Connor’s bachelor party in the mountains, April 2022.
Earlier this week I shared the biggest criticisms I took away from my annual feedback review with my buddy. I’ve already been utilizing the changes I wanted to make and it’s been cathartic.
I didn’t want to do this but I feel it’s only natural I share the more tender and positive stuff. One of my biggest insecurities is coming off as arrogant or self-important…but here goes.
1) I practice a growth mindset.
Growth mindset: understanding that skill and talent come from consistent time, effort, and repetition.
Fixed mindset: the false belief that skill and talent are innate and unmovable—you either have it, or you don’t.
It’s the difference between, “I’m just not a musical person,” and “If I sit down and practice piano for 10 minutes a day, I could get pretty good.”
Connor, the guy I do this feedback exercise with, has commented on my lack of perfectionism before. I love to just dive into new projects or crafts, know I’ll be garbage at them, then break through that initial brick wall until I’m actually kind of good.
Theatre, chess, jiujitsu, rock climbing, coaching, content creation…
All these things were pretty painful at the start. I was either cringing at my lack of ability or getting humiliated in one way or another.
In those moments, our 100,000-year-old survival systems kick in. We feel anxious and want to give up. But that’s just a wall to get over.
And once we crawl up and over to the other side (after a few weeks or a few months), that awkwardness and clunkiness turns to fluidity. The problem is that a lot of people simply give up before getting over the wall.
2) I’ve built a life around only doing the things I want to do.
This one really hit when he said it. It’s my central operating system: creating the life I want by helping others do the same.
Joe Rogan is undoubtedly my biggest inspiration in how to live. Let me explain.
Love him or hate him, he lives an incredible life. He was pivotal in me taking control of my life back in 2017. For two reasons…
He was the first real masculine male figure who made being disciplined look really cool to me. Listening to his podcasts and YouTube clips gave an energy of, “Hey man. I love you, but you have got to get your shit together! You could be so much better than you are, and you owe it to yourself to start moving in that direction.”
His career was the first crystal clear example I’d seen of only doing the things you love and making great money from that. He’s a podcaster, comedian, and UFC commentator…and he has worked at these for decades and figured out a way to become rich from each passion.
In short, Joe’s work ethic and results made me think I could get good enough at the stuff I enjoy to make a decent living. I particularly loved his career trio: three different pursuits which offer tons of overlap and variety at the same time.
I’m actively trying to model that myself. My trio is:
If I just do these things for the next 30+ years, that would be my dream career.
Anyway, it sounds almost childish. I just want to do the things I want to do, get better at those things, and repeat that process until I die.
I don’t really set goals. I don’t care about getting a certain amount of money or subscribers or clients. I just want to keep podcasting, writing, and coaching.
If something changes, I’ll pivot. But until then, the train keeps moving.
3) I’m an active listener.
Connor said, “When you listen to people, you make them feel seen and understood, never judged…which is sadly super rare in people today.”
I make a lot of eye contact and often reflect people’s words back to them. What’s funny is I don’t really notice any of that in myself. It must be programmed into me from 1300+ coaching sessions and hundreds of hours of interviewing people.
The biggest gift we can give people is curiosity. Asking people questions and follow-up questions is one of the best ways to make them feel good when they speak with you. It’s a heart-warming way to connect with other human beings.
Connor had a lot of other insanely kind things to say. But these were the three that meant the most to me.
We do this kind of feedback review each year. I’d highly recommend you do something similar with your friends. It can be as simple as two questions:
What’s something I can improve?
What impresses you about me?
What do you want feedback on? What answers are you scared to hear?
Let me know your thoughts.