Why are you being so defensive?

>> Chances are, you are being manipulated, and playing right into the trap <<

  • Have you felt defensive recently?

  • Who were you interacting with?

  • How was your point of view being called into question?

Visualize the scene: In one moment, you went from making a point assertively, to scrambling to justify your point of view. What happened?

Manipulative colleagues employ an emotionally abusive strategy to maintain their dominance. Here's Their Playbook:

1. You make a point

2. Manipulator ignores point; instead asks "question" to poke holes in your idea like [HF PM] "well Senator's analyst says the opposite" or [PE Partner/principal] in "am I going to find that you haven't done the analysis well, AGAIN?"

3. In this moment, many are put on the defensive, and react, scrambling to address the Manipulator's accusation. By the time we get back to #1, our focus/confidence/esteem are shot Once you get "sucked into the argument / defending your position" -- you have lost

EXERCISE TO MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER: This week, notice moments in which you "feel defensive" -- keep a diary, and let's talk through it to expose the manipulative counterparties in your life, and help you stay steady on your feet when their nonsense comes your way

#privateequity #hedgefunds #investmentbanking


There's never a resting moment - from live deals, to sourcing, to portfolio company disasters — your brain is on overdrive 24/7

As a high functioning PE/IB professional, you are a Bugati running at max speed. You are not a Prius

What are you doing to keep yourself in peak working condition?

USES of energy:

  1. daily responsibilities

  2. managing up and down

  3. fate of the firm

  4. getting promoted

SOURCES of relief:

  1. sleep

  2. diet and exercise

  3. mental relief

  4. tactical optimization

I help my clients with Mental Relief and Tactical Optimization

  • Step 1: Mental relief looks like a 45 minute session once a week to get all your thoughts out, and come away with an organized, non-emotional view of what's ahead

  • Step 2: Tacitical optimization means we get A (above) out of the way, so we can create focused plans on where you're going

Your firms pay you a couple million to be at your best... what are you spending on maintenance?

When your fan belt is broken and your brakes are worn, everyone around you can see and hear it

Give a shout when you're ready to take care of yourself and begin operating at the next level


hashtag#privateequity hashtag#investmentbanking

Are you sometimes like a referee at work — Countering the aggressors on behalf of those being wronged?

You won’t allow injustices to happen, so you intervene It’s necessary, but it’s exhausting as it seems to be never ending

Here’s how to get out of this loop:

  • Consider the futility of attempting to save people who consistently choose to put themselves in harm’s way

  • If they are open to influence, you can coach them to hold better boundaries or take care of themselves

  • The 360 system exists to root out the aggressors over time, though if it is not functioning, you’re better off finding a new organization versus attempting to reform the culture on your own

Each adult makes their own choices.

You have the choice to focus on creating your best self, and in this capacity, you may coach those who ask for your help, and let your well adjusted presence inspire others

What's your stock price?

Who are your shareholders?

Do you check in with them quarterly?

Do you hope they recognize your efforts?

You're a public company. Everyone is watching you and evaluating your performance. Your peers determine your stock price.

A 360 Review is not some boring HR exercise; it's a sanity check on your trading multiple.

You run hard every day to maximize your work EBITDA, so how do you create multiple expansion?

Step 1: Identify your key "Stakeholders" a) who's senior to you who can advocate for you b) who are your peers? what is your relationship with them c) what do junior people think of you

Step 2: Evaluate and Improve every bi-lateral relationship. Your most contentious relationship will bite you in the @$$ and cost you money, title and success. Address these broken/weak relationships

Step 3: Check-in frequently with your Stakeholders. As you iterate your presentation, let "here and now" feedback calibrate your approach

You are the CEO of your Enterprise; what are you doing in the area of Investor Relations? Who is your Board of Directors? It's

within your power to take the intentional step to manage perception and maximize your valuation over time.

Give me a shout and I'll be happy to help you see a couple tweaks to re-rate your equity.

(Private Equity, Investment Banking, Hedge Funds, Finance)

UBER & LYFT remind me of the Airlines

UBER & LYFT remind me of the Airlines.

Despite their natural oligopoly, most Airlines have Bankrupted several times over the past 30 years ..... Why?

