45 Career Lessons

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

This week marks not only America’s birthday, but the anniversary of my 45th trip around the sun. I was greeted by a call from one of my oldest, closest friends yesterday, who was whispering the opening lines of “Living on a Prayer.” I guess I am halfway there.

Beyond the stigmas, joint aches, and sadness of losing more people as we age, I am enjoying getting older, mostly because I’m more focused on making each day a little better than the day before. I continue to unlock new levels of gratitude and appreciation for life.

As it’s my 45th birthday and I’ve recently rediscovered hardcore record collecting, if you want to send me a gift, send a 45!

Jesse Kirshbaum
Nue Agency
3250 NE 1st Ave, Ste. 305
Miami, FL, 33137

Today I’m looking back in order to look forward. Here are 45 career lessons I pulled from my personal archives:

  1. Music makes everything better. It’s the universal language, the great connector, and adding the right song to an experience is sure to add value, even if it’s just in the background.
  2. Compounding is key to success (and not only in investments!) Knowledge is best accompanied by wisdom; relationships are made better by experience; and so on.
  3. Develop a platform and a POV. Today, your point of view is your number one asset for cultural relevance, and having a platform is crucial for getting your voice heard. Authenticity has the highest frequency over love, empathy, and happiness. Find your voice and beat it like a drum.
  4. Relationships matter. Decks are a necessary evil, but not what close deals. “Drinks over decks” every day (and night!) of the week.
  5. Content is king and distribution is queen. But context is who matters most. Context is relevancy, and without it no one cares.
  6. Reinvent yourself. Time erodes every advantage. I like Black Thought’s philosophy of reinventing yourself every 7 years, the same way your body does on a cellular level. Evolve or die.
  7. The best coaches and CEOs aren’t the ones who succeed only on the field or in the boardroom. The true greats are measured by their coaching tree – what the people who worked for them and who they mentored go on to do.
  8. It’s not about who you know, but who knows you. Your personal brand is your reputation and your reputation is the foundation of your career in perpetuity.
  9. Forget the losses. Nobody cares about them. Like a VC or an A&R, you can miss 7 out of 10 swings as long as one is a home run.
  10. Be culturally curious. Think beyond your industry or specific service and examine who is offering experiences similar to your customer’s expectation.
  11. If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. This one came from Wale, who got it from his football coach, and we all still live by it.
  12. It takes a village to break a band or to launch a successful campaign.
  13. Being surrounded by diversity of thought is extremely important in all facets of business and life.
  14. How to level up in life: help other people. Eventually, someone will help you back 1000x.
  15. The serendipity muscle Is extremely important. Keep it primed because the universe will come knocking. Parties and conferences are portals to a new world. Every event you step into could change your life. Live everyday like it’s a job interview. Being in the right room, with the right people, is priceless.
  16. Set and setting make a big difference. Vibe check is important for every meeting, dinner, or hang.
  17. Process > Results. If you want better results, forget about setting goals and focus on your systems instead. If you generally care about your goal, you’ll focus on the system.
  18. Self interest and incentives are the way to achieve great change. Sell what it can do for them. That’s the best way to get everyone to agree and come together. If you show me the incentives, I’ll show you the outcome.
  19. Critical thinking is key: I no longer want to stay on top of things. I want to get to the bottom of them!
  20. The most important form of intelligence is anticipatory intelligence.
  21. Your time is better spent championing good ideas than tearing down bad ones. The best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it is forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it is shared. Feed the good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.
  22. Data + taste is the best algorithm for successful curation. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
  23. Capitalize on trends and tech by first applying relevance to your world and community.
  24. Information without emotion will not be retained. When it comes to storytelling, there is no story without agony and villains.
  25. The best partnerships create a flywheel. They help you grow faster over time with the same amount of effort.
  26. The power of the multi-hyphenate: by combining your skills, you reduce a level of competition and make it easier to stand out. Owning your niche increases your value and solidifies your position.
  27. You don’t burn out if you incorporate a growth mindset. Stop one rep short so you can come back the next day without burnout. You’ll grow more long term.
  28. When someone is very creative, even if their work doesn’t seem complete or clear yet, follow them, they are opening a new way.
  29. Think small and execute, but dream big and lofty.
  30. How we phrase the questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life.
  31. The single most important decision you make is where you live. It drives your business opportunities, relationships, food, water supply, and politics. Big up, Miami!
  32. Show, don’t tell. If you announce that something is elegant or classy, it probably isn’t. There’s a humility to hospitality and sophistication that evaporates when we name it.
  33. Timing and momentum are more important than talent.
  34. Life rewards action, not intelligence. Many brilliant people talk themselves out of getting started, and being smart doesn’t help very much without the courage to act.
  35. The test of a first-rate intellect is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in your head at the same time while retaining the ability to function.
  36. Don’t think in absolutes, think in probabilities. And Invert. Always invert. Many hard problems are best solved when they are addressed backward.
  37. Don’t chase the money, chase the dream and let the money chase you. If you spend your time chasing butterflies, they’ll fly away. But if you spend your time making a beautiful garden, the butterflies will come. Don’t chase, attract.
  38. The secret to waking up is to wake up way earlier than you have to. When you have 1-2 hours to just sit calmly without being rushed, you’ll feel ten times better. Only then can you work on being productive in the morning too, if you please.
  39. With chaos come ladders. A changing landscape offers lots of opportunity!
  40. You’re more likely to unlock a big leap in performance by trying differently than by trying harder. You might be able to work 10% harder, but a different approach might work 10x better. Remain focused on the core problem, but explore a new line of attack. Persistence is not just about effort, but also strategy. Don’t merely try harder, try differently.
  41. Be in the trenches with people you love and admire. Create an orbit of people you want to be around. Give good return to people on their time.
  42. The difference between sounding smart and being smart is admitting what you don’t know.
  43. Be excited for people when they succeed. When a friend or family member reaches an important milestone, celebrate it. Buy them a drink. Send them a card. Tell them you’re proud to know them. Being thrilled on someone’s behalf is a lovely way to be. Winning is better when it’s shared.
  44. Leave this place better than you found it. That is the meaning of life in things big and small (but mostly small).
  45. Don’t predict, react. Better to build Noah’s Ark than say there’s a flood coming.

Enjoy the 4th and the holiday!