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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: November, 2017
Nov 29, 2017

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitate. Roughly translated into “More things should not be used than are necessary,” Occam’s razor— a principle developed by Franciscan friar and logician—harps on the value of simplicity. In today’s podcast, Brian Kight explains the value of simplistic discipline. “[In order to be successful], one must choose discipline over default every day. It’s the one thing that enhances everything,” he says.

As CEO of Focus 3, an organization that helps organizations align leaders, culture and behaviors with strategy and goals, he routinely couches entrepreneurs on the value of discipline. “It’s a constant battle between our willingness to bring discipline to each day or to default into old habits. The hardest thing to do in the world is to execute the simplest tasks with discipline. Elite levels of discipline garner great results,” he continues.

While this idea seems simple enough, anyone can agree that it isn’t necessarily easy. Take diet and weight loss, for example. Everyone knows the basic ways one can shed pounds – healthy eating, exercise, regular check-ins with a dietician and so on. However, shutting down the default (also known as autopilot) and getting to the discipline part is what makes it so difficult. Default is anything driven by autopilot, resistance and impulse – three things that are not uncommon in the human experience. “Living a disciplined life means that you’re not on autopilot. You’re living intentionally,” he says.

For most people, the word discipline has an immediate negative connotation. But the word actually comes from a Latin word which translates into student. “All discipline means is learning how to narrow down and apply a system of standards,” Brian says, “In my observation, I encounter far too few people who have a definitive set of standards and living them with discipline.”

Contrary to popular science, Brian refuses to subscribe to the notion that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. “I don’t believe that discipline becomes our natural norm. It’s something you have to work on. Your brain is always going to want to find an easier path. Discipline must be a daily decision and very intentional,” he argues. 

For leaders who are looking to incorporate more discipline into their corporate structure, Brian warns that discipline must come from within and not from external sources— otherwise, it’s just compliance. “First, you must set the standard, then give people tools that help them become disciplined and hold them accountable. It’s not about rules; it’s about establishing a standard through clarity and support,” he advises. 

Nov 25, 2017

Take Action Premiere!

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?

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success ... get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

Nov 22, 2017

Entrepreneurs, what big plans have you been putting off because they seemed unrealistic or too far-fetched? Have you ever asked yourself, “Well, why not? What’s the worst that can happen?” Today’s podcast guests thinks that you should. “There are benefits to having ADHD”, declares founder of HARO and Paper Napkin Wisdom show favorite, Peter Shankman. “When you have ADHD, you have two speeds, off or all the way on. You tend to not overthink things. You come to the conclusion that you want to do things, just because you move faster than normal.”

Think of it as flying through and around and with things.

As it turns out, this ended up being how he got started with his latest project, Faster Than Normal, a podcast which focuses on turning ADHD into an advantage, instead of a disability. While many entrepreneurs are plagued by inaction due to overthinking, Peter doesn’t have that problem. “There’s a built in bias to action. More ideas have failed because they haven’t been done, not because they were bad ideas,” he muses.

While many successful entrepreneurs are innately curious, many also suffer from this bias. Perfectionism, while a noble quest, is often the serial killer to innovation and creativity. Peter’s approach pairs a relentless desire to execute and innovate with the relentless desire to have fun and let loose. This has proven to be successful for him: by using his ADHD as a rocket instead of a crutch, he has founded several entrepreneurial ventures.

The Faster Than Normal podcast is extremely personal to him. As a child, he often felt out of place. He subscribes to Kevin Spacey’s quote which states “If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” Peter often receives letters from parents that thank him for speaking up and providing his interesting perspectives on ADHD.

He believes that embracing differences is an important key to innovation. “I’ve lost several friends from suicide over the past decade or so. There need to me more conversations surrounding mental health for entrepreneurs,” he says, “We become our most honest selves when we become the help we once needed.”

So, how can entrepreneurs adopt the ‘do first and think later’ mindset? Think of your brain as an Internet browser. The more tabs that are open, the slower it will go. Peter suggests adhering to a strict routine and ruthlessly eliminating anything that does not fit within that routine. “Structure will set you free,” he says.

What are some of your ‘big, hairy audacious goals’? What’s stopping you from going after them? Tweet us with your answers @WiseNapkin!

Nov 18, 2017

To scale a business, we need to care about others more than we care about ourselves. The challenge is that we need to care about strangers (e.g. customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, bankers, even employees) - people you don’t really know.

