Welcome + 2021 Recap–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?

Here’s why gratitude matters and can change someone’s life

Immediately after graduation, my world flipped upside down.

I experienced tragedy. Again.

For the next 3 years, I was a zombie.

I was lost, disengaged, and helpless.

In 2012, in search of a new role, I interviewed with a relatively unknown company called Vistaprint.

Still shaken by past events, I was nervous. But something was different here.

I was happy, laughing, and hopeful.

The team welcomed me, cracked jokes, and calmed my nerves.

For the next 5 years, we worked hard, ate lunch, and laughed together. I met some of the best people during this phase of my life.

I am forever grateful. They believed in me and helped me get back on my feet.

Now, I apply the same experiences to my businesses and team.

We share our gratitude and do our best to make sure people are happy, excited, and hopeful.

Your thoughts? Who has helped you that you feel grateful towards?

P.s. Our giant presentation decks we used to create. So many late nights, so many great memories 👇

How I Push Myself To Do Uncomfortable Things

Uncertainty is inevitable.

Fear is inevitable.

We all experience it.

But how we deal with it is a different story.

After trying and experimenting many different things over my 3 decades here on Earth, here’s what I have learned.

Are you proud of what you’ve done?

Is this who I am? Someone who doesn’t take action?

Those two phrases power me every day.

Whenever I face a difficult challenge, I ask those things.

Cold email, networking, jumping on a call, podcast, etc.

They all scared me.

BJJ, MMA, boxing, wrestling.

I’ve done these for over 20 years.

I’m still scared.

But the trick is, I ask those two questions mentioned above to get me fired up.

Is this just me?

The thing is this.

We all CAN change.

It comes down to a choice.

What choice will you make?

Remember this: whatever’s happened in the past is the past.

You CAN change.

Take action.

Be fearless.

Live without regrets.

Don’t be that person

“You’re never going to change.”

“That isn’t you.”

“We’ve been together 20 years. Don’t bother.”

“You say you want to do. But you won’t.”

“You don’t have confidence.”

Please don’t do this.

  • Don’t discourage people.
  • Don’t kill someone’s dreams.
  • Don’t put people down.
  • Don’t place insecurity onto others.

Instead, do this.

  • Be encouraging
  • Be loving
  • Be supportive
  • Be open-minded
  • Be creative
  • Be a partner
  • Be loyal
  • Be a fighter
  • Be hopeful

Be positive vs. negative.

Be supportive vs. unsupportive.

Be hopeful vs. pessimistic.

Be loving vs. uncaring.

Be open-minded vs. close-minded.

Here’s the thing.

The world is your oyster.

You never know what can happen.

So why not choose the path to happiness and exploration.

That’s how to live.

An ounce of happiness

Everything means nothing when all is gone.

You won’t take your cars, your houses, your money to your grave.

Your status games, your desire to show off, your need to please.

None of it matters.

So focus on what makes you happy.

Maybe it’s taking a walk outside at night.

Maybe it’s tinkering with toys.

Maybe it’s a hot meal out near the beach.

Whatever it is, do that.

Be happy.

In a world where social media reigns supreme and everyone is trying to go viral, stick to what makes you happy.

Sanity is nice.

Forget your pride

Yes. You heard that right.

Forget your pride.

Forget trying to be right.

Forget trying to always be number 1.

Forget trying to stomp all over everyone.

Forget trying to prove everything to everyone.

Forget being miserable.

Forget being prideful.

When all’s said and done, and the ashes have cleared, only the people who truly matter will remain.

When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Forget your pride.

Let them know how much you love them.

Don’t wait.

Don’t let your pride sink in.

Just let the words out.

Be grateful.

Time is limited.

Time is precious.

This is our one life.

Our one and only life.

The Grind.

*Originally posted back in May 7, 2017 after leaving my corporate job

What is the “grind”?

My definition of the “grind” is the ability, determination, and willingness to push through an obstacle, despite the unnerving challenges ahead.

This can be working hard at your job to finish a project deadline, working through the Nth hour on your small business, or even anxiously pummeling your way to complete your last set of push-ups.

As a wrestler and lifelong martial artist, I’ve sustained numerous injuries, puked my share of times after practice, and generally felt like giving up.

But I would always recall the “grind”.

How could I look at myself and just quit?

How could I allow myself to just stop when the going got tough?

I can’t.

To grind through tough circumstances is what develops character, strength, heart, and dedication.

It can be hard though.

Fear, rejection, and anxiety. We all face it.

But what’s important is to remember we will endure it.

We will get past it.

You can grind through the pain.

And remember, when you do, cherish every moment.

Soak it all in.

You earned it.

Because when you take a step back, you tell yourself, “I did this. On my own”.

Grind through the circumstances.

Grind through the challenges and obstacles that lie up ahead.

You’ll be proud of yourself for having done so.

