Updated: May 4
(½) Kind Candor
I just read Gary V’s book called 12 and ½. These are the12 and ½ ingredients he believes every person and entrepreneur needs to live a happy and successful life.
When looking at these words, it is very easy to see them all as words we recognize, and say, “yup, that makes sense”, without diving further into it.
I wanted to use this as a platform to share my own definition of the words and what they mean in the context of my own life.
Gratitude: Being unconditionally appreciative.
As someone who has been diving into mindfulness studies, I would say gratitude is a super-power we all have that we do not always deploy. This is what keeps me sane during the madness. I think of gratitude very simply as the matter of fact that (1) everything has a silver lining to it. Something we can learn from, and or enjoy for some reason. Almost everything has both. Try to make an excuse to yourself to be happy and grateful for every scenario. Initially, this might take some very aggressive thoughts, “My flight got cancelled, but they, the plane could have crashed…”. I know this seems like much but it comes down to one thing, you can not tell the future. So why not think about it gratefully. More simply put, this is the story of the Chinese farmer.
Self-Awareness: Understanding yourself and your position in the current scenario in an unbiased manner.
This is a tough one for me because I believe heavily in being overly optimistic and faithful as a way to shed positivity on others and manifest a great future. But having self-awareness is really key when connecting with others. It is very critical to see how you are coming off and what effect this has on others. Whenever trying to practice this I always try to put myself in someone else's shoes.
Accountability: Taking responsibility.
If you want to build this, read and practice the ideas discussed in Jocko Willink’s book, “Extreme Ownership”. Jocko talks about how if everyone took complete ownership of everything they are involved with, even parts you are barely involved with, the world would operate better and people would be happier. Very simply, a lack of naturally wasting to take accountability comes from a scarcity mindset, fear, and insecurity. But it is much less simple to overcome these than it is to simply state them. I find I often let my ego get in the way and want to be accountable for what I did but want to blame others for what I didn’t. If you are accountable to others and yourself, you become untouchable. You can be phased. You understand the truth of the situation and it makes you more responsible. There is nothing stronger than someone who can confidently state they are accountable and willing to resolve or fix the problem at hand.
Optimism: Bringing your awareness to the bright side of possibilities.
You can’t tell the future. We covered this. So, why not be optimistic. Optimism is a fun one to practice, and why wouldn’t you. Miracles happen daily! I remember speaking with a friend who was struggling to recover from a knee injury and he tried everything. Western medicine (surgeries, PT, medicine, etc.) and Eastern (Breathing, meditation, massage therapy, etc.) and he felt hopeless. I felt like he didn't lean into the more holistic, spiritual route enough and I asked him… “if your knee heals 100%, would that be the craziest thing this world has ever seen?” Obviously, he said, “not even close, miracles happen daily!” Okay, so believe, deep in your heart, your knee will heal, and go find the answer out there and manifest it! It will either work, or it won't, but it will damn sure beat sulking about your knee!
Empathy: Putting yourself in someone else's shoes.
Okay, so whenever you communicate with someone, you must deploy empathy. You have no idea what is going on in someone’s world. Compassion comes to mind here as well. I was sitting in the sauna in Kona, HI, and met an old Tibetan man who escaped the horrible lifestyle there is for those born poor in Tibet. He became a monk and then a shop owner selling “happy, tie-dye, clothes.” The day before we met, he said he got robbed. Someone came into his store and robbed him of about 20 shirts. The cops came and asked if he wanted to press charges because they found the lady. HE SCREAMED, NO!” at the cop. Why you might ask? He felt compassion. He watched this woman, clearly crazy, hide her kid behind a tree and sprint into his store, dirty as could be with ratty hair, and grab clothes and run. This woman needs empathy. She needs someone to care for her. She is down and out. Potentially mentally ill and we want to toss her in jail??!!! That’ll help! I am not condoning breaking the law but this is a wonderful example of mindfulness and compassion for people that need it the most. People who read my blogs know I love Dan Millman’s book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. In that book, he writes that “people who are the hardest to ve need it the most…” that is empathy.
Kindness: Being generous, thoughtful, and considerate to others and yourself.
I find Kindness to be a fun one to practice. Why wouldn’t it be? For no reason, and unconditionally, be nice. Generally, we are nice to others, but being nice to ourselves is critical too. You are doing great, trying your best. and you have great intentions (hopefully)... so don't worry if you mess up. There are no wrong actions or decisions if they are made from this place and if they aren’t you can always try and start again. Keep this same kindness and compassion for others, they are also doing their best and coming from a great place.
Tenacity: Bringin’ the heat! Look for an excuse to persevere! Hustle.
Tenacity, with the right underlying motive, is one of the key traits to success. As long as you are chasing a well-thought-out goal, unleash your tenacity. Whatever you are aspiring to do, you will encounter roadblocks. Stress. Tough times. Tenacity will get you through it. When I started my company, I had a lot of people doubting me, I was doubting myself, I didn’t always have the perfect, right answer. Tenacity will get you through that. What I love about Tenacity, is it comes with faith and optimism! It is also a challenge to bring tenacity, along with other traits like kindness and patience. But it can be done. Just another fun challenge of life.
Curiosity: Open-minded with a positive outlook, hoping to learn more!
Living a curious life is just plain fun. Curiosity means you do not know it all. It means what you do not know might make you smarter, better, enjoy something more, or just have additional information for the future. Curiosity is what makes me want to continue writing blogs. “What happens if I have a life of blogs to reflect on??” It is what makes me want to try to run 100 miles… “what would that be like?” When people say, “You don't want to look back at your life and say… what if?” they are referring to people not living curiously. So… be curious and say “what if” today!
Patience: Having faith that things will work out and living in the moment to enjoy the “here & now”
Patience is simple to understand, but hard to execute. It is to have faith that things will work out and feel the slow and sneaky steps you are taking towards your goal, in the mix of it all. I believe mindfulness and awareness lead to patience. As well as often reflecting on your goals and progress.
Conviction: Confident in your intuition and unwavering focus on your idea, while maintaining open-minded.
Conviction is the magic sauce some people have. It is why you can not just learn to be a good business person. Conviction comes from experience often, but it also comes from a truth within. I have found people who have great conviction are often people who are true to themselves.
Humility: Being strong enough to show your weakness.
The opposite of the ego. Humility is understanding you can be wrong and that is okay! Humility is paired with an endless curiosity and being open to learning more. Humility is the key to the best relationships, the best way to lead by example, and of course… the best way to show love. I find this to be hard because I tried hard to practice, study, and learn things I talk about/do, so naturally, I want to be “right” but it is not natural for me. I think being more present and aware would support this growth for me.
Ambition: Wanting something and being prepared to do what it takes to accomplish it.
Ambition should come easy if you have a clear goal. If you have a goal you are confident in, ambition should be easy as can be! So try to get clear on your goal and keep it close. Keep it at the forefront of your thoughts and strive towards it. One thing that is easy to do is to support ambition by boiling your goal down to do strategies and to-do items that roll up to your goal. This will allow you to ambitiously attack your goal without looking back!
(½) Kind Candor: Delivering the news you need to deliver, respectfully.
A challenge to say the least, especially in the moment. Tim Ferris once said you can judge someone's life by the number of difficult discussions they have in their life. Now… doing this kindly, become a masterful art of communication and leadership.