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Quest to Live Healthier, Feel Better

When we look in the mirror, do we like what we see? Chances are, there are a few pounds we could stand to lose, but how can we easily lose those few pounds?!

Simple. I’ve been on the intermittent fasting method for a long time now. With barely any lifestyle change, it has helped keep me trim and feeling good. If you’re in the know, then you’ve probably heard of this and now is the time to give it a try.

Here are 6 tips where we’ll explore our Quest to Live Healthier, Feel Better, and making it super-simple.

1. Intermittent Fasting Made Simple

In a nutshell, intermittent fasting is going a period of time without eating, which means no calories consumption (only water and black coffee). I do a very easy 12 hours of no eating, which means whenever I stop eating at night (ex. 8PM), I don’t start eating the next day until 8AM.

The more popular way of is 16 hours not eating, and 8 hours of eating. Basically, that’s like skipping breakfast. You eat the same foods, nothing changes, except when you eat.

Here’s an entertaining article about how a normal guy does the method, which btw Hugh Jackman uses!

2. Intermittent Fasting for the Advanced

Ok, so you think you’re ready for a more serious understanding of this intermittent fasting, aka time-restricted diet? Besides the benefit of shedding a few pounds and therefore feeling better about ourselves, there are serious health benefits using science that I don’t really understand! To me, it makes logical sense that if your body goes without food for awhile, it goes into like a ‘Red Alert’ mode and sheds un-needed cells from our body, forcing it to run as efficiently as possible.

Fasting puts me in efficient mode? Heck yeah I’ll take that.

From the fantastic article The Truth Behind What Intermittent Fasting Does to Your Body by Alexandra Pattillo

“Insulin is a hormone that’s released when we eat, but it isn’t meant to be released all the time,” Tello says. “Intermittent fasting is simply letting your insulin level go down to basically normal so that you unlock your fat stores. So nobody’s going to lose any weight unless they get that insulin level down. Which is why eating very small meals throughout the day doesn’t really help with weight loss.” — Monique Tello, MD, MPH, a Harvard Medical School professor and internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital

“During exercise, there’s a stress on the cells. They don’t grow and get stronger and bigger during the exercise but during the resting period. So we think that with intermittent fasting — during the fasting period, the cells go in kind of a stress-resistance mode. And then when you eat, they’ve prepared themselves to quickly take up nutrients, proteins, and grow.” — Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and former chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging

3. A Better Way to Eat

On our quest to live healthier, live better, that obviously includes a better way to eat.

My rule of thumb: Can I tell where my food came from? In other words, do I know all the ingredients and how it naturally arises from the earth? If I don’t, then it’s probably not as healthy and I can gauge how much of that to eat.

Stated another way, follow Mozaffarian’s golden rule: “Eat foods that give rise to life.” Nuts, nut butters, seeds, seed oils, olives, olive oil and avocados all fit the bill.

Here’s another nugget of knowledge: If you decide to eat dairy, “the existing epidemiological evidence suggests full-fat dairy is associated with healthier outcomes than low-fat dairy,” he says. (Keep this in mind the next time you’re ordering a “skinny” skim-milk latte.)

Finally, what the heck are “superfoods?” It’s not a real designation or classification of foods, but rather a marketing ploy to get you to buy that food. Underlining it though, is that these foods do pack a higher nutritional punch — Berries, which are high in fiber; fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids (which helps prevent heart disease); leafy greens, which offer phytochemicals and fiber; nuts; yogurt; and cruciferous vegetables, which may help against some types of cancer.

4. Why Plant Based Diets are Here to Stay


You want to live healthier and better? Well, here goes a controversial topic — eat more plants, less meat.

There, I said it. So what’s your gut reaction? Did you shrug your shoulder so what, or did you think I’m one of those hippie, hipster, planet-saving people? Either way, read on and see if we can find a reason why that works for you.

And just FYI, in the course of researching this topic, I’m gonna try myself to be more plant-based.

Reasons why to eat more plants:

  1. Lose weight — Decades of research, show that a plant-based diet is effective for controlling or losing weight, improved physical and emotional health, and a multitude of health benefits: lower mortality, better cardiovascular health, prevention of type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  2. Feel healthier — “You will be a healthier person. It’s anti-inflammatory, it’s fiber full. It’s going to be decreasing your cholesterol levels. Your digestion is going to improve,” Tello says.
  3. Do your part to help prevent climate change — Meat such as beef and lamb is particularly inefficient to produce, because livestock need lots of space to graze, and that land is often space that used to be covered with forests.