Your Belief In You

*This was originally posted on May 13, 2017

By Les Brown

“I can’t do this.”

“I’ve never done this before.”

“Why does it matter. I’ll fail anyways.”

How many times have you or someone else you know said this?

I know I have.

I’ve passed up on many opportunities due to the lack of self-belief.

But why do we think this way?

Growing up, I’ve had to be my own champion.

I had to pump myself up before big events, whether it was interviewing for a new job or competing in a grappling tournament. Rarely did I have someone nearby to say, “You can do this. Believe in yourself.”

Rather, the opposite and would go something to the effect of, “You could get hurt! Why bother? It’s a waste of time!”

I remember those moments. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get those words out of my head.

Now older, I believe more than ever we need to be our own champions.

We need to tell ourselves that it’s possible, that we have the ability to mold our circumstances, that we have to be intrinsically motivated.

We need to fight for what we want in this life.

I remember the first time I stepped into the cage for my MMA debut.

It was easily the most nerving moment of my life. I mean, I was about to step into a cage, in front of hundreds of strangers, with another man who wanted to hurt me.

I was ready to face the very real possibility that I could have my arm snapped off or be knocked unconscious. Publicly, no less.

But I also believed in myself I was ready. Why?

I had completed an eight-week training camp, sparring week in and week out with the best training partners and having the best coaches around.

I knew I prepared the best I could. I was training twice a day, 6 days a week for my fight.

I knew in my heart that regardless of the outcome, I put in the hard work and dedication. I believed in myself.

Thankfully, the result was positive. I won.

With all that said, believe in yourself.

Believe in yourself when no one else will.

We’re our own worst enemies, and more importantly, our own strongest advocates.

It’s amazing what humans can achieve when we believe in ourselves.

Remember, time flies and days become months, months become years.

Whatever is on our minds that we want to achieve, take the first step. Just take an action.

You won’t regret it.

Fearing the Unknown

*This post was made back in 2017.

“What gives your life purpose?”

Les Brown

I first heard this line maybe a month ago while randomly scrolling through YouTube.

Such a simple line.

So simple that I saved the video and now listen to it once a day.

And so I asked myself, what is my purpose? What do I have to fear?

Memory lane and where it started

During my days at UMass Amherst, I vividly recall asking myself where I wanted to be, what I wanted to accomplish, what were my dreams, and, like so many others, how I would make money (I still think about this).

There were many hard, painful days.

But the one thing I feared more than anything, more than any broken bone or punch to the face I’ve taken, was failing myself.

Giving up, to say it another way.

I remember when I failed an exam.

I remember when I lost my wrestling matches.

I remember not being accepted to my college of choice.

Heck, I remember when I cheated out of my lifting sets!

There’s a silver lining in all of this

But I remember the positive impact from all those experiences as well.

I learned I could deal with adversity, that I could own up and face my fears.

It wasn’t easy, and I’ll never advise that to anyone.

But it’s also why I savor those moments. We all can.

Because we can live to tell about it one day.

A new day to make a difference

With all that said, I continue to ask myself that very same question to this day.

What is my purpose?

What do I have to fear?

I know one thing’s for sure – I’ll keep pushing forward.

We only have this one life.

Live it.

How The Anchor Effect Can Lift You Through Tough Times

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Many times in our lives we’ll face extremely difficult, almost impossible challenges.

Oftentimes, they happen randomly and unexpectedly.

You’re not prepared for them.

However, time and time again we’re able to face these challenges head-on.

Successfully or not, we get through them.

Let me share with you what I term the “Anchor Effect” and how it has helped me time and time again throughout my life.

What is the Anchor Effect?

Let’s start with how Wikipedia defines it.

“The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias whereby an individual’s decisions are influenced by a particular reference point or ‘anchor’. Once the value of the anchor is set, subsequent arguments, estimates, etc. made by an individual may change from what they would have otherwise been without the anchor.”


In simple terms, our decisions are based on some previous experience we’ve had.

This is where my definition of the “Anchor Effect” comes into play for maximum, positive impacts.

I define it as “the ability to overcome inhumane, giant obstacles or challenges by leveraging past difficult experiences”.

Said another way, when you face a hard problem or challenging task anchor it on a previous hard experience.

How You Can Use The Anchor Effect To Lift You

Take a step back.

Breathe in.

Recollect all your challenging moments in life.

Remember what you felt in those moments: despair, disappointed, anxious, fearful.

Recall how, despite those emotions, you managed through.

Now let those moments be your guiding light for any difficult choices, decisions, or challenges up ahead.

Doing hard things becomes easier.

Because you’re allowing yourself to embrace fear, to embrace the difficult that lies ahead.

It’s only through these moments we truly find ourselves and what we’re capable of.

When you’re faced with these moments, write them down.

