2016 sucked? Here Are 9 Things I Learned

Reasons people are screaming 2016 sucked:

  1. Their presidential candidate didn’t win
  2. Their favorite celeb died
  3. Their phone exploded

If we only realized that time is man made

A photo posted by @whatupjeremy on

Regardless about how you feel, we all experienced moments in 2016 to learn from and to leverage going forward.

Here are my biggest takeaways:

Number 1: Find A Mentor And Work With Them

In December 2014 I decided that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted in my business and started hunting for a business coach/mentor. By January 2015 I decided to hire someone I followed and admired for about 5 years: Bryan Harris – Founder of Videofruit.

With Bryan’s guidance I landed my first client and earned my first dollars online.

After about 6 months together I worked up the nerve to pitch Bryan on some one-off projects.

I helped with some content, created this, and worked on Videofruit’s flagship product 10ksubs – which resulted in us creating a role for me on Team Videofruit – “Dean of 10ksubs” – in Spring of this year.

Working with Bryan and the Team has been game changing.

It’s helped me realize HUGE areas of opportunities in my life that I either want to work on, or find people to help me optimize.

Hiring a coach for the areas of your life you’re wanting to improve is an absolute no-brainer….

Doing work for people you admire is a no-brainer…

But if you really want to accelerate your learning and growth: Aim to work alongside people who have the result you’re looking for.

It’s getting paid to learn.

Number 2: Your Environment Is Everything (friends, location, etc)

You’ve heard the quote:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ― Jim Rohn

But I like to take it a level deeper than just the people you’re around and into your location and what’s around you.

For instance, as I look around my desk I see lots of business books, reminders of what’s important to me, things I enjoy, and my equipment. Not to mention two other desks that belong to my roommates (who are also entrepreneurs) and a friend who’s on her grind and helps give all of us the female perspective.

If you want an easy boost to your energy and motivation then find a better location or tune-up  your current one.

Some ideas if you’re wanting better results in your business: Clean your desk, have a place you go to for productivity, add fun things to your desk, and have inspiring things around you.

Health? Go to a gym (even just to hang out), have a good/inspiring health video looping in the background, and put some fresh things like plants around you.

Number 3: If The Client Isn’t A Fit, Be Up Front

When you’re just starting out and landing clients you kind of have to do whatever it takes.

As I was starting off I did whatever it took to get business and it didn’t always work.

While you “have to do what you have to do” I would caution to keep your standards high.

And, if at some point you feel things aren’t working out, try to find a way to address it with your client(s).

The digital world makes it super easy to take things out of context and for emotions to build. I’ve found that a simple phone/skype call solves 95% of problems in a non-confrontational manner.

Do yourself a favor and be the person who brings up perceived issues and gets clarity as early and often as possible.

Number 4: Give More Than You Ask For

This is something I’m constantly observing that attracts me to others.

With some people, I feel inclined to offer help. I love doing it. With others, I don’t feel like lifting a finger.

The difference most of the time? The former has done something for me or hasn’t asked for anything while giving a ton of value. Sometimes that value is an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on, and other times it’s small things like holding the door open.

I’m still figuring out daily what this looks like for me and my relationships.

Another way I look at it comes back to this quote:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

So, if you want something from others (or the asking power to get what you want/need) then always go above and beyond and help others get what they want/need.

Number 5: Lead With Your Strengths

Self-awareness isn’t easy… At least it hasn’t been for me.

On top of that I fall to the pressure of being someone I’m not or that others want for me to be… Instead of just being me.

Is it good to work on weaknesses? Yes.

But at the cost of your strengths? Nope.

I believe we’re all here to bring our talents to the surface to collectively have an impact on the time we’re living in.

One of the best resources I’ve found that helped me embrace and lead with my strengths is How The World Sees You by Sally Hogshead.

Number 6: Journal (effectively) + Set 90-Day Goals

For over a year I’ve followed the same routine every morning… And I thought it was getting me closer to my goals…

But it wasn’t.