Objectively, is red meat bad for you? It’s important to make a distinction between different kinds of meat. For example, grass-fed and organic meat is nutritionally different than factory-farmed, processed meat.

5. Run for 10 minutes


Most of us don’t run for exercise because we hate it, or we find it boring. But here’s the thing: If we’re so busy with life and trying to stay as productive as possible, you really can’t argue with the fact that for just 10 minutes outside running, you’ll get a fantastic workout with minimal impact on your schedule.

That’s it, that’s my selling point. Running may still suck, but for just 10 minutes, you can get your healthy dose of exercise in and done with.

If you’ve been with me, you know I use the Headspace app to do my daily meditations. It also has a great section where they coach you while on a run, hosted by Nike trainer Chris Bennet. Big takeaways for me are:

  1. Give yourself permission to run smart, not hard.
  2. As you’re running, relax and run slower. This way you’re more likely to enjoy your run, and therefore more likely to so running again next time.
  3. This is a win. The fact that you’re even running is awesome. Doesn’t matter if it’s slow, fast, hard, easy, whatever. It’s a win simply because you’re doing it.

6. On-the-Go Solutions to Live Better


In this final journal about our quest to live healthier, live better, I’ll dispense with my easy tips. You’re welcome.

Quick tips to live better:

  1. Buy better snack bars — According to this article, RxBars are one of the best due to their simple ingredients. Therefore, avoid snack/granola bars with tons of sugars and ingredients.
  2. Also carry a water bottle — Once again, here’s my favorite.
  3. Keep workout clothes and shoes in the car — Get into the habit of keeping these in the car, so you’ll never have an excuse to not workout.
  4. Run while doing your errands — I literally mean, run from the parking lot to the store entrance.
  5. Going traveling? Hit up the local grocery store and pick up some healthy snacks. If you’re going to a conference or a work meeting, chances are they will only have donuts and cookies.


  1. The Truth Behind What Intermittent Fasting Does to Your Body
  2. You Asked: What High-Fat Foods Should I Be Eating? By Markham Heid
  4. Carbon footprint
  5. Is Red Meat Bad for You, or Good? An Objective Look
  6. Sakara Plant Protein
  7. How Eating Less Meat Could Help Protect the Planet From Climate Change
  8. How to get into running by getting into your head by Kelton Wright

6 Ways to Practice Influence (Then Become a Master)

TED Talks

I love first impressions. It’s a rare occasion to have a complete blank slate with someone, and you get to craft yourself into whoever you want! Maybe you’ll be the funny one, or the mysterious one. But introduce yourself poorly, and you could be forgettable or (worse yet) the boring one. For me, I aim for being immediately personable and relatable, with a touch of humility and humor.

Implement all 6 ideas and you’ll be a true influencer (not just the Instagram-type!).

1. Introduce Yourself to 3 People Today (And Here’s How)

Great article from TED on unforgettable ways to introduce yourself, where I grabbed a few of these gems, along with one of my own.

  • Forget the job title, instead describe the impact of your job.
  • People understand there are problems, and then there are solutions. So describe what you do in terms of problem-solving and how you solve things.
  • Pretend you’re talking to a child. How would you break down what you do that a child can understand. And then build up from there.
  • Power of humor. If there’s an opportunity in there to poke fun at where you’re at or use some self-deprecating humor, I’m down for that. Just beware if it’s a serious work setting.

2. Reciprocate

Although we’re talking about how to Be More Influential, let’s not lose sight of what’s really important — that we do things that will make other people’s lives better. In other words, use your newfound powers in influence for good! If you end up using influence to benefit just yourself, you’ll “live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” [Name that movie!]

Today, be more influential by doing something nice for someone. The only criteria is that it must be (A) personalized and (B) unexpected.

  • Personalized means you actually have to know something personal about the person! Then have fun by making it unexpected.
  • Science says: If the waiter provides one mint, starts to walk away from the table, but pauses, turns back and says, “For you nice people, here’s an extra mint,” tips go through the roof. A 23% increase, influenced not by what was given, but how it was given.

3. Be In Demand

To be more influential, be in demand more. Easier said than done, right?! Yet, we all understand being in demand does lead to being more influential, right or wrong. We see this phenomena whenever there is that attractive person that everyone wants to date, or that guru at work that everybody goes to for help. Let’s explore what we can do to increase our demand.

“The more knowledge you have the more likely that you will propose options that are more attractive.”

Well, obviously. So before you engage in any discussion, go read a few articles on that select topic. This will at least inform you enough to be worth talking to.

“It’s not enough simply to tell people about the benefits they’ll gain if they choose your products and services. You’ll also need to point out what is unique about your proposition and what they stand to lose if they fail to consider your proposal.”

