PROGRESSION: Goodbye DoorDash, Hello Neighbor, and the Power of Three Deep Breaths

June 2021

A lot to catch up on. First off, I no longer work at DoorDash. After 4.5 years, it was time to move on. I learned many lessons along the way and highlighted four of them here. Thank you, DoorDash.

Second, I joined Neighbor, a self-storage marketplace based in Lehi, UT, as their VP of People. I wasn’t actively looking for a new role, but after meeting Joseph and the leadership team, and after hearing the vision for the future, I was sold.

Neighbor recently raised $53 million and we’re hiring quickly so let me know if you or someone you know is interested!  

Third, this is my first email since February. Not good. Sure, I’ve been busy the last few months (who hasn’t?), but but hasn’t kept me from hitting *publish* in the past. I’ve found that I often dread writing passages for the books I’ve read. I’ve thought about shortening them, but they’re not that long to begin with. Maybe it’s time to make a change to this format. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ What do you think?   

Books, articles, etc.

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins (Book)

This may be the 3rd or 4th Navy Seal book I’ve read so take this recommendation with a grain of salt… But, wow. David Goggins is one intense man. 

I read this book while training for the St. George Ironman 70.3 (that was in early May) and it gave me motivation to push harder on numerous workouts. He shares some unbelievable stories but my favorite is when he duct taped his entire leg so he could battle through a broken knee and finish Seal training. If you’re looking for inspiration, or need a swift kick to get you going, Goggins is your guy. I should add that the language is strong so consider the clean edition if that’s a concern. 

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant (Book)

The timing of this book is impeccable. Truth seeking has never been more important. We think we know everything. Our conviction is strong. But, as the title suggests, we often don’t know what we don’t know and need to be humble enough to question our beliefs. One of my rules for life — when Adam Grant writes a book, I read it. This one is no exception to the rule. 

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Eric Jorgensen (Book)

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, philosopher, and investor who has grown a massive following by sharing his principles for building wealth and creating long-term happiness. This book is a collection of his wisdom and experience from the last ten years, shared as a curation of his most insightful interviews and reflections.

A few favorite passages:

  • “No one can compete with you on being you. Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.”

  • “If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.”

  • “Specific knowledge is found much more by pursuing your innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion. It’s not by going to school for whatever is the hottest job; it’s not by going into whatever field investors say is the hottest.”

Observations

The Calming Power of Three Deep Breaths (Blog)

When was the last time you tossed aside your phone, closed your laptop, and just breathed? Deep breathing has a calming effect. It helps us relax our fight or flight response and it’s an exercise that can take as little as 60 seconds.

How To Make Room for Inspiration in Your Career (Podcast)

Some of the best career moves we'll ever make come from opportunities we didn't foresee. In the latest episode of The Not Your Parents’ Workplace Podcast, I share two different stories that teach how we can find more inspiration in our careers.

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for DoorDash. I experienced a range of emotions while reflecting on the last four and a half years, but the one I felt deepest is gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to join this great company. Gratitude to work with so many wonderful people. Gratitude for the insanely difficult moments that regularly pushed me to my limits and sometimes beyond. It wasn’t always easy and there were times throughout the journey when I wanted to throw in the towel, but there’s still very much to be grateful for.  

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

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PROGRESSION: Embracing Awkward Silence, Turning Pro, and the Need for Stillness

February 2021

I’ve been reminded a few times this past month of how much power we have. Too often we give that power to others or feel like we lack the power to make meaningful change in our lives. There are always things outside of our control, but more and more I find myself realizing I have greater power to change my circumstances than I once thought.

Let’s jump into this month’s favorites. 

Books, articles, etc.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer (Book)

Two years after the now-famous Netflix culture deck was published, I interviewed (but wasn’t hired) for a role at Netflix. Since then, and more so after moving to HR, I’ve studied their culture, fascinated by the unique approach they’ve taken to build the company. 

I don’t love everything about their culture, but I love that Netflix put a stake in the ground. They’ve taken a hard stance. By being clear about who they are—and who they aren’t—Netflix can attract employees who want to be a part of what they’re building. 

No Rules Rules is written by Reed Hastings, the CEO. While it feels like a corporate infomercial at times, we get the story straight from the horse’s mouth. Netflix has built a culture focused on creating people talent density, an environment of candor, and empowering employees through decentralized decision making versus restrictive controls. Whether you’re a fan of the company or not, there’s a lot to learn about building culture from this book. 

