Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

Today I'm thrilled to re-share my podcast episode with Michael Bungay Stanier, whose book The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever is celebrating its one-year anniversary! 

If you haven't read the book yet, now's the time to grab it! From March 1 to 3 The Coaching Habit eBook will be available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon. 

There's also an awesome contest running from March 8 to 24. In honor of his famous haiku (mentioned below), Michael is inviting other influencers to submit their best coaching wisdom in just 17 syllables — their own coaching haiku. You can learn more about the contest and prizes here. 

And here's my own coaching haiku for some inspiration:

Listen deeply. Dig
for what's not said. Flicker of
Joy becomes fireworks.

Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

We have all had the experience of sharing something that’s on our mind with a friend, family member, partner, or co-worker — then bristling in frustration or quiet defeat as they jump straight into trying to solve our problem with their brilliant advice.

What’s the alternative? Curiosity and a few simple coaching questions. That what I dig into on this Pivot Podcast with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever! Not just for managers and coaches, today’s conversation will help all of us become better black-belt listeners. Written as a haiku, Michael’s message is:

Tell less and ask more.
Your advice is not as good
As you think it is.

    More About Michael

    Michael was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation, gave himself a concussion digging a hole as a laborer, was fired on his first shift as a garage attendant and has held a number of jobs where he had little or no impact.

    Luckily, there’s also been some upside. He is the author of a number of successful books including: End Malaria (which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Malaria No More), Do More Great WorkGet Unstuck & Get GoingGreat Work Provocationsand most recently The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. He is also the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, and was the first Canadian Coach of the Year. His real success in becoming a Rhodes Scholar and going to Oxford was meeting and marrying a Canadian who refuses to take him too seriously. 

    Topics We Cover

    • Why coaching and today’s podcast isn’t just for “life coach-y types”
    • 7 key questions to guide a coaching conversation
    • How you can apply these questions to coach effectively in ten minutes or less
    • What pick-up lines have to do with coaching and The Kickstart Question
    • The best coaching question in the world (and it’s only three words long!)
    • Why laziness is a benefit to you and the person you are talking to
    • The importance of getting comfortable with silence; why it is challenging and the reasons silence is actually a measure of success 
    • No more fake active listening! 
    • The benefit of sticking to questions that start with   instead of why
    • The pitfalls of trying to get more data (asking questions for your sake) versus getting curious instead
    • Avoid rushing to action; even how questions aren’t as important as exploring the what 
    • Stop solving the wrong problems and get to the heart of things with The Focus Question: what’s the real challenge here for you?
    • How the Drama Triangle (Victim, Persecuter, Rescuer) can inform conversations (and relationships) that have veered off course
    • How to pull yourself out of trying to be helpful to so many people
    • Why we should stop humblebragging about being “good busy” and “working smarter, not harder”
    • Combatting those habits with The Strategic Question: if you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
    • Double-loop learning and The Learning Question: what was most useful for you?

    Podcast: How to Tame the Advice Monster

    Press play on the embedded player below or listen on iTunesSoundCloud, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    As Michael says at the end of his book,

    The real secret sauce here is building a habit of curiosity. Find your own questions, find your own voice. And above all, build your own coaching habit.”

    Book Giveaway: The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

    One of my favorite TED Talks of 2016 was Neil Pasricha's How do you maximize your tiny, short life? Entirely composed of questions, Neil likes to call it the world's first TED Listen, and it's a great thought-starter about the impact we each want to make in our lives.

    Watch: How do You Maximize Your Tiny, Short Life?

    Listen: Want Nothing, Have Everything: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Today I’m re-sharing my podcast episode with Neil from September, where we discuss the success trap, why advice is irrelevant, and the reason you wake up in the morning. Listen to the Pivot Podcast in the embedded player below or subscribe on iTunesSoundCloudOvercast, or Google Play Music. And be sure to check out the book giveaway at the end! 

    "Be you. Be you, and be cool with it. There is nobody else you can be better."
    —Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

    Neil Pasricha's writing is like a cup of hot chocolate, or as he would describe it in Awesome Thing #119, like watching butter melt on a hot piece of toast. It is comforting and delightful. His latest book is about what he learned along his own roller coaster ride of reaching smashing success with his 1,000 Awesome Things blog and books, then realizing he still wasn't happy. We break down topics like The Saturday Morning Test, the three time buckets, and many more. Enjoy!

    More About Neil Pasricha

    Neil Pasricha is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome series, which has been published in ten countries, spent over five years on bestseller lists, and sold over a million copies.

    Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after ten years heading Leadership Development at Walmart he now serves as Director of The Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his life to developing leaders, creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. He lives in Toronto with his wife and sons.

    Topics We Cover

    • Feeling trapped by extrinsic motivators, ever-escalating goals
    • Achieving massive success—multiple bestsellers, TED talk—then feeling trapped by the never-ending search for more
    • Overcoming compare-and-despair
    • The Success Triangle: sales, social, self
    • The Meat Grinder of marketing, stress from emphasizing sales
    • "The goal is not to be perfect, it's to be better than before."
    • What the healthiest 100-year-olds in the world can teach us
    • Ikigai, a Japanese term for the reason you wake up in the morning
    • Retirement is an arbitrary, relatively new concept; many of the world's healthiest places to live don't even have a word for stopping work
    • The Saturday Morning Test
    • Advice is irrelevant; "When we are looking for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice."
    • How he decided when to leave his job as Director of Leadership Development at Walmart
    • Why having a side hustle for so long as an author allowed him to take big risks at work and in his writing
    • Three Bucket Model of the Week: Sleep, Work, Free/Creative/Fun (56 hours each)

    Podcast: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

    Book Giveaway

    We're excited to announce that one awesome Life After College reader will receive a copy of Neil Pasricha's The Happiness Equation!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, February 3. We will pick a winner via and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    As Neil asks in his TED Talk: "What story or idea of yours might survive as a tiny, flickering light millions of years into the future?"

    PIVOT Launches Today! Unboxing + Early Highlights

    HAPPY PIVOT LAUNCH DAY!! I can't believe it's here. After three years of preparing for this moment, now the serendipity lottery tickets truly go on sale.

    What's next? Although I have hypotheses, in other ways I have no clue which of my next pilots will pick up steam. And as I learned from writing this book, that is A-OK. 

    I can't wait to see what bubbles up next, and for all of you to read the book—or listen if Audible is more your style :). Thank you all for the love and support along the way—I am grateful beyond words. 

    The most helpful thing you can do this week in addition to social sharing: leave an Amazon review once you've read the book (and thumbs-up other reviews you find helpful). Thank you in advance!!

    Early Highlights

    I have had such a blast recording podcasts, doing interviews, writing articles, and ninjafying my own business systems (aka digital nesting) to prepare for the extra traffic 'round JBE digital HQ. 

    Some favorites:

    Here's an Unboxing video of me seeing my book in hardcover for the first time:

    Me and James jamming in the studio for our podcast double-header:

    Launch Week Momentum

    Here are some actions that will make a big difference: 

    • Spread the word via email. Do you know someone at a pivot point in their career or business? I would love for you to send an email to anyone you know who is searching for an answer to “what’s next?” and could benefit from a step-by-step guide to figure that out. If you have a newsletter, online community or other big platform you can include the blurb in, that’s a super bonus! You can find blurb copy here.

    • I have also created a fun Pivotability Self-Assessment where people can take a short 5-minute survey to determine their Pivot Profile. 

    • Amazon review on launch day. This will be a huge help!! Reviews are a huge signal to potential readers that the book is worth their time and a very strong positive momentum/social proof signal as well. Extra credit: copy and paste your review into Goodreads if you’re on that platform too :)  

    • Super Duper Bonus: Purchase more than one copy. Either buy a book for a friend, or if you work within an organization, see if there’s budget to buy a copy for everyone on your team. If you buy 10 books, you’ll get an Actionable Conversation workshop-in-a-box for free ($500 value) to facilitate a one-hour lunch-and-learn session with your group. I’ll be doing a free webinar with Actionable Conversations on 9/8 where you can learn more about this.  

    Now let's go rock this launch week!! 

    I'll report back on how it all goes soon :) 


    3 Things I Learned About Productivity from the Perfect Day Method (+Giveaway!)

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    As a freelancer, I often feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get to work with amazingly talented people and companies who are doing important and impactful work. But I also get a certain level of freedom in terms of how I work—how many hours I work, where I work, how I schedule my days, and when to take vacation time.

    But that’s not to say that freelancing is easy or is the “perfect” situation for everyone.

    There have been many mornings where I wake up and have a plan for the day: a few client calls, time blocked out to do certain things, some admin stuff in the afternoon. But then it all goes out the door when the emails come flooding in: new (more pressing) assignments, mini-emergencies, the occasional anxious phone call.

    Suddenly I have a million new things screaming for my attention. And I know it’s not just freelancers who deal with this work craziness! :)

    The fact is we are working in increasingly interruptive environments.

    Pierre Khawand, work and productivity expert and founder and CEO of People-OnTheGo, notes that these interruptions are invasive to our lives and our results:

    “We are overloaded with too many e-mails, too much social media, too many competing and changing priorities, too many interruptions. Worse, we are led to believe that we need to keep up, to speedup in order to succeed in the modern workplace. As a result, our minds are overwhelmed and scattered. Studies show that work in an interruptive environment, whether or not those interruptions are related to our work, increases the experience of stress, frustration, time pressure, and effort to get work done." —Pierre Khawand

    These interruptions come in all forms—from digital communications and people knocking on your office door, to random thoughts and emotional needs. I was amazed to hear Khawand and his team recently developed a new time management method that takes into account these interruptive demands of the modern working world.