For example:

  • Create simple google spreadsheet
  • Write list of challenging experiences
  • Date each experience to reflect on
  • List how you managed through them and the impacts they had on you
  • Review periodically

This will be your “bible” when you face difficult challenges.

Your fears, your doubts, they won’t seem so big because you’ll be able to anchor them on your previous experiences.

My Personal Story

The “Anchor Effect” has been a big part of my life.

15 years ago, I was left homeless, penniless, and without family.

To be honest, I still don’t know how I managed to get through those times.

But deep down, I knew I would not quit.

Deep down, I knew I was a fighter. I was meant to fight through this.

Fast forward, being able to recall those tough experiences ultimately toughened me.

I learned to embrace fear head-on, to tackle the impossible, and to try new things.

The Anchor Effect is powerful.

It will make you do things you never thought imaginable.


So when you face life’s toughest moments (which will be many), refer back to the “Anchor Effect”.

Let it be your compass.

Know that you will get through these challenging moments.

That you will become stronger and more powerful from it.

Let those moments define you vs. breaking you.

Become a better version of yourself for it.

To my friends I’ve met throughout the US and the world, you inspire me.

It’s because of you I wrote this. I’m grateful we’ve had the chance to connect.

I’m reminded we’re not alone.

Stay strong.

Embrace the grind.

Regain your childlike wonder

“You have to say, ‘Wait a second. Why are we doing it this way? Could it be better? Could it be different?’ That kind of curiosity, that explorer’s mind, that childlike wonder – that’s what makes an inventor.”

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

We all were excited at one point in our lives.

Foods, bugs, stars, movie stars, teachers, athletes.

But as time went on, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Things we used to love no longer seem as enjoyable.

Days, when we were giddy to get outside, are now filled with the desire to sleep in all day.

It all happens gradually. You don’t even notice it.

What happened?

We lost our childlike wonder.

It wasn’t one specific event.

It was more than likely an accumulation of events: work, family, responsibilities, failures, and disasters that pushed our excitement to the side.


How I lost my curiosity and wonderment

This isn’t a how-to guide nor the best way or method.

No. Rather, this is how it’s worked for me.

I hope it may bring inspiration to you.

10 years ago, I was lost.

I worked 10-12 hour days, grinding out financial reports and stressed out of my mind.

I told myself, “Okay, one day I’ll get to that (thing/movie/activity).”

One day became two, two became weeks, then turned months into years.

I stopped caring.

I wasn’t curious anymore.

I couldn’t see beyond what was in front of me: work.

Then, in 2012 I had this moment.

I wanted more. I wanted more from life.

That night would forever change my mindset. It would bring me back to my college days.

The days when I was hungry to learn, excited to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

Here’s how I regained my childlike wonder

See this kid above here? He’s curious. He’s wondering, “What is this?”

I realized in 2012 I wasn’t curious anymore.

It would eventually be the spark I needed to live my life. To fully own up to it.

I would go on to learn MMA, tackle new projects at work, get married, and travel.

Then, in 2017 I quit my job and turned down an offer from Amazon.

My childlike wonder had me asking, “What do I want to do with my life that I’ve been afraid of?”

In 2018 after returning from a life-changing backpacking experience, I decided I would venture into the world of entrepreneurship.

Little did I know this would be what I was searching for in my professional life.

Admittedly, in my jobs, I would constantly end up doing side projects not related to my job at hand. Hey, I was bored. I wanted more, and I didn’t feel compelled I needed permission.

(P.s. I highly recommend this. You’ll learn a ton. And you’ll learn to be self-sufficient and to think for yourself.)

In the past 3 years since turning down that Amazon offer, my curiosity and childlike wonder has skyrocketed.

I question everything. I find excitement in almost everything. And even when I don’t, I ask so I can learn more.

The best part? I’m not alone.

I found communities that feel the same exact way.

  • What’s no code?
  • What’s marketing? Growth hacking?
  • What is lead generation?
  • What’s a newsletter?
  • What’s a podcast? Which ones are best?
  • How do you buy a company? Wait, you can make money doing what?

So many questions!

But I love it. Absolutely love it.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I get that sense of childlike wonder?”

It’s quite easy.

Be curious. Have a desire to learn. Ask questions. Be “in the moment”.

Tell yourself, “I want to learn. I want more in this life.”

I’ll never forget Jeff Bezos regret minimization quote:

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

His quote always stood out to me above the rest.

I could be 80, on my deathbed, telling myself, “Why didn’t I go for it….”

When you start looking at it that way, chasing your dreams becomes less scary.

So I’ll end with this.

Be excited, Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Be grateful.

Have a sense of childlike wonder.

Tonight, stare up at the stars.

And ask yourself, “What will I regret?”

Taking action today can be life-changing

The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.


Growing up, I was deeply fascinated by things.

Football, baseball, wrestling, boxing, fighting, internet, AIM (yup, we’re old), Myspace (what now?)…the list goes on.

