When you are poor, people ask you for money. You say, “I need it to pay rent.”

When you are rich, people ask you for money. What excuse will you give?

Are you a bad person if you reject a $10 donation request? What if you got hundreds of these requests a month?

People get disappointed, angry, or enraged when you turn them down.

  • Where to donate? How much?
  • How to offer help? How much?
  • How to choose the next project? What’s your scope?

These are boundaries and constraints you set.

Invisible to others are there to save yourself first.

So that you have fuel to save the world.

“I feel stuck about my job and I’m not sure I can do this anymore.” It could be that doing something new is scary. And when we shine a light on what’s scary. It’s disappear like the boogeyman. We can start plan for the few worst-case scenarios instead of being paralysed with fear.

“I dislike this person.” And get busy building a wall and manipulate everyone else around me to hate this person. Not knowing that, it is hindering a vulnerable conversation of the real issue.

“I really want this thing. I see everyone who hinders the goal as an enemy to defeat.” Could it be that people are minding their own business and you are banging into them because of your high velocity.

To know the layers of the repercussions from our actions. The layers of different intentions. We benefit ourselves (and the people around us) when we are aware.

Stuck figuring out what to do with your life? We can blame Passion.

Dave Evans correctly points out that “what’s your passion?” is a dangerous question. When we use a question to judge and organize our life, we empower its hidden beliefs.

(1) We all have a passion

(2) You’ll know it early in life

(3) Your passion won’t change

(4) It’ll make you money

(5) The world will let you do it

The alternative is to look for clues in your interest. Talk to people, prototype and learn.

Designing Your Life is a great place to start.

Netflix has no OKRs (Objective and Key Results). It has “freedom and responsibility”.

This is not entirely true. Reed Hasting later added processes for employee safety and sexual harassment, customer data privacy, and financial reporting. Stating its importance in “high-volume, low-error” or safety-critical environments.

Comparing it to Intel, where OKRs are the backbone of the management success, Netflix believes that OKRs stiffen creativity and create operation overhead.

When your product is creative, beware of the tradeoffs.

The same is true for startups who have yet to a product a people love and recommend.

“Who am I to question them? They’ve been in business as long as I’ve been alive.” Kat Cole thought.

“Who am I to set boundaries? He’s sacrificed so much for me.”

“Who am I to not help? When my parents have given me all that I have.”

Gratitude, morality and humility can be a way to manipulate. Yourself too.

Humility doesn’t mean servitude.

The newly appointed CEO can question the very seasoned executives.

You can be respectful AND set firm boundaries. To your friend, your partner and your parents.

It is pretty easy to escape offending a few people and avoid tiring yourself.

Finding the courage to face up to the short-term discomfort, create a way forward to a sustainable form of happiness. For the greater good, and you.

I failed. I’m walking away from my new podcast.

No one has told me how hard it is to declare failure before the world has called it a failure.

I interviewed 200 producers, hired two, created a show bible, learned about storytelling, one episode, and another. Then it stop, I stopped.

It beginning of the end started with a feeling of annoyance.

I was in Italy. I need to record a session. I booked a meeting room to record the podcast, too echo-y. I tried the hostel. They couldn’t allow me to book a room for 2 hours. I tried again, in Amsterdam, in a WeWork. Again, plans failed. I won’t go into details.

It was a lot of friction. Perhaps it’s supposed to. After all, I’m doing something new.

I remind all the people that might learn something from this podcast. All the praise I would get. I would have a podcast season that benefits future new coaches, just like me. I focus on the outcomes and tell myself the suffering is worth it. It’s part of the process.

It’s a passion project. If I’m not getting paid, isn’t it supposed to be enjoyable? After all, isn’t the moment all there is?

There is a war happening on the inside. I started to drag waking up. I was not looking forward to the day. Days were dark. I escaped to food, learning, reading, porn, cigarettes, podcast and other work.

I started asking myself why am I doing this? I couldn’t come up with a good answer.

I was driven by momentum. A well-laid-out plan. All the successful outcomes I dream of. But I couldn’t come up with a reason why it is important enough.

After weeks of introspection, (1) the podcast wouldn’t be great if it was a drag every day. (2) If things stay the same, I would hate my passion project till the very end (3) I overweight a beautiful plan, a great outcome (4) I am stealing myself the opportunity of doing something I enjoy and enjoying the same results.

