Graduates should expect to work 12-hour days and 6 days a week to really master their jobs, says JPMorgan exec

Mary Callahan Erdoes of JPMorgan
Mary Callahan Erdoes of JPMorgan.

  • Graduates should expect to work 72-hour weeks, says JPMorgan wealth management CEO Mary Erdoes.
  • This will speed up their mastery of the craft, versus taking 5 years by working 8-hour days.
  • By doing 12-hour days, graduates can cut the process down to under 3 years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Graduate wealth management analysts should expect to work 72 hour weeks – and they’ll be better trained for it – according to a senior JPMorgan executive.

Mary Callahan Erdoes, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase’s Asset and Wealth Management division, was speaking during an episode of Bloomberg’s Wealth with David Rubenstein.

Erdoes said that working longer hours will help graduate analysts learn their craft more quickly.

Based on the idea that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to gain “base-level mastery” of something, it’s going to take around five years if someone works eight-hour days, five days a week, said Erdoes.

“On Wall Street, it’s more like 12 hours a day, six days a week. That cuts you down to about two-and-a-half years before you become mastered in something.”

Once a graduate has that experience under their belt – across different areas of the wealth management division – they be sorted into a specialized team, based on what they’re best at, said Erdoes.

The concept of the ‘10,000-hour rule’, which was made popular by the sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, is disputed by some.

Erdoes joined the bank from Meredith, Martin & Kaye in 1996, and took over the asset management arm in 2009.

Alongside accounts of her earlier career and first forays into wealth management – as a six year old, accounting her grandma’s checkbook – Erdoes gave insight into the “intense training” that graduate analysts can expect during their three year training.

Erdoes describes each day as a “constant education” and revealed that each day starts with an 8am meeting.

“I call it a mini university. It’s not just about what you’ve read in the newspapers as to what happened overnight, it’s about understanding how all of those components fit together within a client’s portfolio,” said Erdoes.

“You’re synthesizing all that information every morning and then you’re going out and figuring how to apply it to each situation.”

Wealth managers provide advisory and other financial services to clients – typically about how to handle and which assets to invest in. 2,200 summer interns have already joined JPMorgan this year, and Erdoes said that 3,600 analysts will have started by September.

Wall Street has been under fire for its work culture

Financial services is among the industries under fire for its culture of long hours.

In March, junior bankers at fellow Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs issued executives with an internal pitch deck describing the “inhumane conditions” they felt subjected to. The bank subsequently reviewed its formal working hours in response.

In 2013, an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s London office died of a seizure. While it wasn’t conclusive, an inquest concluded that overwork could have contributed to 21-year-old Moritz Erhardt’s death.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A banker quit to become a chef and saw his bank balance drop to $230. Despite burnout and a pandemic, he would never go back.

Juma (second right) at work.
It took Philip Juma seven years to open his first restaurant.

  • Philip Juma left a career in wealth management to follow his passion to showcase Iraqi food.
  • He had no formal training but spent 7 years running pop-up kitchens and working in restaurants.
  • Juma told us about his tough journey and why, despite the pandemic, a 9-5 holds no appeal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Food has always been part of Philip Juma’s life.

Growing up in London to an Iraqi father and an Irish-English mother, he remembers bringing Iraqi-inspired dishes into school for his friends to try. Food was Juma’s calling, yet he entered the cold, logical world of finance.

He achieved a 2:1 in economics for business from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, before taking a job in the City, first for a series of wealth management startups, then for UBS.

He was comfortable – earning a salary of around £2,500 (around $3,500) a month aged 24 – but he knew he wasn’t happy.

Working through the 2008 financial crisis took its toll, and food still held a certain fascination.

“I was in a world that just wasn’t aligned with my morals, wasn’t aligned with who I was as a person,” Juma, now 37, told Insider.

He would spend vacations and weekends working shifts in top restaurants, but didn’t feel like he was able to make the jump. He also didn’t want to disappoint his parents.

You convince yourself that this is what people want from you,said Juma of his high-flying finance career.

It took six years to finally make a change.

Juma worked restaurant shifts alongside a consulting gig

He left finance, becoming an account manager at an energy consultancy. It involved fewer hours and meant that he could earn a wage while honing his experience running occasional supper club pop-ups, working freelance as a chef for hire company and covering shifts in restaurants.

To the dismay of his Dad, in 2014 he quit his job in consulting and decided to start cheffing full time – despite being unable to afford cookery school.

“My Dad said: ‘You’re going to quit a well paid job in finance to become a dishwasher?’,” recalls Juma. “It was hard, I hadn’t worked out anything, but knew that I just wanted to put Iraqi food on the map.”

He spent the next seven years in various cookery roles: running pop-up restaurants, cheffing at events, working as a freelance chef, and a stint managing a Lebanese restaurant in London.

A post shared by JUMA (@jumakitchen)

Pursuing his passion meant a serious dent to his finances.

His income dropped from a take-home of roughly £2,500 a month after tax – to taking home around £300 ($500) after he’d cover the staffing, venue, and food costs of his once-monthly pop-up – which would be three days full work.

His income wasn’t always so low, but was inconsistent, based on wedding seasons or on a job-by-job basis.

“It’s very alienating because it makes you ask whether you’ve made the right decision. ‘Of course I should be out for dinner with my friends tonight – but I can’t afford it’,” said Juma.

By the time January 2019 came around he said that he experienced burnout. He had £167 ($230) in his bank account, no savings, and “nothing to show for it.”

Opening at a famous London food market was a breakthrough

But when the doubts crept in, something would generally happen to give him motivation.

Out of the blue, he received a call to train chefs on a Saudi royal yacht. Earlier in his career he’d been offered a column in the Evening Standard newspaper.

Then in mid-2019, he was given the chance to finally make a consistent income. Borough Market, the famed London food market,was looking for new blood. Juma applied, and was accepted.

Borough Market
London’s Borough Market.

Juma Kitchen, his first permanent site, opened in December 2019. It gained momentum, and Juma estimates that he worked between 14- and 16-hour days.

