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Paper Napkin Wisdom - Podcast and Blog for Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Difference-Makers

I've asked 1000s of the worlds top Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and Difference-Makers to share with me their most important pearl of wisdom on a simple paper napkin. Then I ask them to have a conversation about why they shared that Paper Napkin Wisdom with me and what it meant to them and for them in their life. Visit http://www.papernapkinwisdom.com for full show notes and archives. Learn their exceptional Stories of Drive, Impact, Balance and Leadership shared by CEOs, founders, authors, speakers, mentors, and teachers. They share successes and failures alike, paying forward their learning experiences to all of us.
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Now displaying: February, 2016
Feb 29, 2016

Each week I’ll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

 

This week I share an experience from this week. I was dealt a huge blow late this week. It was a public failure - and to some degree very embarrassing on the surface. I share how taking responsibility for it has helped me evolve, learn, and grow remarkably quickly. I'm ready for the next time, and no worries, there is always a next time!

How do you respond to challenges and adversity? 

How do you get ready for the next opportunity? 

Feb 24, 2016

We’ve all seen it before: the big houses, the flashy cars and the stories of how entrepreneurs made their millions, spread across the glossy pages of magazines. While this may look like success, Dave Mammano thinks there's a little more to it than that. Founder of NextStepU, an organization that helps teenagers plan their future, he explains how to live a more fulfilled life and reclaim hours in your day.

The road to this discovery began in college, where Dave initially majored in pre-dentistry. “My mother’s cousin was a dentist. He had a red Porsche and a big house, so I decided that I wanted to be one too,” he explains. After an unfulfilling internship, Dave really began to evaluate what he wanted to do and readjusted accordingly. His reasoning was not an anomaly; he finds that many teens base their career planning around what will make them the most money versus what will make them happy. Unfortunately, sometimes the same holds true for many entrepreneurs.

Back in 2010, Dave realized he was focusing all of his energy into his business and not enough energy into some of other the important areas of life. Once this began to take a toll on his health, he made it a point to intentionally design the life he wanted. “Because entrepreneurs are wildly creative and somewhat ‘ADD’, this was a challenge,” Dave confesses. After joining the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), he decided to take a step back and made his internal well-being a number one priority.

Dave encourages entrepreneurs to do regular internal audits to evaluate what success looks like to them. “To me, success is not what I amass in material goods. Rather, I measure it based on what I have internally. I think this is the number one recipe for success and happiness,” Dave explains. But with the hustle and bustle of today’s plugged-in world, how is this possible? “I encourage the teens I talk to, to do something that will scare the living bejeezus out of them. I tell them to put away their phones and any kind of technology. I tell them to go for a walk in the woods and think about what they like to do, what their values are and how they can map out a plan to make that happen.”

Introspective reviews can be tough. So, Dave has developed a system to assist with measuring his internal happiness and personal progress on a week by week basis. Journaling and meditation is fundamental to this process. Additionally, he holds himself accountable and works with an accountability partner to make sure he stays on track. He asks himself: What makes me happy and healthy in the areas that are important? “A healthy, happy entrepreneur is one who balances the work, the family, friends, faith and what not.” While this will vary from person to person, it’s essential for entrepreneurs to plan this out like it is a business to avoid neglecting some of the things that should take precedent.

In addition to improving his mental well being and interpersonal relationships, this structure allows him to “suck the juice” out of every minute. Within these journaling sessions, he plans out his goals for the each day of the week, month and year. He believes that this allows him to be more focused and organized.

Learn more about Dave’s system and experiences by listening to the podcast below!

Feb 22, 2016

What would you do if there were no rules or set path to achieving success? In this podcast, Matt Ward explains his philosophy behind his theory that there are no rules. “In life and business, there are set patterns,” he explains,”but at the end of the day, you can do what you want to do.” And he would know -- Matt started out as an engineer but now runs an ecommerce company.”I was always the straight A student, really rules focused, a bit of a nerd. Great at math and science, not so great at English,” he admits.

