What’s Your Strategy For 2017?


Every year around this time I stop almost everything I do and focus on one thing, and one thing only: Strategy.

I’ve been doing that for the past 5 years in October. It’s the perfect time I’ve found. Because it’s not too late to make shit happen in the current year. And it’s not too late to plan the next year.

You and I both know what happens when December comes: Shenanigans. Busyness. End of year blues. Whatever. December is just not a good time for strategy. 

Life is pretty tactical in nature.

  • You answer emails,
  • You do groceries.
  • You drive your mother to her doctor’s appointment,
  • You talk to clients.
  • You do taxes.
  • You pay bills.
  • You create landing pages.
  • You write code.

That’s pure execution. And that’s the only way to get work done.

However, that’s also simple day to day stuff. But life is bigger than that.

What about your long-term life and career? When do you think about that stuff?

For most of us, the answer is never.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not letting the outcome of my life over to chance. I might go to the casino sometimes and roll the dice, but I’m definitely not doing that with my business and life.

Why? It’s not only my life. It’s my family’s life and half a dozen employees.

That’s why every person and every business needs strategy.

What is strategy?

Most people don’t even ask that question. They just come up with something and call it a strategy.

One of the best books on strategy is 33 Strategies Of War by Robert Greene. He says:

“The word “strategy” comes from the ancient Greek word strategos, meaning literally “the leader of the army.” Strategy in this sense was the art of generalship, of commanding the entire war effort, deciding what formations to deploy, what terrain to fight on, what maneuvers to use to gain an edge.”

Based on Greene’s book, I define strategy as follows:

  1. The art of getting results
  2. And putting ideas into practice.

That’s it.

And when you strategize, you think about all the stuff you’ve learned and how you can use it to get results in your life.

How does the process look like?

For me, it goes a little like this:

  1. Delegate or stop all tactical tasks for the next week.
  2. Read a little from strategy books.
  3. Look at the strategy you made for 2016.
  4. Look at what went well.
  5. Look at what you didn’t do well.
  6. Why?
  7. What can you improve?
  8. Now, it’s time to look forward.
  9. What are your high-level priorities for 2017?
  10. For your life, business, relationships, and health.
  11. Be realistic.
  12. But don’t think too small.
  13. Don’t worry about execution yet.
  14. Read more strategy books.
  15. Look at the high-level priorities you want to work on in 2017 again.
  16. Second guess yourself.
  17. Why do you want to do that stuff?
  18. If you’re clear on your priorities, it’s time to start thinking about the how.
  19. Break it down to daily actions.
  20. Put that stuff in your calendar.

Like you can see, it’s more art than science. It’s my personal approach. For instance, last year around this time, I decided to publish 2 articles a week in 2016. That turned out to be a good strategy.

Some people come up with excuses like, “I don’t have time for strategy.” Well, it’s your life. If you want to be short-term focused, that’s also a strategy.

The emphasis is on deciding what I’m going to do next year. Deciding is the most important aspect.

You can do a million things in your life. But you know what they say about the person who tries to do everything, right?

“A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.”

That’s a Chinese proverb. Never forget that. If you try to do too many stuff at the same time, you will lose.

If strategy is the art of getting results, you should ask yourself: “What will get me results?”

The answer is one word: Execution.

That’s why I created a full course on productivity and achievement. I didn’t create a content marketing course, a blogging course, or build a business course.

All that shit is useless if you don’t know how to achieve things in your life.

Be real with yourself. Are you a finisher?

Yes? Or no?

If you’re not a finisher: LEARN.

I was not a finisher in school. But then I learned.

And then I got my master’s degree, started a business, got a job on the side, wrote a book, etc. It’s not rocket science. Just execution.

Anyway, it’s time for me to retreat and think about 2017. I’m not coming up with big things or anything. No world changing stuff. I’m not Pinky and the Brain, who always say:

“Pinky: Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight? The Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.”

No. For me, it’s probably going to be more of the same with a few minor changes and new things for 2017. Maybe a podcast. Maybe a new book. Maybe a new course. Maybe a new business.

I don’t know yet. Oh yeah, that’s what this strategy period is for.

How about you?

P.S. Here are three other good strategy books I recommend:

Don’t Change Yourself. Improve Yourself.

Can I ask you something? How well do you know yourself?

Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter how good your self-awareness is. You might know yourself, but you’re not BEING yourself. Sounds familiar?

Here are a few more questions for you:

  • Are you the same person at work and at home?
  • Are you the same person when you’re with your friends and with your spouse?
  • Do you feel like you’re forced to behave differently in some situations?
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Always Invest In Your Education


A few years ago I was completely fed up with education.

I’d spent six years between 2004–2010 on getting two degrees. And after that, I immediately started a business. And during my first two years as an entrepreneur, I also learned a lot.

But after a while, I thought: Who needs education? Just start a business or get a job and earn some money. Education is just a waste of time and money.

I stopped reading books, going to conferences, and getting any other education that helped me to become a better entrepreneur, marketer, etc. 

That wasn’t a smart move. For almost two years after that decision, I didn’t see the growth I wanted; personally, spiritually, mentally, financially.

When I was learning more, I also started earning more, doing more, and achieving more. And when I wasn’t learning anymore; the opposite happened.

