Mike’s Mailbag: Career Capital over Courage

Hola Amigo,

Fill up your cup of joe and let’s go.

#MikeTime this week produced a reflection of sorts on my entrepreneurial ambitions running 4th Line Grind and building Eggnite in a piece called “Career Capital over Courage“.

Career Capital over Courage

Over the Christmas holidays, I delved into the audiobook “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. I’ve followed Cal’s thought leadership for years (TED talk “Why You Should Quit Social Media”) but this was the first actual book of his I’ve read / listened to.

It explores the notion of why millennials should opt for building career capital (aka. rare & valuable skills) over pursuing and trying to monetize passions.

Why is this important? Well, because this very thought haunts many 20 and 30-somethings on a daily basis, maybe even you.

Chances are, when scrolling through YouTube, you get pop up ads from various millennial gurus who escaped the grasp of the corporate world to monetize a passion (or create BS click-bait) from their laptop and travel the world while doing so. The glorified montage often leaves the viewer with the message what are you waiting for? Muster up the courage and take the leap.

You start to wonder if the key to leaving your day job really is just a matter of building up the courage to leave the known in favor of pursuing all the passions bottled up inside of you?

Let me share with you my own story circa’ March ‘17 and explain why, at least in my own experience, courage and passion only get you so far…

Full article here -> https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/career-capital-over-courage-mike-wilkes/?published=t

Quote of the Week: A business is like a canoe. The greatest risk is getting in and out” – Logan Day

Song of the Week: The Knife” – Maggie Rogers. Full album “Heard it in a Past Life” dropped last night and is all kinds of fire…

With Gratitude & Eyes Ahead,

– Wilkesy

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Mike’s Mailbag: When 7/10 is Better than 10/10.

Hola Amigo,

Is your coffee hot? If so, let’s get rolling.

Mike’s Mailbag is up & running in 2019 under the notion of giving more 7/10’s. More on that below…

But first, just one clip for the week, some background on the “Foundational Five” pillars behind Mike’s Mailbag, and my opening thoughts for the year in a new section called “What I’m Pondering / Grappling With / Grown From“.

  • If you can’t think greater than how you feel, or feelings have become the means of thinking, by very definition of emotions, you’re thinking in the past. And for the most part, you’re going to create the same life.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza on Impact Theory. Whether you call them resolutions, goals, systems, if you are committing to change yourself in 2019, this video is unbelievably thought provoking.

What I’m Pondering / Grappling With / Grown From:

I’ve never been more content to put a calendar 365 days in the rear-view mirror. 2018 was a year of struggle, pain, difficulty caging my monkey mind, and learning a lot of life lessons the hard way (entrepreneurship & business, personal relationships, mental health).

As the year progressed, the tides started to turn when I started down a new career path. I tried to mentally prepare for the step up in responsibility joining a fast-growing, disruptive start-up making waves on a national scale. Like a lot of challenges in life, you can never really fully prepare yourself and just have to learn to swim amidst the chaos.

It has been a very enriching experience but up until now, the rigor of getting up to speed in the business forced me to sacrifice a lot of what I dub “Mike Time” – sacred time where I dive into building knowledge and exploring creative outlets. Namely, writing Mike’s Mailbag.

I recently had coffee with my mentor and was running him through a laundry list of things ruminating in my mind. I’ve always maintained that I would only write my Mailbag if I could give it 100% effort. He challenged me on that notion within the context of the increasing demands on my schedule. His message went something like this, “Mike – as you grow older, your life becomes less and less about you. There are very few things that you’ll be able to allocate 100% effort and dedication to. You need to become more comfortable giving more 7/10’s on effort — it’s the cost of participation. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing very few things in life outside of work if you’re only willing to engage at 100%.

Before you say, easy Mike, that message wreaks of mediocrity. Hear out the rationale – the point is not to diminish your standards or quality of work (nor reduce effort on the primary activity(s) in life -> spouse, kids, career, whatever it is for you). It is to learn to scale your time more effectively, cut out the slack and bullshit (social media, aimless nights of drinking, Netflix, etc) in your life to focus on enriching elements that pay personal dividends.