After becoming dissatisfied with the corporate world and discovering his love for crowdfunding and ecommerce, he began exploring the idea that rules should be abandoned. He happened upon the idea after reading Eckhart Tolle’s bestseller (and Oprah approved) “The Power of Now”. The book asserts that there is no past because it's over, and there is no future. Additionally, Tolle believes that most problems technically don’t exist because they’re in the future. This was a life changing revelation for Matt, who ended up on a completely different course than the one he started on.

As the head of a Fulfilled By Amazon company, he breaks down how Amazon has broken the rules and subsequently changed history. While competing giant Ebay encouraged people to bid on items, Amazon allowed people to get the best product for the lowest cause. “Raw efficiency... makes things really easy for consumers and is one way Amazon is breaking the rules,” he says.

Matt also believes that many entrepreneurs are victims of analysis paralysis, “You don’t have to be perfect to launch. Perfectionist syndrome keeps people on the beaten path. You [end up] holding yourself back. That’s the main difference between “wantrepreneurs” and “entrepreneurs.”

He encourages entrepreneurs to change course if something isn’t working, a lesson he learned after stopping his crowdfunding story.

He leaves budding entrepreneurs with this advice, “Go do something stupid so that you’ll learn incredible things from it. Set outlandishly large goals. Plan goals over the next 12 months while having this mind set. If you shoot for the moon and get 10% of the way there, you’re going to have a hell of a success story… assuming you have a rocket.”

Check out the whole conversation.

Feb 20, 2016

Each week I'll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

This week I talk about how important it is to stay in your lane and remain focused on your main priority. Don't get distracted with things that will pull you off course. 

Are you staying on course? How do you do it?

 

Feb 17, 2016

The concept of working a 9-5 position isn’t ancient. You may not realize it, but it’s actually only a few generations old. While people in the 1500s certainly had trades and appointed positions, the work force looked very different prior to the Industrial Revolution.”The concept of going to a big dark building was so foreign [500] years ago. [But] in the last five to ten years, there has been a shift. Entrepreneurship is the future,” explains Clay Hebert, marketing and growth hack expert.

Prior to the turn of the century, the folks who approved or denied access to certain opportunities - otherwise known as gatekeepers - were the game changers. And although they still exist, Hebert believes they are a lot less relevant than they were in those days, stating, “All of the gatekeepers are gone. Except one. You are the last gatekeeper.” In this podcast, he explains his philosophy behind the quote, along with ways entrepreneurs and creatives can begin to rethink how they view gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers follow the standard rules and procedures that have been around for ages, which means that sometimes “[they] don’t have good taste”, he notes. In fact, J.K. Rowling’s first book in the Harry Potter series was cast aside by publishers and picked up by his daughter, who begged him for a sequel. Hebert came to this revelation after leaving his decade long position with consulting firm Accenture. “I worked with awesome, brilliant people, but they didn’t value entrepreneurship like I did,” he recounts.

In 2009, he studied under Seth Godin’s alternative MBA program and went on to help brands and individuals with digital marketing. After helping a friend hold a successful Kickstarter campaign for a film she was directing, he began to realize how gatekeepers were slowly going out of vogue. “In order to make her film, she needed to raise $30,000 for post production costs. But there were gatekeepers telling her no. With my help, she got past them and found another way.” The film went on to be shown at festivals and win awards, further cementing his idea that gatekeepers were a thing of the past.

Of course, some gatekeepers are useful. “I want to be sure that my pilot is trained and certified, and isn’t some hipster guy from Brooklyn that just randomly decided he wanted to fly a plane,” Hebert jokes. However, when it comes to more creative and entrepreneurial pursuits, he believes that people simply need to get out of their own way.