    The Perfect 15-Minute Day Method

    In his new book The Perfect 15-Minute Day: Managing Your Time, Thoughts, and Emotions, Khawand walks through a time management method that requires only a journal and a timer. It’s based on doing work within 15-minute focus bursts—enough time to get a good chunk of work done, but not long enough that we get lost in a time warp!

    Check out the video below for a closer look at how it works:


    I took the Perfect Day Method (PDM) for a test drive in July, and I was amazed at the results. This method goes beyond just helping you get more stuff done.

    3 Things I Learned About Productivity from Using the Perfect Day Method:

    1. There is power in 15-minute increments.

    How many times do you look at the clock and see another 15 or 20 minutes have slipped by without having made progress? While it feels like such a short time block, deciding to focus on something for 15 minutes is such an easy commitment that lowers the barrier of entry into a task. There’s no pressure to complete the task—just to focus on it. You’ll be surprised how being more mindful of your short time blocks really add up in the end!

    2. It is important to have a system in place for thought overload.

    “The skill of intercepting a thought, before we act on it, needs to be learned and practiced.” —Pierre Khawand

    When we set out on a work project, we often find ourselves managing tasks, subtasks, new developments, and other related to-dos along the way. The Perfect Day Method has a designated space for all of these things that we must remember to do— so that we can free up short-term memory, never forget about all the little details, and renew our focus on the task at hand.

    3. Productivity means leaving room for the unexpected.

    When was the last time your day went exactly as planned? We can set all the intentions, goals, and appointments we want, but the fact is our days develop organically. Our work affects and is affected by the work of other people, life events, and even environmental conditions. With the Perfect Day Method, you don’t have to map out every little thing; the system is tailored to let your day grow organically.

    Book Giveaway

    We’re excited to announce that five lucky Life After College readers will receive a copy of The Perfect 15-Minute Day Journal!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, August 19. We will pick 5 winners via and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    What is your best productivity tip?

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol graduated Yale in 2015 as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and brand strategy. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    Been Itching to Write a Book? Join me for a Live 5 Day Book Ninja 101 in May

    Written by Jenny Blake

    I can hardly believe it, but the Pivot manuscript is DONE! D-O-N-E, doneLast week I turned in the very last paper “first pass” edit on Pivot, and now we work on finalizing the cover before sending it off to galley printing (advance copies for media) before the September 6 launch.

    It is crazy to think how close this book is to launching. For three years this project had taken up residence in a very large portion of my brain. Only when it was out of my consciousness did I realize how all-consuming it had been, churning in my sleep, my waking hours, my walks, and my showers. Now I'm able to take a step back and share more of my process.

    Wondering how long it takes to write a book? Check out last month’s behind-the-business episode of the Pivot Podcast. On Kevin John’s The Writing Coach podcast, I also discuss how surrender and serendipity are playing a bigger role in my launch planning this time around. And I'm very excited to bring you a live 5-day series in May. Introducing . . .

    BOOK NINJA 101: 5 Days of Live Workshops


    Been itching to write a book but not sure where to start? Or in the middle of one but stuck on what’s next? Join me for the week-long Book Ninja course in May with soup-to-nuts practical, tactical tips for generating momentum and getting published.

    As one of my book mentors Michael Larsen once said to me, “It is no longer a question of if you will get published, but when and how.” This course includes five live workshops during the week of May 16 (at 3pm ET), with recordings if you can’t make it.

    Early birds: if you join Momentum by April 17, you will get this course for free and receive an advance copy ofPivot when the galleys are sent out in May!

    Here is what we will cover:

    • Monday, May 16: Systems for Outlining, Researching, Writing, and Editing—Fresh off a three-year marathon of writing Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, I will share my best tips and tools for every stage of the book writing process: how to organize ideas and research, outline the book, chunk writing into bite-sized essays, and how to get unstuck when you hit book block.
    • Tuesday, May 17: Craft a One-Page Book Pitch with Jennie Nash—Jennie will introduce her simple tool for harnessing your idea, framing your marketing strategy, and knowing how to answer when someone says, “What’s your book about?”
    • Wednesday, May 18: Traditional Publishing Q&A with my editor at Portfolio/Penguin Random House, Natalie Horbachevsky—A conversation with my genius editor, Natalie, in which I get to ask everything I have always wanted to know too! We will dig into tips for landing a coveted “Big Five” book deal, what she looks for in terms of platform, what types of big ideas are most appealing to publishers, her role as editor throughout the process, what motivates her to proactively reach out to an author (scouting), and if self-publishing first helps or hurts. You can also submit questions too, and I’ll be sure we cover them!
    • Thursday, May 19: Self-Publishing Success with Taylor Pearson—An in-depth conversation with Taylor Pearson about self-publishing his book The End of Jobs to smashing success—how he sold 5K copies in the first month, 12K to-date, made $35K in resulting revenue, and grew his list by 500%. For a sneak peek at what he will be sharing, check out his post Jesus Marketing.
    • Friday, May 20: Open Q&A with Jenny (+ Special Bonus): Map what’s next for your book project, and ask me anything that is still on your mind. We’ll also do a round-robin sharing (optional) for committing to next steps. All members of the course and the Momentum Community will receive access to my super secret work in progress, the 20+ page Behind-the-Book toolkit, including my proposal template that landed the Penguin deal, my writing tracker template, book tour planning process, and more.

    Enroll in Book Ninja here ($125), or get the course for free when you join Momentum, which includes every course and template I have ever created ($700 value), live monthly workshops, and optional private office hours calls with me.

    About Jenny

    Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career Strategist
    Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career Strategist

    Jenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book Pivot. She isa career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business.Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 9th year!) and at, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

    Life After College's Big Reads of the Season (+ Giveaway!)

    books One of my favorite things about being out of school is being able to read whatever I want. Not being beholden to a course syllabus is an amazing thing. I’m no longer rushing night after night to finish hundreds of pages of assigned reading, and I get to let my curiosity lead whatever I read next.

    It’s like being a kid at a candy store—happily overwhelmed by all the choices, I  decide to take a sample of them all!

    In this new series on Life After College, I’ll be rounding up the team’s latest favorite reads of the last quarter. These books and articles have inspired us in our work—teaching us new things about our fields and pushing us to up-level our game. Enjoy!

    The Life After College Reading List: Q1 2016

    1. Lucent List

    First up, we’ve been loving everything in the Lucent List emails, rounding up all the latest in meditation and mindfulness. They mention some great reads like 99u’s The Power of Creative Cross Training and Time’s The Mindful Revolution. Check out the Lucent List archive here.

    2. The Internet to the Inner-Net: Five Ways to Reset Your Connection and Live a Conscious Life by Gopi Kallayil

    Speaking of mindfulness and meditation, I just finished reading Gopi Kallayil’s new book The Internet to the Inner-Net. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Entering the workforce in this age often means being glued to your cell phone and laptop, and I’ve been craving some more balance between my inner world and my online world. Here’s a description:

    A fast-paced career in the high-tech industry combined with a deep yoga and meditation practice has allowed Gopi Kallayil—Google’s Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing and one of the leading voices encouraging yoga and mindfulness in the workplace today—to integrate his inner and outer technologies to a remarkable degree. Wisdom from his yoga mat and meditation cushion guides his professional career, and his work life provides the perfect classroom to deepen his wisdom practice. The Internet to the Inner-Net guides the rest of us to do the same. In some three dozen wide-ranging, sometimes provocative essays, Gopi shares his experiments in conscious living and offers insight, inspiration, and rituals—including yoga, mindful eating, and even napping—to help us access our own inner worlds.

    3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

    Deep Work  is a favorite of Jenny’s that I’m just now half-way into myself. In an effort to really turn our attention to projects that matter, we’ve been loving Newport’s message.

    Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way. In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

    4. Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez

    We’re always down to read something by Nancy Duarte, and her latest book Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols does not disappoint.

    “As a leader, you have the same potential to not only anticipate the future and invent creative initiatives, but to also inspire those around you to support and execute your vision. In Illuminate, acclaimed author Nancy Duarte and communications expert Patti Sanchez equip you with the same communication tools that great leaders like Jobs, Howard Schultz, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to move people. Duarte and Sanchez lay out a plan to help you lead people through the five stages of transformation using speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols.”

    5. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

    If you listened to Jenny’s recent Pivot Podcast episode with Michael Bungay Stanier, you’ll know his new book The Coaching Habit is a must-read. Questions are the bedrock of great coaching and guidance—start asking them more!

    “Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching employees is done badly, or not at all.  They’re just too busy, and it’s too hard to change.

    But what if managers could coach their people in 10 minutes or less?

    In Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.”

    6. The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha

    I’m still making my way through Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation, but it’s already helped me break through how I think of success and happiness in the pursuit of a great life.

    “In The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to Happiness.

    Each secret takes a common ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in a completely new light. Pasricha then goes a step further by providing step-by-step guidelines and hand-drawn scribbles that illustrate exactly how to apply each secret to live a happier life today.”

    Book Giveaway

    We’re excited to announce that five lucky Life After College readers will receive a copy of one of the books above! To enter to win, please answer the following questions in the comments by Friday, April 22. We will pick 5 winners via and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win What books and other reading have been inspiring you lately? If you let curiosity and intuition guide your next reading choice, what would you read about next?

    Six Strategies to Play Big (+ Giveaway!)

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    Did you know that over 70% of people have felt like a fraud at some point in their professional life?

    Impostor syndrome is much more common than you think, and it is especially common in high-achievers. This phenomenon occurs when a person is convinced she is a fraud, a fake, able to pass off work that only “seems” good. Despite clear evidence of a job well done and the praise of peers and bosses, she just doesn’t think she deserves such success. It’s inevitable: one day they’ll catch on that she’s an impostor just flying under the radar.