The key words are unique and what they stand to lose. You always need to be thinking, what is the interesting, uncommon, or new idea that you’re contributing to the conversation. If possible and appropriate, you may need to point out what you bring to the table.

4. Namedrop (The Proper Way)

To be more influential, name-drop, but do it the proper way! Turns out I’ve misunderstood what name-dropping means all these years! As I was doing my research, I hadn’t realized how improper people use this tactic, and hence such a negative perception of it, especially in job interviews. It hadn’t occurred to me because I don’t name-drop in the way these articles talk about! Let me explain…

“People name-drop for a simple reason: It’s an easy way to signal our status as a member of an exclusive in-group.”

To me, name-dropping is more like a citation in a thesis paper. I try to come from a place of humility and want to attribute what I’m about to say with who/where it came from. I think it’s a worse crime to take credit for a piece of knowledge that didn’t originate with you. In doing so, I acknowledge the listener may infer there is a relationship there. That’s why we should go a step further and caveat how we know the person and clarify the level of relationship. At the end of the day, we only have our integrity and reputation, so don’t do anything to damage those!


5. Are you dependable?

Take an honest look in front of the mirror and ask yourself, “do people currently depend on you to get things done?” When you do, is it right away? Or a week later? Maybe just before the deadline? If you want to be more influential, then make yourself the go-to person. If you become the go-to person, that’s an acknowledgement that you’ve become important to that person’s life. Now isn’t that the very definition of influential?

“One recent study reduced missed appointments at health centers by 18% simply by asking the patients rather than the staff to write down appointment details on the future appointment card.”

This is the reverse of what we’ve been talking about. To increase your influence, get the other person to commit to something. The pro-tip here is to get them to agree to something small, and then go from there. For example, invite them to a work meeting and when they show up, that’s commitment which you can then grow.

6. Flatter people

Persuasion science tells us that there are three important factors.

  • We like people who are similar to us.
  • We like people who pay us compliments.
  • We like people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals.

No wonder we get along with our friends — they prob share the same hobbies & values, you compliment each other (“way to go bro!”), and they help us whenever we’re in need. Stands to reason, what if we can convert “coworkers” into “friends?”

Which do you behave like?

In a series of negotiation studies carried out between MBA students at two well-known business schools, some groups were told, “Time is money. Get straight down to business.” In this group, around 55% were able to come to an agreement.

A second group however, was told, “Before you begin negotiating, exchange some personal information with each other. Identify a similarity you share in common then begin negotiating.” In this group, 90% of them were able to come to successful and agreeable outcomes that were typically worth 18% more to both parties.

Takeaway: You’ll get more out the situation if you actually care about the other person and create some rapport.



How to Harness Change


Get a Learning & Open Mindset… Fast

We all know people that we think of close-minded. Why are they like that? Are we like that?! You betcha. For example, traveling to a foreign land will highlight this within us. So the question becomes, how do we keep that open mind, really learn from others, and get the most out of every situation.


What typically prevents me from having an open mind and willing to learn from others (besides my ego and being arrogant), is because I’m preoccupied.

Feeling frustrated or stressed?Too much going on in your life? Trust when I say — IT WILL PASS. Think about every time you’ve ever been angry or lonely or anything. The emotion eventually passes, right? Realize this too will pass eventually, and in acknowledging that, it passes faster!

  1. Acknowledge you’re feeling which way.
  2. Tell yourself this emotion will eventually pass.
  3. Let the emotion run its course.

Do something NOT in your routine. Our brain is trained to be as lazy as possible, therefore it sticks to routines and habits as much as possible. Break the routine and your brain is forced to think, and voilà, open mind!

  • Take a different route to your destination.
  • Order an unusual dish or drink.
  • Sit in a different location or better yet, stand up!

3 Small Changes That’ll Really Work


Everybody talks about making small changes, but does anything ever change? Usually not because it lacks solid commitment and follow through. We’ll talk a bit more about below, but for now, let’s talk about 3 easy, small changes we can make. If you try any of them but then fall off the wagon quickly, then our talk below will really speak to you. But for now, try these.

Vulnerability — Geez is this word overused. What does it even mean?! Tell people about your insecurities?! “Hi, you don’t know me but I want you to know I have dandruff.” To me, the real goal here is don’t pretend to be confident, pretend to know what people are talking about, or hide your true reactions. Just let people know you have a question, and chances are they feel the same way.

Negativity Kills — Like the Jedi saying goes, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to tweets you’ll regret later.” Bottom line, a negative mindset shuts down the ability to accept or make change. So, every time you find yourself going negative (complaining, whining, commenting) just STOP.

