An athlete breaking the world record for a hundred meters sprint is obviously an exceptional human being, capable of extraordinary performance. Athletes don’t get to the point where they break a world record by playing solo slim.

What about the parents that brought them to every training? The trainers pushing the athlete when they thought they couldn’t go on anymore. The physicians, the fans, a whole entourage, all assisting the athlete. When the athlete wins, the entire team wins.

I often hear: Rome wasn’t built in a day… Well, it sure wasn’t built by one person alone either.

The way to win in life is to look for synergies and keep looking for new ones as you go along.

i need you to want me to win

We’re products of our environment, and we take after people we spend time with. Knowing this, depending on what we’d like to achieve, we could change our environments. We could even hang out with different people. Birds of a feather flock together after all.

One of the best pieces of entrepreneurial advice I ever got is this; smart people will save your business. Uncomplicated, straightforward, and most entrepreneurs will realize this by default. However, when you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to forget to reach out to friends and mentors or even networking altogether.

In “Don’t Push Me50 Cent raps; I need you to care for me, and I need you to want me to win. I need to know where I’m heading ’cause I know where I’ve been”.

Actively look for those people who are cheering you on relentlessly. Not the ones who, after the facts, say, I was with them from day one, and I always knew they’d make it. No. People who actively lift you up.

People who don’t wholeheartedly want you to win have arguably little to contribute to your life.

fake it till you break it

Insincere behavior can’t be hidden. Sooner or later, it will surface. Some people suffering from imposter syndrome aren’t suffering from imposter syndrome. They’re imposters. Not an attempt at delegitimizing imposter syndrome because it’s a real and debilitating limitation for some people.

Fake it till you make it sounds cool. Perhaps one of the reasons it’s an overly popular cliché. Again, ingenuine behavior bubbles are easy to burst. That’s why pretending to be someone who already made it is terrible advice.

Faking (power) poses and non-verbal communication is something else. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, PhD explains in her “Your body language may shape who you are” TED talk; there are ways for us to trick our minds into boosting our confidence. This idea is often summarized as fake it till you make it, but the risk of misinterpretation is substantial.

I prefer people around me behaving sincerely. However, at the very beginning of launching a new product or service, there is some room for faking.

Aiming for a billion users certainly shows ambition but won’t happen overnight. That’s why there is absolutely no use in replicating Facebook’s infrastructure to serve one billion customers. Still, the image of your company should exude that very same ambition even though it can only, temporarily, serve ten customers.

Fake it till you break it.

There is no need to over-engineer the infrastructure and (production) processes from the start. Keep your company as lean as possible up until the point it is about to break. However, a clear vision and some preparations should be in place to jump to the next level at the very moment it’s required.

how to step by step

How-to guides get under my skin. Follow these seven easy steps, and you, too, will be successful. Especially tip number five surprised me.

The writers of the tv-show Grey’s Anatomy once had one of their characters say this. The problem with all the how-to, step-by-step books is they don’t take into account the exceptions to the rules. They never leave room for the outliers, the geniuses, the miracles.

Following step by step in the footsteps of a flourishing company, one that made it in your field, isn’t likely going to make yours successful.

Don’t optimize for success. Optimize for not failing.

good views ahead

Perspective is all we need. Sorry, Beatles. Whether it’d be an entire population during a pandemic, talent on the verge of signing a contract with a new employer, or a traveler navigating a city for the first time. A clear vision goes a long way.

It’s the reason we get out of bed. Goals. Ones we can move towards while anticipating improved circumstances down the road.

The ability to show a “you are here” roadmap, with the different paths that lead to success, is crucial. Without it, nothing happens.

terrible boss

Entrepreneurs often have the worst bosses. Themselves. Even though many entrepreneurs make excellent leaders, all bets are off when it comes down to ourselves.

Why treat ourselves worse than we would treat an employee or a friend? Research shows that dog owners are more serious about buying healthy food for their pets than buying healthy food for themselves. What have we ever done to deserve this?

Consider yourself as a friend. Be nice.

when you won

You could have won this week. Even a couple of times. Heck, maybe every day. Twice! Depending on your definition of a win. If you feel like you haven’t won in a long time, maybe it’s time to redefine winning.

In Start With the Why, the author Simon Sinek describes how he was once present at the Gathering of the Titans, an annual meeting of America’s 50 top business leaders. When the attendees were asked whether their companies met their financial targets during the past year, about 80 percent raised their hands. When asked whether they felt successful, (very) few hands remained up.

Orson Welles once said: if you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

People need wins. Define what winning looks like to you. Don’t let others define it for you. Grant yourself a victory now and then.

no shot no hit

It’s hard to hit the bull’s eye without taking a shot at it. Not sure about the math, but taking a shot in the general direction of the bull’s eye surely increases your chances a thousandfold. You can’t do anything wrong if you don’t do anything, to begin with. Does that imply that you can do right by inaction? Unlikely. However, in some (large) corporations, this seems to be the case.

Companies today need loyal employees who don’t shy away from controversy. Employees who have the guts to go against the grain deliberately.

Employers must create environments that encourage this type of behavior. A climate where it’s not only okay to fail, one where failures are forgiven promptly.

It’s the way forward. The path towards growth. If it weren’t for persisting through adversity, none of us would walk, after falling on our faces as babies, time after time.

forgot what you asked for

The amazing feeling immediately after you get what you asked for — emphasis on immediately.

When people ask to be famous, subsequently do everything to chase their goal, and eventually end up as a star, they can suffer tremendously. The celebrity can no longer speak freely. Every statement has to be pre-approved by a manager or publisher. To name one of the undoubtedly many downsides.

A small price to pay? When we ask for something, we usually don’t take secondary effects into account.

Think the ask (or desire) you’re manifesting completely through. Remember that a bump in the road today might be a secondary effect of something you asked for a long time ago.

first progress

Throughout the history of humanity, progress wasn’t always perceived as a good thing. Now it seems progress is the way forward. Health and defense, among many other domains, appear to need innovation daily. Either to push a nation forward or to beat adversaries in a race towards a certain goal.

Some cultures are inherently more progressive than others. Yet, even in forward-thinking places, innovation is sometimes hindered in an attempt to maintain the status quo.

There is a first time for everything. There has to be.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, among many others, helped overcome discrimination at NASA as women and as African Americans. They helped the United States of America succeed in the space race. Paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps.

Here is to the pioneers who take the punches and let ridicule roll off their backs.