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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: March, 2018
Mar 31, 2018

Too often we get stuck.

Caught.

Stopped dead in our tracks.

Usually we end up blaming ourselves for something we did or got wrong in the past. Or because we “wish” we were doing something else right now.

Remember one thing:

You are frekkin’ unstoppable …

Remind yourself ever day, all the time. And take epic action …

Move forward, you can do it. In fact, you’re the only one who can.

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.

Mar 28, 2018

As entrepreneurs, it’s often tough to take time to smell the flowers. Learning how to juggle endless to-do lists, a budding business and loved ones can be difficult for even the most seasoned entrepreneur. However, in this week’s podcast, Trackmaven’s CEO Allen Gannett explains why he is making it a point to take time to be appreciative.

The 25 year old helms the fifty person B2B software company and managed to raise $26M. “I met investors who immediately fell in love with the business. There was a lot of momentum,” he recalls. Early on, he gravitated towards one of his investors and they began a mentor-mentee relationship. “As a young homosexual CEO, it was a confidence builder to find someone I connected with in a world where I wasn’t really fitting in,” Allen says. However, things took a turn when his mentor died unexpectedly. Stunned by the loss, he realized that he hadn’t been as appreciative of his mentor’s support. “It made me reflect on ways to appreciate those who have invested in me emotionally and financially.”

Allen began to find simple ways to acknowledge those around him. While entrepreneurs typically care more about getting the work done as opposed to getting a pat on the back, employees and team members often need that validation in order to feel appreciated. “There is a difference between entrepreneurship and leadership,” Allen explains. Now, if he sees an employee doing a stellar job, he’ll invite them out to lunch. “That validation can really make all the difference. As a CEO, people are constantly watching you - even in ways you don’t realize. It can be taxing, but its more positive and empowering. It can be a confidence builder for them,” he says.

While appreciation is important, he also thinks it’s necessary to have some sort of balance. In cases where the team is underperforming, he urges entrepreneurs to take a look at themselves first. “We have to be willing to ask ourselves if our goals are actually attainable,” he says. He also advises entrepreneurs to marry appreciation and accountability. “Put appreciation on a pedestal and develop a meritocracy culture.”

How do you show your team members that they’re appreciated? Sound off on our Twitter @WiseNapkin or on our Facebook Page!

Mar 24, 2018

With recent public events on my mind, I’ve been paying a little more attention (and asking questions) of my female teammates, colleagues, and other entrepreneurs, leaders and difference makers and have been stunned to hear their stories of having to “work harder” to be heard than their male colleagues.

I’m not saying this is everyone’s story – in fact I’ve been mostly oblivious to the issue in the bubble that is my entrepreneurial world. I say it’s time to draw a line in the sand and for men to ensure they #ManUp and no longer let their male counterparts, colleagues, and teammates to treat women in any lesser way than their male colleagues.

I know that the events of the last week will lead to other women, in other walks of life, to come out and speak about what’s happened to them in the workplace.

Let’s make sure they’re heard.

And let’s end this …

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.

Mar 21, 2018

Abby Robinson is Atlas Corps’ Chief Development and Engagement Officer. Atlas Corps’ mission is to “address critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled nonprofit professionals.”

She leads behind the scenes and works one step behind the entrepreneur, but is always in step.  Although “make it big” might be a phrase we normally think of as applying to the entrepreneur or top executives, when Abby says it she means, “Wherever, whenever, whoever you are, you can do your best and have an impact. I think that’s a good saying to drive one through life.” Making it big includes helping others grow as well, to be inspirational and help young people achieve.

The key to being successful for Abby is by listening to the entrepreneur’s idea and creating her own system to get his visions and thoughts on paper efficiently. Seeing the bullet points and a timeline, she can create something achievable. Consistently, and that has built the CEO’s trust. For successful communications, once three emails have gone back and forth, she believes it is time for an in-person conversation. And if she sends emails to employees on weekends, she’s mindful that it will be treated as priority unless she says otherwise, so she’s clear in setting expectations.

When you act like everything’s a crisis and there’s no prioritization, it’s easy to lose staff engagement and the focus on making it big. “Everything always seems like it’s on fire,” Abby says, “But let’s be honest. We are an organization that provides fellowship opportunities, we’re not providing direct services, we’re not emergency services, so when things are on fire, that all needs to be in perspective…” Figuring out what matters most will keep up the energy and momentum to “make it big.” 

Mar 17, 2018

Who among us doesn’t want better results?

So often we look at the bottom line and continuously set better goals and watch for the outcomes that we want to see. Whether it’s improving the bottom line, better customer service, client retention or other outcome based metric – we want to improve them.

Rarely, however, do we look to the process that created the outcomes and structure time and energy toward reviewing the process and making improvements. If you build a system around improving the processes of your organization, you’re guaranteed to get better results over time.

Try it out for yourself. The faster you apply the process improvements, the faster you can go up the hockey stick of growth.

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.

Mar 14, 2018

It’s a tale as old as time -  a regular human discovers their calling and springs to action. Our hero/heroin usually meets up with a mentor or a group of allies and they face a villain as a collaborative force. Joey Womack, CEO of Atlanta based Amplify 4 Good, thinks that entrepreneurs often follow a similar path. His organization uses a combination of out-of-the-box thinking, rapid problem-solving, and obsessive data tracking to help companies create impact. In today’s podcast, he talks about why “being a force for good” has become his guiding principle in his journey.

