026: Build leaders around you

For years, I operated from a place of delegating tasks. I would get the work, and then delegate tasks to my team around me.

That is a great place to start, but it has it's limits.

Because when you are delegating tasks, everything still bottlenecks at you. 

The hard next step of leadership is to move yourself from a place of delegating tasks, to a place of building leaders.

This is not some quick thing you can change overnight. 
But instead you must invest in and work with the leaders on your team on a consistent basis, over the long haul. 

You can't just "hire the perfect team leader". 
That doesn't happen. 

In fact most people get frustrated at the people they hire and think they aren't good enough.

But the truth is, they simply haven't invested the time and energy to craft that person into a great leader.

Find someone with a great attitude, and then invest into them. Pour time, energy and money into them weak after weak to turn them into a leader.

And once you have built leaders on your team, you have just elevated your business.

Because now they can delegate tasks instead of you. 
When this happens, you begin to grow exponentially. 

025: Stop Lying

Stop lying... this may sound obvious, and you may say "But Jake, I don't lie.
Well I would ask you to reconsider what is even a lie.

If you take on a project, and then fail to deliver on your promise, that is a lie.
If you avoid conflict with someone close to you and hide your true feelings, that is a lie. 
If you tell yourself you are doing better at eating health, and consistently binge on ice cream, that is a lie.

Lies aren't just the straight telling of lies. 
They are also lies whenever we are afraid to look at the truths in our life.

And when we don't look at the truth, we find ourselves living in fantasy. 

And from this place of fantasy, we have no power, and we can build nothing. 
Because ultimately, we are lying.

For years, I lied in a lot of the work I did.
I sold os many clients, and then I would fail to deliver what I said I would. 

I did not do it intentionally, I simply did not have the skillsets that I thought I did. I was naive about my own strengths, and as a result clients suffered due to my over promising and under delivering. 

We all lie somewhere. 
Where are you lying or avoiding looking at the truth?

024: Skillsets, mindsets and resources

90 days out from where you are today is a greater version of yourself. 

You have accomplished more and achieved the goals you have set out for yourself.

Yet, between you and this greater version of yourself are obstacles. 

These obstacles will get in the way and stop you in your tracks... 

And these obstacles come in 3 different forms:

  • Skill sets

  • Mindsets

  • Resources

You may aim for a target, but in the moment you don't have the skills to achieve it.

You may try to build something, but your mindsets are too small or not in the right place.

Or you may push for a goal, only to realize you don't have the time, money or resources to achieve it. 

When you set a goal, take a moment to think through what is blocking you from achieving it, and figure out how to overcome it. 

023: Expansion as Purpose

For years I have wrestled with this idea of "What is my purpose?" 
That's a pretty freaking hard question to answer. 

In my business, our purpose statement is "The purpose of the companies we create is to generate more freedom, not less, for our owners, team members and customers."

Yet over time, I even wrestled with this and said "Why freedom? What is it for?"

And once again I felt lost...

But eventually, I was introduced to a simple concept on purpose that can be common to anyone.

The purpose of life is expansion.

It is to grow and become more today than we were yesterday. 
Not just in our business, but in our health, our relationships, our impact on others, and in our self-awareness. 

When you really consider this as your purpose, it becomes something that can constantly drive you. 

It can drive you to create more, to push through a plateu, or to stop you from stagnating and retracting backwards.

And it is a purpose that you can apply to anything in your life. 

So why do I generate freedom with my businesses? So that I have more freedom to expand in all aspects of life. 

Consider for a moment that expansion is the purpose of your life. 
How would that change things? 

022: Are you worth $20k per month?

For many of you reading this, the idea of making $20k per month of personal income may sound a bit crazy.You may say "That is so much money. I would never need that much money."

And when you say that, you devalue yourself.

You see, if you look at $20k per month of personal income and think it is crazy and unnecessary, then you put yourself in a mindset of believing that you should not achieve it. That you are not worthy of achieving it...

But let's consider looking at that in a different light.

What if $20k per month isn't just your personal income?

What if $20k per month is simply a reflection of the $200k+ per month of value that you create in the marketplace every single month?