    But if you think impostor syndrome is just a matter of confidence, think again. It can have considerable effects on our careers. Studies have shown that when we think we’re fakes, we only apply to safe jobs we think we’re totally qualified for, we’re less likely to show off our good work, and we find it much more difficult to negotiate salaries and work responsibilities. Not to mention the constant anxiety that one day your cubicle mate will turn around and shout, “Aha! Quick Watson, I’ve found the impostor among us!”

    There are many classic signs of shying away from your achievements and value:

    • Dismissing your work as “easy”
    • Attributing your success to luck
    • Shrugging off praise from others
    • Thinking your work looks better than it really is

    But what if you don’t show the classic symptoms? How can you tell if you are hiding from your true value, strength, and potential?

    Hiding Strategies and How to Play Bigger:

    In her new book Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, Tara Mohr calls us out when it comes to not stepping up to the plate and playing big.

    An expert on women’s leadership and well-being, Tara has identified six sneaky “hiding strategies” we use to avoid playing bigger and to trick ourselves into thinking we are making strong progress in our career endeavors when we actually aren't.

    Hiding Strategy #1: This then that

    What is it? This is the false belief that things must happen in a certain order.

    What does it look like? “I want to teach a class, but I need to build a website about my classes first” or “I want to apply to this top-level job, but I need to move up the ladder first.”

    Play Big: Know that there is no one right order in which things can happen. What is the most direct action you can take right now to play big and achieve your goal? Go for it. Submit that job application—what's the worst that can happen?

    Hiding Strategy #2: Designing at the whiteboard

    What is it? Creative work in isolation. It’s safe yet unproductive work that is out-of-touch with reality.

    What does it look like? Brainstorming for a project without input from co-workers, building a business without talking to your ideal customers.

    Play Big: Get out there and strike up a conversation! People often see advice- and feedback-seekers as smart players in the workplace. They admire you for wanting to up your game and are happy to help.

    Hiding Strategy #3: Overcomplicating and endless polishing

    What is it? Finding reasons to delay the launch of your finished work, often stemming from a desire to ensure your work is high quality and robust.

    What does it look like? Constantly adding new elements and features to your project, finding new parts to revise or write anew, endless researching.

    Play Big: Simplify and launch a bold bare-minimum—you can always add to your work later, and publishing an early version of your work allows you to get helpful feedback!

    Hiding Strategy #4: Collecting or curating what everyone else has to say

    What is it? Leaving out your own opinions and ideas. This is a classic way of presenting great thoughts, but protecting oneself from the vulnerable position of claiming ownership of innovative, sometimes provocative ideas.

    What does it look like? Writing a book about people’s perspectives of September 11, but not including your own. Curating other people’s ideas on how to solve the ebola crisis, but not adding your own solution to the mix.

    Play Big: Share what you have to say.

    Hiding Strategy #5: Omitting your own story

    What is it? This is the fallacy that the work you do should stay completely separate of your inner passions, questions, and curiosity.

    What does it look like? “If I include my own experiences as a mother in my article on education reform, people will think I’m just another biased, harping parent. My research and ideas will be discredited.”

    Play Big: Share why your work matters to you. There is no such thing as pure objectivity in the work we do—own up to how you are approaching your work, and this adds greater nuance, depth and productivity to the conversation.

    Hiding Strategy #6: Getting more and more and more education

    What is it? Retreating to the comfort of more school, more training, and more instruction, instead of leaping into the next big thing. This is a classic stalling tactic.

    What does it look like? “I should get a PhD in education before I get elected to my district’s Board of Education.” “I need an MBA to start my own business.”

    Play Big: Share what you already know. Trust that you have enough expertise to make an impact right now.

    Book Giveaway

    We’re excited to give away a copy of Playing Big by Tara Mohr to one lucky Life After College reader. To enter, answer the following question in the comments by Friday, November 14:

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: What hiding strategy do you use most often? What's one action that you could take this week to move past it?

    Introducing SkilledUp

    This month we’re honored to partner with SkilledUp, an online course discovery platform built to help you gain new skills.  SkilledUp’s ultimate vision is to transform education as we know it—how it’s delivered, how much it costs, and how quickly it helps you get to a career you love.

    Exclusive Deal

    SkilledUp is offering 90% off "How to Get a Better Job Faster" - an online course created to help you find your dream job! 

    Get this exclusive discount just for readers of Life After College.

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and marketing. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction, and trying out new recipes. She can be reached  on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    Want to Write 50K Bloggable Words with Me in November?

    Written by Jenny Blake If you haven't yet heard from my post at, we got a book deal! This post will catch you up on all the highlights: recent announcements, piv0t-related resources, book deal behind-the-scenes, and a NaNoBlogMo group that I'm hosting in Novemeber. Let's dig in! 

    About the Book

    The Pivot Method will be published in hardcover by Portfolio/Penguin in early 2016, one of the top business and career imprints, and I could not be more thrilled.

    Penguin Lobby(View from the Portfolio/Penguin Lobby before my big meeting . . . I pretty much died and went to Heaven . . . and yes, this is exactly what my view of Heaven looks like!)

    Portfolio/Penguin is home to books by Seth Godin, Richard Branson, Ryan Holiday, Pamela Slim, and many other "new media" authors like me. Now I've gotta get cookin' on writing! A solid first draft is due in April.

    I will be documenting my writing process and systems to share with you along the way, and more importantly, I want to write this book WITH you and FOR you. It's critical that I write what you actually want and need, so I'll be sending surveys, holding phone calls, and creating a course in the new year to help "prototype" and pilot the ideas in the book with your feedback (fitting in with my Pivot Method process too, as it were!).

    Make sure you’re subscribed to my behind-the-business updates and following my blog at to get all the insider news.

    Pithy description is still a work in progress (especially since the book isn’t written yet!), but here’s a quick overview:

    In The Pivot Method, The Lean Startup meets a personal playbook for change.

    Borrowing from the Silicon Valley mindset of building lean, agile companies that thrive under conditions of risk and uncertainty, so too can we become more fluid in our own lives. The Pivot Method is a blueprint for becoming more resilient in a rapidly-evolving economy, and includes a three-step process for methodically navigating major career changes by starting from a foundation of what is already working.

    This book is geared toward anyone who values growth and impact. Individuals will learn how to take calculated risks to pivot within and outside of organizations, and leaders will walk away with strategies to engage and retain top talent.

    Plan Your Next Pivot

    I'm also thrilled to be a part of General Assembly's Find Your Fit series. It features 7 experts who share everything from job hunting, to personal branding, to pivoting your career (hey, that's me!). Don't miss my video series on how to stay competitive in your field and make your next career transition a success by starting with small experiments.

    General Assembly is also offering newcomers a one month free trial of Front Row, their unlimited all-access service to both live and on-demand streaming classes for a number of topics in tech, business, and design.

    Book Deal Behind-the-Scenes

    For those curious about the deal-making process, check out this newsletter recap and two very scrappy "podcast" calls I recorded recently:

    Part One: Behind the Scenes of the Proposal and Book Deal

    Part Two: Behind the Scenes of Organizing, Writing and Gremlin-Taming

    *Transcripts and referenced images coming soon!

    Do you have questions about the process? If so, include them in the comments below! I may not be able to respond to each individually, but I will continue recording pseudo-podcasts that answer anything and everything you're curious about. So often big things like this are hidden in a black box . . . and that's not what I'm about!

    You're Invited: A NaNoBlogMo Group!

    November marks National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated as NaNoWriMo), which started in 1999. The goal is to produce 50,000 words of a novel in one month. I've never been insane enough to attempt it, but this year feels worth a shot given that I've got a book to write anyway.

    Since most of you reading are bloggers not novel writers, I'm setting up a very informal group called NaNoBlogMo via Google Spreadsheet to keep us all motivated for daily whatever writing, while still aiming for 1,000 words a day.

    I've been tracking daily writing routines with my good friend Alexis Grant in another spreadsheet, and it has been a big boost so far.

    If you're interested in joining the NaNoBlogMo Crew, add your name to a blank row of this spreadsheet. Each day we'll all input the number of words we've written, and I'll likely hold a cheerleading/Q&A Calls during the month as well. Mostly, I'm doing this to hold myself accountable for writing every day, no matter how busy or tired I feel. No excuses! I know it will be more fun with all of you there too :)

    [Tweet This] Signed up for @jenny_blake's NaNoBlogMo group—join the crazy train to attempt 50,000 bloggable words in November:

    About Jenny

    Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business.

    Today you can find her here on this blog (in it's seventh year!) and at, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

    The Alliance: How to Transform Your Career (+ Giveaway)

    By Davis Nguyen the allianceAt first glance, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age seems to be written for managers who want to improve employee retention. What does this have to do with 20somethings looking for a job—the true life after college?

    Upon closer look, the book is really about how all of us can be more agile (and honest with each other) in the new world of work. And we have a lot to learn from it.

    What if you knew what your employer was thinking when they were hiring people? It is like auditioning for a movie and knowing exactly what type of role the director wanted to cast. This is what The Alliance is: a manual for employers on hiring and keeping the best talent.

    The term “alliance” comes from the partnership made between you and your employer. As with any alliance, it needs to be beneficial to both sides and has objectives laid out.

    What is Your Tour of Duty?

    At the center of the book is the idea that the alliance you form with an employer should depend on your goals: are you looking for a job that will give you broad exposure to different areas? A job that will develop a particular set of skills? A foundation for a career with the same company?

    Authors Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), Ben Casnocha (author of The Start-Up of You), and Chris Yeh (co-founder and General Partner of Wasabi Ventures) call each job or role you take as a “tour of duty.” Similar to serving in the armed services, you have goals that need to be accomplished and a clear vision of the type of person you will be at the end of your tour. At that point, you and your manager can talk about the best next move.

