Growth Design 1: My First Year with I'm Not You LLC
Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him; and even this it cannot do long, if the signs of power do not arise - Fredrick Douglass
From Niyi's favorite book, The 50th Law. I couldn't start this post off without mentioning that. If you've heard any 3 episodes of the Sports Motivation Podcast, it's a great bet he has referenced it in at least 1 of them. I had the distinct honor of speaking to the author last year working on a birthday present for Niyi. I joked with Robert Greene that we owed him royalties from how many times we referenced his book.
How did I end up working for a former NFL running back turned mindset consultant? Well I'll be happy to tell you! I enjoy this story it's like a superhero origin story. So this story starts off sad. I applied for 3 graduate schools in 2016 and did not get into any of them. While this seemed like a big blow to my self-confidence (and it was), I would soon find this was a blessing in disguise (more about why in my Dear Him post). So, fast forward to July and I'm by the pool one day. Listened to one George Strait song and decided I wasn't in the mood for music. So I tried listening to a podcast for the first time. Typed in Sport Psychology and two shows came up. One was clearly more formal so I chose Niyi's podcast to listen to. It struck a cord with me. It was as if he was giving me permission to feel the way I needed to feel and become who I am meant to be. It's hard to describe but there was an instant connection when I heard his material. I then got on his email list and hoped for more insights. Honestly, I wanted to hear more stories about when he played for the Saints. Those stories are rare but I learned a hell of a lot more than I ever dreamed I would.
So around April, Niyi sent out an email saying he needed interns. I typically didn't go for things I didn't think I'm "qualified" for. This, even though I had no experience being a linchpin in a startup, I somehow had a feeling Niyi and I would get along. So I applied and sent in a video testimonial of myself. After the 11th try I said "Screw it this one works." I had an interview with him that I thought went well. He said he would let everyone know on that Sunday. Sunday at around 3pm rolls around and I haven't heard anything. "It's okay" I said. At least I tried. Couple hours later (eastern vs. pacific time) I got the video email that I was in! I told my parents and they were very happy and a bit skeptical. Which is totally understandable. This rando guy wants help and is just starting out. I again had a feeling about this opportunity.
So 6 months go by as an intern, I say yes to learning everything I can. One of those ways was learning how to produce the podcast. This was kinda of a dream come true. To be able to work on the podcast that got me back to where I needed to be mentally. In November, I took over both podcasts full-time and started getting paid. I filled a void and made a position for myself. I also did some assistant stuff for him as well because I am a detail oriented person (apparently).
The podcast goes great for 7 months and I have a blast producing it. Along comes another opportunity. A chance to learn and run the entire backend of the website and members area. Tim Ferriss always talks about how you need to learn to say no more and wait for great things instead of just good. This is poor advice your first year or two. Strong advice once you're on track. If your time allows, learn all you can. Say yes to opportunities. Do that enough and you will be in a position where the only things you want to say yes to are the great things. Anyway, I gave it a shot and learned Clickfunnels and our entire backend in two weeks. It was a lot but I've always found technology to come rather easy to me so it made sense when I played around with it enough. I took over the entire online support back end in July. I was also given the opportunity to run an Entrepreneur mastermind call for our latest coaching group. It has been a blast to be able to help people with their problems and challenges. I only see more opportunities like this in the future.
The experience has all been well and good but what I've learned about myself, about optimization, and time management. It allows me to do everything I want and still have free time to myself. Here is me before and after a year with I'm Not You:
- System for planning goals - Before: didn't really have one. Had them in my head. Now: a systematic 3 hour plan of figuring out my goals, figuring out problems that will arise, finding solutions to those problems before they exist, and having a strategy around completing them by week, quarter, and 3 month.
- System for planning my week - Before: I didn't have one. Kinda hoped it would go well. Now: I spend 2 hours on Sunday laying out my life and work vision for the week, what will push me forward and play tetris with my google calendar, seeing where everything can fit. I honestly think I get more done in a week than most do in a month.
- System for planning my day - Before: I once told the student body president in undergrad "I just live one day at a time." Obviously no plan. Now: Spend 10-15 minutes the night before planning out my next day, focusing on critical outcomes, tasks needed to be done to accomplish those outcomes, scoring the previous day on a 1-10 Likert Scale, and looking at possible obstacles that could be in my way that day and planning a way around them.
- System for managing personal finances: Before: No plan but have a good amount saved in my savings for a rainy day. Now: while still a working progress, a lot more clarity because of the Money Playbook system we have. What I need to earn with taxes in mind and what each account should have in it each month to live the way I want to along with growing my money tree (Carl Nassib would even be impressed).
I also have learned so much through osmosis. I believe I will never have trouble with product or service creation because I've seen the progression we take with our products and services and I see first hand how it's changing people's lives. I've also learned it's okay to take your time with creating and perfecting something. While the extreme of this can be detrimental, I think it's important to get the product or service world class before scaling. It's taken me going through the podcast process from scratch 3 times to finally get a sense of what I should offer and package it in an enticing way. Patience in the macro. Urgency working towards world class in the micro.