This is part 8 of the Success Interview Series
I have previously interviewed him on the blog and he is so talented and cool that I have to invite him back for a second interview :).
In this written Q& A style interview he shares his thoughts on “failure” and a very effective strategy to skyrocket your own productivity:
1. What do you think are the three biggest obstacles that prevent people from achieving their full potential?
I don’t know about three, but here is one: negative chatter. We spend so much time telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, we can’t do it, we don’t deserve it — and sometimes that’s true.
But the truth is that you can become good enough, and you can do better than you are already.
Easy method to overcome this:
1: write down 5 negative statements about one of your goals,
2: challenge them one by one,
2. How do you deal with challenges or “failure”?
My startup wasn’t a “success” yet by Silicon Valley standards, but I sold it to a competitor.
I quit Writerviews but it led to connections, freelance work and a great leap forward in the way I think about life and approach business.
Most of the time you can find wins in your failures.
3. You just came back from China: would you let us know more about your travel experience? any interesting experiences with the local people, food or culture ? 🙂
北 京人和上海人太多了。中国是一个很大的国家。 如果你有机会去，我建议你去中国的西方，比如说四川，贵州，什么的。他们的菜是最好吃的，公园最漂亮的。
4. You have interviewed a lot of heavy hitters in the online marketing/online world such as Ramit Sethi, Neil Patel, Derek Halpern etc… What were the common traits you saw despite the fact that they were in very different industries?
The big thing is they make decisions and move on. They don’t always make the “right decision” or the “best decision”, but they continue forward.
This is huge, so many of us get paralyzed by options or stick to what we know — and it’s fair enough, when you go to the store there are 600 different types of bread to choose from.
I recommend putting all those small decisions on autopilot to conserve your decisiveness for the 1 or 2 big things each day. Make a decision and move on.
5. What are you thoughts on the term” multi-passionate” entrepreneur? It seems that instead of focusing and doing one thing only, you could do a lot of different things at once. Love to hear your take on this topic.
Focus on one thing, unless that one thing benefits by having a second. I have two projects right now and one feeds the other.
Multiple passions are fine, but we all have finite time and money — balance them out and know which is your priority.
6. Are you still going to write a blog/do interviews or you have shifted focus (for now?)
I’m running and growing my law firm. Blogging/interviews/online marketing/etc. are part of that — but not a big part.
7. What were your own productivity hacks?
I use 5 day plans:
1: draw a table with 6 columns and 5+ rows
2: across the top write day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
3: along left column write specific tasks to do each day, “20 minutes of yoga”, “interview 1 person”, “no sugar”, or whatever.
4: check off the tasks as you do them each day
5: at the end of 5 days makes a new list w/ modifications for more difficulty, or getting rid of things you don’t enjoy, etc.
I don’t let myself sleep until all the tasks are done — this skyrockets my productivity for short periods of time.
8. What are your goals and business projects for 2014?
For business: I’ll continue growing my firm.
Personal: I want to continue improving my Chinese.
Lessons learned from Michael:
1. Believe in yourself. Don’t waste time on negative mind chatter or self doubt. Better spend your time on more productive activities.
2. Learn to focus. Doing more than one project is fine as long as they are moving towards your goal or feeds each other.
3. There is no such thing as “failure”. You always benefit from every experience, including “failure”.
4. All successful people don’t fear failure. They learn to move on and at the same time they master the art of systemization.
5. Write a 5 day To Do List and make sure you accomplish them before moving on to something else.