Wake up just 15–30 minutes earlier. You’ve prob heard this advice before, but what will it take for you to really commit to do this? Until you can answer that, chances are you’ll keep snoozing your life away.

Big Changes Require a Bigger Strategy


Sooooo how are you at making changes in your life? At accepting change when it happens to you? Don’t worry, we all suck at it. Since I’m such a routine guy, when I don’t get to enjoy what I love to do, it leaves me all frustrated. For example, one time I was trying to get to a trailhead to start a hike but couldn’t find it. It got so late in the day that even if I found it, I wouldn’t have made it to the campsite before dark. I just couldn’t let go of the goal, when clearly a change in plans was needed. (Feel sorry for the person I was hiking with!)

Change will keep on happening, so let’s try some tactics on how best to handle it. Adapt and be happier.

Think Things Through — We’ve tried to change before and it didn’t stick — why is that?

  • Question your beliefs — Why do you think you can’t wake up early? Why do you think you don’t have time for a quick workout? Chances are… there probably isn’t a good enough reason. Acknowledge it, then commit to change. (I know, I don’t like the commitment word either.)
  • Delete, Delegate, Defer — In other words, you might be getting consumed by useless or lower-value added stuff in your life. Think about the things you have to do, and if you can not do them (delete), ask someone else to do them (delegate), or do them less frequently (defer).

Accountability & Penalty — Think of a friend or coworker right now. Ask that person if they can be there for you, or better yet, to team up and make the change happen together. For example:

  • Workout/Walking Buddy — You’re more likely to not be lazy if you disappoint someone.
  • Check on You — Tell them your goal, and that if you don’t meet it, that you’ll give them (or a charity of their choice) money.

Create the Change. Yeah, I’m talking to you.


I’m trying to change everyday. Maybe it’s trying to run faster or longer. Maybe it’s to staying aware of an open mindset and not getting stressed out. I try to think of huge game-changers for my startup (I’m talking about this, Venture Out!). I try to persuade friends to do certain things with me. Bottom line, when are we not trying to create some sort of change? Below are my two go-to tips.

Explain Why — Too many times we go straight to implementing change, and when we meet resistance, we wonder why. It takes courage, but you need to explain your reason why and once people understand, they may get on board or, better yet, offer ideas to help. Master Sinuk explains it best in his legendary TedTalk. (You’re living under a rock if you haven’t watched it yet.)

Steve Jobs’ Distortion Field — I read Walter Isaacson book on Jobs, and how he used “distortion field” on his teams. My interpretation of this “distortion field” is the ability to believe in success so much, that everybody else also starts believing it. In other words, you need the people around you to believe for themselves that the change is achievable. For example, people don’t start a diet until they believe it’ll actually lead to results.

References and Recommendations


Travel Smarter

How do I plan my adventures?  Here’s how.

While in Nepal, I met a German guy who had a spreadsheet of places he wants to visit, with additional notes on best time of the year to visit, currency conversion rates, so that he could be ready to go at an instant’s notice.  I’m not suggesting we need to be that efficient, but the man has a point.  Adventures don’t just happen, they require some serious planning… and a bit of spontaneity.  

Just go onto Instagram and see where everybody else is going.  Just kidding.  

  1. Identify what kind of adventure is this?  Relaxing, thrill-seeking, bucket list, off-the-beaten path, city or outdoors.
  2. Use resources like The Guardian and Lonely Planet for ideas, and sample itineraries. For example, if you’re going to Chile for 4 days, see what they suggest and modify from there.
  3. Keep track of all your bookings and itinerary with TripIt.  You simply email all your flight, hotel, rental confirmations and the app automatically sorts them by date.  Easy access to your confirmation codes and the app also includes maps of airports.
  4. Lastly, start a list you keep on the cloud (Google sheets, Evernote), and keep a list of ideas for future trips.  This way whenever you see or hear something you like, note it here. 

About to travel?  Here are my tips.

I’ve been to every continent and on a wide variety of types, from city hopping to solo hiking to left-hand driving through a country.  Admittedly, I’m getting overconfident with my packing abilities and find myself under packing sometimes. Below are some of my tips on how to properly prepare BEFORE you go, and take some stress out of it.

Packing Tips:

  • Roll your clothes, it does save space.  Like this, Kondo style.
  • Start a packing checklist you can keep in the cloud (Google Sheets, Evernote).  This way you’ll always improve for the next trip and never forget power cords!
  • Does this adventure involve lots of destinations, if so, pack only essentials and go light.  If you’re not moving around much, then splurge on the comfort items.
  • Toiletries can get messy.  Here are two gadgets that help keep them in order – a superb, reusable toiletry bottle for soaps and lotions, and the best-designed toiletry bag, ever.
  • Don’t buy $5 bottle of water and contribute to plastic waste, bring your own bottle.  My current fav.


