You Are Your Habits with Julien Smith

Julien Smith is a long-time friend and familiar face on the podcast. I first brought him on in 2013 to talk about why not caring about what others think is a useful skill to have as a creator in any field (translation: he penned a LEGENDARY blog post called ‘the subtle art of not giving a f*$k’ – which went crazy viral and later inspired a best selling book by Mark Manson…).

And now Julien is BAAACK…this time talking about both his best selling books (The Flinch, and Trust Agents) and…drumroll please… his latest startup venture called Breather – an amazing service the provides on-demand meeting and studio space all across North America, which has raised more than $100M to date. When I need recording studios for the podcast on short notice in LA or NYC? I use Breather.  A quick headshot where you don’t want to rent a photo studio for $3000. Yep, Breather again. $150 bucks. You get the picture.

But more than anything, this episode is simply rich with a dose of reality that all of us creators and entrepreneurs need to hear: namely that we’re all in this together. That we all have imposter syndrome. That we all simultaneously love AND fear what we’re doing when we’re setting out to create something with our name on it.  And that we’re all….human.

You’ll also be inspired to know that:

  • The rules are made up. You can invent the future if you’re willing to rewrite the rules.
  • Staying flexible along the way is key to long term success. Just how do you do that when you’re stubborn?  (hint: it’s not easy but you can do it)
  • We can all manufacture safety nets to protect us from letting small failures turn too big.   Money in the bank? The support of those who love us?  A plan B? Safety nets come in many forms and it’s a skill for entrepreneurs and creators to master…instead of just jumping into our next big adventure blind to the risks…
  • and more!…

Enjoy!

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Some Questions I Asked:

  • Take me back to the blog post you wrote, The Complete Guide to Not Giving A Fuck. [1:00]
  • Talk to me about the phase of your life when you were writing The Flinch and Trust Agents. [7:50]
  • How did you decide to put rules and ideas and best practices in a world that you’re just making it up? [10:40]
  • How important is believing in the idea that you’re trying to get out there? [16:24]
  • What was the initial concept of Breather and how much support did you have? [23:25]
  • What is the competition like for Breather? [26:07]
  • Talk to me about where you’ve struggled, failed, and had to have grit. [29:02]
  • What are the tactics you use to fight your anxiety? [33:15]
  • What are some of the things you’ve quit and why? [43:23]
  • Where have you decided not to quit and why? [47:55]
  • What is your mindfulness practice? [51:30]
  • What are some of your other daily habits? [52:22]
  • Do you review your habit data? [53:56]
  • What are you reading right now? [60:21]
  • Where do people find you online? [62:48]

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Check out Julien’s book, The Flinch. [3:35]
  • The founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell, founded Chuck E. Cheese so people would play his games while waiting for pizza. [4:00]
  • Timing is key. [9:25]
  • If you struggle with wanting to do things but never actually doing them, check out The Flinch. [9:30]
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, the size of the chip on your shoulder may be a predictor of your future success. [12:44]
  • Julien’s first rule of selling your idea is believing in it. [17:00]
  • Andrew Mason thought he was starting a website where people could donate towards a cause, but he ended up with the coupon site Groupon. [25:10]
  • So much of success is found just one mile after you got off your bike. [32:00]
  • Shoot for your startup to grow at 8% per week, or 20% per month. [33:50]
  • Startups are very rarely founded and grown by one lone founder. It takes a team, an ecosystem for ideas to grow. [34:17]
  • Why you should go all in after setting up your foundation of safety. [35:10]
  • Julien was one of the first ten people to get paid to podcast in the world. [45:00]
  • According to Terry Fallis’ book, If At First You Succeed, you should ask yourself if you’re doing what you want after finding success. Make sure you’re still on the right path. [45:57]
  • Your personality will be reflected in your business, so make sure you’re working on your core. [50:20]
  • Julien uses the app, Streak, to keep track of his daily habits. I use Habit List. [52:41]
  • John Maxwell suggests just working on today. [54:45]
  • Why Julien writes 1,000 words first thing every day, makes use of his differing energy levels throughout the day, and reads every day. [55:30]
  • You are the habits that you’ve formed. [58:00]
  • Why Julien chooses to read nonproductive books and how to find books that fit your “density zone”. [60:40]
  • Check Julien out online @Julien on Twitter, inoveryourhead.net, and breather.com. [62:50]
  • John Maxwell suggests just working on today. [54:45]
  • Why Julien writes 1,000 words first thing every day, makes use of his differing energy levels throughout the day, and reads every day. [55:30]
  • You are the habits that you’ve formed. [58:00]
  • Why Julien chooses to read nonproductive books and how to find books that fit your “density zone”. [60:40]
  • Check Julien out online @Julien on Twitter, inoveryourhead.net, and breather.com. [62:50]

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