Because both have massive fixed costs, and Airlines used to compete on Revenue/miles flown rather than managing their PNLs to a rational ROIC. If one undisciplined player irrationally lowered prices to gain share, everyone else had to follow

Airlines and Ride Sharing have no barrier to entry: THE CONSUMER WILL CHOOSE THE LOWEST COST PROVIDER in getting from point A to point B Airline history has shown where profitable routes exist, boutique competitors will pop up to arbitrage the spread

Price wars are great for the Consumers, not great for the Workers who provide the service, and Catastrophic for the balance sheets of Companies. In order to maintain share, companies burn cash, take on debt, and earn negative ROICs until they are forced to restructure

Typically, recessions hammer consumer usage of elective transportation, which causes enough cash bleed to catalyze an industry restructuring

As opposed to Google, which is a winner take all network for search ads (like V/MA in payments), Ride Sharing networks are very different. Like Airline and Car Rentals, it’s too easy to compete in profitable markets

Bring on the WeWork!

Your Thoughts are More Powerful Than You Think

What do you think about?

Whatever scenario you spend most time thinking about is most likely to occur ...... Here's how to jumpstart your mind ....

Unconsciously, your mind directs all efforts to where you choose to think about / direct your energy -> So it's a #REF if you're worrying about a bad outcome or anxious over what you don't know

Automatically iterate and jumpstart your mind by getting clear on what potential outcome you're fearing You know how everything seems like it should be good, but you feel terrible? What's got you in this mood? What's out of your control that's driving you nuts?

1. Write it down:

A) how likely is it really to occur? P: 2%

B) what's your mind telling you P: 75%

So your mind is working to prevent an actually unlikely scenario (If you want, put this on a notecard, then set it on fire)

2. What would you like to happen? By when? Write it down Keep this notecard in your pocket Look at it a few times a day

Cutting Through the Noise of Your Day

There are typically just five to ten important factors to consider when making a decision. It is important to understand these really well, though the marginal gains of studying even the important things past a certain point are limited. — Ray D

My PE/HF/IB clients are inundated with noise and endless information on a daily basis. 2-3 things drive 90% of the value creation... big data can be a big waste-a-time.

In addition, the emotions of deals and teams introduce a variety of other stimulus that can consume your time: - needing to be right - worry over be most prepared / saying something dumb - colleagues who don't know why we are here or what we are doing!

When everyone is clear on the desired effect: more sales, clear message to client on strategic alternatives etc, efficient analysis and discussion follows. When finding yourself in the weeds, ask "what am I doing, what's the larger goal here, what are my senior colleagues looking to solve?"

The Life of a Hedge Fund Analyst is Brutal

I remember September 2013

HTZ was a hot long (admittedly in hindsight crowded with a lot of event optionality priced in for the spin of herc on the back of improving pricing and fleet rationalization in the core business due to industry consolidation)

I remember meeting Sep 7 w Hertz CEO in a small group at the Citi conf in Boston - no updates. A week later, the CFO “retired” bcs she didn’t want to move to the new Miami HQ due to her kids schooling in NJ (plausible but duh red 🚩) A few days later, the 8-K hit: “HTZ revises full year 2013 EPS down materially due to much higher than expected depreciation”

Stock gapped -18pct in the aftermarket. Panic ensued as everyone began to acknowledge the inscrutability of HTZ’s numbers — a cobwebed maze of addbacks reflecting the history of PE ownership

The next day, at a large group meeting at the Hyatt in midtown, about 150 angry investors showed up. Pitchforks were out — Frissora played it cool. As one investor tore into him, Frissora got red in the face and filled with Anger and nearly flipped the table like a Princeton wrestler It was at this moment I knew I’d been duped... the Hertz Hurts 😞


Where will you be six months from now? Are you on "autopilot" repeating last year's familiar steps?

Here's how you can change your default path with not much effort:

Take out a piece of paper, and date it October 15, 2019

(Write in the past tense as if you are reflecting on your past six months)

I have had an excellent year so far and I am on track to get paid and promoted in December/January

  • I have won [5 client engagements], [brought 4 deals to IC and funded 1-2 deals], [earned 20% on 25% of the firm's capital] {write a big goal here -- that, when you accomplish it, it will be meaningful and material}

  • I look [calm, confident, strong, settled] - Personally, [my family is...] [I am dating...]

  • I feel [awesome, happy, excited, fired up]

Why this works

  1. When you program your "Mind's Eye" / "Third Eye", you direct your intuition to work for you *** Your intuition has infinitely more computing power than your Mind ***

  2. By setting a Vision for where you want to go, you have a Plan. Your "psychological unconscious" filters 99% of the noise your body senses, so it uses this Plan to prioritize what info it sends you

Send me your one-pager: you'll be shocked on Oct 15, 2019!



Inside the Psychology of Investment Banking, Private Equity and Hedge Fund Professionals

How do you measure up?