The routine was:

  1. Write a paragraph about the things I’m working for as if I already have them
  2. Write down what needs to get done that day
  3. Do those things and feel accomplished as I cross items off my list

And, while I felt productive each day, I wasn’t taking any major steps towards having any of those BIG things from #1.

Here’s my old way of journaling daily:

Sometime around mid-year I got the chance to interview Cathryn Lavery who’s had massive success with our 10ksubs product.

As I was researching her I found out about a product she had launched called the Best SELF Journal. (<– use that link for $10 off one of your own).

I quickly saw results from using the journal – even after resisting setting my goals for some reason.

I can’t speak highly enough about the results and progress I’ve felt between mid-October and the time of writing this (December 30, 2016).

Here are more of my thoughts and how I set my goals with my first SELF journal:

Number 7: People Are Everything + Build Your Circle (with intention)

I misunderstood how critical networking and building a quality social circle is.

I actually used to take pride in doing things alone and wouldn’t ever ask for help.

If you handed me a business card I almost laughed inside. Stupid. I know.

Here’s my focus now:

  1. Add value to the people who have similar goals as me or have already accomplished them.
  2. Add value to people who can help get me closer to my goals.

Sound selfish? Could be.

By having the right connections – from my perspective (the right one *halo emoji*) – I can help more people with my resources.

Who are those people? That takes us to #8.

Number 8: Find A Cause (or create one)

I’ve been having the itch to create some sort of charity or foundation for about 6 months now.

Awhile back my buddy Andrew Greaves invited me to help at a local charity that serves underprivileged kids in my old neighborhood – ICAN.

I had a blast and left feeling energized.

Since then he’s brought me back to help out and it’s only: 1) made me want to do more, and 2) got me thinking about starting something of my own.

Then my friend Alan Shugart and I started brainstorming ways we could work together to create a charity that helps teens living in poverty.

Instead of going and figuring out how to setup a non-profit we asked ourselves: “What does 1.0 look like?”

That sparked the idea of hosting a giveaway for an existing local charity. That helps in a similar way (instead of waiting for our own yet-to-be-created charity to exist).

Here’s how it went down:

I subscribe to this thought:

If you feel that you have more than enough in life, and live like it, then you will.

On top of being able to help people, ^^this is one of my driving reasons for creating a way to give back.

Alternatively, if you feel that resources are scarce, they too will be.

If you aren’t already donating time or energy to local causes, I can’t begin to tell you how far that goes and how good it feels – you have to experience it for yourself.

Here’s a resource to start looking for ways you can give back.

Number 9: Document Everything + Share It With The World

During one of my first coaching calls with Bryan he laid out my duties in my business:

  1. Pitch 3 people a week on a service I could do for them
  2. Write 250 words a day (to document my learnings)
  3. Push publish once a week on what I learned and ask for emails from readers

It was that easy.

It stuck for a few weeks but I was hard-headed and didn’t follow directions (per usual). So I got distracted and stopped documenting my process.

But I didn’t stop experimenting.

I shared daily notes via email to my list with business insights and offers to help them in their businesses. I used Periscope to live-stream and felt right at home just being able to speak and jam with my peeps. I started using SnapChat to show more of what my life looks like.

But at the end of the day nothing’s felt more natural than this: video.

Between Periscope and SnapChat I started thinking about ways I could leverage video to share my ideas and concepts – and attract others looking for help or who are on the same wave as me.

That’s when I finally saw the genuineness of “vlog” style videos that have been going on forever on YouTube.

Then I found (and got hooked on) Casey Neistat’s daily vlog. It (was) magical.

Do I have 8-12 hours a day to edit video? NEGATIVE.

And video takes A TON of time to edit.

So I got a GoPro, started documenting my day, and get to editing as quickly as possible.

I’m enjoying the creative process and being able to share my world with others. Some vlogs have a deeper lesson and others are pure fun.

Go here to subscribe and watch more on YouTube.

What about for you?

What’s been your biggest lesson learned in 2016?

Leave a comment below and let me know – I read every one of them.

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About the Author

My businesses help people to quit their day jobs, travel the World, and design their lifestyle.