Intelligent Minds Like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos Embrace the Rule of Awkward Silence (Article)

The rule of awkward silence is simple: When faced with a challenging question, instead of answering, you pause and think deeply about how you want to answer. This is no short pause; rather, it involves taking several seconds (10, 20, or longer) to think things through before responding. It’s a lot harder than it seems. I’m not great at it but trying to get better. Here are a few benefits of embracing awkward silences:

  • Put the outside world on mute

  • Give deeper, more thoughtful answers

  • Bring your emotions into balance

  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say 

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work by Steven Pressfield (Book)

Steven Pressfield’s most popular book might be The Legend of Bagger Vance but he’s written several on the topic of creativity and overcoming what he calls the resistance, a force that keeps us from creating our best work. This book dives deep into the mindset required to go from being an amateur to a pro. Here’s my favorite passage:

Turning pro is free, but it's not without cost. When we turn pro, we give up a life with which we may have become extremely comfortable. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own. Turning pro is free but it's not easy. You don't need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.

I really enjoyed this one, but if you’re going to read one book from him, I still recommend The War of Art.

Observations

4 Lessons From 4 Years at DoorDash (Podcast)

Back in December I hit my four-year mark at DoorDash and shared the key lessons I’ve learned during that stretch: 

  1. Optimize for learning and impact

  2. Your limits are far beyond what you think they are

  3. Set boundaries

  4. Pause before placing judgment

In this podcast episode, I dive deeper into those lessons, including a story of when I felt like Emmet from the Lego Movie (seriously). 

The Power of Stillness

I first stumbled on this quote a year ago and it’s been on my mind a lot this past month. What problems could you overcome through increased stillness?

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for pickleball. I joined a pickleball league last month and have loved learning a new sport. It’s fun being in the early stages of a new skill where you see significant progress week to week. Pickleball has allowed me to make new friends and spend more time outside.  

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

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PROGRESSION: 🎉2020, Taysom Hill, and 4 Lessons from 4 Years at DoorDash

December 2020

Well, if you’re reading this that means you survived 2020. Congratulations! 💪

In all seriousness, it’s been a challenging year, and we’ve all been impacted differently. But as 2020 comes to a close and we welcome the new year, I hope we’ll find time to contemplate what we’ve learned and express gratitude for our blessings. Gratitude isn’t burying our head in the sand or pretending like everything’s perfect. Gratitude is making a conscious decision to recognize and appreciate the good things we have in our life. I wish you and yours the best in the new year. We got this. 🤜🤛 

Books, articles, etc.

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen (Book)

At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to reread several of my favorites. If a book was excellent the first time around, surely it would be worth a second read. This book made the shortlist and I finally got around to it. 

Originally given as a Harvard Business School commencement address and later expanded into a book, Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life? offers a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. It’s a great read for anyone seeking to balance a successful career and a fulfilling life. 

There are countless quotes that stand out, but the message that resonated most is the importance of investing time in areas that are most important to us. In Christensen’s words: “You can talk all you want about having a clear purpose and strategy for your life, but ultimately this means nothing if you are not investing the resources you have in a way that is consistent with your strategy.” An ongoing goal of mine is to do just that.

The Taysom Hill Story (YouTube)

If 2020 has been a tough year and you’ve been punched in the stomach a few times, you need to see this. Taysom Hill had four season-ending injuries while playing quarterback at BYU, my alma mater. He bounced back from each one, went undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft, and has fought his way to becoming the starting QB on the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees got injured. His is a powerful story and this might be the best 8 minutes and 20 seconds you spend today. 

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene (Book)

I’ve long been a fan of The Office so this was just a really fun read. I loved the behind the scenes look at the show and the deep dives into key episodes including “The Dundies”, “Casino Night”, and “Dinner Party”. I knew next to nothing about how TV shows are made and there were so many good quotes from the cast and crew that brought the story to life.   

As far as episodes go, everyone thinks “Dinner Party” is the best but my favorite is “Beach Games”. Pam’s speech after the firewalk is golden. 