    There are three types of tours for you to consider:

    The Rotational Tour

    This tour of duty allows you to rotate between different roles within a company. Rotational roles are ideal for people are still figuring out what they want to do and don’t want to quite settle for one role yet.

    Examples of rotational programs include Google’s People Operations Rotational Program that allows you to try out three different roles in three, nine-month rotations and Box’s Rotational Program Associate that allows you to spend three six-months periods in various business rotations such as marketing, sales, client relations, and business development.

    But rotational programs aren’t just limited to big tech companies like Google and Box, even negotiating to rotate roles at your local bookstore is a form of a rotational experience.

    A rotational tour benefits the employer because they get to evaluate your fit to their culture, and it benefits you as you develop your skills in various areas and evaluate your fit to the company.

    The Transformational Tour

    Unlike the rotational tour, a transformational tour is personalized and has a specific outcome for you and the company. During your time in a transformational tour, you will transform yourself as well as your company.

    In The Alliance, Reid Hoffman tells the story of Matt Cohler, then a McKinsey & Company Consultant, who wanted to be a Venture Capitalist. Reid convinced Matt that gaining operational experience at a successful startup was a better path to a career in VC than trying to join a firm straight out of consulting. Reid and Matt then created a unique tour of duty for Matt who served as Reid’s right-hand man. Reid got in Matt an ex-consultant who would work on various projects and Matt in exchange gained mentorship from Reid and a broad exposure to various functional and operational areas of LinkedIn.

    After his a two year tour of duty Matt eventually left LinkedIn for another tour of duty at Facebook and became a General Partner at Benchmark, a venture capital firm that provided early stage funding for Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram, four years later.

    The Foundational Tour

    The Foundational Tour is seen almost as a form of marriage where both you and employer are committed to each other for the long-term.

    Because the foundational tour takes commitment, it usually begins with a rotational or transformational tour that evolves into a foundational one.

    The authors write of Brad Smith who began his career at Inuit in 2003 as a general manager of the Intuit Developer Network on a transformational tour. Smith eventually chose to stay longer and is today Intuit's CEO.

    Giveaway Time!

    Want to learn more about tours of duty and how to negotiate with your employers about beginning your tour of duty? We will be giving away three copies of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.

    For a chance to win, answer the following question and leave your email in the comments by Friday, October 31. We will pick three winners with and email to let you know!

    Comment to be Entered to Win:

    What type of “tour of duty” are you most interested in at this point in your career?

    Davis Nguyen

    About Davis

    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.


    Train Like An Athlete, Speak Like A Pro

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    In August during the Speak Like A Pro virtual conference, I was struck by something Pamela Slim said in her interview:

    “Presenting is a full-contact sport.”


    You can know all the rules to the game, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get out there and hit a home run. Giving a speech, much like playing a sport, involves preparation, a sound body, a strong mind, limber muscles, and a full playbook.

    You have to exercise, train, and practice.

    But as with any athlete or speaking pro out there, nerves can really trip us up and affect our performance. In Fearless Speaking: Beat Your Anxiety. Build Your Confidence. Change Your Life., Gary Genard plays Coach Joe Girardi to our Derek Jeter. This get-up-out-of-your-seat book is all about going on the offensive and getting to the bottom of your speaking fears. Genard certainly knows how to approach speaking with an athlete’s mindset.

    The Athlete’s Mindset

    1. Audience members are your fans, not your competitors.

    “Most nervousness isn’t visible to others because it’s internal. And if people do see you’re nervous, they’ll most likely have the normal reaction, which is to sympathize with you. Since audience members feel good when you’re succeeding and embarrassed when you’re failing, they’re actually on your side and want you to do well.”

    1. There is no “I” in “team.” Don’t hog the ball.

    Genard delivers some tough love when he calls out speech anxiety and self-consciousness for what they truly are—narcissism.

    “Hey, what makes you think this audience is here because of you? They’re contributing their valuable time attending this event because they hope to get something out of it. Instead of being concerned about your own feelings, ask yourself if you’re meeting your audience’s needs.”

    1. Hold the dumbbells, focus on your voice.

    “Keep in mind that the voice is inherently physical. That fact may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re preoccupied with the content of a presentation or consumed by performance anxiety.

    Because your voice is physical, it is intimately connected to energy and relaxation, as well as tension and stress. That means that the pressures of a too-hectic lifestyle or work schedule will emerge in one form or another in your vocal expression. Anything you can do to relieve those pressures—yoga, sports, and relaxation exercises—will pay off in a more fluid and powerful vocal instrument.”

    1. Keep your eye on the prize.

    “Your fear of public speaking and the measure of your success as a speaker are entirely separate matters. It’s easy to confuse these two issues: thinking that just because you were nervous, your presentation had to have been a failure.

    Because speaking anxiety makes you so uncomfortable, it sometimes becomes an all-consuming state of mind. That makes it easy for you to lose sight of a critically important fact: Your goal is not to speak without anxiety it is to positively influence your audience.”

    Become an MVP and Train With the Pros

    How to Speak Like A Pro: Practical Tips for Your Confidence, Deliver and Impact: On October 27, Jenny will be leading a live workshop at Holstee’s new Learning Lab in Brooklyn, NY. Come connect with creatives, entrepreneurs, and others who want to master the skills of public speaking.

    Heroic Public Speaking: Michael Port, One of my biggest influences in business and public speaking, will be leading a four-month interactive virtual program starting October 27. The class will culminate in a live workshop for all participants in February. Click here for details and to get Michael's free Heroic Public Speaking Guide To World Saving Speeches.

    Can’t make it? You can still learn how to Speak Like A Pro from home.

    Book Giveaway

    We’re excited to give away a copy of Fearless Speaking by Gary Genard to one lucky Life After College reader. To enter, answer the following question in the comments by Monday, October 13:

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: What do you do to beat public speaking anxiety?

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    What's Your Cup of Tea?

    life by the cup
    life by the cup

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    A daily dose of love and inspiration can be transformative. 

    Love and warmth—that’s what I felt after reading Zhena Muzyka’s Life By The Cup. Just as Sri Lankan tea farmers gently pluck only the best of the tea leaves and buds, Zhena chose her words with great care and esteem. With each chapter she invites you in with a warm cup of tea at hand and confides in you her deeply personal story of struggle and success.

    In her early twenties, Zhena was jobless, broke, and unsure of her next step forward. Her baby boy Sage was born with a life-threatening condition, and for years to come they would be in and out of the hospital for dozens of tests, check-ups and operations.

    Through these years of hardship, Zhena still managed to achieve her dream of starting a tea business. Without any money or assets to her name, she sat down one day and wrote up a business plan, the very beginnings of what is now the multi-million dollar Zhena’s Gypsy Tea.

    At the grand opening of her tea shop, Zhena had six dollars in her bank account and her only customers were her sympathetic landlords. She came back the next day vowing to sell more.

    After finally gaining a few investors, she was asked to cut costs and use conventional, non-organic and artificial ingredients. Zhena took a great risk in saying no, that she would stand by her commitment to fair trade practices and natural ingredients. She lost her investors and struggled to sell this premium-priced tea, but she came out with a renewed mission and passion.

    Zhena’s story is one of perseverance and heart. But her story doesn’t have to be extraordinary or one-in-a-million. We certainly don’t have to sing the praises of the “little tea company that could” and then return to our own uninspired, half-fulfilled lives.

    Perseverance isn’t a super power, it’s a human habit. Sure, it may be tough to keep going, especially after a long day, rejection after rejection, and stifling limitations. It may seem as if your reserves of perseverance and strength have finally run out.

    But this is when you need to whip out your secret weapon, the thing that will restore your reserves and keep you chugging along. No one ever said you need to persevere alone—a little help and inspiration can be enough to get you back on your feet.

    For Zhena, it was a teacup brimming with exotic, flavorful, revitalizing tea. This was her sanctuary, where she’d retreat after a rough day to remind herself of her mission and mull over her next move. Zhena’s teacup acts as a gentle push to reach her full potential.

    I love a cup I can wrap both hands around as I raise it to my lips. A cup is a touchstone of tranquility, or warmth and nourishment. It is also a measure of capacity, for how much a cup can hold is critical for anchoring our experience. The thinness of a cup’s walls conveys the craftsmanship and mindfulness that went into its making. If you truly notice the cup you drink from, you create a meaningful ritual that infuses your tea drinking and your life.

    Keep going. Find that cup of tea, a journal, an old family portrait, a hike in the woods. Take a moment to recognize the things that truly re-energize you and make a commitment to incorporate them into your daily life.

    Healing the World Through Business

    On September 8-12, Zhena will be hosting a virtual en*theos conference on responsible business. She is featuring 29 responsible business experts who will share their top tools, techniques and ideas on how to make a positive impact on the world no matter what industry you work in.

    Get your free ticket, cozy up with a cup of tea and learn how to align your business with your goal to change the world for the better.


    To enter to win a copy of Zhena Muzyka’s Life By The Cup, answer the following questions in the comments by Friday, September 12:

    Comment to be entered to win: What is your comfort activity when your chips are down?

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    Don't Read These Three Books If You're Happy Being Mediocre

    By Davis Nguyen I love being able to spend a Sunday afternoon with just a glass of lemonade and a book in my hand, but although a Sunday alone is my ideal, it doesn't happen all that often.

    Luckily (or unluckily), between the 7-hour road trips, 5-hour delayed flights, and 2 hours waiting at the DMV this summer, I’ve found myself with plenty of time to read. A few of the books I've read lately have even been life-changing.