Other factors: (1) I was lonely. (2) I was burnt out. (3) I was conflating learning and sharing coaching to the podcast (4) My skill didn’t translate well (5) it wasn’t aligned with my life goals

Would I still make the podcast? Yes, knowing what I knew then.

What would I do differently? Write a “specs sheet”. Why do I want to start this? What’s the outcome I want? What does success look like? What milestone to achieve to prove this endeavor is a good idea? Me and my audience? How does it align with my life goals? Is this a full-body YES? If it’s not a success, how can I make this worth doing personally for me?

When I feel frustrated, I can look back and see what assumption I’m making.

If you’re facing a similar situation, what to do? Pause everything that you can and make time. Isolate other causes of frustration (jet lag, family relationship, health, grandma funeral, and cleaning my environment.) Come to a sense of peace and boredom. Be impatient with journaling and be patient with decisions. Writing down the question swirling in the head (why am I doing this? is this worth it? how long it’s going to last?). The only way to make decisions is to think through all these questions.

After going through the intellectual information, ask the body and heart, and see if it’s a full-body YES.

If it’s not, then STOP.

What’s next? Back to the drawing board to find the idea where my curiosity meets my genius meets what the world needs.


Thank you, Steve Schlafman for the generous questions. And writing out his failure, closing a VC fund and podcast before it got published.

For Jim Collins that it takes 4 years to find your hedgehog.

And Seth Godin 👇

People did not meet your expectation → you get angry → you blame and discharge to them → people dislike you more → people act unwillingly (out of fear) → people do not meet your expectation (loop)

Solutions.

Own your feelings and your part to the outcome

Reveal your feelings and pause the conversation (I want to reveal that I’m feeling some anger because I tell myself the story… And I anger myself by believing the story. Can you give me some time to process my feelings so I can…? )

Process your anger and get to peace.

Anger is something that needs to be cut off or boundaries to be set.

Invite curiosity and understand the causes (Can you help me understand? I’m not attached about being right.)

Clarify commitment (who is to do what, by when).

Brainstorm ideas for a long-term solution.

Show appreciation and be closer to people (I want to thank you for revealing, being in curiosity, helping me find a long-term solution.)

Align commitment/ask for recommitment/change your expectation/set boundaries.

When people go on a quest to define love, what they are looking for is how to stay in love. A sustained form of love that would last.

Our version of love did not match with reality. It did not fix all our problems. It did not fulfill us permanently.

The love, that was once, wasn’t there anymore. That our love for our children did not last till the end of the night. That the perfect partner became boring.

Perhaps it is the Disney movies, the love songs, or the version of love we observe from our parents.

If we look at love carefully, we can learn the ingredients.

  1. Do you love yourself? Can you enjoy your company in solitude? Can you care for yourself, your needs? And what you need to feel energise and able to offer emotional labour?
  2. Do you know how to give love? Do you know how to make others feel understood, seen? Can you choose who you want to offer emotional labour?

This comes in self-awareness, effective communication, deep listening, having the time, energy, and resources to provide.

  1. Do you possess the skill of partner well? Are you able to state your annoyance without negative residue? Are you able to be in relationship without repeated issues?

When my parent gave me advice, (to brush my teeth, sleep early, have better posture), I never followed.

Years after years, my back starts to hurt, painful visits to the dentist, and tired mornings, I suffered consequences of ignoring those advice.

But in between, it was unpleasant years of nagging.

The trouble is when we seek to help the people we love, we offer unsolicited advice. We rush, we didn’t get the full context. We forget that they don’t want what we want, they don’t see what we see, they don’t know what we do.

Good advice begins with enrolment. Where do you want to go? Are we on the same journey?

That’s the difference between unwanted and heartfelt advice.

A secret hidden from everyone is that our loved ones, friends and family have experienced trauma in the journey of their life.

We hide these experiences to ourselves because we think that we are the weird ones and our friend just wants to get through a pleasant dinner.

Although the latter might be true, not dealing with these traumatic experiences can result in a sub-optimal life.

We enter new relationships carrying the baggage of past experiences. At times, the past can be beneficial to gain self-awareness, helping us communicate better with a posture of generosity. But at other times, it is contained inside us in the form of a charged emotional field. Ready to leash out when we spot similar patterns from our past.

This disconnects us from the present reality and diverts our mind. We expand effort to repress and suppress these activated charges so as not to look crazy to others.

In our culture of immediacy, we run away from traumas through coping mechanisms. It works, for a certain time, to a certain point.

Solutions are out there. The healing begins with a choice.

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