Then COVID-19 emerged, and restaurants had to close their doors.

“Borough was my first opportunity to make a consistent income, and it’s been taken away from me,” said Juma.

He said that he has suffered burnout during the pandemic. Being open on social media about his need to slow down – and the support he received in return helped him find a better balance and learn that it’s okay to step away at times.

Juma Kitchen is open again, but takings are roughly 60% on what they should be. He’s optimistic that when the tourists and office workers return it will “shine”.

In the meantime he’s been able to build his reputation, appearing on the BBC to cook his food, which has received rave reviews, being invited to cook at festivals.

Make the change slowly – don’t jump all in

Despite the challenges, Juma says he would never go back to the stable comfort of a city career, and no longer suffers doubt about his career choice. He says that his parents are very proud.

Nonetheless, he has advice for anyone considering leaving the stability of a full time career: Don’t jump all in straight away.

“Have a mini earner on the side or cut down your hours so you get some income,” he said. “Structure your life so that you’ve still got the safety net that pays all your overheads, but gives you time to pursue what you love.”

“You need to be ready for a level of discomfort that is interrupting what we always think is the norm.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sundar Pichai took over Google aged 47. Here’s his advice to anyone with similar ambitions.

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai urges aspiring leaders to follow their heart.

  • Google’s CEO said aspiring CEOs should ‘figure out what their heart is excited by.’
  • He was speaking in an in-depth interview with BBC journalist Amol Rajan.
  • Pichai also revealed he speaks 3 languages and currently drives a Tesla.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet, has offered some advice for people who want to run a successful company: Find something that excites you.

In an hour-long interview with the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan, Pichai talks about the potential of quantum computing, the dangers of AI, and whether Alphabet, with a market capitalization of $1.6 trillion, is too big.

He also recalls the “simplicity” of his middle-class childhood growing up in Madurai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and his rise up the career ladder to become CEO of Alphabet in 2019, aged 47.

Pichai earned $281 million in compensation last year. When asked what his advice would be to someone from humble beginnings who wants to run a great company, Pichai said:

“I’ve always felt that – more than what your mind says – you need to figure out what your heart is excited by. It’s a journey and you will know it when you find it,” said Pichai.

“If you find that, things tend to work out,” he added.

Pichai said that he had wanted to work in Silicon Valley since he was a teenager and that his father took out a loan, worth a year’s salary, in order for Pichai to afford his flight and study at Stanford.

When asked how to land a job at Google, he gave some insight into the interview process when he applied for his first role in 2004. Pichai said: “You keep interviewing. I was interviewing on April Fool’s day and Google had just announced Gmail – which I thought was a joke.

“People kept asking me what I think of Gmail, which was invite-only at the time. It was only the fourth or fifth interviewer who asked ‘Have you seen Gmail?’ and I said no. He showed me on his computer.

“Then the next interview somebody asked me, I was able to answer it for the first time.”

He speaks to Mark Zuckerberg ‘as and when needed’

Pichai also offered some insight into his own personal work habits as CEO of one of the world’s biggest companies.

He wakes up between 6.30-7 am and tries to exercise three or four times a week. He doesn’t eat meat, and drinks tea in the mornings and coffee in the afternoons. He speaks three languages – English, Hindi and Tamil – and currently drives a Tesla.

The Wall Street Journal has been a long-term reading habit, although “90% of his consumption” is now online, from publications around the world.

When asked how often he speaks to Facebook chief and rival Mark Zuckerberg, he replied “as and when needed.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Silicon Valley insider gave up watching TV aged 13 and says the secret to success involves completely reframing the meaning of hard work

Paul Graham Y Combinator
Paul Graham (left) speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2011.

  • Paul Graham is the cofounder of startup factory Y Combinator.
  • In a personal essay, Graham revealed that he gave up television because he felt like he wasn’t achieving anything.
  • He says there are 3 ingredients to hard work: natural ability, practice, and effort.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

There is a reason famous people make things look effortless, according to Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham: Years of practice and hard work.

In a June post on his website, Graham shared his thoughts about what hard work really means, and how it can be learned.

Over recent years Graham, who majored in philosophy, has drawn attention and occasional controversy for his essays on his long-running blog. His subjects include anything from coding language, NFTs, to the case for ending the death penalty.

Now living in the UK, he remains highly influential in Silicon Valley, not least thanks to Y Combinator minting successes such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

There are three ingredients to great work

Drawing on lessons from his career so far, Graham wrote that hard work is inevitable if you want to achieve “great things” and that there are three ingredients to hard work: Natural ability, practice, and effort.

Most people can get by with two, but to do the best work you need all three, he wrote, adding that people who have equal levels of talent and capacity for hard work are outliers.

“Since you can’t really change how much natural talent you have, in practice doing great work, insofar as you can, reduces to working very hard,” he wrote.

There are two types of goal to work towards

Graham also said that people have to learn how to work towards two types of goals if they want to achieve them.

He wrote that people tend to have a specific understanding of what goals are and how they can be achieved – this is mostly drilled into us as 12-year-olds in school.

Successful people on the other hand have relearned how they approach goals.

While aims that are “clearly defined” and “equally imposed” are easier to achieve, you still have to learn discipline and to avoid distractions.

Working towards goals that are less clearly defined or for which there is no externally imposed deadline is more challenging, but the most basic level of which is simply a feeling that you should be working without anyone telling you to, wrote Graham, who also revealed that he stopped watching TV at the age of 13 “out of a feeling of disgust when I wasn’t achieving anything.”

In Graham’s view, school can often be the “biggest obstacle to getting serious about hard work” because it can make hard work seem boring and pointless. In this context he says there are two kinds of “fakeness” that people need to separate in order to understand what hard work really is.

“Subjects get distorted when they’re adapted to be taught to kids – often so distorted that they’re nothing like the work done by actual practitioners,” he wrote.

“The other kind of fakeness is intrinsic to certain types of work. Some types of work are inherently bogus, or at best mere busywork.”