As entrepreneurs and leaders, we often take on the burden pressure from everyone around us and put it on our shoulders. In order to be of value, we need to do that transparently and openly. On the other side, we need to be really committed to outcomes, results, and delivering a value to strangers.

If we build systems around that commitment to value, then we can hit the scale paradox.

When you think about your journey and your business, can you say that the person on the other side knows - not thinks – knows that you care? If you can’t, then they don’t.

You bring something unique to the game. Don’t forget that every time you’re on the way to new, it will be scary, but fear opens the door to learning and the opportunity to be transparent. Strangers who are most aligned with your mission and understand why you do what you do will support who you are, if you show up transparently and they know you care more about them than you do about yourself.

 

Let’s work together to make this year the best one yet.


I want to help you. Please go to www.PaperNapkinWisdom.com and sign up, we'll send you the e-book that contains the secret structure that will build more scalable, even exponential results than you had thought possible.

You have so much to give, you had better start now.

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success ? get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

 

Nov 15, 2017

When we first started Paper Napkin Wisdom, the idea was that by inspiring entrepreneurs to change themselves, we could promote change in the world. Lucas Siegel, co-founder of Capital Peak Investments and AlternaScript has a similar idea in today’s Paper Napkin Wisdom. “If there’s something in the world you don’t like, then build a business to change it,” he says. He began AlternaScript with this concept in mind. “It’s fascinating how few people realize that a business is really just about solving a problem better than other people can.”

Growing up in an entrepreneurial household, his family always instilled a sense of worldly purpose within Lucas. After graduating from the University of Colorado and extensive travelling, he began to explore the problem with health supplements. “I discovered that most of them sucked and did not have any scientific backing. The underlying problem – which is what I based my company off of— surrounds how we can optimize health for American citizens and the world. How can we unleash people to live up to their potential, from a healthy living perspective? In my opinion, business is the only way to sustainably solve some of the world’s most massive, daunting problems,” he mused.

Beginning a business with a question in mind is a great way to stay on purpose through the entrepreneurial journey. “It’s so easy to lose track of why you’re here. Keeping that question at the forefront of your efforts helps to align your vision and your team,” says Lucas. Speaking of teams, he credits a lot of his success to his “tribe”. There are three types of people he keeps around him, “I surround myself with scalers, inventors and operators. And I make sure they’re all smarter than me and purpose driven individuals.”

Running a purpose driven business can be tough without the help of a well-oiled machine. Lucas ensures that he stays on track by running daily and reading (or, as he tells it, having a conversation with the author).  Additionally, he develops six month goals which he writes down and reads twice a day. “I have micro goals inside of my larger term goals. Six months is the longest I’d like to plan. I read somewhere that strategizing on a year to year basis is less of a strategy and more of a dream. Putting tight timelines on things pushes your brain more,” he says.

A large part of Lucas’ purpose is to provide consumers with top notch products. He’s not prone to analysis paralysis and is an advocate for another popular idea on our show: ‘Make it bad then make it better.’ “We use consumer feedback to evolve our products. We have developed over fifty versions of our cognitive enhancement brain supplement,” he says. “The hard part is scaling and gaining traction and going through the 5,000 no’s to get to that one yes.”

While he credits his success to the idea of solving a problem with his business, Lucas also cautions fellow entrepreneurs to do the same. “A lot of people come to me to try and figure out why their business isn’t growing. I always tell them to think to themselves: ‘Am I solving a problem that exists? Or did I create the problem in my head’,” he muses.

What’s the ultimate worldly purpose behind your business? Tweet us @Wisenapkin with your answers!

Nov 8, 2017

To some, the concept of trusting the world may seem like a far-fetched philosophy. ‘How can I trust the world with everything that’s going on right now?’ you may ask. However, today’s Paper Napkin Wisdom guest, Leila Janah doesn’t feel like the concept is unrealistic. In fact, she uses it as the guiding principle in her personal and professional life. Leila is founder of Sama, a social enterprise that helps people lift themselves out of poverty, and Laxmi, a social impact luxury brand. Her interest in tackling these issues stemmed from her grandmother. An ‘adventurette’, Grandma Janah hiked around the world from 1949-1952 with only $5 to her name. She met Leila’s grandfather in Calcutta, where the two began to build a life. Years later, Leila’s parents were worried about their upcoming move to the United States. “My grandma took their hands and said: ‘The world is a beautiful place. Trust the world’. They imparted that philosophy on to me,” she says.