Instead of looking at your personal income as a salary, start to look at it as a reflection of the value you are creating as an entrepreneur.

When you do this, suddenly there is no question on "Do I need this much?"

Instead, your personal income is simply a reflection of the value you have created int he world. 

021: Your income is a reflection of value

For years, I was frustrated with not making enough money. 
I kept pushing and trying different things to make more. 
Yet there was always a ceiling...

What I didn't realize at the time, was that my income was hitting a ceiling because I the value I was creating had hit a ceiling.

My business was bottlenecked based my time, and I was terrible at scaling teams to support more customers. 

Since I couldn't support more customers, I couldn't create more value. 
And since i couldn't create more value, I couldn't earn more.

Over time, I learned a new mindset...

Your personal income is a reflection of the value you create in the market. 

If you want to grow that income, figure out how to serve more customers, more frequently, or provide them with more value. 

Because it is only when you provide true value for others, that finances will come back to you in return. 

You might be able to make some quick cash without providing value, but it won't be sustainable.

If you want real financial returns, you must create real value in the market.

020: Want to be a leader? Be worth following

When I had my first company, I remember reading lots of books on leaderships and how to be a better boss for my team.

Yet I never felt very good at it... 
I never felt that people actually followed me for anything more than a paycheck and a chance to do cool work.

And in reality, that was true.

I was a crappy person back then.
I got wasted on the weekend and woke up on the couch in our office on several weekday mornings. 
I did not live in integrity and had quite a massive ego.

And so when I tried to lead, no one listened... because no one wanted to follow...

What I have learned since is that leadership is not tactical. 

Leadership is about becoming someone who others want to follow.
It is about growing as a person, and producing amazing results.
It is about transforming all areas of your life, not just business. 

It is about becoming a role model for others, so that they want to follow in your footsteps. 

If you want to be a leader, you must become someone worth following. 

019: Looking for answers? Ask better questions

For years, I searched around looking for answers to all of my business problems.

I read book, after book, after book...

Yet it seemed none of them seemed to have the answers that I was looking for. 

Or they would present me with "the answers" but for some reasons those never seemed to "work for me"

Over time, I learned to realize that each of us is on our own unique journey in life. And there is no one size fits all solution to achieving a successful life, or the life that we desire.

No one can give you all the answers.

All they can do is ask better questions...

Here are 3 simple questions to start with. 

These come from the Wake Up Warrior Training program which has forced me to answer some of the hardest questions in my life.

Where am I at?
Where do I want to go?
What are the obstacles to get there?

While they sound simple, if you dive deep on your answers these 3 questions can give you so many answers. 

018: Competition is motivation

For years, I worked out on my own. I would run, or lift or exercise all alone. 

And in that exercising I would "push myself to my limits" at times. 

Or so I thought...

Eventually, I joined up to a Crossfit gym where the workouts are in group format. 

And something awoke in me. 
After I got comfortable with the movements, I started finding myself pushing myself to entirely new levels.

I pushed myself to be faster than the person next to me. 
Or stronger than the person next to me.

At times, this could get unhealthy as it's to focus too much on others.
But in many ways, this competition against others awoke an entirely new level of intensity I never knew I had. 

Competition isn't a bad thing. 
It can become a motivator to drive you to entirely new levels of output. 

017: Plan before you create

For years, I jumped from business idea to business idea.
Some brilliant idea popped in my head and then I just started working on it. 

And then a few weeks or months later, it would die or I would give up on it.

But over time I began to see trends across my businesses that were successful, and those that failed.

It was that I chose to actually plan on the front end. 
I actually stopped and gave myself time to think things through.

Before starting Lead Cookie, I spent roughly 3 weeks in the planning phase as I decided on what business opportunity I would pursue.

Those 3 weeks of planning set the course for what became my most successful business yet.

Note that I said 3 weeks of planning, and not 3 months.

It is easy to get caught up in this phase and plan forever.
Eventually you must create. 

But for many creators like myself, skipping that planning phase is often the downfall of what could have been some of our best work.

Plan before you create. 
It's worth it. 