But hard work doesn’t mean working too hard

While hard work is essential, Graham concedes that everyone has a limit, although this limit may differ depending on the different types of work.

While running a startup, Graham wrote that he could work all the time – but he can only pursue writing or coding tasks for a maximum of five hours a day. The only way to discover your limit is to cross it, an ongoing process.

He wrote that successful people do good work because they are honest with themselves about when they’ve reached theirs.

“If you think there’s something admirable about working too hard, get that idea out of your head. You’re not merely getting worse results, but getting them because you’re showing off,” he wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Why Y Combinator’s Paul Graham gave up TV aged 13 and what it says about achieving brilliance through hard work

Paul Graham Y Combinator
Paul Graham (left) speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2011.

  • Paul Graham is the cofounder of startup factory Y Combinator.
  • In a personal essay, Graham revealed that he gave up television because he felt like he wasn’t achieving anything.
  • He says there are 3 ingredients to hard work: natural ability, practice, and effort.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

There is a reason famous people make things look effortless, according to Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham: Years of practice and hard work.

In a June post on his website, Graham shared his thoughts about what hard work really means, and how it can be learned.

Over recent years Graham, who majored in philosophy, has drawn attention and occasional controversy for his essays on his long-running blog. His subjects include anything from coding language, NFTs, to the case for ending the death penalty.

Now living in the UK, he remains highly influential in Silicon Valley, not least thanks to Y Combinator minting successes such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

There are three ingredients to great work

Drawing on lessons from his career so far, Graham wrote that hard work is inevitable if you want to achieve “great things” and that there are three ingredients to hard work: Natural ability, practice, and effort.

Most people can get by with two, but to do the best work you need all three, he wrote, adding that people who have equal levels of talent and capacity for hard work are outliers.

“Since you can’t really change how much natural talent you have, in practice doing great work, insofar as you can, reduces to working very hard,” he wrote.

There are two types of goal to work towards

Graham also said that people have to learn how to work towards two types of goals if they want to achieve them.

He wrote that people tend to have a specific understanding of what goals are and how they can be achieved – this is mostly drilled into us as 12-year-olds in school.

Successful people on the other hand have relearned how they approach goals.

While aims that are “clearly defined” and “equally imposed” are easier to achieve, you still have to learn discipline and to avoid distractions.

Working towards goals that are less clearly defined or for which there is no externally imposed deadline is more challenging, but the most basic level of which is simply a feeling that you should be working without anyone telling you to, wrote Graham, who also revealed that he stopped watching TV at the age of 13 “out of a feeling of disgust when I wasn’t achieving anything.”

In Graham’s view, school can often be the “biggest obstacle to getting serious about hard work” because it can make hard work seem boring and pointless. In this context he says there are two kinds of “fakeness” that people need to separate in order to understand what hard work really is.

“Subjects get distorted when they’re adapted to be taught to kids – often so distorted that they’re nothing like the work done by actual practitioners,” he wrote.

“The other kind of fakeness is intrinsic to certain types of work. Some types of work are inherently bogus, or at best mere busywork.”

But hard work doesn’t mean working too hard

While hard work is essential, Graham concedes that everyone has a limit, although this limit may differ depending on the different types of work.

While running a startup, Graham wrote that he could work all the time – but he can only pursue writing or coding tasks for a maximum of five hours a day. The only way to discover your limit is to cross it, an ongoing process.

He wrote that successful people do good work because they are honest with themselves about when they’ve reached theirs.

“If you think there’s something admirable about working too hard, get that idea out of your head. You’re not merely getting worse results, but getting them because you’re showing off,” he wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A cofounder of Bleacher Report reflects on the two biggest decisions that changed the trajectory of his startup

Dave Nemetz By  Inna.lila 6 crop
Dave Nemetz.

  • Dave Nemetz is a cofounder of Bleacher Report and the founder of Inverse and writes a weekly newsletter on media and startups.
  • The following is a recent post, republished with his permission.
  • In it, Nemetz advises startup founders to focus on their personal journey and forget about the ‘what ifs.’
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the movie “Sliding Doors,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s character follows two parallel storylines.

If she catches a train, her life takes one path. If she doesn’t, it leads in another direction. The film shows how a small, seemingly inconsequential change can drastically alter the course of your life.

Startups have sliding door moments, too. Over the course of building your company, you face several divergent paths. Some are obvious at the time, some only become clear in hindsight.

At Bleacher Report, we faced many such decision points. Two in particular stick out.

Read more: How to know when to sell your startup, according to a cofounder of Bleacher Report who sold his at age 28

Barely not Barstool

In the early days, our approach to content moderation was lax to non-existent. While everything published to B/R needed a sports angle, we took a loose interpretation of that lens.

As a result, the site had its fair share of unsavory content. This included posts and photo galleries that objectified women in sports. They had headlines like “Hottest WAGs (wives and girlfriends) in the NHL” or “25 Hot Cheerleader Pics.”

Looking back, I’m not proud to have contributed to the already misogynistic culture of sports. We accepted these posts as part of the “authentic fan conversation” encouraged within our community. In a development that should surprise nobody, they became some of our biggest traffic drivers.

So in a regrettable move, we took it a step further by launching a standalone section for this content called “Barely Sports.Cringeworthy, I know.

According to our logic, giving this content its own section separated it from our more sports-focused coverage. After all, we told ourselves, if Sports Illustrated had a swimsuit issue, why shouldn’t we have Barely Sports?

But we failed to recognize that by creating the section, we encouraged and legitimized more of this content. When Barely Sports launched, we got some notes from disappointed readers. And while I’d like to say that negative audience feedback was enough to sway us, the reality is a bit different. We changed our minds about Barely Sports not because of morals, but for money.

Our newly hired head of ad sales made nixing Barely Sports his first priority. To land deals with major brand advertisers, B/R needed to clean up our image. And that meant getting rid of the T&A.

Money talks. Barely Sports bit the dust.

