notion, you can create custom pages, notes, agendas, wikis, processes, goals, and so much more.

I love using Notion to manage as my second brain and for my business.

3: Google Drive

Google Drive is a great way to keep your work and projects organized.

It offers a simple interface that makes it easy to share files with others, and it can automatically keep track of changes so you don’t have to.

And if you have a Google Workspace account, it’s only normal to use Google Drive as it’s part of your subscription.

I love Google Drive and use it to manage everything.

4: ClickUp

ClickUp is a project management tool that helps people and teams manage their work and personal life.

You can use ClickUp for a variety of things:

  • Manage personal to-dos
  • Manage business tasks
  • Create CRM to manage sales lead
  • Manage growth marketing experiments
  • Create goals
  • Create project timelines using the Gantt function

There’s so much you can do with ClickUp.

I’ve been personally using it back when it was version 1.0 and still love it to this day.

5: Microsoft Office 365

As much as I love Google Drive, Microsoft is still king when it comes to spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office 365 is cloud-based, and you can access all the features of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

My recommendation is to leverage the built-in features such as macros, voice-to-text, and keyboard shortcuts to be more productive.

Tip 5: Delegate Tasks When Necessary

When starting out as a solopreneur, it can be hard to know when to delegate tasks.

Delegating can help you focus on your core strengths and business goals while freeing up time to do other things that are important to you.

Here are five tips for delegating tasks effectively:

1. Define the task clearly.

Make sure everyone understands what is required of them and what the expected outcome is. This will help avoid confusion or frustration down the line.

2. Set deadlines.

If a task is not completed by the deadline, it should be assigned to someone who can meet that deadline more easily. This will help you stay organized and keep your team on track.

3. Be clear about expectations

Set clear expectations for team members, and be willing to hold them accountable. This will help everyone stay focused and motivated.

4. Give feedback.

Be sure to give feedback on a regular basis so that team members know how they are performing. This will help them improve their skills and work towards meeting your expectations.

5. Set up systems and procedures.

If you want your team to be effective, it is important to set up systems and procedures that guide their work. This way, everything is organized and everyone knows what to do in order to meet the goals of the project

Be more productive today

As a solo entrepreneur / solopreneur, it’s important to stay productive and focused.

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when working alone, but following these five tips will help you stay on track and meet your goals.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have any tips that have helped you become more productive as a solopreneur?

Let me know!

5 Best Practices To Save Money Today

pexels-photo-3483098.jpeg

Saving money has always been important to me.

Growing up, we didn’t have money.

I was forced to learn how to save money at a young age, and along the way, I’ve learned a few tricks and tips.

And with Covid-19 still in effect, increasing inflation, and the likelihood of no further stimulus checks, we’re all looking for more ways to save money today.

In this post, I’ll share with you five best practices on how to save money today.

Let’s dive in.

1: Cut Back on Expenses

When it comes to saving money, one of the best things you can do is to cut back on your expenses.

But first, it’s important to note that cutting expenses doesn’t mean living a less-than-average lifestyle.

You can still enjoy life while cutting back.

As Ramit Sethi points out, focus on cutting back on your top 3 cost buckets.

In my finance days, 80% of costs came down to 20% of your categories (Pareto principle).

For most of us, these costs include:

  1. Rent
  2. Dining out
  3. Personal expenses (clothing, toys, etc.)

To cut back on expenses in these areas, determine the following:

Rent

Rent is easily at the top of the highest cost buckets for most.

So reducing this cost can make a significant impact on your savings.

Ask these questions:

  • Can I find a cheaper place to rent?
  • Can I room with a roommate?
  • Can I sublease?
  • Can I move to a lower cost of living (LCOL) area?

One way to start seeing potential is to plug numbers into your spreadsheet.

Play with scenarios, e.g. “If my rent was $500/mo vs. $1000/mo, what would that look like? Where would I live in that range?”

You’ll quickly start to get some great ideas on how to lower your rent costs.

Dining out

When it comes to dining out, many people tend to overlook the fact that it can be one of the hardest areas to cut back on.

