7 People Who Had the Greatest Impact on Me in 2017

Here are seven diverse individuals who taught me the most last year.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

1. Simon Sinek

I was turned on to Simon through his paradigm-shifting book Start With Why, and quickly learned this dude is a mother freakin’ genius. Simply put, his application of the “Golden Circle” (video below) will change the way you approach your career and/or business. He’s a pioneer of workplace culture as well.

2. Nour Tohme

I thought I was unconventional — until I met Nour via a photo project I started while traveling through Southeast Asia last year. She’s an incredibly talented illustrator who runs the web shop Draw Me A Song, but Nour is also one of the most enlightened souls I’ve encountered. We spent some time together when our trips crossed paths in Thailand, where she taught me about working toward inner peace and not allowing society’s “program” dictate your life.

3. Alexander Megarit

I was introduced to Alex through my cousin’s wife, after I asked her to refer me to a therapist. At the time, I was experiencing many transitions in my life and wanted a third-party point of view. Alex and I worked together mostly every week for eight months, during which he was instrumental in helping me acknowledge how much I’ve already accomplished in my life — and, therefore, not to be so hard on myself. I’m sure he would tell you the same.

4. Daniela Kurz

Apparently Daniela attended one of my WeWork lectures in Tel Aviv a few years ago, but we never really got to know each other until we both realized (via Facebook) that each of us was coincidentally heading to Cambodia last February. In a matter of days, I went from sharing all but a few words with Daniela, to sharing hotel rooms with her in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Although I had been thinking about adopting a vegetarian diet for a few years prior to spending some quality time with Daniela, she was instrumental in educating me more about it — she’s actually a vegan — which ultimately propelled me to become a self-described “vegetarian with vegan tendencies.”

Daniela and I at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

5. Adam Steel

My cousin — who plays more of an “older brother” role in my life, since I never had one — is always full of spiritual knowledge. Last year, Adam encouraged me to take up yoga and meditation, two practices that have tamed my stress levels and “monkey mind” (a Buddhist term that refers to the constant chatter of the mind).

6. Lina Andersson

Lina was the first person to sign up for Club: Epic Freelancing, my mentoring program for freelancers, when I launched it last February. From day one, Lina was eager to implement the program we built for her. The results: within just a few short months, she accomplished her primary goals (more than 10 clients, while consistently charging $70 euros per hour). Lina is a tremendous example of someone who checked their “I can do this alone” ego at the door, invested in themselves, and topped it off by putting in the time and energy to upgrade her life.

7. Natalie Davidyan

Although our two-year relationship ended last January — I didn’t officially accept it until six months later — Natalie taught me how to love: Accept people for who they are, don’t try to change anyone, and love someone unconditionally for as long as you share a life with that person.