We were all in on brand advertising as our business model. And we knew deep down that the B/R brand would be stronger if we took a more inclusive approach to sports fandom.

Around the same time, another digital sports publisher picked up traction by taking things further than we ever did. I’m talking, of course, about Barstool Sports. As B/R took a more centrist approach to covering sports fandom, Barstool leaned into the extremes. And they built an incredible business doing so.

Barstool pulled off the strategy that B/R abandoned by making two critical innovations:

  1. Barstool avoided depending on advertising as their only business model. Instead, their DTC approach cultivated an army of hardcore fans and monetized them directly.
  2. To buttress the brand against controversy, Barstool put the personas of their creators front and center. Rather than journalists or commentators, they branded them as outrageous characters straight out of pro wrestling storylines. If Barstool is the WWE, then Dave Portnoy is their Vince McMahon.

They played their game, we played ours.

Almost The Athletic

A bit later down the road, B/R faced another crossroads that could have altered our journey.

From early on, we viewed B/R as the sports fan’s replacement for declining local media. We talked about it in our very first fundraising pitch. With local newspapers collapsing and sports pages contracting, we planned to fill the void by empowering fans, bloggers, and up-and-coming writers to cover their teams.

But as the future we predicted played out, we saw a new opportunity: What if we hired displaced writers from local sports sections?

Many well-known beat reporters and columnists were losing their jobs and looking for new homes for their bylines. Hiring them could improve the quality of our coverage, bring some of their audience over, and boost our legitimacy. We seriously considered the idea. But after debate, we decided it wasn’t for us. Again, our business model was a major consideration.

These sports journalists were well-known in their local markets. But their name value didn’t register with the national advertisers we worked with. On top of that, our positioning in the market placed B/R as a fresh, young voice in sports. Hiring away experienced writers from the sports media establishment would dilute that story.

So instead we doubled down on hiring web-native writers who fit our mold. By establishing B/R as the place for fresh new voices in sports, we cemented our status as the place for big brands to reach younger sports fans. Of course, we weren’t the only ones to recognize the opportunity in realigning local sportswriting talent. I wasn’t surprised when a few years later, The Athletic emerged and gained momentum.

What made The Athletic’s approach to the opportunity work? It’s the business model, stupid.

Rather than advertising, they built everything around paid subscription. By quantifying the number of subscribers each new writer could bring, they knew exactly how much they could pay for talent. And their market positioning as the replacement for the local sports page was crystal clear.

It’s fun to reflect back on these moments. In an alternate timeline, Bleacher Report could have ended up more like Barstool. Or The Athletic. But, as far as we know, we only have one timeline.

Everything worked out great for Bleacher Report. So I guess you could say we made the right choices.

Barstool got huge then had a big exit. The Athletic may not be far behind.

When startups face these big decisions, they’re often framed in the most high-stakes way possible. One path could lead to success and riches. The other to failure and ruin.

The reality is a bit more nuanced. In most cases, both paths are viable. The key is heading in the direction that makes the most sense for your mission and business model. And remembering, too, that your competitors face their own forks in the road. Depending on the choices they make, they may cease to be competitors at all.

The internet contains multitudes. Even for digital sports publications, there are many paths to success. So don’t worry about the paths not taken. Focus on the one you’re on.

Dave Nemetz is the founder of Bleacher Report and Inverse and an expert on growing audiences and building communities. He writes a weekly newsletter about building and selling startups, growing audiences, and the mindset and creative processes employed by prolific makers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

7 mentally tough people and the tactics they used to build resilience and perform under pressure

Kobe Bryant
Mental performance coach Lauren Johnson says Kobe Bryant created the alter ego “Black Mamba” to give him confidence on the court.

  • Mentally strong people often use specific practices to build their resilience, says writer Polina Marinova.
  • At least two of them – Kobe Bryant and David Goggins – created alter egos to build confidence.
  • Mental performance coach Lauren Johnson says these tactics can help you overcome fear and defeat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lauren Johnson is a mental performance coach who most recently worked with the New York Yankees, where she helped develop strategies for athletes and sports professionals to help them cultivate mental resilience.

In this conversation, Johnson and I deconstruct the strategies and tactics of seven mentally tough people and how they learned to perform under pressure. Below is a summary of our conversation, but you can listen on Apple Podcasts.

1. David Goggins, the toughest athlete on the planet

David Goggins grew up living in fear. At school, he experienced incessant bullying and racism. At home, he suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his own father.

By the time Goggins was in his early 20s, he had asthma, a learning disability, a stutter, and crushingly low self-esteem. He was earning less than $1,000 a month spraying for cockroaches.

One night, he came home with a 42-ounce shake from Steak and Shake and sat down in front of the TV. He stumbled upon a documentary on the US Navy SEALs that changed the trajectory of his entire life.

Through a relentless determination and grit, Goggins went on to complete three Navy SEAL “hell weeks,” more than 50 endurance races, and holds the Guinness World Record for most pull-ups (4,030) in 24 hours.

He used a number of mental strategies to help him become mentally unshakeable.

Create an alter ego: Goggins believes he was built, not born. He intentionally created a separate identity that separated him from his past of bullying, fear, and abuse. “I had to create ‘Goggins,’ because ‘David Goggins’ was a weak kid. So I created ‘Goggins,'” he said. “I wanted to be proud of who I was.”

Johnson says that self-distancing is a helpful strategy in helping us manage our emotions better. “When you create an alter ego, it actually feels like we have a choice, and we’re not identifying with who we are in that very moment but that we have a choice to be who we want to be. When we distance slightly, we give ourselves the ability to choose.”

Follow the 40% rule: There’s a reason why even though most people hit a wall at mile 16 during a marathon, they’re still able to finish. Goggins explains it through his 40% rule: When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.

“Your brain is wired to protect you,” Johnson said. “Most of the time our brain will show up to protect us when we don’t need protecting.” If you do one difficult task per day, you can increase your threshold for discomfort.”