In fact, the average American pays $232 a month for commercially prepared meals and eats out four to five times a week.

Take $232, multiply by 12, and you get a staggering $2,784 spent eating out.

Personally, I’ve spent upwards of $5k on eating out….

That’s savings that could have gone towards investments.

You learn 🤷‍♀️

Questions to think about when cutting back on dining and eating out costs:

  • Can I cook at home more often, perhaps using things like the Instant Pot?
  • Can I replace full meals with appetizers?
  • Can I set a budget goal to eat out at specific frequencies?
  • Can I dine out only when I hang out with friends?

Be gentle when cutting back.

It’s hard to slash away dining costs, so strongly consider which areas you’re okay cutting back on. E.g. eating out 1x per week vs. 5.

Personal expenses

The next category that eats a big chunk into savings is personal expenses.

Personal expenses, also known as discretionary spending, include:

  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Electronics
  • Gadgets
  • Movies

To reiterate, there is NOTHING wrong with spending on yourself.

The key, though, is to focus on your budget and what you’ve allocated yourself to spend.

For example, let’s say you allocate $100 dollars every month to spend on yourself. That’s $1200 per year to spend on yourself.

And if you save more than you spent, you can also consider rolling that amount over to next month.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about cutting back on personal expenses:

  • How much can I reduce my monthly expenses by cutting back on personal expenses?
  • Can I make better use of the personal things I’ve already purchased?
  • How much have I spent year-to-date? Why?
  • If I increase my budget, how does it impact my overall savings?

Too often, we feel trapped by our budgets. To me, that’s not a real budget.

A budget is flexible and is meant to work for you.

So long as you set a budget for yourself and stick to it, spend away!

2: Find Deals Online

One way to save money is to find deals online.

There are a number of websites that offer discounts on products and services.

You can also use apps like Honey that automatically find you great deals. I love this app because it searches for coupons for you and then automatically applies them to your basket.

How easy is that?

If you’re an entrepreneur, it can be tough to spend on monthly software subscriptions.

Instead, consider lifetime deals.

You can buy lifetime software deals at sites like Appsumo, Pitchground, and SaaSMantra where you pay once and get the product for life.

This is a great way to save money for your business.

3: Use Cashback Rewards Programs

Cashback rewards programs are a great way to save money on your purchases.

By using these programs, you can earn cashback on your purchases every time you make a purchase.

Some of the best credit cards for earning cashback include:

  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Depending on the card, these cashback rewards can add up quickly.

Always remember to pay off your credit card monthly bill statement in full, so that you don’t owe any interest or debt.

4: Save Money Today Using Coupons

 

Coupons can be a great way to save money when shopping.

I personally have used both physical and digital coupons.

Hey, a deal’s a deal!

One app that I love using to find digital coupons and deals is Honey.

Honey is a free app that helps you find amazing deals and coupons for you automatically.

For example, when you’re ready to purchase an Appsumo software tool, just hit the Honey chrome extension and will show whether or not it found a deal. See my screen below:

Leverage coupons to your advantage to start saving money today.

5: Make a Budget and Stick to It!

Making a budget is one of the best ways to save money.

When you have a budget, you know exactly how much money you have available each month and what you can spend it on. You can also track your progress over time and see how much money you’ve saved.

What I love to do with my budget is to make it visual.

That means creating graphs and charts to showcase your financial progress.

An app I recommend trying out is YNAB (You Need A Budget).

It can be relieving to see your savings accumulate, which means more money for investments, projects, and more.

Here are some tips for making a budget, all of which can be in YNAB:

  • List your income sources (W2 job, side hustles, businesses, crypto)
  • Then list your monthly expenses. Include things like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other bills.
  • Review your net savings percentage (income less expenses divided by expenses). Higher the percentage, the better (I like to aim for +30%)
  • With your budget in place, now figure out how much money you need to live comfortably

Making a budget is a powerful activity.

I’ve had my budget since 2009 and review monthly.

It’s a great reminder of why I save in the first – freedom, flexibility, comfort.