In turn, the benefit of you participating in more creative, athletic and social outlets will lead to your new 7/10 becoming better than your previous 10/10. The net effect of not doing an activity because of only engaging at 10/10 effort is ZERO.

Hopping back in the saddle and writing this Mailbag is my 7/10. Feels a lot better than zero and I’m not going to lie to you, it feels pretty damn good…

My question to you – what is something in your own life that you’ve stopped engaging in because of life getting in the way? If you could muster up a 7, participating would feel pretty good, wouldn’t it?

Song of the Week: The Gaudy Side of Town” – Gayngs

Quote of the Week: “I don’t think you can find peace without going to war with yourself. You have to figure out who you are. People want to jump to peace before they go to war.” – David Goggins

With Gratitude & Eyes Ahead,

– Wilkesy

Mike’s Mailbag: Brother, Where Are Thou?

Happy Monday Amigos,

I hope you had a fantastic weekend – whatever it held for you – and woke up refreshed and ready for a big week! For whatever reason, I’m really jazzed about this week’s Mailbag and think you will be too after reading. Grab a coffee and let’s get rolling…

  • Who is Joe Murphy? Why is he living on the streets of Kenora, ON? If you’re a hockey fan, you’d recognize Joe Murphy as the #1 overall pick in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. Stanley Cup Winner with the Oilers in 1990 alongside some of the all-time greats. 532 career points over an 15-year NHL career. Something changed after his Stanley Cup winning season in 1991… Tune into Rick Westhead’s quest alongside Trevor Kidd to find Joe Murphy and learn his story in a TSN original “Finding Murph“. Sports fan or not, this is one to tune in. I think anyone and everyone will take something from this feature.
  • A friendly reminder to us all to support our local bookstores in a piece called “Good Things Happen in Bookstores“. “There was the time I was in a Barnes and Noble in Portland and a man buying some manga books seemed to be a couple dollars short. I fished some money out of my pocket and paid the difference. He started to cry. “I’ve just recovered from cancer,” he told me. “I was buying these books tonight to restart my normal life. I’m supposed to begin looking for a job tomorrow.” It was an experience far more gratifying to me than the first time I saw my own name up on a bookstore marquee for a signing.” – Ryan Holiday. Thanks for the reminder, Ryan.
  • Are you familiar with the term “minimum desirable product“? If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking about becoming one, or looking at launching a new product/service at work, I would HIGHLY recommend understanding this concept. Take it from my own hard lessons learned as an entrepreneur. In all seriousness, grasping your MDP before launching full-scale or investing a significant amount of capital could be the best thing you ever do for your business. Thanks for the great perspective, Andrew Chen.
  • Do you have an Alexa in your home? Google Home? Something of the sort… This is an incredibly interesting and thought provoking read by Josh Elman about how technology has fundamentally changed our homes and will continue to do so. Its just a matter of which products and services become as much a part of our home as the nuts and bolts that hold its structure in place versus ones that stay in gadget territory. It’s called “Thinking About Home IT Budgets” and is well worth the read.
  • Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain’s brave quest to explore worldly cuisines of all shapes, sizes and levels of sophistication (available on Netflix). I’ve been enjoying watching this show while cooking my own exciting dishes thanks to the invention of meal-kits. So far, my favorite episodes are his trip to Colombia and Quebec. What are yours?

Song(s) of the Week: It’s Five Cover Friday on a Monday. Why? Because these versions are just that damn good.

Quote of the Week: A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect” – Norton Juster.