Face the accountability mirror: When Goggins decided to become a Navy SEAL, he looked at his reflection in the mirror and said, “You’re fat, you’re lazy, and you’re a liar.” This sounds harsh, but Goggins says that he needed to face his insecurities head on in order to overcome them. He created something he called the “Accountability Mirror.” He pasted sticky notes around the outside of the mirror outlining the practical steps he needed to take to achieve his goals. They would say things like, “Go one day without lying for external validation” and “Go on a 2-mile run.” If you’re not happy with your reflection, Goggins suggests asking yourself, “What am I going to do today to change what I see in the mirror?”

Johnson says this strategy is so powerful because you are the only person in the world you can’t lie to and get away with it. “The same way we earn trust with others by doing the things we say we’re going to do is the same way we earn trust with ourselves,” Johnson said. “When you talk to yourself in the mirror, it opens up your blind spots and the things you may not want to admit to yourself. It may hurt, but it’s so necessary to get to that next level.”

2. Courtney Dauwalter, the ultra-runner who personifies pain

In 2017, Dauwalter dominated the headlines after she won the Moab 240, a 240.3 mile footrace through some of Utah’s most challenging terrain. It took her 58 hours, and she beat the second place finisher by more than 10 hours. In 2018, she won the Western States Endurance Run, which is 100 miles, in 17 hours and 27 minutes. The list of impressive achievements goes on and on.

Dauwalter credits her success to being able to master the art of suffering. She has managed to stay calm even through bouts of severe nausea, a bleeding head injury, and temporary blindness. “I don’t think those types of pain and suffering are signs you should stop,” she said. “I mean, I troubleshoot and try to fix what’s causing it, but my solution is usually to just keep going.” Here’s how she does it:

Embrace the “pain cave:” Dauwalter talks about pain as an actual place: the pain cave. The reason it’s helpful to personify pain is that it serves as a reminder that you’re in control when you enter and equally as aware that you can leave. “It’s not a place I’m scared to enter,” she said. “It’s a place I’m excited to find the entrance to.”

Johnson says there’s an important distinction between listening to yourself and talking to yourself. You should avoid the former and encourage the latter. When you listen to yourself, you hear all the negativity and all the reasons why you can’t go on, she said, but when you talk to yourself, you can tell yourself the things you need to hear in order to overcome the challenge ahead of you. Johnson adds: “Courtney approached it with a challenge mindset instead of a threat mindset. That’s why she’s performing from a place of power instead of a place of fear.”

Stay motivated with a “carrot” goal: In one ultra-race, Dauwalter’s goal was to complete 200 miles in 48 hours. But she had a rough race, and another competitor passed her for first place in the very last stretch. She needed to find another reason to continue pushing her body, so her new goal became: “If you’re not going to get first place, then try to finish under the 50-hour mark.” It became a new “carrot to dangle.”

Same goes for everyday life. If you fall short of a goal, you can find another carrot that will keep you motivated and get you closer to the goal for your next attempt. “Be committed to the outcome that you want,” Johnson said, “but stay flexible in your approach.”

3. Tara Westover, the relentless student who overcame it all

Tara Westover was 17 years old when she set foot in a classroom for the first time. Born to survivalist Mormon parents in the mountains of Idaho, she grew up isolated from mainstream society. Her father had a severe mistrust of the government to the point where he forbade the family from visiting hospitals or attending school.

She taught herself enough algebra to pass the college entrance exams and became a competitive applicant to Brigham Young University. There, she studied history and learned for the first time about world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement.

“For some people, education is self-determination, and that’s what it was for me, and for other people, it’s like predetermination and it’s something that keeps them down,” she said. “It’s like the difference of education being a ladder or being a fence.”

Here’s what she learned along the way:

Don’t mistake your reality as the only truth: When Westover was growing up, she considered her father’s opinion as “the truth.” After she began to attend school, she realized that there is no universal, absolute truth. Our version of the world is not the only version – it is simply one of many, many perspectives. It takes strength and courage to start questioning your own family’s beliefs and opinions in order to adopt ones more in line with your own path.

“At first people are going to tell you that you can’t do something out of their own fears,” Johnson said. “But the second you start doing what you want to do and you start doing it well, they’re going to tell everybody how they met you.”

Break your patterns: When Westover used to return to her family’s home, she felt herself falling right back into the same identity she once had – that fearful and insecure 16-year-old girl. As kids, some of us learn unhealthy patterns from our parents.

The second we venture out on our own, we feel liberated and changed, but as soon as we get back in that familiar environment, we repeat the same patterns. “The environment is that invisible hand that shapes us, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to who you’re surrounding yourself with,” Johnson said. Spend your time with people who challenge your existing beliefs and teach you to be more resilient.

4. Anthony Ray Hinton, the man who survived death row

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and wrongfully charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Hinton knew it was a case of mistaken identity and naively believed that the truth would prove his innocence and set him free.

But as a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He maintained his innocence through the entire duration of the 30 years he served on death row, which makes him one of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history.

In his time on death row, Hinton watched 54 men walk past his cell to be executed. Another 22 took their own lives. “My cell was 30 feet from the chamber, and I could smell the burning flesh,” he writes. Yet he managed to maintain hope and befriend those society had given up on.

Visualize a better reality: On death row, Hinton figured out a technique that was able to get him out of his tragic circumstances: Daydreaming. While in his cell, Hinton traveled the world, married Halle Berry, had tea with Queen Elizabeth, and won Wimbledon – all in his mind. “I never used my mind for garbage,” he said. “I used it to cope through some lonely days.” Hinton started a book club for fellow inmates who also wanted to experience the power of visualization.

“The cool thing about visualization is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality,” Johnson says. “It’s the same as watching a movie – we’re not part of the movie, but we’re having an emotional reaction to it.” Mental toughness is easy when things are going well, but the true test comes if you can train yourself to use mental strategies like visualization in moments of crisis, panic, and disaster.