Here’s what I’ve seen in spending 1000+ hours listening to my clients talk about the behavior of their colleagues:


 Think of four types of personalities and behaviors:

  1. Dominant: decisive, authoritative

  2. Improv: outgoing, “we will just figure it out”

  3. Steady: wants to help others, accommodates clients wishes

  4. Conscientious: fact-driven, anal retentive

Which one sounds like you?

  • Mostly one

  • Mostly one and a lot of another

  • All of them?

  • Are you authentically one, and you act another?


Investment Bankers

  • The D decisive banker sells clients with their confidence. They can sell alpha CEOs on their mutually respected presence, provide a voice for C-type clients or drive direction for I-type clients. When their D goes too far, they are perceived as not listening, and at times as ego maniacs

  • The I “improv” / outgoing banker loves any new idea, meeting or client. A meeting is a potential opportunity to evolve a relationship or win business. It’s a ‘hands on’, ‘figure it out in the moment’ kind of approach. Once the sale has been made / client engaged, this type of person loses interest and moves to the next exciting challenge. I bankers are often criticized for moving too quickly or being ADD

  • The S banker patiently services clients and builds trusting relationships. They create a feeling of loyalty and service with the client. I worked with an incredible Partner at Goldman who patiently covered clients, rarely opening a pitchbook and instead engaged in a dialog to help the client get clear on what they needed. It’s a different style relative to the Ds or Is bankers who look for a quicker kill. Many clients desire a recommendation, so the S type banker must be prepared to provide direction when prompted

  • The C anal retentive banker is all about the details: getting it “right,” being thorough, methodically following the pages of the book, following checklists. Order is the key. This banker is a dream for processes with lots of moving parts and other complexities. When lawyers switch into banking, they often take this approach. A too C banker can lose sight of the commercial opportunity at hand

  • Note: If I and C can partner, they are a great team to deliver the full package for the client


Hedge Fund PMs and Analysts

  • “I’m Right and I’m all over the details”… D & C personalities dominate hedge funds

  • Is are wonderful idea generators, but often get shaken out over the life of an investment as the market moves

    S types tend to get runover in the hedge fund world. Your investment opinions are wishy washy, we will take whatever you choose to give, and we will take credit for your work

  • C obsession with detail, process and proof and D stubbornness and confidence provide the foundation to do the fundamental work and hold an opinion through the vagaries of the market’s movements

  • While good PMs move out of the C into the D (and to I for fundraising), many senior PMs never get out of the weeds, as their focus and magic is in understanding the details. While this may lead to consistent performance and rising AUM, it’s the number 1 source of burnout

  • Overly C individuals who actually make it to PMs often have difficulty scaling GMV and adequately sizing positions, for fear of uncertainty and downside risk. Similarly, I types without enough C lack conviction to scale great ideas and tend to track an index

  • While a lot of D can be a blessing for many PMs, it can also be their undoing when they become quixotically attached to their conviction despite overwhelming market evidence to the contrary. Bill Ackman is a leading example of this: he will to go on stage with his view, and then ride the position into a world of pain – he’d be so well-served by learning to say “I was wrong.” Other PMs like Dan Loeb are a bit more D and I – when the market tells him he’s wrong, he’s happy to change direction and swim to another wave


Private Equity Professionals

  • Most PE professionals are D to the core – they are sure of their view, and willing to conduct a campaign to build a consensus around their thesis internally and then drive value at portfolio companies

  • The best PE professionals have an ability to modulate between C and I – from anal on the details of the numbers and contract/covenants, to politic enough and friendly to build consensus and rapport with management teams. There’s not much need for S – PE is about selling expensive capital, deploying AUM and monetizing results

  • Emotional volatility and vulnerability are especially unwelcome here – other personalities may experience these professionals as a bit cold or calculating



Psychologists described the “DISC” of personalities 100 years ago – our wiring hasn’t changed, and this remains an elegant way to observe the psychological macro themes of human behavior

 As you become Aware of your own behavioral patterns and those of your peers, you can stop annoying your peers and manage those who irritate you. The results of speak for themselves: promotions, more clients, more money, more time, and less exhaustion and conflict

The “D” Personality: From Decisive to Dick

  • With a healthy ego, D personalities are confident of their thinking

  • Naturally provide a plan

  • Take the lead

  • Speak first

 What to watch out for with “D”s Narcissistic behavior, Sociopathic behavior

  • Dominating others to compensate for feelings of insecurity

  • Low/no empathy for others; disregard for others

  • Sadistic pleasure from exploitation of others

  • Believing laws / gravity do not apply to them

  • Judgmental / obsessed with what others think about them

  • Examples of “D” gone dark: Donald Trump, Billy McFarland of Fyre Fest, Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos, Elon Musk