    A disclaimer before we jump in to my favorite summer reads: some of you might not be in the mood for a life-changing, enlightening, all-around-awesome book. Some of you may be happy with mediocrity. You might not want to improve yourselves and bolster your careers.

    So, to save you the trouble, I'm just going to tell you right off the bat why you shouldn't pick up these books.

    Meditations: A New Translation

    “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

    Marcus Aurelius

    Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

    Sure Aurelius lost his father when he was 3, his son when he took the throne, and his wife a few years after. And, sure, he inherited political unrest in the Roman senate and one of his most trusted friends tried to stage a civil war to take over his empire, but that's kid's stuff, right? You’ve definitely been through more, and you're happy to suffer. Aurelius might offer insight into how to find tranquility when it seems your life is just a tragedy for an audience to watch, but really you're just ready to take your own personal tragedy into Act II and continue with your sob-story. You’ve don't need to overcome your self-doubt and your fear of death. Definitely don't read this book if you don't want to find the calm in the storm.

    The Obstacle is the Way

    “What matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.”

    Ryan Holiday

    Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

    You enjoy complaining and making excuses for yourself. In fact you get as much pleasure from thinking of why you can’t do something, than from actually achieving it. Once you read Ryan Holiday’s book, you’ll lose your ability to find pleasure in making justifications for not being who you want to be. Why would you want to read about people like Abe Lincoln, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela who found ways to turn their obstacles into opportunity? Just put the book back on the bookshelf and continue staring at all those obstacles that seem impossible to overcome.

    The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

    “The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.”

    Chris Guillebeau

    Why You Shouldn’t Read It:

    You don’t need Chris to inspire you with stories of ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals and making daily down payments on their dreams. You don’t want a book that challenges you to take the controls of your life, because, well, that's too much effort anyway, isn't it?

    So please, whatever you do, don't waste your time on these books.

    We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

    What was the best book you’ve read this summer?

    Davis Nguyen

    About Davis

    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.


    Love Yourself & Catch those Gremlins, for Nothing Changes Until You Do (+Giveaway!)

    Written by Marisol Dahl


    Today we are so excited to celebrate the official launch of Mike Robbins’s new book, Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way.

    A keynote speaker on teamwork, emotional intelligence and the importance and impact of authenticity, Mike Robbins is on a mission to help people better connect to each other and to themselves.

    Mike's third book, Nothing Changes Until You Do is a collection of 40 stories and reflections from Robbins’s own life and from the lives of those who have most inspired him. Each essay has its own bit of wisdom to impart, everything from why it is important (and courageous!) to embrace powerlessness to the value of owning up to your accomplishments and letting your light shine.

    I was fortunate enough to interview Mike and get a peek into his book-writing process, how to battle the inner gremlin (that nagging inner-critic), and his top tip for recent college grads.

    Interview with Mike Robbins

    As you mention in the introduction, this is the first book you've written in five years. Your other two books were written within three years, with two new babies, and lots of ups and downs. How has writing Nothing Changes Until You Do been different? What's been the best part?

    Writing this book was very different. First of all, I’m a few years older now (and hopefully a little wiser). Second of all, we didn’t have a baby associated with this book directly – when I wrote my first one we had a new baby at home and when I wrote my second one, we had a 2-year old and a baby on the way. My girls are now 8 and 5, which is a very different phase of parenting. And, finally, I decided to write this book in a different way (short essay style), which made it even more fun and easy for me to write. I also used speech recognition software to write much of it, which worked really well for me.

    Many of our readers are 20-somethings and recent college grads. We're entering the working world, forging new relationships, navigating unchartered territory. What is one thing we can do right now to better embrace our vulnerabilities?

    Give yourself permission to feel scared and own it. One of the scariest times in life is when you graduate from college. Of course it can be fun and exciting, but even the most confident, successful, and focused person gets scared when entering a new phase of life. The rules of life in the “real world” are much different than the rules of life in school and it takes some time to figure it out.

    A common mistake that most of us make in our early 20s is we spend and waste a lot of time and energy pretending we know what we’re doing, when oftentimes we don’t. This is true throughout life, but especially in our 20s. Embrace your age and exactly where you are. And, remember that it’s okay to feel scared and, at times, completely overwhelmed – everyone else does, they just pretend that they don’t.

    What is the first thing you do when you feel your gremlin sneaking up on you?

    First of all, it’s important to recognize the gremlin (that negative voice in our head). The most dangerous aspects of the gremlin are the ones we aren’t aware of (i.e. we think it’s the “truth.”)  Once we recognize that it is our gremlin, not us, who is talking or leading the way, we can gently take back our power by having compassion for ourselves and reminding ourselves that the critical voice in our head does not have the final say.

    When my gremlin shows up in an intense way, it’s often important for me to reach out to people I know and trust and to let them know some of the negative thoughts and judgments I am experiencing about myself. Talking about it often helps loosen the grip and helps me take back my power from my gremlin.

    In one of your later chapters you mentioned that "being bold, while scary and challenging at times, is essential to living an authentic and fulfilling life" and that it's important to "swing hard, just in case you hit it." Can you tell us about a time when you may not have swung hard enough? What would you have done differently?

    I have many examples of “not swinging hard enough.” Most of the times I’ve failed – back when I was playing baseball all of those years and in my business now – it is a function of not swinging hard enough (as opposed to swinging too hard).

    One recent example is related to a speech I gave at a big conference for one of my clients. It was a huge event and I had a relatively short time I was scheduled to speak on stage. Instead of doing what I normally do – trust my gut, speak from my heart, and allow myself to create in the moment, I got scared and didn’t want to mess up, so I over prepared, rehearsed my speech, and it ended up falling flat, one of the worst ones I’ve given in a long time. It felt like I missed the moment, got overwhelmed by the situation, and didn’t allow myself to trust and risk in the way I know how…in other words, I didn’t swing hard enough. It was painful, but a great learning experience.

    I loved your chapter on gratitude, and I find this to be so true: "The way gratitude works is that the more we focus on feeling grateful, the more we have to feel grateful for." In this moment, right now, what are you grateful for?

    Such a great question – thank you for asking it. I don’t think we can ever ask or answer this question enough. Right in this moment, I’m grateful for my wife Michelle and our two amazing girls Samantha and Rosie. I’m grateful to be doing work that I love and to have people (like you) asking for my perspective and advice.

    I’m grateful that I had the courage and commitment to write another book, even though it can be scary to put myself out there. I’m grateful for the enormous amount of support I have in my life and with my business. I’m grateful for the ability to express myself authentically and to learn each and every day. And…so much more!


    We’re excited to be giving away two copies of Nothing Changes Until You Doby Mike Robbins. To enter to win, answer the following question in the comments by Friday, May 16. We will pick a winner via and email to let you know!

    Comment to be Entered to Win: What is one blessing-in-disguise that you are grateful for?

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    Smart People Should Build Things

    Written by Davis Nguyen

    You’re 26 years old with $100,000 in student loans. Your recent start-up has just collapsed. You have a law degree and your friends and family pressure you to be a lawyer, but what you really want to do is build things.

    What do you do?

    This was a real dilemma facing Andrew Yang, who is the author of Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America, a few years ago.

    I met Andrew a few month ago at a conference where he delivered our keynote. The conference had nothing to do with business or start-ups, but when Andrew asked “how many of you would want to start your own business or join a start-up?” 80% of the attendees raised their hands.

    Andrew followed up by telling us that while the dream of building a company is one most of us have, when it comes time to choose, most of us will defer our dream for security and comfort. He understood that this was a normal reaction.

    Bootstrapping Your Life

    Andrew graduated from Brown University in 1996 and earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1999. After graduation he started working at private firm. Despite the job security and six-figure salary, Andrew couldn’t find much meaning and purpose in his work. Six months into his career as a lawyer, Andrew quit to pursue his passion of building things with no experience in business and $100,000 in student loans. Less than a year later, his first company,, was a victim of the dot-com bubble in 2001 leaving him with no back-up plan.

    Despite his parents jeering him, “Didn’t you used to be smart?”, his friends introducing him as a lawyer, and his growing pile of bills, Andrew decided to give entrepreneurship another chance.

    Today, thirteen years later, Andrew has had a successful career as an entrepreneur and founded Venture for America, a non-profit helping recent college grads become entrepreneurs by pairing them with early-stage companies to gain experience. He was recently named Champion of Change by the White House and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” for his work with Venture for America.

    While most people in the audience were amazed by Andrew’s successes, I wanted to ask him about the story behind the success: the nights no one will talk about.

    Two lessons I learned about being a successful entrepreneur from Andrew Yang

    1.     Find Your Yoda (Mentor)

    After Andrew’s first start-up failed, he started to work for Manu Capoor, whom he met while networking for Stargiving. Manu was a former doctor and investment banker who had started a healthcare software company, MMF Systems. Andrew had no prior experience in this industry, but working under Manu, Andrew had found his Yoda.

    Andrew notes in the book that it was from Manu where he learned the most important lesson about getting things done in business. It comes down to “people, processes, and technology.” Andrew left MMF after three years to work under his friend Zeke Vanderhoek at Manhattan GMAT where he learned to shape company culture, scale a business, and provide unparalleled customer service. Andrew eventually became the CEO in 2006 and ultimately grew the company to employ over one hundred people and had it acquired by The Washington Post Company/Kaplan three years later.

    2.     Learn to live within your means

    Andrew gave up a six-figure lawyering job to work at start-ups that were paying him just enough to cover food, housing, and other essential needs. Through this process, Andrew learned that what he previously thought he “needed” were really just “wants.”

    Besides paying for living costs and his student loans, Andrew never went broke or homeless. As one of my favorite quote about entrepreneurship goes, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

    Audio Interview with Andrew Yang

    I had a chance to do a 18-minute audio interview Andrew, where I went into more depth about Andrew's decision to quit his six-figure job, managing a start-up with student loans, and how you can take the first steps towards being an entrepreneur today if you wanted. You can listen it below.