Find the good in the awful: It’s hard to imagine you’d be able to forgive those who abused the system and sentenced you to death, but Hinton sees it differently. “I’ve never had an apology, but I forgave those involved in my conviction long before I left prison. I didn’t forgive them so they can sleep well at night. I did it so I can.”

Research shows that people who are good at framing negative life events in positive ways have better mental health. “I’m sure there are a million things Anthony could tell you about his misery and the things that were awful and unjust,” Johnson says. “But when you look back and you choose to find the good in the bad, your experience of it changes. It’s not for anyone else – it’s for you.”

5. Emily Harrington, the climber who befriended her fear

Emily Harrington became the first woman to free climb El Capitan’s notoriously difficult Golden Gate route in under 24 hours. She attempted it in 2019, but it ended in disaster after Harrington fell 50 feet, hit her head on a ledge, and suffered a concussion. “It’s definitely a mental struggle, coming over that hurdle, coming back into this year and trying again,” she said.

Here’s how she learned to accept fear:

Learn how to accept fear: Rather than push away the things she’s fearful of, she’s learned to befriend them. “I work through it by just accepting it and trying to understand why it’s there and then taking steps to move forward,” she said. “In a lot of ways, we can use fear as fuel and as strength.” But how can people learn not to fear the things they’re afraid of?

Johnson says it’s possible to think and feel one way, but act in a totally different way. “Your feelings and actions don’t have to match to co-exist,” she said. “So yes, you can feel fear and do it anyway. [Emily] is not ignoring the fact that she feels fearful, but it’s accepting it and choosing to act anyway.”

Use mantras in times of panic: Harrington uses mantras when she’s in difficult situations in order to soothe the panic in her brain. She says this to herself over and over again: “Be vulnerable, accept failure, and embrace fear.”

Passion is the result of identifying what makes you uncomfortable and scares you most. “Feelings aren’t facts. They’re data points,” Johnson said. “Fear is often a good indication that this is something you care about.”

6. Sarah Blakely, the founder who used failure as a weapon

Sara Blakely is no stranger to failure.

Growing up, she wanted to be a trial attorney, but then she bombed the LSAT. After college, she auditioned to be Goofy at Disney World, but she was too short to wear the costume. After a stint as an Epcot ride greeter at “the happiest place on earth,” Blakely returned home and moved in with her mom.

One night, she decided to wear her new white pants to a party, but her underwear left unflattering panty lines. So she cut the feet off a pair of pantyhose and turned them into a slimming undergarment. “The moment I saw how good my butt looked, I was like, ‘Thank you, God, this is my opportunity,” she said.

That moment changed the trajectory of her entire life. In 2000, Blakely used her $5,000 in savings to start her company Spanx, and by 2012, she was named the youngest self-made female billionaire.

The key to her success has been that Blakely sees an opportunity in every failure or disappointment. “Spanx wouldn’t exist if I had aced the LSAT,” she said.

Learn to celebrate failure: When Blakely was growing up, her family would go around the dinner table and share their biggest failure of the week. “If I didn’t have something to share, [my father] would actually be disappointed,” she said. The exercise re-defined failure in Blakely’s mind. “Instead of failure becoming an outcome, it simply became about not trying,” she said. “And that truly is the only failure – to not try.”

In reflecting on Blakely’s story, Johnson explains that we could never know how much we could achieve unless we go so far that we reach the point of failure. She adds:”How will you know how far you can go if you don’t risk losing it to some degree?” If you frame failure as a data point, you can get a lot of great feedback on how you can improve in the future.

Diffuse difficult situations with humor: Life can be heavy, Blakely said, and having someone who can lighten the mood or make you laugh is one of the most important things. For example, when she and her husband get in a heated argument, he extends his hand, and they slow dance.

Johnson explains: “Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously. When we joke and laugh, it brings us back down to reality.”

7. Kobe Bryant, the player who turned greatness into an obsession

One year ago, Kobe Bryant’s life came to an end in a sudden and tragic manner. The 18-time NBA All-Star who had a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others also died in the crash.

But Bryant’s legacy continues to live on. On and off the court, he was best known for his obsessive pursuit of precision and excellence, which he dubbed “the Mamba Mentality.” Bryant’s life and career remind us that the only answer to surviving unimaginable hardship is to keep moving forward and drawing on our own resilience.

Use an alter ego to summon confidence: Bryant created his “Black Mamba” alter ego as a way to get through the lowest point of his career. His nickname was inspired by the movie “Kill Bill,” in which the snake, known for its agility and aggressiveness, was used as a code name for a deadly assassin. At a time when people were chanting “Kobe sucks,” while he was playing, Bryant said that using an alter ego gave him emotional distance from his real self.

“Kobe and the Black Mamba – both of them were him,” Johnson said. “But there was a time in competition when he could turn it on and use [the identity] that was appropriate for the situation.”

Remember that life only moves forward: To Bryant, the antidote to listlessness and defeat was drive and relentlessness. He never believed in “go with the flow.” Rather, he believed in moving forward with intent. Instead of shying away from adversity, bring this Bryant quote to the forefront of your mind: “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward…I reflect with a purpose.”

That’s because he knew that action is the only thing that leads to confidence and improvement. “Kobe would gain an understanding around the unknown,” Johnson said. “When we can prepare for something and gain competence, we actually gain confidence.”

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3 ways to ask for a raise or promotion without feeling like you’re bragging

job interview
Talking about your professional accomplishments doesn’t have to feel like bragging.

  • Harrison Monarth is an executive coach and founder of Gurumaker, a leadership development service.
  • He teaches high-level executives to overcome shyness and hesitation to brag about their professional accomplishments.
  • Being specific about your organizational impact and success will help your boss make a more informed decision.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As an executive coach, I’m often tasked with helping leaders who are candidates for senior level positions make a compelling case for why they should be chosen over other applicants who may be just as well-qualified and suitable.

Harrison Monarth is the CEO and founder of Gurumaker
Harrison Monarth.

But often these aspiring leaders can be reluctant to advocate for themselves and say what they want, and instead rely on the assumption that their work will speak for itself.

