1, 2, 3, … Success?

I found myself in my fortress of solitude—the bathroom, where great problems are solved, and while scrolling through Facebook, I found an interesting question nestled amidst my feed.

“What is your advice on being a successful entrepreneur?”

My first thoughts danced around the people I look up to, and as I reflected on my experiences my thoughts poured into a Facebook comment. Though initially focused on entrepreneurship, these rules apply to anything you might want to find success in.

Understand failure.

Use it. Grow from it. Failure allows you to push the bounds of your understanding. Leverage it to increase your capacity to solve your problems. Failure is success in progress.

Your Team Is Everything.

Build a strong one you can trust by people that will push you. A great team with a weak idea is WAY better then a weak team and a great idea. You are the average of the five closest people around you. Find people that you want to be like, people that are smarter, faster, and moving in the direction that you want to go.

Stay Humble.

Don’t be an asshole.

Get a Mentor.

Get a great mentor, more than one if you can. They can see past your ambition because your future is their hindsight. Mentors can also come in the form of actions by people you don’t know. Whenever I struggle I think about how Elon Musk, Salman Khan, or Neil deGrasse would approach the problem. Asking questions is your biggest strength. Know what you don’t know and work on it with the guidance of those who've done it better.

Dream Big.

Shoot for the other side of the milky way. Dream big, dream far, and dream long lasting. You can never build what you cannot imagine so work towards your dreams, and plan like you have the most important meeting of your life tomorrow. Whatever is stopping you from really believing you can achieve success, dissect it, extract it, and throw it away.

Success Is a Journey.

Success does not happen overnight nor is it a straight line. Success takes hard work, dedication , grit, and everything you got. You have to hustle. Every day. And you may deviate from your initial path and that’s okay. Often times people think they need to make the best decision to move forward. Rather, they need to make a decision to move upwards.


Fitness, Sleep, Social Life, Impact. Pick two. That doesn’t mean you can only do two. On the contrary, you must have aspects of each of these, but you can only master two simultaneously. Master the balance and then begin working in the others, or you’ll burnout. Consistency and quality are more important than rushing to the finish line.

Photo Credit Mackenzie Child | http://bit.ly/1zcknb0

Be Lucky.

Luck is when opportunity meets hard work. Create your own luck. Talent is nice, but hustle beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Talent will get you to the door, but luck will give you the keys to open the door. You have to work three times as hard as the people around you. Eat, sleep, breathe, live, cry, and fight without ever taking your eyes off of the goal. There is no shortcut for hard work.

Attack a problem.

Solve a problem you care about, don’t focus on building a business. Maybe you want money, maybe you want to cure cancer, maybe you want to fix the mechanical dynamics of rocket propulsion. Whatever it is, narrow in on the problem you want to take part in and find a way to solve it better then the people already working on it by becoming an expert in the problems you want to solve. Einstein said it perfectly, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”99.99% of the time your idea has been done by someone. Do it better. Execution is everything.

“You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” — Jim Carrey


The only constant in this world of iterations and problem solving is change. Things will almost never go perfectly according to plans, so being able to roll with the punches and handle obstacles as they come up is key.

Give Back.

I can’t think of anyone who has become an outstanding success without the help of someone else. Be that catalyst of success for someone else in whatever way you can. I choose to give feedback and and my time to anyone who asks. Give back, give forward. The direction isn't really important, but giving, and holding compassion for others in your heart is key.

Data is Everything.

Trust your gut but follow the data. Data allows you to make informed decisions, and allows you to really validate your approach. You can identify strategies, markets, and really fall in line with the right path. You have to feel at peace with the decisions you make. There isn't time for regret, only progress, and the numbers don’t lie.

Success isn’t about money or status, but rather how you spend your time and who you spend it with.

This list is a culmination of the things I've learned from running a nonprofit— Scholarship Junkies, like a startup, and growing it to a team of 42 members making national impact. Being a Seahawks fan you know I had to have 12 rules. #BeastMode

The following people helped me sculpt this into what you see before you; Nuradin Abdalla, Guarav Ragtah, and Amy Chen. And Thank you Justin Brezhnev for reminding me that data is king.