Strategies for interacting with “D” types

  • Stay focused on the result

  • They could care less about your feelings, creativity or need for perfection. They want it done

  • Focus on deliverables; don’t get too much into how you’re going to do it  

Coaching the “D” personality

  • D’s have little problem speaking, moving forward, managing and welcome it as their natural style

  • When D’s get feedback / areas for improvement, it often sounds like: they don’t listen, are inattentive to the feelings of others, or move too quickly without considering the facts. They might miss the romance of a deal and go straight for the mandate

  • As a coach, what’s key is the “intent” behind their actions. While some are simply unaware of the complaints of their peers, others live in their own world and don’t care / have a hard time seeing why they should care about their peer’s feedback. Adding a little more heart is often what separates a successful principal / partner from someone in a much bigger role. Because the D-types often see success, it can be hard to get them to buy into changing - this rigidity prevents them from reaching the higher levels of management and success of which they are capable

The “I” Personality: From Improv & Adventurous to Chaotic & Disorganized

  • Full of ideas and optimism, this person radiates energy and excitement

  • “No idea is a bad idea” as intellectual curiosity abounds

  • Inspiring charisma; persuasive with a group

  • (Note: the Cs dislike Is lack of details, inspiring concepts and poke holes from the peanut gallery)

What to watch out for with “I”s — Lack of Focus, ADD

  • One idea after the next with little followup

  • Shiny object syndrome: everything other than the present sparkles

  • Rarely malicious intent towards others, but sometimes out of touch with others worries and anxieties – poor leadership as the troops don’t feel “heard”

Strategies for interacting with “I” types

  • Give them room to run though many ideas at once

  • Help them tie it all together or extract a theme to create a next step. These types are prolific idea generators, but need to be bridled for maximum impact

Coaching the “I” personality

  • Prioritization!

  • Define macro business goals, then create a process of tying each new branch of discovery to the larger goals

  • Where the details matter, slow down, ask for help, appreciate what others can do for them

  • While some Is can focus, others have a really hard time understanding why others worry or have anxiety – if they can just figure it out, they see no need to worry. While this is a very empowering way to live, it can be delusional relative to reality and alienate the emotions of others. A good leader must make it clear they connect and empathize

The “S” Personality: From Accommodating Host to Angry/Bitter Giver

  • In the service of others

  • How can I help you?  

  • Steady, predictable, patient

  • Won’t impose their view on others

 What to watch out for with “S”s — Exhaustion, Burn Out, Imposter Syndrome

  • Person who takes everything on for fear of saying no / upsetting others

  • May feel victimized, stewing with anger and resentment

  • Can be blind to toxic D’s who exploit their giving nature

  • Guilted giver who feels never enough

  • Borderline fear of abandonment

Strategies for interacting with “S” types

  • Tell them how they can help

  • Thank them for all of their work, and pause to give them room to express their opinions

  • These are the most valuable, loyal workers, so take the time to water the garden and sustain the relationship over time  

Coaching the “S” personality:

  • Help them ask for what they need

  • Learn to say No, and then dump and delegate work to others

  • Get to root of guilt or why they worry about what others think of them

The “C” Personality: From Detail King to Analysis Paralysis

  • Rules should be followed

  • “Right” and “wrong” — lawyers live here

  • Will re-do things that aren’t done right

  • Judges those who don’t operate at their level of detail and precision

  • Can come across to others as always miserable / never satisfied

What to watch out for with “C”s — Perfectionism, Analysis Paralysis, OCD, BPD

  • Rigidity of process due to need for order

  • Need for control due to anxiety (rather than ego with the Ds)

  • Inability to decide 

  • Judgmental of others / other approaches

Strategies for interacting with “C” types

  • Use data and don’t hope for too much fun or excitement

  • To help them move towards a decision, ask them what they would need to know to move forward – this will guide the conversation and limit the analysis paralysis

Coaching the “C” Personality:

  • Use probability weighted decision trees to evaluate possible paths

  • Prove the fear of the unknown is outweighed by statistically likelihood of upside

  • Help them choose their spots and let go of the rest

  • Focus on the commercial opportunity at hand

  • It’s not all black and white — if this doesn’t work, there will be more opportunities


Analyze your family – what were your parents like? What were your siblings like? In a household, our parents and siblings serve as templates for how we learn to behave: we either imitate behavior we see, or we adapt our behavior to accommodate, combat or deflect the personalities in our family.

