New Writing Project + Can I Help You Reach Your 2020 Goals?

The PROGRESSION newsletter will come later this month but I wanted to share two things you may find interesting.

New Project: Career Q&As

Career Q&A with Dan Jimenez, COO of Chatbooks

With the new year, I’m kicking off a series of Career Q&As with successful leaders. The goal is to provide insightful lessons and practical advice you can leverage to further your career. The first one is with Dan Jimenez, COO of Chatbooks. I particularly love his advice on career risk, how to think about the different decades of your life, and how he bounced back from an early career setback. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Leadership and Career Coaching

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to coach everyone from startup CEOs and Fortune 100 leaders to college students and high-potential young professionals. Six months ago I started a coaching training program and have since launched a coaching practice focused on leadership and career development. I just wrapped up my training and have space to begin a few more coaching engagements.

So what’s a coaching engagement? In short, together we’d dig deep into what’s most important to you and what success looks like in not just your job, but all aspects of life. Then, we’d partner to create a personalized plan to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be, meeting on a consistent basis to track progress and clear obstacles that stand in your way.

If you're interested, simply reply to this email and we can discuss how I can help you reach your goals and what an engagement would look like.

All the best,

Nathan

PROGRESSION: Never Split the Difference, Zig Ziglar, and How to Avoid the Traps of Mainstream Thinking

December 2019

Greetings from Valencia, CA! I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the holidays. More recommendations than usual this month but the recaps are shorter. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Books, articles, etc.

High Output Management by Andy Grove (Book)

30+ years ago, Andy Grove, CEO of Intel, was one of the most influential executives. His book, High Output Management, was written the same year I was born (!!) but the principles still apply in today’s world. His advice ranges from running 1-on-1s with direct reports to handling performance review conversations. Many books written by successful execs are too high-level, but Grove gets into the nuts and bolts, which I love. This book came highly recommended by all three DoorDash founders and I echo their sentiment. 

See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar (Book)

Almost all motivational speakers trace their roots back to Zig. This book was recommended in a podcast interview by Seth Godin where he said it was one of the three most impactful books he read. While motivational speaking often gets a bad rap, I strongly believe that our mindset is largely determined by what we put into our head. Listening to his talks over the last month helped me stay positive and maintain an internal locus of control. If you’re looking for motivation as you enter the new year, you can’t go wrong with Zig.  

The Lesson to Unlearn by Paul Graham (Article)

A leader at our company recently shared this article with the following note:

“Unfortunately, all of us have been programmed, or incentivized, to think mainstream (e.g., What does the press say? What's cool on Twitter? What do my friends/parents think?). There are many reasons for this, most principally because we were all educated in a pedagogy that rewards mainstream thinking (e.g., getting straight As, getting into the most selective university, getting a job from a "top" employer, etc). I hope you give it a read this week and most importantly encourage yourself to think from first principles and to think long-term.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Book)

I think this was my fifth reread of this Dickens classic. This book is always a good reminder that the relationships we have will always transcend the work we do. We can’t change the past, but we can choose to do better today. I also recommend The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is both hilarious and touching.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss (Book)

Written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, Never Split the Difference provides practical but counterintuitive advice on how to negotiate effectively. Many of Voss’ tools and tactics are at odds with what I learned in other books, but he was incredibly persuasive. Specifically, Voss teaches the need for “tactical empathy” so we can connect with those we’re negotiating with. There’s a reason this book shows up on almost every list of book recommendations. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time. If you’re still on the fence, check out his TED talk.

Observations

No observations to share this month. More to come in January! 

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for the many people who helped our family load and unload the moving van. I’m especially grateful for Brenda, my mother-in-law, who stayed with us for several days before and after the move and served in countless ways. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without her.   

Thanks for reading. If you've read anything worth sharing I'd love to hear about it. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.  