    [soundcloud url="" params="color=cc0000&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

    You can buy your own copy of Smart People Should Build Things here.

    We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:


    What is the biggest obstacles facing your entrepreneurial endeavors? 

    What is one first small step you can take?


    Davis Nguyen

    About Davis

    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.


    Time to Revolutionize Your Leadership Style (+ Giveaways!)

    Written by Marisol Dahl

    Time for Leadership
    Time for Leadership

    As Willy Wonka once said, “Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.” 

    But this is so much easier said than done, right? In a world of endless distractions and never-ending to-do lists, how do we harness the time, energy and leadership skills to attain the results we really want?

    Pierre Khawand’s new book Time for Leadership: The Accomplishing More in Less Time, Less Effort, and Less Stress Leadership Journey is all about looking at leadership in a totally revolutionized way. Khawand recognizes the recent paradigm shift in the concept of leadership and what that means for you and your career.

    Leadership is no longer considered something you are simply born with--your leadership skills can grow and develop with experience and sincere effort. Leadership is also not just for those on top. It is needed at all levels, whether you’re the CEO, a front-line employee, or somewhere in between. Finally, this new age of leadership requires a healthy balance of leading and following, knowing when to step up to the plate or when to back down and let others take the wheel.

    Khawand and his company People-OntheGo are devoted to helping people use time efficiently, take control of the technological world and tap into their leadership potential. Time for Leadership compiles all the new game-changing models from some of the top minds in leadership. Khawand’s approach is all about having leadership “broken down into digestible and practical behaviors” that we can implement immediately and effectively in our daily lives.

    Some quotes that really got me revved up:

    On focusing on strengths:

    When we focus on people’s strengths, they gain confidence, they get engaged, and they produce great outcomes, and in doing so, they are more likely to overcome their weaknesses.

    On deltas and weak links:

    80% of our results come from 20% of our effort.

    Most of what we accomplish comes from certain activities that are closely connected to our desired results. The link between these activities and these results is strong. We refer to these activities as Deltas. And many of the other activities that we perform don’t generate much result. The link between these activities and the desired results is weak. We refer to these activities as Weak Links.

    Before engaging in any activity, gigantic or minuscule, ask the leadership question: Is this activity a Delta or a Weak Link? This is the leadership mindset.

    On creativity, in Daniel Guillory’s chapter:

    To be truly creative, be prepared to have a thick skin. The reason for this goes to Picasso’s famous quote, “Creativity is first of all an act of destruction.” A creative act changes the way we do or view something--and by definition, most human beings do not embrace change.

    The ability to be truly creative in an area is directly proportional to the extent of your base of knowledge about that area. For example, the creative jump that my seven-year-old son can make in terms of his paintings would not compare to the kind of creative jump that someone like Claude Monet could make, who studied for years and years.


    We are so excited to be giving away a copy of Time for Leadership by Pierre Khawand as well as a free seat in People-OntheGo’s upcoming program the Accomplishing More Leadership Program to five lucky Life After College readers!

    To enter to win answer the following question in the comments by Friday, April 18th. We will pick winners via and email to let you know!

    Comment to be Entered to Win:

    How do you demonstrate leadership in your own everyday life?

    About Marisol Dahl

    Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

    Guest Post: How to Find your Perfect Work + The Work Revolution Book Giveaway

    Before we jump in, thank you all for the AWESOME list of 100+ tech tools and counting!! You still have two days to enter to win the HP Envy 4 Laptop giveaway, so share your best tip or tool by Friday, and I'll choose a winner early next week. I'm also giving away THREE (count them, three!) of The Work Revolution, the must-read book featured in today's post, by my roommate and bestie Julie Clow.

    The personal scoop on today's post

    The Work Revolution BookJulie and I have been friends for almost six years now after first meeting by sharing a cube at Google during her first few months on the job, and both of us made the big leap out to New York at this exact time last year.

    I had front-row seats for every step of Julie's book-publishing process (and her for mine), from writing her proposal to getting a book deal through the back-channels at Wiley (and only then landing an agent to close the deal), to the tireless and seemingly non-stop task of bringing the book to life through speaking and social media, aided at every step by the help of fabulous people like Sarah Bloomfield (on writing and research) and Shannyn Allen (on promotion).

    Julie has always been an advocate (and often a lone ranger in the blog world) for the notion that you don't have to quit to love your job, and her book beautifully articulates how we can all create a thriving work environment, no matter your state of employment.

    The Work Revolution came out in April, and I'm thrilled to hand Julie the floor today to share her brilliant ideas and the book's key concepts, all of which are highly applicable regardless of whether you're an employee, manager or your own boss.

    But first . . . a few words from today's sponsor (okay, just me) in this 3-minute video:

    [youtube id="GKoq-t0z9iI"]

    How to Find Your Perfect Work -- by Julie Clow

    I love my job and where I work. I am lucky -- most people don't.

    Most people show up feeling like a cog in the machine, churning out work from 9:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night (or worse, far later), with hopes of one day receiving a promotion, a pay increase for acknowledgement of a job well done, or enough money saved to retire.

    Sadly, many people live their lives with a sense that something (big) is missing without any idea about what that might be.

    Some courageous individuals reject this existence by leaving their corporate jobs, and many do so successfully. But not everyone should feel like opting out of the corporate world is the only answer.

    I wrote the book The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All to question the assumptions behind our management practices. It's about changing the world of work to free individuals to solve problems for the company. It's about ditching the rules that creative oppressive work environments and replacing the rules with guiding principles that give people more autonomy and joy in what they do.

    Regardless of the choice you make about whether to brave the entrepreneurial world or to make the most of the corporate world, it is fully in your control to find your perfect work, perfectly suited to your passions and strengths.

    The five principles below can guide anyone anywhere to search for work that feels more like play, whether within the cubicle walls or out in the wild.

    1. Impact, not Activities

    Don't think about what you want to be or what you want to do, think about the kind of impact you want to create and for whom!

    2. The Right Things, not Everything

    Once you choose a direction for your career, you will be overwhelmed with advice about what major to choose, what degrees to get, what internships you should seek, and what experience is "critical" for landing the perfect job.

    We get a lot of pressure coming from many directions to do "everything" according to script.

    The script said that I should go to the best college I could get in to, and that Google doesn't hire anyone from less-than-top-tier universities. Well, I went off script. I attended the University of Mobile (yes, that's in Alabama, renowned for its world-class education - ha!), but did so on a full scholarship (important to me as I had a two-year old daughter). Sure, it wasn't the most challenging school, but I made the most of it and earned a 4.0 and top honors in my class. And Google hired me.

    3. Energy, not Schedules

    Follow the energy of the work that excites you, and throw away any time table or schedule that suggests when you "should" hit various milestones in your career.

    For example, a career myth I recently heard from recent graduates is to be in a role or company for two years, and then move on, presumably to get varied experience and to not get "stuck" in any role. From my perspective, you can hardly get acquainted with a new role in just one year, so that means you'd only be creating impact for one of those two years! I say ditch any role that's not working for you, even if it's after two weeks. Or conversely, stick to a role or company as long as you are growing, you can find challenges, and you love what you are doing, even if that's 20 years. Let your choices by guided by the energy you get from your work.

    4. Strengths, not Job Slots

    You might be hired into a narrow job role, but you should think about how you can use your strengths in that role to expand beyond it.

    Jim Collins recently delivered the keynote at the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) International Conference, and he spoke about "personal hedgehogs" (any fans of Good to Great will recognize the concept). He translated the organizational-centric notion to something that applies to individuals; it is the intersection of:

      • the things you are passionate about
      • the things you are "genetically coded" to do (i.e., the things that come so easy to you, but seem difficult to everyone else)
      • the things that add value or are valued by society

    The convergence of these three things point to your marketable strengths and should serve as your guiding light for how you frame your value to your organization or in your business.

    5. Grassroots, not Top-Down

    Don't wait for permission or invitation to do the things you are passionate about.

    If you see an opportunity to improve your organization, don't just make the suggestion, implement the solution. When you find work that excites you, find ways to do more of it. If you have an idea for a new business or product, test it out quickly and see if it works.

    If you learn to be a leader without explicit authority, people will inevitably recognize you as such, and greater opportunities will follow. But if you wait for someone on high to grant you the opportunity to do more, you just might be waiting forever.

    These five principles will mean different things to different people, which is why they are simply principles. For each one, think about how it applies to your situation and how you might change one little thing to create more perfect work for yourself. And while the quest to define our personal mission and then deliver on it is a lifetime journey, the journey itself can (and should!) be joyful.

    How to Enter to Win a Copy of The Work Revolution

    We're giving away three copies of Julie's book today, and you can enter to win by answering the question prompt in the comments below. Leave your reply by Sunday, September 9 at 5pm ET, and we'll announce the winners on the blog next week!

    Which of the 5 principles above would make the biggest impact on your overall satisfaction and/or effectiveness at work? What is one action you will commit to taking in the next week?

    More About Julie Clow

    Julie Clow, author of The Work RevolutionAll my life, I loved learning and school, so I followed an academic path and earned my Ph.D. in behavior analysis in 2000. I spent the first eight years of my career dutifully working in traditional corporate environments developing training programs and implementing organizational initiatives for various clients. Then, I joined Google in 2006 and everything changed. During my initial transition to Google, I felt the magic of freedom and autonomy at work, which inspired me to ask: if Google can create this environment, why can't everyone else? Thus, The Work Revolution was born.