Observations

4 Lessons From 4 Years at DoorDash

Four years ago I left a comfortable job at an excellent company to join DoorDash, a Series C startup that had ~250 people. At the time, DoorDash was far from a sure thing. It’s been an incredible ride so far and I wrote this piece to reflect on four lessons I learned during this period.

Most Read of 2020: Career Q&A with Ann Hiatt

I posted to my blog 36 times this year. This Q&A with Ann Hiatt, Leadership Consultant and Former Executive Business Partner to Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, was the most read. Ann offers great advice on taking career risks, trusting your intuition, and effectively managing stress.

Most Listened to of 2020: The Most Important Story You Will Ever Tell (Ep. 14)

In April I launched a YouTube channel that ultimately morphed into a podcast. Of the 18 episodes of the Not Your Parents’ Workplace Show, this one was downloaded the most. I’ve learned that the stories we tell ourselves impact what we do and who we become. If you’re looking to better control your mindset and tell stories that serve your purpose, have a listen.  

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for my dad. We moved to St. George, Utah earlier this month. I’m certainly not the handiest person and there were lots of little things that needed fixing. My dad came to town and we spent a full Saturday working on house projects. His service has helped us feel more settled and I had a really fun time working side by side with him. 

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

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PROGRESSION: The Importance of Bad Ideas, Conscious Leadership, and How to Create a Life Worth Living

November 2020

The week of Thanksgiving has arrived, and while it may feel different than most years, I hope we can all take time to express gratitude for the things that have blessed our lives. Wishing you and yours the best during this time. 🙏🙏

Books, articles, etc.

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership (Book)

The model at the core of this book is fairly simple. Imagine a horizontal line. At any given moment, we are either above or below that line. When we are below the line, we are in a defensive and closed posture, committed to being right and the world acts upon us. When we are above the line, we are curious, wanting to learn. We are authoring our lives. Conscious leaders lead from above the line, and the book covers 15 commitments (responsibility, curiosity, candor, etc.) where we can choose to lead either consciously or unconsciously.  

The authors--Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, Kaley Warner Klemp--found in their research that the four most important predictors of career success are: 1) Self-Awareness, 2) Learning Agility, 3) Communication, 4) Influence. Hard skills will always have their place, but I found it interesting that these four predictors are all soft skills. Overall I found the book to be really insightful and appreciate John Mayfield (who we featured in a Career Q&A) for recommending. 

Career Clarity by Groove (Experience)

Most career conversations fixate on the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" My friend Ryan Seamons has designed a different kind of experience to figure out what matters most in your career. Even as someone who has thought a lot about my career, I found this approach insightful. It gave me space and a framework to think about some motivators differently than I had in the past to help me make decisions and have confidence in my plan moving forward. It’s also helped me have more productive career conversations with my team. Worth checking out for anyone wanting more fulfillment out of work or more confidence in your direction.

The Importance of Bad Ideas by Seth Godin (Quote)

“People who have trouble coming up with good ideas, if they're telling you the truth, will tell you they don't have very many bad ideas. But people who have plenty of good ideas, if they're telling the truth, will say they have even more bad ideas. So the goal isn't to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas. Because once you get enough bad ideas, then some good ones have to show up.”

Great quote from Seth and an important reminder to set aside our inner critic and keep creating and ideating.

Observations

How to Create a Life Worth Living (Episode 18)

In this episode of the Not Your Parents’ Workplace Show, I interview Kevin Delaney and dive into his book, A Life Worth Living: Finding Your Purpose and Daring to Live the Life You've Imagined. Kevin is a VP at LinkedIn where he leads Learning and Development. Prior to that, he was an HR exec at VMware and several other companies. He's a former colleague of mine, and someone I consider to be a mentor and friend. 

In our conversation, we discuss his lessons from a serious health challenge, his approach to balancing annual goals with daily rituals, his unique perspective on dealing with setbacks, and, of course, how to create a life worth living. Kevin is one of my all-time favorite people and someone who truly walks the talk. I hope you enjoy our conversation. You can listen to the full conversation here and read his book here.

How to Build a Mindset that Prepares You for Everyday Challenges (Episode 17)

Several years ago, someone who I thought I could trust did something that hurt me. I was frustrated and angry. I was hurt. This person's actions blindsided me and I wasn't able to focus or be productive for the rest of the day. Wisdom from the Stoics--Marcus Aurelius in particular--got me back on my feet. In this episode, I discuss how a simple step, a mindset really, will help us conquer the day-to-day challenges we're going to face. I also share the daily habits that help me perform at my best.