You see, education, learning, knowledge — it’s all perishable. Not only do you lose it if you don’t use it. You also lose your knowledge if you don’t improve it. You simply forget.

That’s what I didn’t get for most of my life. Education is not something you accumulate and will remain in your head forever.

I look at education like food, water, air, exercise. You need a constant supply.

You also don’t breathe once a year, right? So why do you only read one book a year? It doesn’t make sense. Education is critical to your survival.

The reason is not only personal growth, as Benjamin Franklin said:

“If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Education is an investment in yourself. One that can pay you more dividends than anything you will ever invest in.

Here are 4 reasons why I think that’s the case.

1. Making Better Decisions

We live in an increasingly complicated world. And there are big consequences when things go wrong.

It doesn’t matter how smart or talented you are, what matters is how well you can focus on the things that matter.

You can easily get fired or lose your business in a moment of weakness. One mistake can trigger anarchy. Things are far from practical these days.

How can you make better decisions?

  • By educating yourself.
  • By looking at facts.
  • By researching everything.

The quality of your decisions will shape the outcome of your life and career. Never underestimate that.

One decision can change everything. How do you know you’ve made the right decision?

2. More Opportunities

Since I’ve turned to education, I’m Switzerland. I never pick teams, I’m never afraid to say I was wrong, and I only look at the truth.

I can tell you from personal experience; that’s very liberating.

Education opens your mind and more importantly, it increases your opportunities. People who are closed-minded and stick to what they know, will never change. And change is the forward driving force of life.

By educating yourself, you might think about things you’ve never thought of before. And you will be exposed to ideas you’ve never heard about.

Combine those things together, and you have enough ideas and opportunities for a lifetime.

I’ve written down 143 ideas for articles in my note-taking app. Most of them with an outline. I also have dozens of business ideas. I bet there are 1, 2, or maybe even 3 good ideas in there.

“How do you get ideas?” I get the ideas when I learn new things. It’s not like going to the toilet or anything. You don’t have to force it out of you. It just comes naturally.

Oh yeah, you need to learn new stuff every day. “Shit, that’s tough.” Yes, I know.

“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
― Abraham Lincoln

3. Learn More, Earn More

There are typically two types of job applicants.

  1. One says: “You have a great company. I’ve studied it. And I want to join your great company so I can contribute.”
  2. The other applicant says: “Your company is doing good. But I’ve noticed this weakness. I have the skills to help you to improve that area.”

Number 1 is just an addition to your staff. Number 2 is someone you need. Which one would you hire?

There are also two types of entrepreneurs.

  1. One says: “Pick me! Buy my product! Please! I will do business with anyone.”
  2. The other says: “I only create exceptional products/services for a specific group of people. If it’s not for you; no sweat.”

Entrepreneur 1 creates commodities. The other entrepreneur creates products/services that are unmissable.

How do you become entrepreneur number 2? You guessed it. Become so good that people depend on your goods or services.

How? You guessed it again: Learn, practice, be great.

4. Education Is The Only Life-Long Investment

You can lose everything you’ve gained in life. Your money, job, clients, reputation, house, car, and even the people you love.

The only possession you will never lose? You guessed it again: Knowledge (if you keep investing in it).

  • If you learn how to build a business, you will always be able to make money.
  • If you have a skill that people depend on, you will never be out of a job.

That’s why I buy all books and courses that are relevant to me. That’s why I also spend most of my free time on learning new things, going to new places, and meeting interesting people.

In the end, the true reason I invest so much time and money on my education is because it’s a survival strategy.

People hate uncertainty. Me too. And education is your safety net (don’t get ‘education’ and ‘degrees’ mixed up. It’s education that matters; not degrees).

It’s not easy. In fact, learning, studying, getting degrees, mastering skills, are all one of the hardest things in life.

  • Going to school is hard.
  • Reading two books a week is hard.
  • Following an online course in the evening after a long day is hard.

And that’s exactly why most people don’t do it.

Thanks to the information revolution of the past decades, you have all the opportunity in the world to learn more.

To me, it’s madness if you’re not investing in your self-education every single day. I prioritize learning over everything in life. I’m not just trying to make a point.

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” — Erasmus

I actually prioritize education over food, relationships, health, clothes, and the other things of life. You know why? If I don’t, the other things are not as good.

And it’s very simple. My goal is to read/learn/practice just 30 minutes a day.

That’s not a lot to ask for, right? Because if you don’t have 30 minutes to spend on your education; what kind of life do you have?

Education is important; we know that by know. We just have to do it every day. And love it.

But like with many things in life, we don’t do the things we know. Especially not in the long-term.

Everyone can get started. Very few persist.

The way I see it; there are only two options. You learn or you die.

Abraham Maslow put it best:

“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.”

I’ve got my mind made up. Which one do you choose?

1 Piece Of Career Advice Buffett, Jobs, and Fitzgerald Agree On

Recently I’ve been hearing and reading a lot of career advice from people who try to bash the whole ‘do what you love’ idea.

And because I’m curious, I’ve spent some time reading and listening to what they have to say (just google ‘do what you love is bad advice’).

But I don’t buy it.

The whole argument is that you should become good at what you do, and ultimately you will learn to love your work because you’re good at it. 

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