Birthed by impassioned adventurers, Leila expressed interest in world policy and events from an early age. “I’ve lived abroad in Japan and Switzerland because I wanted to be connected with people and see how they lived,” Leila recalls. After helming the inaugural chapter of Amnesty International at her local high school, she worked to provide equal access to AP courses within high schools in underprivileged communities. By taking the philosophy of connectedness and pairing it with action, she found a way to promote change in the world.

Trusting the world also applies to managerial styles. When one of her team members needed two days outside of his allotted PTO in order to go on his honeymoon, she found a way to ensure he wouldn’t have to take unpaid leave. “He didn’t ask me for this, but I wanted to give it to him. When you give people agency and you expect the best from them, that’s when they deliver,” she says. Instead of treating employees as mindless drones, she finds that this approach allows for them to take more pride in their work.

This is not to say you won’t be disappointed when humans you’ve trusted drop the ball. “It’s not always easy to view the world through this lens,” she admits, “But I believe that bad behavior is only the default when we expect it to be. When you have high expectations of other humans, they normally will rise to the challenge.” She also credits daily meditation with keeping her centered and focused. “Ben Franklin wrote down his virtues and reviewed them daily to make sure that he was abiding by his core principles. I did a similar exercise and I’ve found that it keeps me incredibly balanced. It’s a guide and a map for my decision making,” she says.

Do you apply this philosophy to your life? How has it impacted your life and your company? Tweet us with your answers @Wisenapkin

Nov 8, 2017

In today’s podcast, avid readers Govindh Jayaraman, entrepreneur and host of Paper Napkin Wisdom, and James Ashcroft, entrepreneur and mentor at EO Accelerator Meetings, discuss Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson, legendary winning coach of the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers.

Though neither is particularly a basketball fan, both loved the book and highly recommend it. They recognize that “eleven rings” refer less about championship rings and more about a bond between players; it’s a circle of love that gets amazing results. Both feel that the book’s honest style and the lessons garnered can directly apply to personal and professional life, lessons in leadership for any team endeavor.

Key inspirational themes they found in Eleven Rings:

  • Lead from the inside out. Phil Jackson took athletes with tremendous talent and egos and provided a structure so they could be creative, while creating a bond, a recipe for team success. Jackson helped his players grow individually and grow together into something bigger than themselves, which could be a story about any management culture.
  • Find the joy in your work. Phil Jackson, they said, “clearly has a joy. It’s inspirational that someone finds the river of joy within themselves, to say, what I’m best at, what my calling is, to extract the best from these young men in a team environment. That congruence is extremely powerful.”
  • Delegate authority as much as possible. Jackson felt that was the most effective approach to build everyone’s leadership skills, unity, and help others to grow. He created space for his teams to figure it out, and didn’t make a lot of calls from the bench. He trusted them and didn’t claim to always have the right answer. As Michael Jordan said, the “team’s collective think power” was their hallmark of success. Obsessing about winning is a losers’ game. Create the best possible conditions for success and let go of the outcome.
  • Turn the mundane into the sacred. Jackson thought teaching spirituality to his men was the biggest part of the job. The lesson for Govindh and James? “When we commit higher sense of self, self-discipline, collective discipline, we can achieve way, way more.”
  • Lead with compassion. Phil Jackson bent his style to the individual player (think of Dennis Rodman). Practices were sacred ground where players could just be themselves. Jackson’s goal as a coach was to foster an environment where the players could grow as individuals and express themselves creatively within a team structure. Govindh and James agree, “whether it’s a coach, leader, father, husband, friend, don’t we want to achieve that with and for each other?”
  • Among other explorations, Jackson used music to help his teams and had them coordinate their actions in 4/4 time. The team synchronized, each attuned to the hidden language they had, playing together. Beat by beat they harmonized with each other. Jovindh and James see this as the learning for companies: “If they fall out of stride, out of rhythm it’s a big issue for a company’s leaders. There is rhythm, harmony we need to maintain within the organization. When we break it, nobody knows where to be.” If the tempo is dragging or the players out of key, the music becomes noise. “Music and rhythm and momentum, the energy that it takes for a sports team or business to continue and work together and bring as many people into that ecosystem as you can, that is success.”