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. Today, I’m grateful for physical books. I love kindle and audible as much as the next person, but there’s something unique about shutting down all tech and reading in complete silence and stillness. I did just that a few times this month. Each time I reemerged and saw my challenges from a new, fresh perspective. 

Recently, Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, issued a 7-day gratitude challenge that I’ve accepted. You can learn more about that here

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

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PROGRESSION: Why Personality Tests Are Bogus, How Constraints Unlock Creativity, and the Best Money Book I’ve Read

September 2020

Orange skies, wildfires, power outages. September sure was a crazy year here in California. Hope everything’s going well on your end.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote from Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “Everyone overestimates what you can do in a day and underestimates what you can do over the course of months or a year.”

While I hope his team gets demolished in the NBA Finals (game 1 is tonight!), Spoelstra’s words are insightful. We can all accomplish exceptional things if our efforts are consistent and we maintain a long-term vision.

Books, articles, etc.

Personality Isn't Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story by Benjamin Hardy (Book)

I heard about this book during an interview the author had on Whitney Johnson’s Disrupt Yourself podcast. In Personality Isn’t Permanent, Hardy leverages thorough research and personal experiences to destroy the notion that personality is innate and unchanging. Rather than falling for the trap of spending our efforts trying to discover our “true selves”, Hardy teaches how we can intentionally become the people we want to be.

This book may be the best one I’ve read this year. I read the hardback and found myself constantly underlining passages. It’s hard to point to the biggest takeaway, but one that stands out is how powerful (and destructive) labels can be. Hardy teaches that labels can serve goals but that goals should never serve labels. The more labels we have for ourselves, the dumber we are, because we now view the world from a more limited mindset. Instead, we should start with what we want to accomplish and who we want to be rather than letting a non-scientific assessment (e.g. Myers-Briggs) make that decision for us. Overall, I highly recommend this book. If you’re on the fence, start with this podcast interview.

Amp It Up! by Frank Slootman (Article)

Arguably the worst-titled piece I’ve shared since I started this email, but the content more than makes up for it. Slootman is the current CEO of Snowflake (which recently IPO’d and is currently valued at over $72 billion) and the former CEO of ServiceNow and Data Domain. This article has made the rounds at DoorDash as it’s a deep dive into how to run a winning organization.

To quote Slootman: “Bottom line: There is room up in organizations to boost performance by amping up the pace and intensity. Considerable slack naturally exists in organizations to perform at much higher levels. The role of leadership is to convert that lingering potential into superlative results.” Interestingly, this piece was written two and a half years ago, well before he took the reins of Snowflake.

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel (Book)

I’ll be short on this one. This is the best personal finance book I’ve read. Period. I listened to the whole thing in two days and it kept my attention throughout. Like any good book, it challenged my assumptions and helped me view a topic (money) from a different perspective.

Observations

How Constraints Unlock Creativity - an Interview with Kyle Fackrell, Creator of Space Race

When COVID hit, Kyle Fackrell had to hit pause on the musical he was creating. Thankfully, this gave him space to make Space Race, the hit musical series on YouTube. Space Race is literally a one-man show where Kyle did all the writing, composing, singing, acting, and editing. In this conversation, Kyle discusses his creative process, reveals how Space Race came about, and shares how constraints unlock creativity.

Episode #16: The Profound Power of a Kind Word

Before publishing Not Your Parents’ Workplace, I was overwhelmed with imposter syndrome. I kept thinking, what am I doing? Who am I to write a book?

In this podcast episode, I discuss how a specific act of kindness had a dramatic impact on me and share how we can have a similar impact on others.

Career Q&A with Heather Hatlo Porter, Chief Communications Officer at Chegg

The next Career Q&A is with Heather Hatlo Porter. Heather offers exceptional advice on how mentors can help us get unstuck, how failure can be a career accelerator, and how to find the courage to seize opportunities that may initially intimidate us.

Gratitudes

I’ve found power in regularly expressing gratitude so I’ll continue the habit. I’m grateful for Sunday morning walks with my two youngest. Sometimes we see wild turkeys. Other times we see dogs. We tell stories. We collect leaves. Our pace is slow. We’re in no rush. It’s a special time for us.

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

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