  • Take a picture of your passport and email it to yourself.  Always have secure access to it.
  • Don’t like the NSA all up in your business?  Then you may not like this tip: Register with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), where they’ll keep you informed of any dangerous events and notify you of the nearest embassy.


  • Consider signing up Global Entry (which automatically includes TSA Precheck), and reduce wait time through security. $100
  • Use Google Maps and download maps for offline use.  In other words, mark down all the hotspots (your hotel, major sights) on Google Maps, download the map, no need for wifi, and never get lost.

At the airport or on the plane?  Here’s how I make the most of it.

I actually love being trapped on a plane like a sardine in a tin can.  It’s a confined space with no internet, and thus no distractions.  This is where I use a combo of catching up on entertainment and people, and powering through my to-do list.  Only way it could get better is if I could get cold brew coffee on the plane.

Actually, the trick is to prepare for the airport and plane ride BEFORE leaving the house.  You can’t trust airport wifi to be fast, so do all your setup before you go.  

For entertainment:

  • Download them movies.  Especially now that Netflix allows you to download and watch them offline.
  • Bring those magazines you haven’t gotten to.  Rest your eyes from electronics and dispose of the mag after you’re done, shedding weight along the way.

For productivity:

  • Email people.  While on the plane, it’s the perfect time to spend quality time responding or writing emails to people in your network that you haven’t caught up with recently.  Then when you get back to internet connection, they all send out.
  • Journaling and writing.  Take a moment to reflect.  Write about the state of your relationship, or something that’s bothering you at work, or an idea that you have.  Currently using Scrivener.
  • Plan your next project.  Whether it’s building a piece of furniture or your next big project at work or your side hustle, use a mind-mapping app to break it down.  Currently using MindNode.


  • If you’re going to a significantly different timezone, then I actually start living to that new timezone that day.  In other words, if it’s 10PM at the destination, I’ll start going to sleep wherever I’m at.  If it’s 7AM at the destination, I wake up and eat a big meal to get my body used to it.

While on travel, here’s what I always keep in mind.

My last trip was to Iceland, where I drove around and slept in a van for 5 days, before spending two days in the capital Reykjavik.  I’ve declared it a success because I did not die.  And on top of that, my planning worked out despite having to adjust last minute (instead of driving up through the center of the country, I had to drive around the entire country).  For me, that’s perfect – just enough planned mixed with some spontaneity.

  • First and maybe the most important thing – just be in the moment!  After all that planning and traveling, it’s time to just go with the flow and see where it takes you.  All that prep has teed up this moment, so now it’s time to be open to opportunities and get to know your environment.  Look out for flyers for local events, or ask the local cashier what’s the best thing to do.  
  • Be mindful of local culture – For example, HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl is popular right now (and great btw), so Instagram people have been flocking there and taking inappropriate pictures.  Or, if there are signs to not walk on certain areas, it’s there for a reason and maybe it’s your safety!
  • Don’t stand out too much – Since I’m asian, I’ll prob have a large camera around my neck and can’t hide that.  But what I’m talking about is don’t dress is super bright colors and be screaming tourist.  Dress in drab colors and do your best to not stand out.

Just got home from an adventure?  My post-trip checklist.

Just like a relationship, your trips need closure.  Do it properly so you have access to those memories the best way possible, and to also prepare for the next relationship, err, I mean adventure.  😉

  • Before you go posting on Instagram, check out Field Mag’s article where some expert influencers discuss how to be better than, well, them.
  • Remember how you created a packing list before your trip?  Well, time to update it with what worked and what didn’t.
  • Consider making a video of your trip, post on YouTube (you can limit who has permission to view it), and then it’ll be a fun way to share your adventures whenever it comes up!  Or if you’re depressed, to look back upon better days.  Here’s one of mine and one by someone far better than mine.

The Power Behind Mapping Networks

We all have that friend or family member that everybody goes to for help and for advice.  Without that person, maybe the group doesn’t get together as often, like the glue that holds it all together.

Now think about who that person is at work.  Who’s the person that a lot of people go to for help on their project or to pass their ideas by first?  Why isn’t this person you?

Help & Advice Network is the hidden power structure

Help & Advice Network – This map shows how the work actually gets done everyday.  The map shows who people go to for help, regardless of where they are in the org chart.  Large clusters indicate a person who is highly valued, and therefore has a high level of structural power.  You need to know who these people, and float your ideas past them for advice.  Better yet, you need to become one of these people.