Nathan

Order my book | Read my blog

If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to sign up, click here

PROGRESSION: How to Think about Career Risk, Becoming Indistractable, and the Powerful Lesson I Finally from the Tenth Leper

November 2019

December has arrived! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy time with loved ones. Our family is moving to Walnut Creek in a few days and our house is covered in boxes so this month’s email will be fairly short. I read two books this past month and highly recommend both. 

Books, articles, etc.

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal (Book)

Eyal’s first book, Hooked, was about how to build addicting products. Indistractable is about how to take back control of your life from said products. I’m very impressed that he’s making money on both sides of the equation. :) In all seriousness, this is a great book about how to take control in a world that is designed to prevent you from reaching your goals. Many books on this topic are good at the why but I love how the author made this about the how. Rather than simply tell you that your smartphone is bad and that it’s distracting you, Eyal provides practical advice on becoming indistractable. 

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff (Book)

Work took me to New York last month and I visited the 9/11 Memorial for the first time. I was looking for a book on the subject and I’m glad I picked this one. Fall and Rise tells a minute-by-minute history of September 11 and those impacted by the day’s events. This book was both heartbreaking and inspirational. My favorite part was the retelling of Flight 93 and the heroic passengers who stormed the cockpit and prevented the plane’s hijackers from achieving their horrific goal. I am in awe of their bravery and sacrifice. 

Good Risk Bad Risk—How to Think about Career Risk by Dave Boyce (Article)

I really enjoyed this article. Boyce references Andy Rachleff’s Silicon Valley Career guide, which has been very influential in how I’ve evaluated opportunities, and he has a great perspective on how to think about career risk. 

Observations

The Powerful Lesson I Finally Learned from the Tenth Leper

At church a few weeks back, one of the speakers gave a talk on the subject of gratitude. She included the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers as found in Luke 17. Here’s what I learned from it. 

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for Lars and Tom who coached my daughter and son in soccer. The season recently ended and both kids had a wonderful experience. Having coached before, I know how much commitment and time goes into a full season. Neither was paid a dime for their efforts but the impact they had on the kids was huge.   

Thanks for reading. If you've read anything worth sharing I'd love to hear about it. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.  

Nathan

Order my book | Read my blog

If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to sign up, click here

PROGRESSION: Stillness is the Key, the Two-Hour Marathon, and Lessons from New York

October 2019

Hope you had a great Halloween last night. Our kids dressed up as Rey (from Star Wars), Captain America, Sleeping Beauty, and a baby duck. Combined they hauled in over 400 pieces of candy. Few things are more enjoyable than seeing kids count and sort candy after a night of trick or treating.

Books, articles, etc.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday (Book)

I’m a huge Ryan Holiday fan. This is his ninth book and I’ve now read seven of them. In Stillness is the Key, Holiday argues that all great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Holiday calls it stillness--to be steady while the world spins around you.

This book is on par with The Obstacle is the Way, one of my all-time favorites. It’s not a page-turner, but it’s packed with insights. Reading a chapter or two each day helped me find practical ways to be more still.  

P.S. Holiday came to a book signing event near my office so I was able to meet him. So cool.

The Skeptic's Guide to American History by Mark A. Stoler (Audiobook)

This is the first time I listened to one of the Great Courses on Audible and I really enjoyed it. The lecturer does a great job of combining facts and anecdotes throughout each of the 24 lectures. Worth having a listen if you’re remotely interested in U.S. history.

Eliud Kipchoge Breaks Two-Hour Marathon Barrier (Article)

You may have seen this already, but wow. Kipchoge is the first person to ever run a marathon in under two hours. He held a sub-4:34 pace over 26.2 miles. Just amazing. A good reminder that nothing is impossible.  

Observations

What if Lehman never went bankrupt?

I spent last week in New York, the first time I’ve been there in over a decade. Last time I was in Manhattan, the skyscraper at 745 Seventh Ave was bright green and was the world headquarters of Lehman Brothers. Now it’s Barclays blue. 