Plus, a budget helps you see things differently. Ask yourself, could I make more money via a side hustle?

Hmm….

Save Money Today

Saving money can be tough.

It’s not always easy saving and knowing that you’re also foregoing that fancy trip, car, or big-ticket item.

However, I would argue that it’s worth it.

Not having to work for another corporate?

Sign me up!

I hope this blog post about the 5 Best Practices to save money today helped you.

Embrace the Savings!

My mentee passed away

The news came as a shock.

It happened one week ago.

I learned of the news from a former colleague who pinged me via LinkedIn.

My mentee was only 29 years old.

I still have vivid memories of when we worked together.

He had joined fresh out of college.

His manager left one week into his newfound finance career.

In a short 6 weeks, he was already on the chopping block.

I mean, how the hell can you expect some kid to learn a job and get up and running without any support or training.

The next part I will always remember.

I booked time for us to sit down and train together.

He broke down and cried.

He said, “Yarty, I think I’m going to get fired.”

It made me incredibly sad to hear this.

So I took it upon myself to train him.

And that’s what I did.

I also did it because I knew about his past.

He had also lost direct family members.

It’s extremely difficult to perform under those circumstances.

Why do I know this?

Because I went through it.

Depression’s a bitch.

To anyone who may be suffering, my heart is with you.

This battle is the most difficult battle of our lives.

We will fight it together.

To my friend and mentee — I hope you’re in a better place.

You will be forever missed.

From family to friends to colleagues, we will miss you.

RIP bud.

Please wake up

man sitting on the mountain edge

“Please wake up.”

There I was, in the first grade, witnessing my own mother trying to end her life.

I was so young I didn’t quite know what was happening, but I did know that she wasn’t breathing.

It was the four of us, and we were crying our eyes out hoping she would wake up.

“Please wake up,” I said as tears fell down my cheeks.

Please wake up.

We were just kids.

Experiencing these kinds of moments at such a young age is hard.

Normally, kids and families shower each other with love and affection, have family picnics with friends and relatives, enjoy their childhood, and not have to face the harsh realities of death, sadness, depression, and loneliness at a young age.

My mother faced many demons, many of which I didn’t know about till much later.

While growing up, we lived through an extremely difficult childhood as my father would constantly scream and shout at us while our mother would guzzle her favorite alcoholic beverage every night.

And after that, my dad would go on to scream at our mother, which then our mother would scream right back at us. It was a vicious cycle.

Every day felt like misery.

There were so many memories of me crying in my bed, praying I wouldn’t be screamed at again. My siblings went through the exact emotions – we were in constant fear.

You never forget.

Those memories will forever remain

As I’ve gotten older, those memories have never disappeared.

Sometimes, those memories motivate me to do more and persevere. Other times, those memories drag me down. I’m human.

My mother ended up suddenly passing away 18 years ago while I was still in high school.

I was right beside her to witness her breathe her final breath. Down to the last hour and last minute.

It was painful.

You’re not alone

For those who have experienced something similar, just know that I empathize with you.

Although you may not hear it every day, you’re loved and cared for. This world can be very misunderstanding, but know that there are many, many others out there just like you.

You’re not alone.

You will persevere.

You will get through this.

Have you experienced something similar in your life?

Let me know by leaving a comment or messaging me.

Embrace the grind.

Look inward

The days are long.

It can be tiring and exhausting.

Some days, you wonder why is everything piling up on you.

“Why me?” you’re asking.

But sometimes, we should try asking “Is it because of me?”

We always have a choice.

A choice to be better, to improve, to change course.

Look inward.

Find a happy medium.

Push forward.

Book Review: “Driven” by Larry Miller

Driven: An Autobiography

I recently finished reading “Driven”, an autobiography by Larry Miller.

It’s a powerful story of a man who climbed through the ashes, worked inhumanely hard (100-hour workweeks for years), and rose to become an extremely rich man.

The problem?

It all came at the expense of his health and family.

He worked years on end, that eventually his health succumbed to its’ effects.

He would end up dying from health complications as a result.