 Even if your default behavior is one way today, your original nature might be different. For example, if you grew up with a narcissistic parent or sibling, while you may be D-oriented on a soul level, perhaps you adopted S and C to survive in your family – this gets pretty deep!


It’s important to remember you’re not a “type” – you’re whatever you choose to be and set your intention on being. Through awareness and practice, you can evolve your default / conditioned behaviors to ones that get you the results you want and connect you to a style that helps you express your brilliance and experience happiness.

Don't make New Years Resolutions, You'll Never Keep Them

Instead, let me show you how to change your behavior over time

The ancient Babylonian tradition of resolutions stemmed from repaying the gods for what we felt we owed them for their gifts - that’s a lot of guilt!

Resolutions today are a “reaction” to a nagging anxiety, an “I should” or “I must” — while it feels good to scratch this itch with an official decree that thy shall change, it comes from a place of fear rather than the inspiration of the result

Instead, create buy-in and excitement around what the new behavior will bring. How will you feel when you’re living in this new way? What benefits will come? Visualize living in this new way and let that guide your intention as you practice a new behavior. It won’t go in a straight line. Have some compassion for yourself knowing Adaptive Change is a 6-9 month process.

Your old habits aren’t stupid - they served you at some point. As you evolve, your habits lag your evolution - it takes time and intentional practice to change a reflex.

Excited for what’s ahead for you in 2019

How to Get a Job 2.0

A week from now, the eerie calm August, will give way to a frenzy of activity in September. In New York, there's a heightened sense of the rush as the seasons begin to change: a chilly evening at the US Open, restaurants brimming with well dressed people (who may or may not be part of fashion week) - an adrenaline is in the air.

The sprint to Thanksgiving is on! Closing deals before year end, meeting someone new before winter. Thanksgiving hits, and the city transitions into holiday party mode, end of year recaps, and far away vacations. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection - a feeling of calm, targeted center, and/or anxieties about the upcoming review, promotion and bonus season. 

It's February 1, 2019, 30 degrees with the windchill off the Hudson, the stark winter sun glares in your eyes as you hustle to get a coffee, your breath visible in the air, under a bundle of cashmere scarves and coats. The rush of the Fall is gone, the drama of year end has settled. In the calm of February, you have a whole year in front of you: what's your next step?


Your Default Pattern

It's human nature to wait for a setback to take action to change jobs. As an executive coach specializing in Investment Banking, Private Equity and Hedge Fund clients aged 35-45, I see a spike of activity in January and February. In the stark morning light -- in the wake of comp season's emotions, a disappointing or unexpected review -- it's time to do something! It's time to get a different result this year. Like joining a gym, many react in the moment, stick with it for a few weeks, and then the familiarity of the routine pulls them in and they excuse themselves from inward thought because there's "just no time." There's no shame in this - it's how we're wired. As I've worked with my highly-driven clients, here's a process I've created to help you get what you want in business and in life.

The Fall is the best time to intentionally plan and explore a new path forward -- I am going to show you what that looks like.



Getting a Job 1.0 looks like this:

  1. Update your resume from a few years ago, and think "I haven't interviewed in years"

  2. Send your resume to friends

  3. Apply to tons of different jobs, get interviews - back into what you think they want

  4. See what you get - evaluate the offers, potentially make some compromises, move or stay put

Getting a Job 2.0 looks like this:

The Catalyst

You feel like you want a new job. While you're a stone cold executor at work, this is highly emotional: shelter, money and love are the most elemental of human needs. Your job is a #CIRC of all three! Changing jobs could threaten this ecosystem or take it to new highs. Unfortunately, our "survival" DNA wires us to overweight the downside cases which could bring harm to our core needs. So it's hard to fight the Sunday scary voices that begin to swirl as we consider a move. Some typical thoughts and feelings sound like:

  • I deserved more. They don't appreciate me, or see my contribution. I'm undervalued and this feels bad

  • This company isn't going anywhere. If I don't deal with it now, I'll end up in a really bad situation a couple months or years from now. Given my age and title, it's time to move, but I don't know where to start

  • The writing is on the wall - I have to move to another company

You can feel fairly isolated in this moment: what you've known, what's comfortable and feeds the bank account is about to change. Your friends have their own troubles, and don't want to spend all of drinks as your therapist. Maybe even you're nervous to talk to your partner or spouse about this. For those who have a therapist (bravo to you), this is a great person to share these emotions with and feel heard. However, a therapist is not a specialist in the next six steps! They can't help you because this isn't what they do.

