It happened again last month.
One of my friends told me an interesting factoid — “Did you know that Victorian houses in SF used to be considered cheap models, but now everyone loves them? — and I said “Hmm, interesting” and continued chewing my sandwich.
“GOD DAMNIT!” she said. “*I* told you that!”
Ah, yes. I forgot. Again.
It’s become a running joke that I hear someone’s idea, then 2 weeks later mention it to the SAME PERSON…which drives my friends crazy. But for some reason, it seems hilarious to me.
So today I’m delighted to be able to OPENLY take credit for one of my friends’ ideas and tell you how it’s improved my life.
I met Paul Singh a few years ago, and I was so impressed that I hired him for my last company, moving him and his wife to the Bay Area.
Little did I know that he was one of the world’s premiere lifehackers.
After a few months of exchanging techniques, he shared a technique that I’d never heard.
“I put away $3,000 every year just to meet interesting people.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I just put it into a separate account and force myself to spend it.”
“Interesting….” I said.
A little while later, I went to my 5-year college reunion. I met another friend, Steve, who was speaking on an alumni panel. He had moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft, but he had a particularly amazing strategy that I fell in love with.
“When I went to work for Microsoft, I knew I’d eventually want to move back to the Bay Area to start a company. So I made it a point of keeping my relationships warm.”
How did he do that? Here’s where it gets insanely awesome:
“I made a promise to myself that if anyone invited me to lunch, or even coffee, I’d fly to San Francisco to do it. I basically treated the plane flight like an hour-long car ride.”
How much did that cost him in a year? Maybe a few thousand dollars.
But guess what? Steve did start a tech company and, using his carefully cultivated relationships, he’s gotten terrific press for his company, which is profitable and killing it.
Yesterday, I wrote about recognizing and banishing the negative scripts from your life…and automating the positive scripts. Paul and Steve both automated positive scripts — of investing in themselves.
And of course, since I love to take credit for my friends’ ideas, I now set up a sub-savings account and force myself to spend on meeting interesting people.
Here’s an actual email I sent to somebody who I want to meet[Initial email was the basics: Hi who I am, how I can help him, etc. We went back and forth. Then I wrote this:]
“If there’s anything more I can tell you, please let me know. If a phone call or even coffee in LA makes sense, just let me know and I’d be delighted to do it.”
I live in New York and San Francisco and it was important enough to meet him that I offered to fly to have coffee with him in LA. Even one meeting with him could change my business.
(Sidenote: He hasn’t responded after our initial back-and-forth, so I added this to my “Failures” tag. But I continue to send him updates on my business and I know eventually he’ll respond.)
If you read this and say, “Waa I can’t afford $3,000 per year to travel around and meet people, you’re missing the point. This is not about the amount of money — you could do the same with $20/month by taking 2 people out to coffee. The point is the mindset: Investing in your friends and relationships pays off, hugely.
We all claim relationships are important. But when you look at “objective” measures — your calendar (time) and spending (money) — are your actions really matching your claims?
2 case studies of automating positive scripts
1. Adam Baker
Backstory: Baker was a newly married family man accumulating debt upwards of $18,000. He made the decision to clean up his debt, sell everything he owned, and spend a year living in Australia. He paid off $18,000 in debt and saved over $17,000 before living overseas in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.
New Script: “The first step to living a life of passion…is to remove the barriers that hold you back.”
Automation: Baker’s mantra: Sell Your Crap… Pay Off Your Debt… Do What You Love… In the year leading up to the trip he sold all of his possessions (down to two backpacks) and payed down $18,000 in consumer debt. In June 2009, they left for what was to be a year in Australia, but quickly turned into more mobile travels through Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and finally back to Indiana. And now he’s added “earning more money” to that list through terrific products.
2. Eva Motch
Backstory: Eva is a designer who wanted to find a better job for 6 months. She not only quit her job and received a $12,000 raise, but found work on the side at a $4,000-a-year clip (with more to come).
Old Script: “I hate my job and want to quit, but will wait until something better comes along.”
Automation: Eva implemented a plan to apply to leads on Craigslist systematically, and in so doing stumbled upon the full-time job and salary bump.
BY THE WAY, Eva (#2) was a member of Earn1k, my step-by-step on earning money on the side. Later this month, I’ll be opening up Earn1k 2.0 — an updated version of the course with powerful techniques to turn your existing skills into side income. As Eva told me, “Your class honestly and truly helped me, and I will make many times more in my life because of it. “
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