The fall of Lehman was a key factor in the 2008 financial meltdown and the ensuing recession. It was brutal for me personally as I lost my job and struggled to find work. At the time, all I could think about was how unfair it was. But in hindsight, if Lehman hadn’t gone bankrupt, my life wouldn’t be as rich. I would have been robbed of many of the lessons I learned in the process. I may not have made a career change to HR and I certainly wouldn’t have written Not Your Parents’ Workplace. As odd as it may sound, Lehman’s implosion has blessed my life in many ways.    

We’re missing the point

So many of our decisions are driven by making our lives more comfortable. Whether it’s buying a new house, a new car, or the latest (fill in the blank). 

If we paused for a moment and made a list of our values--those things that are most important to us--I doubt that “comfort” would crack the top ten. 

As I continue going through coaching training and certification, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at my personal values. Reflecting on what’s important in my life has led to a desire to live life more intentionally. Comfort may be the natural pull, but pursuing a life of pure comfort will rob us of what we value most. 

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for my mom. We happened to both be in New York last week and celebrated her birthday together by eating dinner, watching a play, and grabbing dessert. She is a wonderful woman and I am grateful for her unconditional love. I love you, mom.     

Thanks for reading. If you've read anything worth sharing I'd love to hear about it. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.  

Nathan

Order my book | Read my blog

PROGRESSION: When to Leave Your Job, the Case for Being a Generalist, and What I Learned from Not Doing a Triathlon

September 2019

First off, thank you to those who expressed interest in coaching! I got a larger response than expected and will try to accommodate as many folks as possible. I’ll likely offer more coaching in future months. Stay tuned. 

Books, articles, etc.

The Sixth Man: A Memoir by Andre Iguodala (Book)

I’m a Lakers fan first but have loved cheering for the Warriors since moving to the Bay Area. I really enjoyed Iguodala’s memoir. He’s smart, incredibly self-aware, and thinks a lot bigger than basketball. His commitment to excellence in all aspects of his life is admirable. As a hoops fan, I wish he would have provided more detail on his Warriors years but this is a very solid read overall.  

The Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt (Book)

Bill Campbell was a great man but this was an average book. Campbell started his career as a football coach before becoming a CEO. He went on to coach many Silicon Valley leaders including Steve Jobs and the Google founders. I felt like this bio showed an overly positive side of him (the worst thing said was that he cussed occasionally). I wish the author would have shared more about Campbell’s struggle. As someone who’s getting trained as a professional coach, I would have loved to have learned the ins and outs of his craft. I finished this book wanting so much more.   

When is it Time to Leave Your Job? by Beckie Wood (Article)

I stumbled on this piece when, interestingly enough, my boss shared it on LinkedIn. The author is a former VP at Pandora and she provides a good framework for evaluating whether to consider a job change. 

I loved the first rule: get in or get out. In her words: “Don’t be the person who constantly thinks about leaving a company… It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your team, and it’s not good for your friends and family. Allow yourself to ‘check-in’ on things every 6 months. If, in that check-in, you decide to stay, then stay. No recruiter calls. Not even coffee dates to casually explore new opportunities. Commit.”

It's Later Than You Think by J.R. Storment (Article)

This one’s been making the rounds so you may have already read it, but wow, this hit me hard. Maybe I read it during a tender moment as my daughter went to bed angry with me the night before. Good reminder on how quickly your circumstances can change.    

The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate by Ryan Holiday (Article)

Whether it’s sports or our careers, there’s so much pressure to specialize early. This piece makes the case that the most successful people are good at more than just one thing. Long live the generalist.   

Observations

The Five Lessons I Learned from Not Doing a Triathlon

I trained the last six months for a triathlon I didn’t get to do. Here's what I learned.

Pride and comparison

Stumbled on this C.S. Lewis quote and I really love it. For someone who’s competitive by nature, this is critical to keep in mind.

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”  -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for Audible. I love listening to books, especially while commuting, exercising, or doing chores. Audible gives me access to learning I wouldn’t otherwise have.    

Thanks for reading. If you've read anything worth sharing I'd love to hear about it. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.  

Nathan

Order my book | Read my blog

Loading more posts…