Make it a Great Week,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: A Tale of Tech Titans

Happy Monday Amigos,

Diving right in…

  • The 13 best golf course restaurants in the world by Golf Digest. While the Panorama Dining Room at Cabot is on there, I have never actually eaten dinner there. In all my time there as a caddie and golfer, I opted to save my pennies for frosty patio beverages and gas money for road tripping up the Cabot Trail. Have you tried any of these notable eateries for post round pints? My bucket list just grew…
  • This is an interesting glimpse into where the upscale retail segment of the cannabis industry will go, as led by Fire & Flower – an Edmonton based company. I saw their CEO, Trevor Fencott, speak at the 55North Business Conference earlier this year in Kananaskis and he is very sharp.
  • Could this be the next Suits or Billions? Based on the trailer, it very well could be -> HBO’s Succession
  • Interesting feature on loneliness in Avenue Magazine Calgary. “Some experts suggest the quality of our social relationships is eroding. In modern, industrialized cities, we often live far away from extended family. We’re more likely to live alone, to not have children. We email, text, tweet, Facebook but we don’t talk to strangers. We bank online and order coffee by app and buy groceries from Amazon to be deposited outside our front doors. We live in homes with closed garages and fenced yards, especially in Calgary.”
  • Gary Vee’s take on Jeff Bezos (Amazon) vs. Tim Cook (Apple) as per Bloomberg Technology. Spoiler alert: he’s betting on one of these guys’ every day of the week. You can’t bring up these two without talking about Elon. Here’s an interesting take via Wired on Musk’s trials & tribulations over the past year titled Elon is Broken, And We Have Broken Him.

Song of the Week: Last fall, I was introduced to the Blake Reid Band when they performed on set at the Dave Kelly Live show in Calgary. I was blown away at their sound. The cool part about this band is they wrote and recorded an analog album in a matter of 5 days, inside an abandoned farmhouse, on the beautiful Alberta prairies overlooking the Rocky Mountains. It was for a documentary called “No Roads In“. They posted three songs from the album on their website and if you like country, I think you’ll be a fan!

Quote of the Week: I ran into an Dalhousie friend on the weekend at Cold Garden Brewery. Turns out, she has become quite the photographer and I found a really interesting reflection on her site. This tidbit was right on the money, “Some will talk to you in their free time. Some will free their time to talk to you. Know the difference.” – Megan Cameron (@twelve.poles)

Best,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The Mysterious Case of the Peloton

Gooooood Morning,

Let’s get down to it!

  • How do we make sure that the story we’re telling ourselves is in alignment with what actually did happen?” – Oprah Winfrey in conversation to Brene Brown. Ahhhh, the topic of self-narratives and the stories we tell ourselves. I think the rationalized internal dialogue floating around our brains can be both a blessing and a curse. Reason being, at times, we are able to pull ourselves out of a tough situation with a very rationalized, perhaps overly optimistic outcome that gets us over a loss or bad situation. All in all, a positive situation. On the flip side, telling ourselves a false narrative can lead to disillusionment and abdication of personal responsibility for our actions that may have gotten ourselves into the predicament in the first place. If you’re someone with a tendency to over analyze life’s events at times (ie. myself), this video clip is a great “check & balance” to ensure the stories we tell ourselves are in fact truthful.
  • Daryl McDaniels… One of the founding members of Run-D.M.C. and pioneer in the hip-hop industry. I certainly didn’t know much about his upbringing or life in general but this Impact Theory interview goes in depth on it. The story behind Daryl’s fascination with a particular Sarah McLachlan song is quite fascinating to say the least. Two musicians on polar opposite ends of the musical spectrum, yet, Daryl attributes Sarah’s song, “Angel“, as a song that saved his life. This interview is one worth tuning in on. Perhaps one of Run-D.M.C’s most famous songs best sums up mental health… “It’s Tricky“.
  • The title of the article reads “Bloodbath for Canadian Grocers as Consumers Demand Convenience“. The food industry is undergoing massive disruption as startups are challenging an industry traditionally dominated by global behemoths with unrivaled buying power. Equipped with advanced just-in-time (JIT) logistics and supply chain capabilities, nimble business models, an emphasis on freshness, ethical sourcing, convenience, curated experiences, and ability to greater resonate with consumer preferences, food startups of all kinds are making their dent.
  • Any roadbikers or triathletes tuning in? This Fast Company read is for you. All of a sudden it makes sense why those “in” the biking world call the Tour de France a team sport!
  • “The top NHL salary in 2018-19 (in terms of dollars owed, not cap hit) is the $15.9 million John Tavares is set to make in his first year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares is one of 14 NHLers scheduled to make at least $10 million next season and every one of those players is a bona fide star, Subban among them. By comparison, though, the NBA has 134 players scheduled to make at least $10 million in 2018-19—many of whom aren’t even starters—and 74 players will have higher salaries than Tavares in particular.” – Mike Johnston via Sportsnet article. Wow… Now that’s a zinger of a sport stat!