The fear of coming across as bragging often leads qualified candidates to understate their accomplishments. This not only fails to equip senior leaders with information to aid in their decision-making, it also suggests the absence of key leadership traits such as boldness and conviction, that even the most humble organizational cultures require in their leaders.

I worked with one senior manager at the tax division of a global consulting firm who’d twice been denied promotion to director. She’d been given feedback that she needed to “own her accomplishments more” as a leader in her division, and that she needed to articulate them clearly and with confidence. This manager was more comfortable giving credit to her team than spelling out the wins she was directly responsible for.

Fact is, promotions are rarely based solely on the merits of high performance. Executive presence matters too, so candidates who are willing to step up and assert their accomplishments and contributions can often tip the scales in their favor.

I recommend three strategies to get over the reluctance to advocate for yourself and allow your strengths and accomplishments to shine.

1. Change your mindset

We often try to avoid a perception of arrogance by intentionally downplaying our achievements. Plus, humility is such a prized virtue that to assertively talk about your accomplishments can be counterintuitive.

You can reframe this mindset by making it all about your audience. Rather than sharing accomplishments to boost your standing, look at the results you delivered as data that reduces uncertainty in your audience. Our brains crave information that eliminates uncertainty, and promotion decisions are often subject to a great deal of ambiguity, not to mention subjectivity. By clearly articulating your accomplishments and impact, you’re helping key stakeholders make an equitable decision that’s in the best interest of the organization.

2. Create emotional distance

To avoid feeling uncomfortable when detailing your accomplishments, you can use several research-backed emotion regulation strategies. The simple act of leaning back in your chair while articulating your achievements can help create more psychological distance.

Similarly, by imagining your audience far away – something Zoom meetings make even easier – you weaken the emotional intensity of embarrassment or shame you may feel in the process, allowing you to speak with more confidence and conviction.

Another much-cited strategy is to create emotional distance by taking a detached third person perspective when advocating for yourself. It can help to mentally refer to yourself in third person, for instance, “Tom has identified new revenue streams that contribute in excess of $15 million a year.”

3. Tell a story

Weaving your achievements into a brief story of your career can help get your message across without triggering your impulse to pull back. You can start from when you joined the company, proceed through your various roles, and punctuate different moments with your notable contributions and successes.

Transitions will also help stitch your story together. Rather than listing each accomplishment by attaching them to various job titles, you can more seamlessly state: “After making several acquisitions that grew our distributor portfolio by 300 dealers in my role as division leader, I then improved customer retention by 15% in my role as regional VP.”

By putting your accomplishments into the context of a compelling narrative, you’re taking your mind’s focus off the dread of advocating for yourself, while allowing your audience to clearly see your track record of excellence.

At a certain level in top-tier organizations, everyone is exceptional, so the ability to stand out against equally capable colleagues becomes more and more difficult. This is why it’s important for aspiring leaders to not only deliver outstanding results, but also to present them in a meaningful way.

Harrison Monarth is the CEO and founder of Gurumaker and author of Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO. An executive coach, he teaches C-suite leaders, senior executives, and others effective leadership skills for professional and organizational success.

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How entrepreneurs can bolster their company and emerge from the pandemic as new market leaders

IBM women in leadership
Prepared leaders can make decisions by seeing market opportunities that are invisible to the untrained eye.

  • Tough economic times are opportunities for leaders to evaluate their company’s trajectory and reach.
  • To survive market uncertainty, leverage your unique advantages and stay competitive.
  • Start with a flexible framework, allow room for failure, and keep your leadership team in sync.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

No one ever said it was going to be all smooth sailing. We’ve all been in a boat that’s gotten a little rocky, and some of us have even experienced a full-on capsize. In my experience of weathering the storm, there are one of two things that happen to your company: You either go out of business or you stay in business. If you are leading a team, you need to figure out which of those two positions your company is headed towards. Chances are, it won’t be difficult as a lot has already happened and shaken out in the marketplace. That’s good news for entrepreneurs, and even better news for leaders. The companies that weren’t strong enough to survive have already failed. And while we mourn their loss, we also have to recognize that it’s leveled the playing field. This is also a good time to take stock of where competitors have landed and where you currently rank in the pack.

The difference between those who survive and those who thrive

The companies that will win are those who learn how to leverage market uncertainty for their unique competitive advantages and leapfrog their competition with a period of rapid growth. On the surface, this sounds like a brilliant strategy, but there are thousands of ways it can fail if not executed well. A bad bet could take a company down, just as quickly as a good bet could pull it to the front of the line. This is where we’ll see a second round of companies fail, which will set the stage for the winners to double down once again and secure their seats at the top.

Competition is about to get fierce as companies start to position themselves for market dominance. We can expect market sectors to start to shake up and shake out over the next two to three years as the full market impact of the pandemic unfolds.

At the same time, the potential gains are big. With market sectors in flux, the potential to take on the market leader spot has never been greater. This is the kind of opportunity that only comes around once in a lifetime, so I recommend paying attention to your industry competition, closely. Technology is accelerating faster than Corporate America can adopt it, creating a fertile ground for start-up and mid-sized companies to innovate their way into the top seat. However, all bets are not created equal and entrepreneurs need to understand how to weigh bets and when to push the accelerator.

Creating a framework for success

Framework is important. It should be flexible and allow for rapid failure. The best way to win is to fail faster and in smaller chunks. It should also empower winners to make their way to the top faster. Oftentimes, winners lose because they can’t even see they are there. The framework must prevent that from happening, and should allow for rapid experimentation. We never know which idea is a winner until it has a chance to win. So often our strategies are mired in complexity and complicated execution plans. That isn’t going to fly if you want to take the top seat. Instead, you’ll need a space for ideas to be planted, to grow and to reproduce. In execution, this often looks like an idea lab with a budget and a team who knows how to get stuff done at the helm.

So how can leaders understand the chessboard so they can call checkmate on their competition? They have to settle into discomfort. Prepared leaders will be able to make clear-headed decisions while seeing market opportunities that are invisible to the untrained eye. And they will be prepared to move even when it isn’t comfortable to do so.