016: Problems at home mean problems in business

Several years ago I was part of an EO Chapter for a period of time. I met lots of great people there, but there was one trend I saw across many of the business owners.

They had a "Successful" business but were divorced and miserable. 

You see, they had built their lives and their businsses in this unsustainable way. 

They put their business before everything, and as a result many sabotaged their personal life, and then turned to alchohol to numb the pain. 

But there were a few other entrepreneurs who I met. These were the ones who seemed to "have it figured out"

They were happily married and appeared to have these great relationships with their families.
And ironically, these were the entrepreneurs who continued to crush it year after year, even when I left the chapter. 

Many entrepreneurs think that business comes first, and if they can just build a better business, then they can focus on their family.

But the opposite is true...

First, build a strong foundation with your partner and your loved ones. That foundation becomes the basis for which you can build an incredible business.

Life fuels business. 
It's not the other way around. 

015: The age of mass customization

For years, business books have taught us to reduce customization in favor of systemization. 

They told us to ignore the edge cases, and build for the average.

And for years, that worked because we had no other choice.

But times are changing.

Technology, the internet and the ease of accessing more options is changing this game.

Mass production is no longer the goal.
Instead, we are in the age of mass customization.

Because buyers are fed up with one-size-fits all approaches. 

And instead, if you can see them for who they are, and build a system that can customize at scale... that is when you have the competitive advantage. 

It's not about building the perfect system with no variability.
It's about building a system that can produce customization and personalization at scale.


Another shout out to Seth Godin's great podcast Akimbo for this inspiration - https://www.akimbo.me/blog/episode-3-i-see-you-no-more-square-tomatoes 

014: Take a morning dump (mentally)

Every morning I take a dump... in both a literal and figurative sense.
I drink my coffee and...
But I also sit down every morning and I journal (aka my mental dump).

I open up a blank page on my computer, and I start writing. I start getting my ideas, my thoughts and my emotions on paper.

This is a practice I learned years ago from Julia Cameron's "The Artists Way" and it is still a practice that I follow today.

It's a way to clean the slate and get your emotions and thoughts out of the way so that you can focus on the actual work of the day.

It's a place for you to talk through decisions and challenges you are facing in your head. 

It's a place for you to talk with yourself and get yourself out of the way.

Everyday, I wake up and I take that mental dump.
And as a result, I enter my day with significantly more clarity and focus. 

013: Marketing is about status

Anytime we make a purchase, status comes into play.

When we hire the premium provider, we do it out of status.
When we buy new clothes, we do it to obtain status.
When we buy the latest iPhone, we do it not for the features, but for the status.

Because when we lack status, we feel shame. It is in our nature.

And marketers have tapped into this.

Ever so subtly, they create this element of status in marketing, and in doing so, we feel shame if we don't partake.

Shame at our lesser clothing.
Shame at our old phone.
Shame at not being able to afford the best vendor.

Good marketers know that shame is an important emotion that presses us into action.

So be aware when a marketer is making you feel shame.
And consider how you can ever so subtly use shame in your marketing to pull someone into a place of higher status with you.

Thank you to Seth Godin for your new Akimbo episode which was the source of inspiration for this post - https://www.akimbo.me/blog/episode-2-status-roles 

012: Meditation Boosts Productivity

For years, I tried to keep a regular meditation habit... but it would always fall by the wayside when "things got busy"

Yet, over the past 10 months, I have gotten very serious about my meditation practice. 
And over the past 10 months, I have had some of the busiest weeks of my life. 
But I still kept meditating... 

Because here is what I learned... 

When you meditate daily, your productivity skyrockets. 

Even though it may feel like you are "wasting time", it is actually the exact opposite.

If you spend 10-20 minutes meditating in the morning DAILY, over time you will begin to experience this clarity and calmness in your mind. 

This helps you become much more conscious of distractions.
This helps you stop your emotions from getting in the way of your work. 
This helps you produce at a higher level. 

If you want to get more done, spend 10-20 minutes every morning doing nothing. 

It's the ultimate productivity hack. You just have to actually do it daily.