Step 1: Acknowledge 'You Are Here' and Process the Emotion so you can think rationally

Changing the script around our basic needs inflames our nervous system and raises all sorts of old emotions we thought had left us years ago. Whether you're conscious of it or not, this is how you are wired, and Step 1 involves getting it out! Discharging these fears, anxieties and hopes to a great coach will allow you to get back to steady state. 

Going immediately to React Mode of preparing the resume and lining up interviews is the most tempting and common response, however, this rarely serves people well... sure you'll end up in another "seat," but operating from this energetically charged state blinds you to a lot of compromises you're making to satisfy the fear of your mind. Mixing the feelings of the leaving the old place, with all the foreign feelings of a job search is exhausting, confusing, and flat out inefficient.

Instead, acknowledge where you are: a potentially major fork in your career, which will be filled with as much emotion as opportunity. The challenge is being aware of your feelings bubbling beneath, so you can interview from a place of balance, with your eyes wide open. We often stay in "comfortable" situations -- work or dating -- because what we know is easy; as they say, the devil you know... However, once you rip the band aid off and admit that you need to change jobs, it can be a bit overwhelming and exciting all together. Perhaps you were telling yourself it wasn't so bad and coping to stay; now you've removed those defenses, and while you're excited about what's next, you also may feel a bit ashamed you stayed so long or haven't taken action sooner. It's completely normal to feel this way, and it's important to get it out!

I have found that when my clients don't spit out their feelings around the end of one job, and the unknown of the transition to what's new, these unconscious/conscious emotions "Leak" into their interviews. You can't suppress your emotions completely (unless you have a personality disorder), so they are going to come out - you are human. When people interview from a place of anger, embarrassment, regret, hurt feelings, neediness, it dramatically hurts their candidacy. Like energy attracts like energy: so why would you want to use your wounded energy to attract a new job? Unsaid emotions smell, and emanate from you like cheap cologne - the interviewer might not be able to put their finger on it, but something about you is a turn off.

In this initial step, it's important to have someone you can listen to you, make you feel heard, and help you explore the emotions that are inevitably released by change. Even better, if this person has worked in your industry, you'll be healed by feeling like they really understand what you're going through because they've been through something similar - like an ultimate friend/colleague/psychologist.

Step 1 takes 6-8 weekly coaching sessions with time for reflection in between. You owe it to yourself to do this initial work, to position yourself for the best outcome!

Step 2: Writing Your Termsheet

Now that the emotions are out of the way, it's time to have a bit of fun: what are your desires and dealbreakers?

What do you want out of your next job? I have my clients create a two column word table - like a termsheet for a bond offering. Left column:

  1. Your role every day

  2. Type of firm/mission

  3. Money

  4. Location

  5. Travel

  6. Hours

  7. Lifestyle

Some clients initially resist this exercise because they don't want to limit their options. This is the fearful mind speaking - arguing that we should keep our options open and not eliminate anything, because who knows, it could end up being ok, and we need a job, so let's not do that.

When my clients get an offer for a job which conflicts with their termsheet, they inevitably turn the job down - perhaps a job they spent hours interviewing for. You know who you are. You know what you like. Go ahead: write down your "wants" and "hard-no's." 

With the termsheet in hand, I help my clients think through what's behind each line: is it aspirational, is it coming from a place of fear? We refine this iterative document together, and the Termsheet sets the foundation for the job search.

Step 3: The "One Pager"

Your one pager tells the reader - in a quick glance:

  1. What problems you can solve & how their life is better with you

  2. Examples of how you've done this in the past

  3. Credentials: experience and education

It's crisp, and to the point. No one cares about the club lax team you played on in college.

The Fundamental Conflict

  • Your job search is about you; your survivor instinct wants you to eat

  • But nobody cares about you; they care about what you can do for them

As you realize this, you will stop taking "rejection" personally; and you will become a wildly effective salesperson of your own capabilities. You are a problem solver. You are an expert in something. This is valuable to someone else who needs you. They will pay you to provide this service. It's that simple: in economics, when two people see value in an exchange, they transact. As economic majors will remember, efficiency exists in absence of friction costs. Your ego, and your need for survival are the #1 friction costs. As you take this out of the equation, efficiency increases and transactions occur.