Song of the Week: A few weeks ago, my good pal, Jer, and I were lucky enough to see Brad Paisley live at Stampede. Needless to say, we both forgot how damn good of a musician and entertainer the guy is. Here are a few of my favorites…

Quote of the Week: Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because you’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever.” Daniele Bolelli

Happy August Long Amigos,

Mike

 

 

Mike’s Mailbag: Overcoming Willpower with a Personal Operating System

Happy Saturday Amigos,

Diving right in…

  • Seth Godin. The man behind the altMBA, The Icarus Deception and engine of thought leadership in the marketing world, personal branding, and education space. What strikes me most about Seth’s outlook on the world is his creativity, originality and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom to the “nth” degree. This Impact Theory interview will plant some really interesting thoughts to ponder about how the evolution of our economy over the past 100 years hasn’t necessarily been reflected in the North American education system. This is definitely worth the watch!
  • I am pretty excited to see how the launch of MINDSET Brain Gym in Toronto unfolds. Being someone interested in mental fitness and the world of mindfulness, I am curious to see if MINDSET takes off like OrangeTheory or stays as a niche concept in an upper class neighbourhood.
  • A growing body of research suggests that our bodies function optimally when we align our eating patterns with our circadian rhythms.” – New York Times article by Anahad O’Connor as featured in the National Post. I’ve been getting my Tim Ferriss on as of late and experimenting with some different ways of fueling my body. Traditionally speaking, I have been terrible at following any sort of strict diet or anything that relies on willpower to succeed. I consistently fall off the bandwagon after 2-3 weeks. However, the combination of actually reading up on nutrition, the willingness to challenge the conventional notion of a proper diet and incorporating more of a systems approach (thanks Scott Adams) rather than goals mentality into how I eat has started to show some early signs of success. Regardless of your nutrition and fitness objectives, if your chosen modifications are not “integrate-able” into your desired lifestyle, it will probably mean falling off the bandwagon early on. Willpower and restriction only go so far. * I’m partly including this for my own accountability purposes as my experimentation with finding a sustainable way of fueling my body and mind evolves.
  • I don’t know about you but I find this clip of Mark Zuckerberg and Dan Stillman being interviewed on CNBC in 2004 rather entertaining. Safe to say Facebook has gained more traction than WesMatch!
  • Has anyone tried Masterclass? I’m curious to try out the online learning platform and learn from some of the best in the biz.

Quote of the Week: I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance.” – David Ogilvy

Song of the Week: Emotionless” – Drake. Hardly a novel find but take note of the lyrics Drake chose…

Have a Great Weekend!

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: Why The Best Things in Life Are Backwards

Top o’ The Morning,

Grab a cup of joe and let’s go!

  • Have you ever thought about how to shorten your refractory period of emotional reactions so that your mood doesn’t turn into your temperament? And subsequently, that temperament turning into your full blown personality? I certainly hadn’t… If you’re struggling to pull yourself out of your own headspace or current reality and into a better one, I can’t recommend this Impact Theory clip of Dr. Joe Dispenza enough. “The best way to predict your future is to create it… not from the known but from the unknown. What thoughts do you want to fire and wire into your brain? … Your brain is no longer a record of the past. Now it’s a map to the future. You can’t wait for success to feel empowered. You can’t wait for your wealth to feel abundant. You can’t wait for your new relationship to feel love or your healing to feel whole. That’s the old model of reality of cause & effect. Waiting for something outside of us to change how we feel inside of us.”  Dr. Joe Dispenza. Let this clip percolate for a few weeks and let me know any reflections or thoughts you have down the road… Here is the whole interview if you’d like to dive in further.
  • A top shelf read courtesy of a regular mainstay of the Mailbag, Mr. Mark Manson. This one titled Why the Best Things in Life Are All Backwards.
  • No Dickheads – What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About Building High Performance Teams by Tess Sloane. Great read on what is arguably the most successful sporting team in the world.
  • Awesome Sportsnet feature on Canada’s best swimmer, Penny Oleksiak. Judging by this video and her new training regime, I would not want to be in the seven other lanes at the 2020 Olympics when Penny is in the water!
  • Zero NHL franchises on Forbes Top 50 Most Valuable Sports Franchises in the world.