011: What got you here, won't get you there

For the past 4 months, I have been practicing Spanish daily. 
I practiced from a textbook daily, listened to podcasts, and watched Spanish TV. 

Yet when I actually got down to Mexico, I was hit with the harsh reality of actual conversation. 

Despite how much I practiced, I would find myself dumbfounded anytime someone spoke to me in Spanish. 

While I could speak and communicate decently, I could not comprehend. 

I was at a plateau.

What I had been doing got me to a place of writing and communication, but it failed to prepare me for comprehension.

So I hired a Spanish teacher, and we sat there and practiced conversation.
I practiced listening to her.

And within a matter of weeks, my comprehension levels drastically improved. 
I started having actual two way conversations in Spanish. 

What got you here, won't get you there. 

When you hit a plateau, you have to change what you are doing to grow past it. 

Where are you hitting a plateau in your business, health, relationships, or personal growth? 

010: Food fuels production

For years, I ate whatever I felt like. I had no routine, and no set diet. 
I just tried to "eat healthy" as often as I could. 

And for years, I failed to see a connection between what I ate, and how I felt.

But over time, as I refined my diet down to a science, I learned an important lesson. 

Food is fuel. 

If I eat unhealthy foods, I will feel groggy, tired and weak. 
Unhealthy foods dampen my ability to produce at work and ultimately reduce my output.

If I eat healthy food, I feel energized, invigorated, and fueled to produce. 
Healthy foods fuel my ability to produce and maximize my output. 

This sounds obvious and simple, yet for many people it is a concept they have never even considered. 

I know because for 25 years, I never considered it. 

Food is fuel. 

If you want to produce at a higher level, give your body the fuel it needs. 

009: Value exists in the minds of men

Wrapped around a finger on my left hand is a wedding ring. 
This ring is made of gold and white gold. 

If you were to walk into a jeweler and buy this exact ring, it would cost you roughly $1,400. 

It would cost that because the "markets" which are made up of all of the men and women in the world, have determined the the value of these materials is roughly $1,400.

Yet, if you were to ask me the value of this ring... That would be a different story.

This ring is not just made of gold, it is made of gold from my grandfathers jewelry. 

This ring is not just a ring, it signifies my love and commitment to my wife.

To me, the value of this ring is worth far more than $1,400. 
If I lost it, I would pay far more to get it back. 

Value does not just exist in gold and materials.
Value is created in the minds of men. 

The property itself has no value without people.
Human perception creates value. 

008: Fitness Impacts Your Finances

For the first 9 years of my entrepreneurial career, I neglected my body. 
I told myself that I "didn't have time to work out" because I was so busy with work. 

And so for 9 years, my body was weak and unhealthy.

Yet here is the ironic thing... 

It was about 1 years ago near the start of Lead Cookie that I committed to exercising on a daily basis. 

I made the commitment, and I made time to make it happen.

And here is the ironic part...

Even though I was and am more busy now than I as then, I still workout.

Why do I do it?

Because your body can be either an anchor, or a an asset in your life. 

If you neglect your body, your energy is low and your body will hold you down from bringing full energy to your work.

If you treat your body like an asset, then your body will generate power and energy that lets you bring your full self to work.

Your body is an asset. 
Invest in it.  

007: Turn life into a game

Growing up, I loved playing video games because there is always a scoreboard and a way to know if you are winning. 

Yet, as you get older and go through life, you often have no idea if you are "winning". 

And so with no "scoreboard" to our life, we just wander about and have nothing pushing us toward improvement.

Unless we build our own scoreboard...

Bookmarked on my browser is my "Personal Dashboard"

This is an excel spreadsheet that I used to track that which is most important to me. I use this to put metrics to my daily habits and actions.

Did I work out today?
Did I meditate today?
Did I write a letter to my wife today?
Did I study something new?
Did I teach what I learned to others?
What is my weight?

These are a few examples, but I track many more items. 

The purpose of measuring all of these is simple...

To turn life into a game. 

Because when all of my metrics are green, I know I am winning.

And when my metrics start to fall behind, it's time for me to level up.