I don’t know why, but I would get entrenched in the topic.

I would study the hell out of it, understand its basics and fundamentals, watch videos, and then discuss it with friends.

Yeah, they may have (most certainly were) annoyed,

But after graduating from college, I joined a Fortune 100’s finance management program.

And just like that, interests gone. Dwindled.

I stopped caring.

It wouldn’t be until December 2012, sitting on the porch with my whiskey that I realized I just stopped caring.

I let myself go.

I took no action.

That, right there, hurt more than anything.

I prided myself on taking action, trying harder, improving myself, and beating the odds.

On that chilly December night was my birthday and I started realizing how many regrets I had.


So I asked myself while dozing off, “What do I regret not doing that I could do NOW?”

Mixed martial arts.

That was it.

Since high school, I always wanted to try my hands at MMA and fighting inside the cage.


Because I was deathly scared.

Being punched in the face, being knocked out, being doubted, doubting myself.

I was petrified. It was paralyzing.

Yet, I wanted it more than anything.

I wanted it for one reason and one reason only:

To prove that I could overcome my fears.

That night was the turning point in my post-college life.

Many decisions thereafter came as a result of that night.

Choosing to live a better life, making money, dreaming of retirement and freedom, fighting inside the cage, volunteering and becoming a board member, being open to opportunities.

Simply, being alive again.

I was dead for a long time.

But that night, that cold night with 2-3 whiskeys down in me, made me realize I had to stop fucking around.

That was 2012.

That was 9 years ago.

So much has changed since then.

I have a son, fought inside the cage, quit my job, learned to code, started businesses, met incredible people, married love of my life and more.

All because of that one night.

My ask of you

What’s something you’re regretting now that you could take action on today?

What would you regret when you’re 80 years old reflecting back of your life?

Have you reached out to the people you love letting them know you love them?

Spend time reflecting. Block out 1-2 hours.

Don’t let another hour go by.

We’re all on a path to somewhere in life.

I truly believe we’re all fighters in one way or another.

Stay well.

Book Review: “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers

Anything You Want

I recently finished reading the book “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers.

Anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur, is leaning towards being one, or is just feeling stuck should consider reading this.

Very few books leave me asking, “Why didn’t I read this sooner?”

This is one of them.

You can also refer to Amazon for reviews.

❓ What is it

Derek dives deep into his business, how he came up with the idea CD Baby, how he operates his business, and why he eventually decided to sell it.

? Key message

When you launch a business, it’s only objective is to satisfy and make its customers happy. That’s it.

? Why you should read it

Some books are fluffy. This isn’t one of them.

If you’re looking for key insights behind how a Founder thinks and their motivations, Derek’s got you covered here.

In fact, the entire book can be read in one hour.

? Memorable quotes

They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.

When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.

And that’s it! Six years and $10 million later, those same two numbers were the sole source of income for the company: a $35 setup fee per album and a $4 cut per CD sold.

If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you.

Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

Don’t waste years fighting uphill battles against locked doors.

Improve or invent until you get that huge response.

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

Any time you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from Steve Blank: No plan survives first contact with customers.

Since I couldn’t afford a programmer, I went to the bookstore and got a $25 book on PHP and MySQL programming. Then I sat down and learned it, with no programming experience. Necessity is a great teacher.

It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.

It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.

So please don’t think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today.

Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

For some people, it’s how many people’s lives they can influence for the better.

Your company should be willing to die for your customers.

That’s the Tao of business: Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well.

When someone’s doing something for love, being generous instead of stingy, trusting instead of fearful, it triggers this law: We want to give to those who give.

One unclear sentence? Immediate $5000 penalty. Ouch.

I wanted to say yes but let him know that this was really hard to do, so I made a policy that made us both smile: “We’ll do anything for a pizza.” If you needed a big special favor, we’d give you the number of our local pizza delivery place. If you bought us a pizza, we’d do any favor you wanted.

Over ten years, it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby, it was because of one of these little fun human touches.

But no matter what business you’re in, it’s good to prepare for what would happen if business doubled.

But the whole point of doing anything is because it makes you happy! That’s it!

Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be.

Kurt said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” Joseph said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have…. Enough.”

It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.

But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.

Business is as creative as the fine arts. You can be as unconventional, unique, and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.

No matter which goal you choose, there will be lots of people telling you you’re wrong.

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.

Even if what you’re doing is slowing the growth of your business—if it makes you happy, that’s OK. It’s your choice to remain small.

Whatever you make, it’s your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.

When D. Sharon Pruitt snapped this photo of a boy in the sand, she momentarily isolated what it is to be an entrepreneur. Stuck in a sand pit of your own devising, held immobile by tiny rocks, and enjoying every moment of it.

For some, it’s a trap. For others, it’s the only way, a passion and a mission, not a job