The One-Pager is structured in four parts:

  1. Two bullets at the top summarizing what problem you can solve

  2. Examples of how you've done this in the past / mini case studies

  3. Professional credentials: high level highlights of all the cool stuff you've done

  4. Education and relevant personal details

It's crisp and to the point. You are making it very easy for the employer, your client, to buy the product you are selling: your services

The one pager transforms the "interview" from an inquisition about your past which to equally useless to both parties, to a collaboration about how you can work together. Most importantly, the interviewer can clearly see what value you provide, and if that is of value to them, it flips the script: they realize they need you, as opposed to you begging them for a job. Traditional interviews miss the mark because the interviewer often doesn't know what they need, and so a wandering hour of one-off questions and "gut feel" do little to moving the relationship to a job offer.

Step 4: Networking & Generating Job Leads

The old script:

  • "Hey, so i'm kind of looking for something new...

  • "Can you introduce me to that person; I want to see what they think I should do

  • "Are you guys hiring; can you get me in with HR?

This approach is inefficient and confusing: sometimes you get "mentored" and all kinds of advice you didn't want; or it's often the case when humans hear someone is looking for a job, they don't want to get involved; or if your search is fairly vague, people don't really know how to help you, which is a loss for all.

The new script:

  • "Hi friend, I am looking at new roles. I can solve the following problem [insert first bullet of one pager].

  • "Who do you know who might be looking for someone like me?

You've told them exactly how you can provide value, and they can think of who would be interested. There's no awkwardness; you aren't asking them for the job; you're not asking for advice. As specifically as you tell the universe what it is you are looking for, the universe will bring it to you. Staying broad, fearing narrowing your options - you break the efficiency of the universe, and end up in a Sisyphean loop of searching for a needle in a haystack.

You are a salesperson for your service, and potential employers are your clients: it's your job to help them get clear on what they need, and if that need is your specialty, it is a no brainer to hire you, and pay you what you're worth!

Step 5: Directing The "Interview"

It's not an interview! It's a collaboration, and you are a key driver of the conversation.

With your One Pager as the introduction to a potential employer, you have brilliantly lined up this conversation to allow you to close the deal, assuming there is one that makes sense.

If an employer saw your one pager and chose to interview you, they think you might be the one to help them solve the problem. This is the magic!

After a minute or two of formalities, stop the traditional interview dead in its tracks. A typical interviewer will start with "walk me through your background" and you will start from the bottom of your chronology and a lot of conversation and interruption may occur about what you did 5-10 years ago -- this is a complete waste of everyone's time. 

Instead, from a place of helpfulness, say:

  • "Before I jump into all the details, I'm curious, what led you to take the meeting with me today?"

  • "How do you think someone like me could help your team?"

People don't interview you for fun. They saw something one your One Pager / Resume that made them think you can help them. So go ahead, Ask them - what is it about me that you think has value?

Whatever they tell you will become the Northstar for the conversation:

  • "We are looking for someone to help us do XYZ, and based on your experience, you seem like a good fit"

The interview then becomes a collaboration about how you could work together. What do they see as the biggest challenge? How would this help them? By getting to these point, you now get to solve their problems right there in the moment! They will come away realizing that you are helpful, valuable, thought clarifying, and a must have. They have a problem and you are the answer.

NB: If an interviewer resists these questions, isn't clear on what they want, let this be a red flag. You could end up working for someone who has no idea what they want, changes their mind constantly, or is simply a bad manager, who will make your life unfulfilling and frustrating.

Step 6: Evaluating the Offer

You got the offer!!! Now what? #emotion sets in again

  • Am I really going to leave?

  • Should I take this or keep looking?

  • What does this mean to my family: my spouse and kids, parents?

  • What if I go and it doesn't work out?

  • Should I negotiate?

  • Will this lead to growth and runway to move up

Step 7: Setting the Foundation for Success in Your New Role

I'll address this in another blog 


The Status Quo Is Draining You

It’s all in your head

It’s actually all in your hands

Whatever you direct energy towards, grows

You know that person who annoys the sht out of you at work? Or that feeling like you’re getting a bad deal? It’s all how you see it. You expected one thing, but something else is happening and it feels awful.

Here’s a fix:

1. Acknowledge the emotion your feeling: anger, frustration, resentment, paralysis

2. Make a plan to get a different outcome which takes care of your wants and needs.

Status quo is no longer acceptable. It’s draining you. You’ll either find a way to make this work, or you’ll find another option that works for you. It’s all in your hands to take action. And if you want, I’ll help you out

Escape the Illusion of "Pressure"

Golf is easy How do you see it?

My buddy Rich Fang and I played golf yesterday afternoon. It was my first round in 4 years!

I used to get frustrated, pissed and annoyed at errors.

One bad stroke crumbled my enjoyment for the round and shifted my mental energy to Coors soda consumption. I’ve spent the last four years studying my own emotions, reactivity and thoughts. I’ve coached 100 amazing high achieving clients and helped them study themselves.