The road to the top is rather arduous and requires massive levels of organizational flexibility that can’t be taught overnight. The leadership team must be in sync and know how to make the right decisions that are right for the business and its people, even if they are tough or risky. Employees need to feel appreciated, valued for their contributions, and celebrated every step of the way. Customers also need to feel satisfied and delighted by their entire experience. That’s a tall order for a company of any size, but especially challenging for industry behemoths. That’s why it’s a market ripe for the market leaders to fail and the market innovators to succeed.

Taking advantage of future innovation gaps

These are evolutionary times. We’ve never seen a combination of events with such a broad brush of impact. Every industry is primed for rapid transformation and realignment as the full market impact of 2020 continues to unfold. Technology is accelerating faster than it can be adopted by industry leaders, which is opening the door for innovation gaps. These gaps create an opening for new startups to come through and disrupt entire markets.

There’s no telling what innovations will pop up and be the next market leader, but this market is ready. We’ll get excited about the innovation, and before you know it, it will become the new norm. This won’t be the first time we’ve seen industry leaders fail and get overtaken by an unnamed competitor and it won’t be the last. As markets have it, there’s always a play that can win. Will it be yours?

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8 roles parents should play if they want their kids to be successful, according to Harvard research

Child and parent
The ‘early learning partner’ is the most important role of the eight.

  • Harvard professor Ronald Ferguson is author of “The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children.”
  • After becoming fascinated with what parents did to shape his most talented students, he conducted research and determined that there are eight parental roles that make up the formula for master parenting.
  • Being an “early learning partner” is the most crucial, he said, which helps kids become excited about gathering new information and succeeding.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Spotting patterns, trends, and formulas make our work (and life) easier. But I never thought I’d see someone unlocking the formula for the hardest job of all: raising super-successful children.

Harvard professor Ronald Ferguson, author of “The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children,” recently told the Harvard Gazette he’s done exactly that.

Ferguson was fascinated with what parents did to shape his talented students. So he and co-author Tatsha Robertson comprehensively studied how different parenting styles shape children’s success. Test subjects included the youngest statewide elected official in the country and the mother of the CEOs of YouTube and the genetics company​ 23andMe.

What emerged?

Eight parental roles that Ferguson says make up the formula for master parenting. “It was like a hidden pattern that gradually revealed itself – a set of widely recognized, well-researched qualities that are the basic success foundations.”

Play these eight roles well and you’ll ace parenting.

1. The ‘early learning partner’

parent child gift
Get kids interested in learning before they start school.

This role has parents getting their child interested in learning at a young age, before they start school. Ferguson calls the early learning partner the most important role of the eight. The most successful kids can read basic words by kindergarten, and experience what Ferguson calls “the early lead effect,” where the child responds positively to a teacher’s excitement that they can already read.

2. The ‘flight engineer’

father son parent child
There’s a difference between this and a helicopter parent.

This is the parent monitoring the child’s growth environment, making sure they’re getting what they need and intervening when they’re not.

This isn’t the same as being a helicopter parent, who Ferguson says “are so involved in their children’s lives they don’t create space for them to develop independent relationships, learn how to negotiate for themselves, or identify their own interests.” My wife and I started playing this role when we encountered a teacher that wasn’t giving our daughter a fair shake.

3. The ‘fixer’

parent child high five
They don’t let a lack of resource get in their way.

In this role, the parent ensures no key opportunity for their child’s betterment is lost — and they don’t let a lack of resources slow them down.

As Ferguson says, “The parents might be living in poverty, but if they see an opportunity they judge to be essential for their child’s success in school or life, they’ll walk through walls to get it.”

4. The ‘revealer’

mother child sweden parent
They help their child discover the world.

Revealer parents help their child discover the world by going to museums, libraries, exhibits, etc. — anything to expand their worldview. Again, this happens even with a lack of resources; revealer parents get creative in how to accommodate such outings. My wife and I have given this one extra focus, since we’re fans of experiences over things.

5. The ‘philosopher’

dad daughter parent kid child
This role helps kids find purpose.

Ferguson says this is the second most important role, because it helps children find purpose. Here, the parents ask and answer deep life questions, never underestimating a child’s capacity to understand life and grasp the idea of meaning. I’ve been astonished at how early my daughter grasped these big ideas.

6. The ‘model’

parent mother daughter child teen parenting communication
They embody the values that are important to them.

This is classic role-modeling. Parents who do this well are clear about which values are important to them and work hard to pass those values on to their children, who then aspire to emulate them. My wife and I try to live our core values each day — but that doesn’t mean it comes easy, or that we always succeed.

7. The ‘negotiator’

Mom son child talking to kid
This teaches kids to stand up for themselves – respectfully.

This role teaches the child to be respectful while standing up for themselves and what they believe in (especially in the face of those with power and authority).

8. The ‘GPS navigational voice’

adult child with parent
This is the parents’ voice staying in the child’s head, even when they’ve left home.

Ferguson described this as, “The parents’ voice in the child’s head after the child has left home, coaching the young adult through new situations in life.” I can only hope our daughter’s GPS never says “recalculating,” given the work we’ve done to try and keep it on course.

Reassuringly, the Harvard researcher said that the most important quality for parents to exhibit as they wear these different hats is simply the determination to be a great parent. He calls this motivation “the burn,” and says it often comes out of things in the parents’ histories:

It could be something that went wrong in their own childhoods that they didn’t want repeated for their own children. It could be a family legacy of excellence in some domain that they felt a responsibility to pass on to their offspring. Or some commitment that the family had, for example, to civil rights, that they wanted their children to honor. But each of these parents had a vision of the kind of person they wanted their children to become. That vision, along with the burn, guided and inspired their parenting.

So whatever your “burn” is, use it to play these eight roles well. None of the roles are always easy, but all of them are important for giving your child every chance to succeed.

This Inc. story was originally published on Business Insider April 30, 2019.

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