What it’s all about

Driven is the autobiography of Larry Miller, a Car Parts Manager turned Entrepreneur whose net worth would eventually hit more than $500MM by the time of his passing.

Despite his incredible entrepreneurial success driven by a work ethic that’s unheard of, he was also a very generous and giving person.

What struck me about Miller as we talked over the course of many months is that his entrepreneurial career wasn’t fueled as much by money as it was by a sense of duty and community. He saw himself as a bridge builder—another appellation he embraced—someone who could organize efforts between people and organizations to make things happen.

But you might be wondering.

Why was he like this?

A large part was due to his upbringing (was kicked out at a young age and couldn’t understand why), and his anxious need to care for his family.

Here I was, soon to be 27 years old, married, with two children and one on the way, and I was responsible for raising and supporting those children, providing food and shelter and college and housing and much more, while preparing for old age and retirement, and I realized I had nothing to fall back on.

It was at this critical moment he decided he had to be great at something in order to achieve financial security, not only for himself but for his family.

I decided I had to be extremely good at something, and the thing I was best at was being a Toyota parts manager. That night I worked until 10:00. It was the start of my 90-hour-a-week work schedule.

All in all, that work ethic and drive would lead him to purchase the Jazz basketball team, open multiple car dealerships, and have legacy wealth.

The key message

Achieving incredible (financial) success requires an unimaginable work ethic.

But it could come at a cost — your health and your family.

Be wary of the lessons from Larry Miller and decide when enough is enough.

Why I loved it

The book is written very clearly and concisely.

It also contains Gail’s — Larry’s wife — post thoughts, which are insightful and you get to understand her position through it all.

Most of all, it was relatable.

It’s a great reminder success has a cost and can burden those we love around us.

Why you should read it

This book is long.

But thankfully, each chapter is very short — about 5-10 minutes long.

Each chapter is packed with key insights and stories that you can take away for yourself.

Most importantly, it’s a great reminder of focusing on what matters to us — family, health, etc.

Memorable quotes

What struck me about Miller as we talked over the course of many months is that his entrepreneurial career wasn’t fueled as much by money as it was by a sense of duty and community. He saw himself as a bridge builder—another appellation he embraced—someone who could organize efforts between people and organizations to make things happen.

Did you know that he worked six days a week, dawn to bedtime, for 20 years and missed his children’s youth, and that it was his greatest regret?

His body finally organized a boycott to slow his pace. A heart attack was followed by kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and other problems associated with diabetes.

Larry listened intensely and sympathetically, trying to understand and get to know the person.

People ask me if I set out with a plan. No way. The chain of events that began my entrepreneurial career was sparked by three failures: I dropped out of college, got laid off, and got demoted.

She did everything quietly, with no complaint. I couldn’t have done what I did if she had been nagging me and not minding the home front.

I didn’t really learn much the first couple of times I was mistreated by employers, but the third and fourth time it happened, it really sank in. I remember thinking that if I ever got my shot at being a general manager or owner, I would treat my employees better than that, because I know how it feels to work hard and do a good job and then have my employer fail to live up to promises, even though I had helped make him profitable.

Initially, it was fear that drove me to work those 90 hours a week for 20 years—this overwhelming feeling of being responsible for the needs of my wife and children and not having a college degree to fall back on.

When we returned to Utah, I had saved $88,000—which I used to buy my first car dealership. By saving that money, I was able to start my own business, and everything in my professional and entrepreneurial career began with that purchase.

He was afraid if he changed into a person who wanted worldly things he’d lose sight of the reason he had money, which was to help people.

“We all stood around him and said our good-byes,” says Gail. “He took a deep breath and sighed and then he was gone. A tear fell from his left eye.”

Gail picked out a plot that she could see from her bedroom, and every day she looks out to gaze down at Larry’s gravesite. There you are and here I am, she finds herself thinking; after all these years together, we’re still close.

Now, it’s Larry who is waiting for Gail to come home.

How to create your 2022 goals

2022 is here.

365 days have passed.

It’s time to set some goals.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, focus on themes.

These themes should be so powerful that you innately tackle your goals every day without having to think.