The ILLUSION OF PRESSURE is a malignant fun sponge. Pressure implies something could explode - a catastrophic consequence.

You’re already living on a beautiful golf course, playing each day as you choose. If you’d like it to feel more free and easy, let’s talk. It’s in your hands to choose how you want to see it. Oh and I shot a 50 on the front and a 43 on the back - with a bit of practice and intention, I will begin to see this old exercise in torment with excitement and joy.


Experiment, Try Stuff: There Is No Such Thing As "Failure"

Why risk failing at something new, when you can just keep what feels comfortable and routine?

It’s time to A/B test your life.

It’s only through trying stuff that you discover something new and enjoyable. Trying a new restaurant is one thing, however trying a new job or career carries great risks - what if you have to go back to your old job? - what if you try something and realize you want to try something else... what will everyone say?

Many of my clients are ultra high achievers who are also perfectionists. It keeps them trapped for years in jobs that don’t really light them up. By reframing the perceived risk of the failed outcome of an A/B test as optimization, we can see the incredible risk of sticking with the status quo.

The peanut gallery (your parents, college friends, colleagues) will be there to criticize your moves that don’t work, but it’s your life. One life ‘mon!

What routine thinking are you stuck in? Try sht! Where’s an area you can try something new? Thanks to Schlomo Benartzi for inspiring this coaching take on his A/B concept.

One experience leads you to the next - it's rarely the first thing you try that works -- it's iteration 2 or 3 that leads you to something you never even knew existed.

You're a kind, creative person...

You’re a kind, creative person

I can see it in you, even if you don’t see it right now

Years of schools like Harvard, endless competition and achievement can make you pretty hard. And self- sacrifice can lead you to lack empathy for those who don’t cut it

While this mindset is totally understandable, it’s draining and dividing. It smells - emanating from you like too much Hugo Boss



I help humans like you scrape away the calluses that have hardened over that gentle person inside you. It’s never too late

If you wake up each day feeling like a General who’s tasked with crushing and disciplining the incompetent people you work with, let’s have a talk I’ll show you who’s beneath that hardened exterior, and help you flow through each day with greater ease and elegance

Explore Your Options for Stress Relief

Convinced you have to make this job work else? Constantly replaying what you could have done better?

The Solution: Explore your options for stress relief

This makes no sense on the surface: if you've had a few hiccups, you should keep your head down and grind. You should solicit feedback and pray you can correct your mistakes.

zach giphy.gif

Stress and fear of calamity biologically limit your thoughts, and are a circular prison which deprive you of sleep and calm, as scenarios race through your head. Keeping focused on what's not working will keep you trapped and drain the life out of you.

Release the pressure of your current situation by setting up 1 or 2 networking coffees over the next two weeks. Get out there and listen to what other people are doing in the world. Leave your heavy narrative at home, and open your ears to be inspired by new ideas.

As you begin to see that life goes on outside your current situation, your draining emotions around your current job will dramatically decline, and you'll be able to find renewed focus, and see your current challenge in a more positive light.


Why are you still reading this? You can't control yourself? In fact you can't! Biologically, you've been sucked into the vortex of the need for constant stimulation.

My coaching clients often ask me “what can I do when everything is going so fast and i feel out of control.”

The hack: turn off your phone for five minutes, stick it in the drawer, and just be by yourself. Marvel in the silence and eerie calm. This simple action snaps you out of your agitated, hyperactive state, and allows you to refocus on what's important. Like a fresh shower or a breath of fresh air, use this method throughout the week to restore some control and sanity in your life. Cheers!

What if the worst happens?

What if I get fired. What if I don't get in. What if they don't want me. It's taken a lot to get this far, and one misstep could crumble it all. What then?

Try this - “I’ll figure out another situation that works for me and my family.” Time continues. A perceived failure reveals the next opportunity.

I spend my days working with high achieving professionals at the top of their industries. While consequence based thinking can drive you to achieve great things, this working style drains your energy, creates burn out, and means you're always fighting the universe.

To lighten up, sleep better and get some rhythm in your step, write down the worse thing that could happen. And then... and then... what would you do? The mind inflates the worse case scenarios and gives them great power over you. On paper, each scenario becomes manageable, and the fear loses its grip over you.

You will start to realize that your creativity, resourcefulness and training mean you're never screwed, it's not over — in fact, everything is happening exactly as it’s meant to. As you go with the wave 🌊 and intentionally choose your path forward, you will be filled with energy and find the universe working for you.