Song of the Week: Vino & Vinyl: Vol 15 – Route 19 Blues. If you like the cut of this playlist’s jib, there are 14 others to tune into…

Quote of the Week:“It might help some of you to think of yourself as moist robots and not skin bags full of magic and mastery. If you control the inputs, you can determine the outcomes, give or take some luck.” – Scott Adams

Make it a Great Friday,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: Braving The Wilderness

Gooooood Morning,

Jumping right in…

  • A few months ago, I embarked on a road trip down to Seattle for the World Specialty Coffee Expo. On my way down, I listened to Perennial Seller (mentioned last week). On the way back, I listened to Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging by Brene Brown. Brene is an absolute powerhouse and trailblazer for mankind. I have a ton of respect for her. She dives deeper on the subject of vulnerability, shame, empathy and courage than anyone and is able to articulate her research in a very matter of fact manner. While some gents reading this may have had a spouse or girlfriend send you one of her TED talks in the past and you may have thought “nah, this vulnerability and empathy stuff isn’t for me.” If this is/was you, I’d encourage you to rethink your decision. At one point in time, this was me. Here is a good video to start with: “Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count?“. There’s plenty of material once you get rolling…
  • I’m in the midst of reading a book by Scott Adams. He is a very wise man and in this book, he lists all of the cognitive bias listed on Wikipedia. Scott thinks they are very useful to familiarize oneself with, even if on a very elementary level. Down the road, I’m going to take a deeper dive on the book but will leave you with the interesting list of cognitive bias to chew on…
  • A one-woman band. Multi-instrumentalist. Call these unbelievably talented ladies what you will. They are both incredible artists and play all of the instruments, loop them together, and sing over top. It’s done live and is all kinds of awesome to watch! Like seriously awesome…
  • Leafs / Islanders fan or not, how can you not love Johnny T? Class act and world class athlete. His farewell letter to Long Island after signing with the Leafs via The Players Tribune.
  • Quick clip of Nick Foles, backup QB turned Superbowl hero with a few words on embracing failure in an era of the highlight reel.

Song(s) of the Week: On the subject of cover music, I’m going to test-drive a new once per month feature called Five Cover Friday. 5 songs for the price of 1. Take a listen and then you’ll realize what a steal of a deal this is 🙂

  • Tennessee Whiskey” – Chris Stapleton live at Austin City Limits (George Jones)
  • Crazy” – Ray LaMontagne (Gnarls Barkley)
  • If I Needed You” – Mumford & Sons (Townes Van Zandt)
  • Bang Bang” – Kaleo (Cher)
  • Take Care” – Florence & The Machine (Drake & Rihanna)

Quote of the Week: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked” – Warren Buffet

Happy Listenin’,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The Kananaskis Revival

Gooooood Morning,

I hope everyone had a patriotic Canada Day long weekend celebrating the great nation we call home. While the world and our country is flooded with all sorts of chaos and irrationality on many fronts, there still aren’t many (if any) places I’d rather live.