    I spent five years at Google focusing on team effectiveness, leadership, and organizational culture, primarily for engineers. I currently serve as the head of learning and development for an awesome, nontraditional mid-size investment management company in New York, NY, also chockful of software engineers and research scientists.You can frequently find me speaking at industry events and conferences. Connect with me on Twitter at @clowjul.

    Guest Post: Why Successful People Are Crazy -- and You Should Be Too -- by Eric Lunsford

    Uluwatu Temple - Bali Uluwatu Monkeys - Bali

    Greetings from the road! The pictures above were taken at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali, a magical place filled with monkeys who will give you (and your stuff) the side-eye, waiting to pounce to steal what they can in exchange for peanuts that you buy in order to get it all back. Thankfully my phone stayed with me, and I could upload these pictures for you! Next travel stop: The Yoga Barn in Ubud, then Chiang Mai on Sunday. Quick shout-out to the amazing Adam for sending me off with a killer music playlist and list of places to see.  

    Eric Lunsford HeadshotToday's post is from one of my rock-star coaching clients Eric Lunsford. Eric writes at his blog Coffee & Warm Showers where he has one goal: "to help others wake their true self up and transform into the person they’ve always wanted to be."

    My travels in Bali have been amazing so far and it's only just the start - hanging out with people like Dan (founder of The Tropical MBA), Tommy (professional travel photographer) and Elisa (blogging BFF and TMBA goddess) are proof of exactly what Eric talks about below: that the best way to live life is bat-shit crazy, baby :)

    Why Successful People Are Crazy and You Should Be Too (Plus: The 5 Best Times To Go Crazy) -- by Eric Lunsford

    “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” –Mark Twain

    It’s okay to be crazy. In fact, if you want to live the life you dream of, it’s required.

    Take a minute to tap into your memory bank and think of a time when you were considered crazy for making a choice or taking action.

    You may have been a child, you may have been a “naïve” teenager, hell, it may have been yesterday.

    How did it feel? What was the result of you doing something that was viewed as “crazy” to others?

    I’ve had my crazy moments.

    Times where I’ve decided I’m going to make a big change to better my life. I was going to quit my cushy job and move without a real back-up plan. I was going to get rid of the majority of my “stuff.” I was going to jump out of an airplane at 12,000 feet.

    I was a pre-determined failure in the eyes of my boss and even some family when I quit my job. I was looked at as a kook by my fiancé when I recommended we get rid of 98% of our stuff. I was told I was testing fate by my mom when I told her I would be skydiving (who, coincidentally BOUGHT those tickets to jump out of a plane. She gets my crazy. Thanks mom!)

    But my life is better after making those decisions.

    I’m one step closer to my dream life now.

    I realized I didn’t need a secure job to make me happy or a bunch of crap around my house to fit in and experiences, by far, are the best things to spend your money on.

    Crazy is different. Crazy makes a difference.

    And that’s exactly why the people who truly succeed in life choose to be crazy. Those that don’t take chances are stuck. Stuck in a life they don’t enjoy – waiting for the day their dreams magically come true.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Not without crazy choices at least.

    Take a minute to think:

    • If Ben Franklin didn’t have the “crazy” idea for Night Riders to deliver mail between colonies at night, the mail system we have now may not exist. In fact, the entire fate of the American Revolution may have been different.
    • If Richard Branson didn’t make the “crazy” choice to sign the (at the time) unwanted band the Sex Pistols, he may have never grown to the position he is at now with over 400 Virgin companies affecting the entire globe in more industries than you can count.
    • If Yvon Chouinard didn’t go on the “crazy” 6 month trip to Patagonia his friend recommended, we likely would not have the brand Patagonia or any of the environmental initiatives we have today created by him and his employees.

    But don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated by these more famous successes.

    Anyone can be crazy.

    Anyone can make decisions that are so crazy it affects their lives in the most positive way.

    • Jenny quit her job at Google to move toward a life full of spontaneity, travel, independence and freedom. And she’s helping others do the same along the way (me included -- thanks again Jenny!).
    • Adam Baker and his wife got rid of over $18,000 of debt, sold everything but two backpacks and moved to Australia with no set plans. Oh yeah, with their 1 year old daughter! Now he’s making a living doing exactly what he loves.
    • Steve Kamb has combined fitness and…wait for it…nerds! Steve is a self-proclaimed nerd who is obsessed with fitness. He’s making “crazy” decisions almost daily including traveling the world, trying unheard of workouts, and inspiring people to do the same in some of the most unique ways.
    • Therese Schwenkler just recently made the “crazy” decision to quit her job and travel around the U.S. indefinitely. What I like most about her is her posts bring her “crazy” personality to life and inspire her readers to “go for it” just as she’s done.

    So you see, in order to be successful, you must be crazy.

    Here are the 5 best times to be crazy:

    1. Immediately after waking up – It’s early in the morning when your mind is the clearest. You have the most optimism at this time as well. Clarity + optimism = a perfect time to make a crazy decision. As an added bonus, it’s much easier to continue something when you start first thing in the morning before you let the everyday hustle and bustle bog you down.
    2. After being inspired – I’m sure you’ve had that moment. You watch an awesome documentary or read an inspiring book. You feel a fire inside you. You want to get out there and do something big! Capitalize on the inspiration and let the craziness begin right away!
    3. After “damaging” news – I use “damaging” because often things that happen to us unexpectedly are initially viewed as negative. However, there’s always a silver lining. Maybe you were just laid off from your job of 15 years. Well, now seems like the perfect time for you to take that severance, new found free-time and create something big!
    4. The status quo just isn’t good enough – This is one of the things I love to do most. Question why we do what we do. If you don’t like something or don’t understand why you do it, make a radical change. Ask questions, push the boundaries, and raise the bar.
    5. When you’ve got support – There’s nothing better than a crazy idea that at least one other person agrees with. For example, just the other night I told my buddy that I was planning on building a tiny home and traveling around the country for at least a year, snowboarding and surfing every chance I got. I asked if he wanted to come along and he lost it. As we talked about it, I was running around the house in excitement while he was texting, “I feel alive!!!” A crazy idea gets even crazier when someone else believes in it too.

    We all have dreams. It’s just the crazy ones who see them come alive.

    We'd love to hear in the comments:  What can you do to honor your crazy?


    Video: Here's to the Crazy Ones

    Note from Jenny: On the subject of embracing your crazy, here is one of my all-time favorite videos from Apple.

    [youtube id="dX9GTUMh490"]

    "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

    Update: This Just in! 8 Free Kindle Books from Scott Ginsberg

    Right after I hit publish on this post, I got a (totally unrelated) rebel-rousing email from my friend Scott Ginsberg, who is known as "The Nametag Guy" -- he has been wearing one for 4,205 days and even has one tattooed on his chest! I'm sharing it with all of you since Scott is a brilliant, well-known author -- and this is an awesome ballsy move on his part. From Scott:

    Help me prove that thinkers don't need permission to do so. Help me show which of the mainstream hoops aren’t worth jumping through. Help me lead the charge to risk our faces and step across the lines of artistic safety. Help me reject the invisible jury who no longer needs to stamp our creative passport. Help me make a global statement about the state of the mainstream publishing industry. Help me end the shipping of easy, predictable safe work that appeases our corporate masters.

    Tomorrow, I am releasing eight new books on Kindle. All digital. All daily devotionals. And the best part is, all books are $0.00 for the first five days, then $0.99 after that. Grab them here.

    The Personal MBA: Interview & Book Giveaway

    I have a confession. When people ask me why I started Life After College five years ago, I tell them it's because I felt lost and lonely at age 20 and wanted to help other graduates get on their feet faster. But there's another reason too. I thought I needed to start a business so that I could get into business school (run my life according to the mysterious admissions office gods...great plan, huh?), so I launched this website two years before it became a blog. I've never told anyone that because I don't want to take away from the passion I feel for helping others, and I'm somewhat embarrassed by the less-than-pure beginning.

    I felt like business school would give me some magic credibility, validity and career success. But after I bought 4 GMAT/MBA books that I didn't even crack open ONCE in the span of a year, I realized I couldn't stomach going into $150K of debt just for a degree that I wasn't sure would deliver what I was wanting.

    Enter Josh Kaufman and his The Personal MBA project. Josh has a blog and book that provide comprehensive business-education resources to help people "master the art of business without mortgaging [their] lives."

    I've had the pleasure of interviewing Josh, and am excited to announce another book giveaway! Leave a comment below by Thursday, 12/23 and I will select a winner using to receive a copy of The Personal MBA.

    Josh KaufmanInterview with Josh Kaufman

    Many of my readers are twenty-somethings and recent college grads. What would you advise those who are on the fence about getting an MBA? What about those who don't really feel like they need one, but feel pressure (from parents or society) to get that extra credential?

    Save your money - you can do much better by investing a little time learning the basics on your own. Research indicates that getting an MBA doesn't really help you in the long run, and getting an MBA can be enormously expensive, particularly if you attend a top school. On top of the direct expense, student loans restrict your freedom and flexibility in ways that severely limit your options. All told, the very limited potential benefits aren't worth the massive risks - particularly if you're interested in starting your own business.

    Getting an education and obtaining a credential are entirely different things. You don't need a credential to do well in business, since there are no legal requirements that force you to get a credential before getting started. Your customers don't care whether or not you have a degree if you can give them what they need or want.  Provide enough value to people who want what you have enough to pay for it, and you'll do quite well, degree or no degree.

    You do, however, need a world-class education if you want to do well in business. Fortunately, you can learn what you need to know on your own, without mortgaging your life in the process.

    If you're feeling pressure from other people to obtain a credential, it helps to remember that they aren't living your life. You owe it to yourself to figure out what you want, and the best way to go about getting it. Other people may have opinions, but they're just that - opinions. Ultimately, you live with the consequences of your actions, so make your own decisions.