Create a map by:

  1. Write down the names of all people who is in your work unit or project.
  2. Ask each of them, “Who is the top 3 people you ask for help & advice?”
  3. Map them all out and behold!  Try this free tool:

The Friendship Network is how to really change culture

Friendship Network – This map is also called the truth network, the love network, or the trust network.  Unlike the Help & Advice network, this map shows how who people are willing to share delicate information with.  In other words, you might go to Bob because you need his expert advice on what to do, but you’ll go to Jane when you have sensitive information.  These relationships are the fabric of the organization. 

Create a map by… the only way I know of is to simply connect with people at work, and listen closely for who they spend their time with, such as who they routinely go to lunch with.  The real benefit is that you’ll get a friend out of it too.

Where You Sit Matters

I recall a long time ago in my career when a window seat became vacant, and I was next in line to have it.  I was currently sitting right next to my lead and anybody who wanted to see him, had to pass by my cube.  Given the option to move to the window or stay, I chose to stay where I sat.  To this day, I remain happy with that choice and will always go to where the real influence is at.

Law of Propinquity – tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often.

In other words, the probability of communication depends on the distance between us.  It’s common sense, but we take it for granted especially with the advent of telework and relying on texting, instant messaging, emails, etc.  The fact remains – the closer we physical sit to someone, the more likely we’ll develop a relationship.  So when you get offered that corner office but far away from your teammates, think twice.




The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted.

Mance Rayder

In light of Game of Thrones ending, let’s discuss… what is POWER.

“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”


This quote resonates because we know, deep down, the power that comes from a job title is limited and temporary. Real power can’t be measured or described precisely, yet we know it when we feel it. So, how do we get some of that?


Power, much like office politics, happens regardless if we personally like it or not. In other words, these terms may carry a negative reaction and we want to believe, “I don’t seek out power nor participate in office politics.”

I used to say, “you don’t have to play politics, but you need to be aware of it.”

Now, I don’t think there is a difference. How you choose to use your power or how you engage in office culture is up to you, and that’s where you can make a positive change. 

How to get more Power in the workplace

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again.

Petyr Baelish

Been conducting employee performance evaluations, and I gave an employee the feedback that I trust him to make the decision and to feel more empowered to make decisions. His response was, “but you’re the boss and I’m not. I don’t have the authority.”

Is this you? Or do you know someone like this?

Professor Erwin H. Schell at the MIT Sloan School of Management states there are three sources of power:

  • Role Based – Your job title gives you legitimacy, which comes with the ability to reward, ability to coerce
  • Personal – Your IQ, intelligence, expertise, persistence, charisma
  • Structural – Who do you know (social capital), what do you know (knowledge of network), and how do you leverage that

Which one do you lean on the most? I’d argue the worst of the three is Role Based, and should be used as minimally as possible. 


Power is Perceived 

Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true King.

Tywin Lannister

I love this example I read recently. Let’s say you enter a meeting and you know everybody’s job title – CEO, Chief Finance Officer, Dept Heads, experts, and a newly hired employee. Upon entering, you see the CEO and the newly hired employee chatting and laughing. Then you see the new employee take a seat at the meeting table right next to the CEO and they whisper to each other some during the meeting. Where does power reside?

Remember that power can come from your position, your personality, and your knowledge of the organization and networks. If you want to increase your perceived power, you need to maximize all three areas, and then learn how to leverage them in balance to effect the change you want to make. 

Professor Roger Fisher gives us a few more ways to get specific power:

  • Power of skill and knowledge
  • Power of a good relationship
  • Power of a good alternative to negotiating
  • Power of an elegant solution
  • Power of commitment

How to Win at Negotiation

What will you say ‘No’ to?

I’m currently a guinea pig for an online MIT course on Negotiation. We negotiate everyday, from small decisions like where to eat, to big decisions like managing cost & schedule for a project. But, how often do we take the time to think through our thought process?

This post will focus on each step of the negotiation and you won’t believe how much “winning” you’ll be doing!

PREPARE for Negotiation
BATNA stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. So, before you go into the “negotiation,” ask yourself, “what will you say ‘No’ to?” In other words, what will you be willing to walk away from? Most of the time we realize our limit during the conversation and that’s just too late.

Next, ask yourself, “what is the other person’s BATNA? What will they definitely say ‘No’ to?”

Prepared with just those two data points, you can offer something that they won’t say no to and get what you want.

“Negotiations are won or lost before you even sit down.”