 

Nov 4, 2017

Everything worthwhile is hard to do. Being a better parent, a better leader, a better entrepreneur, or build a better business mode. Everything.

The reason? They’re enormously simple. The strategy and idea behind great things is simplicity, and they're worthwhile because you understand them and their value. 

For example: admitting when you’re wrong – in real time. This is hard to do. It’s elusive, worthwhile and the right thing to do but it’s hard. Simplicity and how easy it is to do aren’t the same thing. Simple doesn’t mean easy. The path to simplicity goes through complexity, and it can be very challenging to find focus and deliver that elusive thing.

That’s what entrepreneurs do – we deliver that elusive value, that’s only doable by you.

Being yourself is simple. But rare, particularly in challenging circumstances. But it can reap great rewards. Recently, we were launching a new product and were asked by a customer – a big customer we needed – how many other clients are you working with that we can join in with? We admitted we had none: a simple thing to do, but rare. The client was so impressed that they immediately decided they wanted to work with us, because we were doing something new and exciting.

So, yes, everything worthwhile is hard to do, but can reap great rewards.

 

Let’s work together to make this year the best one yet.


I want to help you. Please go to www.PaperNapkinWisdom.com and sign up, we'll send you the e-book that contains the secret structure that will build more scalable, even exponential results than you had thought possible.

You have so much to give, you had better start now.

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success ? get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

Nov 1, 2017

The date was February 4, 2013. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers were going head to head in Super Bowl XLVII. Suddenly, in the third quarter, there was a power outage. For thirty-four minutes, spectators across the globe were held captive by this unprecedented technical difficulty. Then, cookie brand Oreo tweeted “Power out? No Problem, you can still dunk in the dark” with a starkly lit image of an Oreo. Even if you didn’t watch the Super Bowl, chances are you heard about this story, as it was covered by hundreds of major media outlets. Today’s Paper Napkin Wisdom guest and marketing maven, Dave Meerman Scott, has pioneered this concept, known as newsjacking. According to Dave, newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your messages into a breaking news story. “To grow your business, align your marketing to the news of the day. Timing is key,” he remarks, “Very few companies are agile enough to do real time marketing.”

For many marketing departments, their marketing is very proactive. While this is great from an operations standpoint, Dave recommends that priorities are shifted to include time and space for reaction to relevant news articles. “You’re planning on your timetable and not the time table that’s most important to your marketplace. People don’t care about your products and services, but they may care about the story you align yourself with,” he says. Dave shared a few examples of a few of the ways people have successfully executed on this strategy.

Example 1: Trent Silver is a 22-year-old entrepreneur who founded Cash For Purses, a company that purchases used, high end handbags, fixes them and resales them to consignment shops. When he saw the breaking news story that Lindsay Lohan was having money troubles, he wrote a blog post offering to purchase her handbags. He then sent this blog to a few editors. The response was astounding: he was featured in TMZ, Radar Online, Huffington Post and more. Additionally, this generated over 8000 inquiries and a quarter of a million dollars in revenue.

Example 2: Mitch Jackson is a senior partner at Jackson & Wilson Law Firm, a legal practice in California. He blogs about the legal ramifications of breaking news stories (Charlie Sheen’s HIV announcement, Bill Cosby’s case and more). This has led to journalists quoting him and using him as a source in for their stories. He’s generated multimillion dollar settlements from this alone.

Example 3: Eloqua CEO Joe Payne realized that his competitor, Market to Lead, had been acquired by Oracle. When he did a web search, the Oracle website had very limited details surrounding this story. He decided to write a blog post detailing the acquisition and what it meant for the industry. Within a day, he was approached and quoted by PC World, Information World and more. Coincidentally enough, Eloqua was purchased by Oracle a little while later. “It was the $16m blog post,” laughs Dave.

For businesses who are looking to share similar success, Dave suggests the following:

  • Have a legitimate tie to the story: Make sure your brand has an authentic connection with the story. Otherwise, this method will look forced.
  • Timing is key: Control the narrative by striking when the iron is hot. Waiting a few days or even a few hours can make your story lose its relevancy or edge.
  • Success takes time: Keep in mind, this success may not be instant. Work to establish your blogging rhythm so that when an opportunity arises, you’re able to pounce.

What newsjacking stories have you noticed lately? Have you tried this concept yourself? Tweet us with your answers @Wisenapkin

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