A big part of this is monitoring what you consume and becoming a gatekeeper for yourself. Whether it’s the latest vacation photos from an old high school friend on Facebook or the salacious headline in the paper, it’s important for entrepreneurs to keep a pulse on what they are “ingesting”. “99% of people don’t care about you or what you do. And that’s great news,” Hebert says, “Ignore them. so you can give value to the 1% that do care. That’s hard to do when you’re ingesting all of that noise.” He encourages entrepreneurs to subscribe to author Kevin Kelly’s concept of finding and nurturing 1000 true fans, while building from the ground up.

Click here for a special bonus gift from Clay Hebert and make sure to listen to the podcast.

Feb 16, 2016

What happens when you create a venn diagram that combines discovering your passion with providing unique value and figuring out where your audience is listening? In this podcast, Rand Fishkin, founder and CEO of Moz, believes that is how you find your sweet spot.

 

As with most entrepreneurs, Fishkin knows a little bit about how failure can eventually inspire success. After dropping out of college in 2001, he began working with his mom at an agency where they offered clients web design and marketing solutions. However, they began drowning in debt, amassing over $500,000 from overhead expenses. In 2004, he started a blog called SEO Moz. “I spent four hours a day writing blogs. For the first year, it wasn’t really attracting anyone or resonating with a particular audience,” Fishkin recalls.

But after a year of publishing blogs five days per week, eventually the audience came: SEO Moz (renamed Moz) became a credible source of information about the newest marketing phase - search engine  . In fact, the blog became so successful that in 2007, he was able to pay off his debt. While discovering his sweet spot took some time, Fishkin notes, “I have not seen someone in the content marketing world where someone was automatically a massive success.

The founder of Buzzfeed had over 11 years of publishing experience before it became what it is today. It’s all about shifting your passions to an area where you can provide unique value.” Additionally, he notes that entrepreneurs should keep their ear to the ground to find where their audience is to avoid choosing the right platform to promote their service or product.

As a public figure and thought leader, Fishkin has a few nuggets for entrepreneurs. First, they must be willing to learn, adapt and change for their audience. Additionally, it’s key to experiment with new platforms without over investing in them, in order to continue to grow and learn. Find out more words of wisdom by clicking the link  ! 

Feb 13, 2016

Each week I'll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

This week I talk about how my 9 year old son and I use our morning routines to help build a plan for the day.

Are you building a plan for your day? How do you do it?

Feb 10, 2016

Is there a formula for success? This week’s Paper Napkin Wisdom guest, Geoff Smart - CEO of lead consulting firm ghSMART - proposes just that . Dr. Smart, the best selling author of Who: The A Method for Hiring and the newly released Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success, holds a PhD in Psychology and has spent the last twenty years collecting and synthesizing data from over 3000 leaders and their teams.

While most books on leadership suggest that most prominent trait of successful leaders is honesty, Dr. Smart discovered that this wasn’t necessarily a special trait, and that most people (successful or unsuccessful) rated themselves highly in this category.

The Power Score (P x W x R) takes a look at the empirical data surrounding common traits of leaders and proposes that if teams are good at prioritizing, hiring the right people and building the right relationships, they are twenty times more likely to be successful than if they don’t have these traits. The concept was birthed by his publisher, who suggested that Dr. Smart take a more holistic approach to his new book as opposed to just providing tips on hiring as he had for his previous work “Who”. “The formula is multiplicative,” Dr. Smart explains, and akin to an athlete performing in a triathlon -- he or she must be good at all three in order to be successful.

The “P” stands for prioritizing and refers to the need for leaders and their teams to be equally plugged into the top goals and objectives of the organization. According to Dr. Smart, only 24 percent of leaders in the sample were good at prioritizing, while 90 percent said they had too many priorities. Working collaboratively to establish goals and a step-by-step process to achieve them is crucial to the success of any team.