PRO TIP – If you learn the other person’s lowest position (i.e. BATNA), why would you ever offer anything higher?!
Don’t be so pushy in a Negotiation

Strive for a cooperative mood


Step 2 in a negotiation, create value by creating the right mood – which is cooperative, brainstorming, being at ease.

During a recent mock negotiation exercise, I threw out on the table that part of what I’m offering is not spoiling anything from Game of Thrones! The humor immediately broke the ice and made us all more relatable to each other.

Get the right mood going and you’ll be amazed at what other people are willing to work with.


That’s right, there’s a Holy Grail in negotiation that isn’t simply compromise, where everybody leaves the table barely with what they want and grumbling. There’s a potential for creating something new, perhaps something that no one has even thought of or realized was a possibility.

Start by asking questions and listening. This info will validate them and what you initially thought.

Then “negotiate how you will negotiate.” Establish some process, like suggesting, “let’s spend xx time just hearing from everybody, then xx time to breakout and think about it, and then xx time to get creative with far reaching ideas.”

Whatever you do, don’t be a prick. When have you ever let a prick win?!

Write their victory speech


Step 3 in a negotiation is being so good that you can envision the other person going back home (to their boss or whoever will judge them) and declaring victory! You want the other person to be able to hold their head up high when they return home, because if you can envision that, then you can propose a deal that they can’t say no to.

In day to day practice, I do this by simply asking, “what does the other person want in this interaction.” Most of the time, they just want to be heard and felt understood. Achieve that then the rest is easy.


In other words, during the negotiation, make proposals and deals that allow everybody to “gain” something and be able to go back and “claim” they won.

PRO TIP – Make the proposal conditional. If you think the most likely outcome is this but they think it’s something else, then state in the agreement that if your outcome happens, you get A and they get B. But if their outcome happens (which you don’t think is true anyways), then they get X and you get Y. The beauty here is you both walk away thinking you won!

Predictable Surprises

Most think negotiations end after signing the agreement


The last step in a negotiation is what happens after you sign the agreement and go back home, and undoubtedly, the condition changes.

For example, when you agree to marry someone. You did all the negotiation up front to learn about who they are and how the marriage should work, but then you get married all hell breaks loose. “Who are you and what happened to the person I married?!” That’s why there’s such a thing as a prenup. 😉


The worst time to come up with ideas and solutions to resolve disagreements is, well, during fights! Yet, we know things will change after the negotiation – people will change it, laws or policies change, new competitors emerged etc. These are predictable changes and that why during the negotiation, we should build into it a dispute resolution process.

Venture Out Recommends

As Dinnar and Susskind show, learning to handle emotions, manage uncertainty, cope with technical complexity and build long-term relationships are equally or even more important. This book spotlights eight big mistakes that entrepreneurs often make and shows how most can be prevented with some forethought. It includes interviews with high-profile entrepreneurs about their own mistakes. It also covers gender biases, cultural challenges, and when to employ agents to negotiate on your behalf. (Amazon $22)

Drawing on their decades of training and consulting work, as well as a robust theory of negotiation, the authors provide a step-by-step model for building organizational competence. A final chapter provides practical “how-to” tools to help you start your own organizational improvement process. (Amazon $20)


A Better Purpose to Life


Why, Be, Do, Whaaa?

Mission, vision, goals. Just saying those words almost puts me to sleep. Same for you?

What it comes down to is: do you have any idea what your ‘purpose’ is? Science keeps showing having a purpose leads to happiness and a longer life.

Further complicating it is that you probably have multiple roles – you might be a wife or a husband, a mother or a father, a daughter or son, a follower and a leader at work, a friend to others, and then an expert in your hobby. That’s a lot of purposes!

Let’s make sense of it all.


Using Lance Secretan’s Why-Be-Do method, give this some thought:

  • Destiny (WHY I am here)
  • Character (how I will BE and what I will stand for)
  • Calling (what I will DO

Answer these questions mentally for a second, either for a specific role or just in general. Then circle back later today and see how you’re doing.

He’s got tons of books, including his most recent release, The Bellwether Effect: Stop Following. Start Inspiring.

It’s About Having a CAUSE

They say, “if you don’t stand for something, then you sand for nothing.” Oof, sounds like fighting words. I recall someone calling me out on that at work and I got very defensive.

So, what is your Cause?

“a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate.”

– Oxford Dictionary

Today we talk about finding our Cause because it’ll translate to more meaningful actions and behavior, and people will notice that.