  • If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking about starting a side hustle, or simply curious about what makes certain music and books get more popular with time (while the majority fade into abyss beyond their initial release), you might be interested in checking out the book, Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts by Ryan Holiday. I’ve listened to the audiobook 2x over to take notes the second time around. To me, Ryan is a voice of reason for the Millennial generation and is a brilliant mind well beyond his years. “People claim to want to do something that matters yet they measure themselves against things that don’t. They track progress in microseconds and likes, not years.” – Ryan Holiday
  • The Kananaskis Revival. It’s here and its real. I attended a business conference, 55North, in Kananaskis a few weeks ago and witnessed the rebirth of one of Alberta’s true Rocky Mountain gems. The golf course(s) are in mint condition and looking better than ever. Pomeroy Lodging (an Alberta based lodging company headed by one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40) purchased the hotel and has invested a great deal of time, thought, capital and effort into transforming the lodge into a beautiful, modern oasis in the middle of the Kananaskis Valley. They also took a page out of the Scandinavians playbook and built a 50,000 sq foot Nordic inspired spa that is all kinds of cool. I’d highly recommend (re)checking out the revival of this Albertan gem on the edge of the Rockies!
  • Most know Matthew McConaughey as an actor from Texas that:
    • a) likes to take off his shirt off
    • b) likes to barbecue
    • c) creates really good movies
    • d) However, he also happens to have some really interesting insights on how to live a life worth living. I’ve been chewing on his message the past couple weeks and thought I’d share it with you… One of my favorite quotables “don’t drink the Kool-Aid. It tastes sweet but you will get cavities tomorrow. Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave. Take the hill. But first answer that question… what’s my hill?” – Matthew McConaughey
  • A close friend of mine sent this Toronto Life article to me titled “A Restaurant Ruined My Life” in the early days of my entrepreneurial journey last year. It is an extremely gripping account of one man’s journey into opening a restaurant and the immense hardships it caused him, his family, and life in general. Refreshingly honest to the point of giving you chills…
  • Last but not least, has anyone tried this cool clothing startup, UNTUCKitThe Ideal Shirt For The Untucked Man? If you’re like me and require a collared shirt big enough for your upper frame but aren’t blessed with height on your side, leaving a dress shirt untucked with jeans resembles more of a night gown. UNTUCKit is opening their first Canadian store in Toronto this fall. Fun fact: Brad Richards was their first brand ambassador in NYC. ** While I don’t usually touch on fashion in the Mailbag, I’m a big fan of entrepreneurs identifying niches in the market that are pain points for consumers at large. This is a prime example.

Coffee of the Week: If you’re a fan of cold brew coffee but aren’t a fan of paying ~$5.00 for a cup (that’s often loaded with ice), try making your own cold brew at home. It’s surprisingly easy once you have the right materials, is a lot cheaper, and lasts a long time if properly stored. The beauty of it is you can take the concentrate and add ice cold water or boiling water if you fancy a hot cup of joe to start your day. This is my go to foolproof method for making cold brew.

Song of the Week:Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People. A friend of mine got me hooked on this jam over Canada Day weekend. If you’re a fan, check out their whole Sacred Hearts Club album.

Quote of the Week: The things we are striving for are just the bait. Struggling to get them forces us to evolve and it is this struggle towards personal evolution with others that is the reward.” – Ray Dalio

Happy Stampedin’,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: A Cautionary Tale About Entrepreneurship

Gooooood Morning,

Happy (almost) Canada Day Weekend!

Over the past year, I have learned a few things about entrepreneurship, relationships, and life in general from running my own business. I decided to write about it and chronicle some of my biggest lessons learned…

Driven by a thirst for entrepreneurship, I left my corporate job on my own accord last year to launch a coffee company and simultaneously build out a fast casual restaurant concept for the downtown business professional. This eye opening experience exposed me to a whole new arena of business fundamentals and principles in action.

It is very difficult as an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, to process ideas in a formalized manner and reflect because time is never on your side and you’re constantly putting out fires. Ultimately, I launched one business and advanced the larger of the two concepts to the 1-yard line but decided to take a knee.

I want to share some overarching lessons learned from dipping my toes in the waters of entrepreneurship. None of my reflections are specific to an industry, nor do I consider myself an expert on entrepreneurship. I’m merely a guy that left my corporate career as I knew it to captain my own ship as an entrepreneur.

This is what I learned…

Full Article Here via LinkedIn: A Cautionary Tale: What Few Tell You About Entrepreneurship

Go Canada,

Mike