You may be thinking, “What does that even mean AND how do I create my goals as you mentioned?”

Let’s jump right in.

Create Goals tied to Themes

Every new year, we create resolutions.

Some include losing weight, sleeping earlier, lifting more, etc.

The issue with this is there are no powerful motivators for us to start.

What do I mean?

Let’s start with losing weight.

  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • How will will you lose the weight?
  • How often will you do the thing to lose weight?
  • WHY do you want to lose weight?
  • Is the reason powerful and strong enough that you do the thing every day/week to lose weight?

These questions are important.

Ultimately, you need themes.

Themes are things that characterize and personify who you are.

Repeat – who YOU are.

Not what anyone else thinks.

Some examples include:

  • Lose weight live a healthier lifestyle and be there for my kids
  • Lose weight to improve overall health and reduce trips to the doctor’s office
  • Lose weight to be more active and have a sharper mind

So instead of creating goals that are vague and bland, focus on themes.

How to create theme-based goals

First, to achieve any goal you have to have a system and process in place.

For example, I use Notion to create my goals.

Then I create a Clickup weekly recurring task to review and analyze my goals.

I do this every week, no questions asked.

Here is my current 2022 goals:

My 2022 goals in Notion

On top are my themes; below are my goals.

When creating your themes, think about what’s most important to you.

What truly matters to you.

For me, being healthy and passing down my heritage to my family is important.

Once you’ve created your goals, review and assess.

Review your goals

This is straightforward.

Review your goals frequently.

Set up a recurring task to review your goals.

I like to deep dive every month for an hour.

I also track my time using Toggl, which provides me with monthly reports to see if I’m doing the things that get me closer to my goals.

It’s important to complete this step; otherwise, December rolls around and another year of not achieving your goals.

None of us want that.

So review frequently, ask the hard questions, and embrace the wins.

Parting Thoughts

Create goals tied to themes.

Make these themes powerful and specific to you.

In some sense, these goals should make you angry.

Why?

Because you’ll be more likely to tackle them.

For me, being healthy is incredibly important because I want to be able to play with my family.

If I don’t take care of my body, I can’t do this.

And it makes me angry.

So I hope this helped you.

Let me know your thoughts and what your 2022 goals are.

#embracethegrind

Welcome + 2021 Recap

https://anchor.fm/yarty-kim/episodes/Welcome–2021-Recap-e1cb3jt

Show Notes

Yarty, Host of Embrace The Grind, shares a welcome introduction behind the purpose of this new podcast.

This podcast exists to share real-life experiences and how we can live a better, more fulfilling life by embracing our fears and challenges.

We also cover a recap of 2021, covid19, and gratitude to our listeners.

Want to stay in touch?

Happy Holidays!

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on what a journey this year was.

Despite Covid19 and the continuing pandemic, it was another strong year.

Personal growth, new and recurring business, embracing new challenges, and connecting with more amazing people.

Every year during this time, I spend 𝟮 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁.

Here are few questions I spend thinking about:

  • What did I accomplish?
  • What can I be proud of?
  • Am I still passionate about what I’m doing?
  • Did I help my friends achieve their goals?
  • Am I regretting anything? (regret minimization framework)

I use this time to reflect on what matters most to me.

I make it a priority to be open and honest with myself.

Because if I don’t, I’ll lose key insights not only about myself, but the things happening around me.

We seldom have time to think about ourselves.

Use this time to be deliberate and intentional.

After I’m done, I then send my insights to myself one year from now via FutureMe.

It’s a great way to remind myself of why I do what I do.

It also keeps me grounded in what matters.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this.

Let’s all end 2021 strong.

Embrace the grind.

Why do I write?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Why do I write?

To write better.

To write clearly.

To write with a purpose.

To write with passion.

To share stories.

To connect with people.

To build relationships.

To never regret.

To pass down knowledge.

To open doors.

To close doors.

To live life.

To live freely.

To be me.

That’s why I write.

𝗪𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 = 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘆 = 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 = 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵

Your thoughts? Why do you write?