Joey initially adopted this mantra when he decided to go against the grain and opt out of accounting,  the family trade. While searching for motivation to follow his entrepreneurial journey despite the naysayers, this quotes got him through dark times. He explains, “As change-makers and entrepreneurs, we are heroes. We have a responsibility to look out and have a bias to action.” A fellow Star Wars fan, he compared entrepreneurs to Jedis. “We bring balance to the force. It’s up to us to figure out deficits and make a contribution to the solutions,” he says. As with heroes, many entrepreneurs spring into action after meeting their Mr. Miyagis or Gandalfs - mentors that ultimately drive them to their destiny. “We hear this call on the inside which tells us we have to default to action,” Joey remarks.

During this action phase, he has also found that accepting failure during this process is a key to success. “I tell people in our innovation labs that they need to accept that failure is likely. Just like in some of our favorite movies, the main character loses the first battle with the villain. But they take time to regroup and learn,” he says. Joey believes that removing the fear of failure takes the pressure off and allows entrepreneurs to be creative and innovative. He also is intentional about surrounding himself with people who share the same bias for action. “Surround yourself with momentum. We need to rebel against our own limits,” he says.

Due to the pressures and inertia of life, most big hairy audacious goals can seem elusive due to their enormous simplicity. “I want to help one billion people by January 2039,” Joey says. “It’s a big goal, but I believe the universe will bend to your needs once you manifest it.”

How are you using your talents to be a force for good? Tweet us @WiseNapkin or comment on our Facebook Page with your answers.

Mar 10, 2018

Everyone is talking about the greatest PREDICTOR of success is how much “grit” or resilience someone has. How willing are they to slog through the rough stuff before reaching for the prize. Some call this delayed gratification, though I don’t think they are the same thing.

The secret source of resilience is within you … it lies with passion, love, and faith. Feeling passionately for what you’re doing, caring deeply about the work and the people you serve with and for, and faith in the vision are all lessons of the heart. Some call this the “soft stuff” … I call this the tough stuff.

Connect to that inner passion and you’ll find limitless resources not just for you but for everyone around you.

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.

Mar 7, 2018

Is there a formulaic way to build a great startup? Today’s guest, Maxim Wheatley thinks so. Maxim comes from a very diverse background - he is an award-winning product leader and innovator, with proven success operating at the intersection of business development, innovation, and product strategy. Additionally, he is the co-founder of LifeFuels, a company that aims to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to to diagnose, manage, and cure health ailments. Maxim’s thoughts on entrepreneurship boil down to three basic tenets: “Dream big and start small, constantly seek new questions to answer, and remember that it’s the people who turn ideas into companies,” he says.

 

‘Dream Big & Start Small’

While it’s important to have vision, it’s also important to get comfortable to with taking small steps. “Like [Reddit Founder] Alexis Ohanian says, ‘Entrepreneur is a fancy word for someone who has ideas and does them’,” Maxim says. While having a big vision important, he urges entrepreneurs to figure out the small and intricate steps involved in helping them achieve their goals. He believes the lean startup culture has a certain bias to action that restricts founders from making moves as often as they should. “Early wins build momentum,” he remarks, “There is magic in relentlessly pushing as opposed to elegantly leaping.”

 

‘Constantly Seek New Questions to Answer’

Having a background in consumer electronic products, Maxim understands the hiccups that can come about when launching a business. “Great products are oriented around prototype questions. “If we’re doing something that doesn’t answer a question, it’s time to readjust,” he says. He urges entrepreneurs to constantly ask new questions and evaluate whether those questions link up to the ‘dream big’ portion of his theory. “Entrepreneurship can be a difficult and lonely road,” he mentions, “Asking new questions and getting them answered can provide you with a sense of victory.” While an inquisitive nature is important, Maxim warns against falling into an “incubator mentality”. Although testing can ensure success for future endeavors, he believes that there is “no validation or testing that will take away from the fact that you need to start taking action.”

 

‘It’s the People Who Turn Ideas into Companies’

 

Developing a team is a crucial part of turning ideas into a bonafide operation. If you had $5M and no one wanted to work for you, or $100K and seven people that were excited about your business opportunity, which scenario would you pick? “I’d pick the latter every time,” Maxim says. While many entrepreneurs find themselves working solo due to fear of criticism, egocentrism or lack of cash flow, he urges them to explore additional measures. “Find out how to pay people in different ways,” he says. Maxim recommends that entrepreneurs use their vision, as opposed to misguided promises of wealth, to attract their team. “Identify other currencies you have at your disposal. Find ways to help [your team] meet their short term and long term goals,” he says. By giving people the opportunity to be apart of something meaningful, he believes entrepreneurs will curate loyal teams.

 

Staying on Track

 

In order to stay focused, Maxim is intentional about these principles. While many startups often attract unsolicited opinions, he believes that successful founders understand how to weed through the noise, filter the quality feedback and turn it into meaningful action. Additionally, he stresses that goals should be simple. “The startup lifestyle is dog years multiplied by ten,” he laughs, “You have to try and not get too caught up in long term planning.” Rather, Maxim suggests that founders take time to ensure that their everyday activities are aligned with their bigger vision. He suggests that founders should ask themselves, “Is there meaningful progress? Are you creating something that you can show and evaluate? If not, change course.”

 

What “small steps” have you taken to achieve your “big dreams”? Comment below (www.facebook.com/PaperNapkinWisdom) or send us a Tweet (www.twitter.com/WiseNapkin)!

 

Mar 3, 2018

So many times our teams look to us to articulate clearly the future vision of the company or the project. It’s up to us to detail it for them. We have to show them where we’re going, what it looks like, what it feels like, what it smells like, even what it tastes like and sounds like.

How do we do that if we’ve never been there – it’s a future state after all. It’s a future vision that requires us to CHANGE what we’re doing to make happen.

The answer is simpler (but not easy).

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.

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