    I often use the phrase, "If you're not learning, you are obsolete." How do you hope to change the business-related learning game with this book? Personal MBA Book

    My goal is to help people interested in business learn the essentials - the very small set of ideas they need to understand in order to do great work. I call these ideas "business mental models," and my job is to help you learn them as quickly as possible.

    As it turns out, the 80/20 principle applies to learning too. Learn the 5% of concepts that provide 95% of the value of business study, and you'll do quite well. Once you know the fundamentals, you can go surprisingly far, whether you're staring your own company or doing great work for someone else. My book is designed to teach those fundamentals.

    Most people assume business is complicated, and as a result, they find it difficult to get started. The wonderful truth is that business isn't complicated - it's just not taught very well, so it's intimidating. Business isn't rocket science, but you do have to know what businesses really are and how they really work if you want to do well.  Once you've mastered the essentials, you're in good shape.

    If you could give the Life After College community one piece of encouragement or career advice, what would it be? Experiment constantly - there's no faster way to learn. Side projects, diligently pursued, can benefit you more than even the best degree. If you have an idea for a business, figure out how to start making progress on the side, using your own resources. Speed and flexibility are your friends - just keep making little improvement to discover what works.

    The Personal MBA started as a side project - I wanted to learn how to do well in business, so I started learning in my spare time. Six years later, I'm a professional business teacher with clients all over the world, I have no debts, I have the freedom to live however and wherever I want, and I've published my first book... all because I decided to start a crazy side project, experimented constantly, and stuck with it for years. Without experimenting, none of these things would've occurred, and my life would be very different.

    What has been your biggest failure-turned-success or blessing-in-disguise story (in life or business)? A little over a year ago, I decided to offer my first business course. I thought that bringing a group of people with similar goals to learn and discuss important business concepts via phone would do very well.  I prepared my launch materials, published them, and waited for the signups to roll in.

    Radio silence... nothing. In the end, only one person signed up after a week of promotion. My expectations were high, so I was devastated.

    After recovering from the disappointment, I tried to figure out why it flopped - so I asked my readers. As it turns out, people were interested in the learning part - they just didn't think they'd be able to commit to meeting regularly at certain times, so they didn't sign up. That was a Barrier to Purchase I could fix.

    Two weeks later, I launched the Personal MBA Business Crash Course. It was the same learning material, with a different structure - an online video course that my students could take at their own pace, no matter where they lived around the world.

    Almost immediately, over 200 people signed up - far better than I expected.  Since then, the course has developed into a very active and dedicated community of business learners from around the world, and is a cornerstone of my business education company.

    Keep experimenting, and you'll inevitably find something that works. In a very real sense, there's no such thing as failure - just experiments that provide you with more data to use in the next iteration.

    To enter to win the book giveaway: leave a comment below by Thursday, 12/23 and I will select a winner using to receive a copy of The Personal MBA.


    On a related note: want to network without the pain of small-talk?

    Brazen Careerist's Network Roulette is one of the most innovative developments I've seen recently in the networking space. You can sign into Brazen Careerist and get paired up with a new person to chat with for three minutes at a time. If you enjoyed talking to each other, it's easy to send a follow-up note afterward.

    Ryan also recently announced a daily lunch hour (12EST, 9PST) called Community Karma to "make sure everyone gets the help that they need through 3-minute conversations with me and other community leaders on Brazen Careerist." I highly recommend trying a Network Roulette or the daily karma hour - it's a great way to meet a lot of people with similar interests in a short amount of time!

    E-Book: You Don't Need a Job, You Need Guts

    Ashley AmbirgeI am so excited to share the love this morning for my friend Ashley Ambirge who launched her 127-page baby into the world. A ballsy, audacious, in-your-face, rock-star E-Book called You Don't Need a Job, You Need Guts. Note: I am an affiliate, but I would NEVER promote something I didn't believe in 150% and think would be an awesome resource for all of you. I am very selective with what I share, and this made the cut without question.

    As I mentioned in my December Hodge Podge, Ashley is one of the bloggers I most respect and admire. She lost BOTH of her parents and can only rely on herself for support. When I complain about being busy, I forget that there are amazing women like Ashley in the world for whom being busy is probably the very least of her concerns.

    TMF E-BookAshley hails from Pennsylvania but currently lives in Santiago, Chile -- following her dreams and working her ass off to make a living and inspiring countless others in the process.

    Every time I read one of her posts, I want to stand up and start a slow clap. Then maybe throw a few fist-pumps, then raise a lemon-drop martini to toast Ashley in all her fabulous, brash, no-holds-barred glory.

    I bought her e-book this morning within seconds of it landing in my inbox, and I'm already hooked.

    A description (in Ash's own words) for those of you who might be interested:


    You Don’t Need a Job, You Need Guts is a devilishly sassy digital publication that teaches how to stop surrendering your soul to the rat race and instead, create a meaningful, delightfully unapologetic career based around YOU + YOUR INTERESTS by leveraging the web + harnessing the magnetic power of authentic passion, guts & glory.

    You demand more from life. You crave more than a fatally boring routine. You want to do work that feels good. You want to be you, exactly as you are. And, for once, have that be enough. Better yet, you want to get paid for it.

    If this gets you as fired up as it did me, grab your own copy for $24.


    Love Drop LogoP.S. Speaking of guts and big dreams -- I'm also thrilled to announce that two of my best boys Nate (of ItStartsWith.Us) and J-Money (of Budgets Are Sexy) have launched an amazing project called Love Drop to help people "change lives, one dollar at a time." In their own words:

    Love Drop is a micro-giving network of people who unite as a community to help one person or family a month. By subscribing to the team for as low as $1, we make it easy for our members to change lives in a fun and tangible way. Each month Love Drop delivers a unique combination of unexpected financial gifts, personal encouragement and the support of local and online communities.

    I'm in. Are you? Click here to join the team!

    On Limerence...and - wait for it - a break-up processing template. You heard me.

    Yep, I've gone and templateized getting over someone. Don't judge me. More on that in a few minutes. First, a lesson and some thoughts on a crazy emotional love-related roller-coaster called Limerence. What is Limerence? Hint: if Love and Lust had a baby...

    If Love and Lust had a baby, they would name her Limerence. Limerence is a little crazy. She is wildly optimistic, hopeful, and obsessive. From Wikipedia:

    Limerence is an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship (although it can further intensify the situation). The term was coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe the ultimate, near-obsessive form of romantic love. Limerence is sometimes also referred to as infatuation, or is colloquially known as a crush, but in reality it is something much different.

    Does that sound familiar? Have you ever experienced limerence? Reflecting on that question was like asking myself, "Do you breathe?!"

    Earlier this year, my dad could see that I was love-struck over a boy I couldn't really have. Instead of lecturing, judging or advising, he simply wrote the name of a book on an index card. That index card and book, Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love by Dorothy Tenov, changed everything for me.

    This is your brain. This is your brain on Limerence.

    When we fall in lovelikelust (aka limerence) with someone, it's almost like our limerent brain becomes a form of the lizard brain. If the lizard brain's currency is fear, the limerent brain's currency is fantasy. Sometimes we have fun living in fantasyland...but not when it becomes a torture chamber representing everything we want but can't have.

    It is inherent to the definition of limerence that the object of our affection - the romance of our dreams - is unattainable. Which is what makes limerence very different from love. Love is shared and reciprocated and eventually grows and develops into something real. Elisa breaks down the limerence experience beautifully in a post called Limerence and Licorice.

    Components of Limerence (from Wikipedia):

    • Limerence involves intrusive thinking about the limerent object.Other characteristics include acute longing for reciprocation, fear of rejection, and unsettling shyness in the limerent object's presence. In cases of unrequited limerence, transient relief may be found by vividly imagining reciprocation from the limerent object.
    • Feelings of limerence can be intensified through adversity, obstacles, or distance. A limerent person may have acute sensitivity to any act, thought, or condition that can be interpreted favorably. This may include a tendency to devise, fabricate, or invent "reasonable" explanations for why neutral actions are a sign of hidden passion in the limerent object.
    • A person experiencing limerence has a general intensity of feeling that leaves other concerns in the background. In their thoughts, a limerent person tends to emphasize what is admirable in the limerent object and to avoid any negative or problematic attributes.

    What if you are Limerent and it is making you miserable, but you can't move on?

    Tennov doesn't really answer this question in her book. She essentially throws her hands in the air and says, "beats me!"

    I think the only way to counter the limerent brain's pining is to ask, "What is REAL?" over and over again:

    • What are the FACTS?
    • How do I actually FEEL, averaged out, over the course of recent days and weeks and months?
    • Finally, how can I act from a place of inner integrity based on TRUTH, not based on what-ifs?

    Enter the Break-up Template!

    My next book will clearly be a "quit the CRACK that is limerence" how-to manual. You know, just as soon as I learn how to conquer that crazy beast in its strongest moments.

    This template is an exercise from my upcoming book (mark your calendar for March 29, baby!). If you are going through a break-up or still trying to get over someone, the questions in this template will help you sort through your thoughts, mourn your losses, and start to see your situation more clearly.

    Download the template here (and forward to a friend or give 'er a rating if you like what you see!).

    I want to hear from you. If you found this template helpful, would you let me know? Did I miss anything? How do you handle break-ups? Any limerence-busting tips?


    All You Need is Love E-Book - Now Available!

    Speaking of Love and Limerence, my dear friend Elisa just released her free "All You Need" e-book, a compilation of posts in which 28 bloggers pontificated on love (myself included) back in February. Download your copy by hopping over to Elisa's latest post here.

    Happy Turkey Day!

    To all of my American readers -- have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! For those living in other countries, I promise to eat a few extra cupcakes for you :)