Here’s what Lance Secretan has to say about identifying your Cause, it’s, “a magnetic vision so powerful that it draws people and their passion to it from afar.” [2]

Your Cause should be:

  • “engaging with a long view”
  • “ennoble others, not to enrich yourself”
  • “channels from something greater than themselves”

Still don’t get it? Here’s a short 2 min video from the man himself.


One of my favorite examples of a person who found their Cause and turned it into a powerful movement is Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, who revolutionized the way donations are tracked to show exactly how that money is being used, and making a difference.

Can people hear you CALLING?


I’m not talking about when you call someone, do they pick up! I’m talking about, do people hear the Calling? If you’re a leader, then you need to have a Cause, and that’s what your followers will hear as their Calling.

Align your Cause so people can easily hear a Calling.


Here’s what you should ponder today:

“Adapt the organization to the employee, not the other way around.” – Lance Secretan [3]

If you’re working on any sort of team, then think about how best to use that person’s innate skills and passions to move your Cause forward. If you can align their passion with what you’re trying to achieve, then I think that translates to them hearing the Calling, and they’ll naturally be motivated to be their best.

Can you hear it? That’s your Calling.


Stop trying to motivate people, instead inspire them.

Supposedly motivation doesn’t last long, whereas inspiration is deep within a person, and therefore longer lasting.

And before you can do any of that, you’ve got to take a hard look in the mirror. Are you leading for the right reason – which is selflessly? No, it’s not about profits or bonuses or your next promotion. Nope, it can only be about helping others. It totally sounds like a Yoda reverse-psychology thing, but if you want to succeed, then you’ve got to put your wants aside and focus on the success of other’s.


Looking in the mirror, what inspires us? Here’s a short 20 question quiz from Oprah herself.

If we can understand ourself better, then maybe we can bridge that gap and understand what inspires others better.


Markup: HTML Tags and Formatting


Header one

Header two

Header three

Header four

Header five
Header six


Single line blockquote:

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Multi line blockquote with a cite reference:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Steve Jobs – Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997


Employee Salary
John Doe $1 Because that’s all Steve Jobs needed for a salary.
Jane Doe $100K For all the blogging she does.
Fred Bloggs $100M Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? So Jane x 1,000.
Jane Bloggs $100B With hair like that?! Enough said…

Definition Lists

Definition List Title
Definition list division.
A startup company or startup is a company or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
Coined by Rob Dyrdek and his personal body guard Christopher “Big Black” Boykins, “Do Work” works as a self motivator, to motivating your friends.
Do It Live
I’ll let Bill O’Reilly will explain this one.

Unordered Lists (Nested)

  • List item one
    • List item one
      • List item one
      • List item two
      • List item three
      • List item four
    • List item two
    • List item three
    • List item four
  • List item two
  • List item three
  • List item four

Ordered List (Nested)

  1. List item one
    1. List item one
      1. List item one
      2. List item two
      3. List item three
      4. List item four
    2. List item two
    3. List item three
    4. List item four
  2. List item two
  3. List item three
  4. List item four


These supported tags come from the code FAQ.

Address Tag

1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
United States

Anchor Tag (aka. Link)

This is an example of a link.

Abbreviation Tag

The abbreviation srsly stands for “seriously”.

Acronym Tag (deprecated in HTML5)

The acronym ftw stands for “for the win”.

Big Tag (deprecated in HTML5)

These tests are a big deal, but this tag is no longer supported in HTML5.

Cite Tag

“Code is poetry.” —Automattic

Code Tag

You will learn later on in these tests that word-wrap: break-word; will be your best friend.

Delete Tag

This tag will let you strikeout text, but this tag is no longer supported in HTML5 (use the <strike> instead).

Emphasize Tag

The emphasize tag should italicize text.

Insert Tag

This tag should denote inserted text.

Keyboard Tag

This scarcely known tag emulates keyboard text, which is usually styled like the <code> tag.

Preformatted Tag

This tag styles large blocks of code.

.post-title {
	margin: 0 0 5px;
	font-weight: bold;
	font-size: 38px;
	line-height: 1.2;
	and here's a line of some really, really, really, really long text, just to see how the PRE tag handles it and to find out how it overflows;

Quote Tag

Developers, developers, developers… –Steve Ballmer

Strike Tag (deprecated in HTML5)

This tag shows strike-through text

Strong Tag

This tag shows bold text.

Subscript Tag

Getting our science styling on with H2O, which should push the “2” down.

Superscript Tag

Still sticking with science and Isaac Newton’s E = MC2, which should lift the 2 up.

Teletype Tag (deprecated in HTML5)

This rarely used tag emulates teletype text, which is usually styled like the <code> tag.

Variable Tag

This allows you to denote variables.