The next letter in the equation, “W”, stands for Who. This value represents the team members themselves and evaluates whether they are all-stars or average from the beginning of the hiring process. To dig a bit deeper, Dr. Smart suggests asking the following questions prior to hiring a new team member:

  • What does performance mean? What will it take for this person to be an all-star in this role?
  • How was this candidate sourced? Was it a referral from an internal party?
  • Am I asking the right interview questions and avoiding any hypothetical statements or situations in the interview?
  • Am I selling this person on how great of a fit it is, how much time they’ll have with family, how much freedom they’ll have, the amount of money they’ll make and how fun it is to work here?

Because the majority of managers worldwide only have around a 50% retention rate for the staff they hire, these questions are pertinent in order to ensure the new hire will bring value to their new team.

Finally, “R” stands for relationships. “Simply stated,” Dr. Smart explains, the right people need to be talking at the right time.

Check out the latest podcast and Dr. Smart’s new book to learn more about the formula for success!

Feb 8, 2016

Two years ago Rob Simons challenged me to by flipping around the Paper Napkin Wisdom podcast and turning me into the subject and he’d play the interviewer. To launch season 4, he came back to turn the tables once more by interviewing me in today’s podcast. I’ve been thinking a lot since the release of my book, “Your Five Step Plan For Life and Business Success”. As business owners and entrepreneurs, many times we worry about reaching our highest potential, often because we don’t think we are good enough. Thus, my paper napkin for today reads “Make it bad, then make it better. But make it.”

This initially came to me when I created the first draft of my most recent book. I produced it before a keynote I did, and it was just my thoughts on paper. My friend and organizer of the event gave me one requirement in order to speak: they wanted me to give away 100 copies of my book. Having that first draft provided me with the opportunity to improve upon the product.

Let’s go back even further.

In 2009, my personal and professional life was eroding and I was looking for a magic wand to wave over everything. While I didn’t find the wand, I did find something better. And in 2013, I launched Paper Napkin Wisdom. At the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing. It took me almost a year to get the first paper napkin and I recorded everything with $19 equipment. However, while it wasn’t perfect, the conversations we had were still riveting. After doing a few hundred podcasts, of course it improved. Once the process got going, I did 70 podcasts in three months and collected nearly 100 paper napkins. Throughout this process of creating the podcast, I discovered ways to make it better. For starters, being genuine curiosity ended up being the key to great podcasts interviews. Over-preparing took away a part of the authenticity of the podcast. But I had to do it first in order to improve upon it.

“So, Govindh,” you may ask, “how do you go from having a goal to doing it and making it better?” The answer for that lies within the first napkin I ever had on the show, which read, “If you want to learn and grow, you have to do what scares you and do it in public.”

I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years and came upon a revelation: many people who achieve great success only do it once or twice in their lives. Because of this, they often unintentionally overlook the process that enabled them to achieve these successes. In Your Five Step Plan, I highlight the commonalities I’ve discovered after talking to the most brilliant minds over the last few years.

  1. Multitasking is for computers, not for leaders. In fact, you get an 8x better ROI when you focus on one task at a time.
  2. There’s no such thing as priorities. There’s typically only one thing that you can focus on at a time. Deal with that and the rest will fall into place.
  3. Your worldview affects your business decisions. To the aforementioned point, when deciding what those priorities are, keep in mind that how you view the world affects how you prioritize.
  4. Distilled wisdom is key. If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  5. Be accountable. A study showed that people who wrote down their goals are 36.7% more likely to achieve them. However, those who wrote down their goals and provided progress reports to peers were 76.7% more likely to achieve their goals.

I often see time and deadlines becoming barricades to entrepreneurs starting on a specific goal. While timelines are important, they shouldn’t be used to be hard on yourself. As a career coach, Rob encourages entrepreneurs to learn from their process, even if deadlines need to be adjusted.

One of the big challenges I had in the past was not having a subsequent goal after achieving a big milestone. However, in 2016, my biggest goal is to  get this book into your hands in an effort to “save an entrepreneur, and save the world”. I want to inspire each and every one of you to take your ideas and your business further, faster.

Are you ready to embark on this journey?

Listen to the whole conversation:

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