Self Care

How To Not Hit Snooze in the Morning

Someone messaged me the other day on Facebook and asked me about sleep and productivity.

Here was the question:

“I try to get 7 hours but I always snooze and end up sleeping 8, and sometimes 9-10 just cause it’s hard for me to get out of bed. So basically I lose about 2 hours of sleep every day which really adds up.

S, my question to you is how do you/did you manage your sleep while you had a million things to do?”

I thought it was a great question so I figured I’d share my answer here.

The biggest “hack” I’d say I had was that I had a packed schedule. 

So for example, I had meetings starting at 9 am every day (on purpose). My schedule was also rigorously outlined every day. There was no open space. I scheduled everything. All the typical things like work meetings, but also everything else: meditation, gym, soccer sleep, work tasks, and even “relax / off time”. There was 0 open white space on my calendar by design. 

So that meant if I wanted to get to the gym, meditate, etc (whatever my other important things were), I had to wake up at 6 am per my schedule to get everything done. 

And those things were very important to me, so I’d get out of bed for them

If something isn’t important to you, you won’t do it. 

It sounds obvious but it’s true, and probably the biggest difference I see between people who are very high achievers and others. 

They are driven by something that pushes them to keep that routine. 

Think about your end goal. Visualize it every day. You succeeding at it. Then think: what do I need to do to make this happen? 

What would help me remove ANY doubt that I will get there? 

It’s a psychological trick essentially. 

For me, I never wanted to leave anything on the table or any possible doubt that I could have done more. And for me, part of that was waking up at 6 am. Every time I woke up at 6 am is was like I was one step closer to achieving a larger goal. 

And then day after day, once you start doing it, it becomes a habit. 

And sometimes when it would suck, I would think of others around me. What are they doing? I’m going to push more than them. 

In NYC, it was super competitive. I’d think about that, and then push myself further. I loved waking up early, working on weekends, holidays, etc bc that meant (at least I told myself this) I was getting an edge on everyone else sleeping in or sitting around watching TV. 

Now, there is a balance with this. 

Too little sleep and you’re not effective at all. 

Every person is a bit different from how many hours they need. 

But for example, I know if I only got a few hours of sleep, I’d be operating at like 75%.

And those extra hours of sleep were extremely worth it, even if it meant 1 or 2 fewer hours awake. 

It’s more about what you do when you’re awake than HOW many hours you’re awake. 

If someone is awake for 18 hours but only 50% effective vs someone awake for 14 hours but 100% effective, who wins? 

If you REALLY need 9 hours of sleep to be in your optimal state, that’s better than only sleeping 8 hours and operating at 75% for the whole day. 

But if you really only need 8 hours, and you just can’t get out of bed, then everything I said at the start of this post applies.

Decision Making Self Care

Something Is Missing

Six months ago I sold my business. 

I started the business when I was 22 and sold it 7 years later, a couple of months before turning 30.

Running the business was pretty much all I knew in my 20s.

It’s where I spent virtually all of my time. Days, nights, weekends. I was obsessed. I cared for it more than anything. Perhaps too much. 

At times, my identity was so tied to the success of the business that it became unhealthy. If the business had a bad period, I would feel awful — at one point falling into a deep depression for many months.

In the last couple of years, I tried to move my identity away from the business.

I would be “Anthony the CEO” not “Anthony the founder”.

I was playing a role in the company now, not the parent.

And this definitely helped.

It took time for my identity to slowly shift. And in the months leading up to the sale, I was pretty removed from the day to day operations of the business. This was by design — we had set up the company so that it could run without me — but also because internally I felt I needed to separate myself.

When the opportunity was there to sell, I took it.

I felt that this chapter of my life had run its course, I’d learned everything I wanted from it, and it was time to move on. Selling the business would be the final chapter and I’d be able to close the book on “Anthony, the founder”.

For the first few months, I felt amazing. I was able to walk away from the business right away, and I moved from New York City to Miami.

I rented a beachfront apartment and woke up to the sounds of waves hitting the sand each day.

I had zero responsibilities — no employees, no business, nothing.

And I had enough money now to not need to work for at least a decade.

Sounds like a dream right?

Well, it’s been about six months now.

And something I didn’t expect started to happen.

I started getting a bit depressed. But I had no idea why. 

I have zero responsibilities and zero money issues. 

When I was a kid, I thought these would make me the happiest person around.

So then I got to thinking and really started to examine why I was feeling this way because it didn’t make any sense.

And I started doing some research.

What I found was fascinating.

One article I came across was called “Dealing with the Emotional Fallout of Selling Your Business” by Jeff Giesea, published in the Harvard Business Review.

The article starts like this ‘“Congrats on selling your business,” a longtime mentor said the day after I signed the paperwork. “Now get ready for a depression.”’

He goes on to say how entrepreneurs who have sold their businesses often feel “isolation, a lack of purpose, a sense of drift. It seems obvious in retrospect. When you spend years architecting your life around business and suddenly it’s gone, you’re probably going to have an identity crisis and some post-partum depression.

Then there’s the issue of purpose and motivation. Without the constraints of money and responsibilities of your business, what will be your ‘reasons to keep trying’…The freedom of being unanchored sounds great, but it comes with the potential of drift and lack of motivation.”

This was speaking to me.

Without the responsibilities of the business or any real worry for money, I was lacking any motivation to really do anything. 

I no longer had a reason or purpose to do anything.

So I started spending hours and hours watching TV. Which is something I pretty much never did when I had the business. But I needed to fill time, so that’s what I did.

The article goes on to say “When selling your business, it’s natural to think of other major life changes to make — like moving to Montana or buying a new home. Selling and leaving your company is enough to change to handle at once.”


This was literally what I did.

Turns out I’m not alone, which is nice.

In retrospect, I might have rushed all these changes. I shifted my identity so quickly and drastically, I’m not sure I was able to fully process it.

And 6 months later, it hit me.

That feeling of “something is missing” started to make sense.

A report called “Life After an Exit: How Entrepreneurs Transition to the Next Stage” summed it up well “the reality of selling a venture often represents a loss of identity and community.”

I started to miss the team and leading people. I missed the day to day interactions. I missed the challenges, the problem-solving. I missed having a company. I missed having a purpose that drove me every day for years.

And so now I realize and admit, something is missing.

It seems obvious now that I’m writing this. 

Something that made up such a part of my life for 7 years was gone. 

And without anything to take up its place, it makes sense that something is missing.

I’m missing a greater purpose, meaning, and community that I had with my last business.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do moving forward, but I think this is a step in the right direction.

Before you can make a change, you must identify the problem. 

So, this is me identifying the problem.

And now I’m going to work towards solving it.

Self Care

How to Network as an Introvert

I talked about the importance of sales in a recent article. Basically, my point was that they should be a priority for many (if not all) business owners and CEOs -especially in the beginning.

I also argued that the way I grew Jakt in the early days was not through some groundbreaking marketing strategy.

We didn’t use Facebook ads. Or PPC. Or Youtube ads…

And, for the most part, we still don’t.

I just went out and talked to people. I met with them and found out what they needed. What their problems were.  How I could add value and help. And, if my company could help them, great! If not, I’d introduce them to someone who could.

I’m simplifying, but you get my point. (Click here to read the whole article.)

That post received some interesting feedback from entrepreneurs who are struggling with doing just that.

It doesn’t come naturally to them to meet with other people and “network.” They think of themselves as introverts.

Funny thing, I do too.

Many people are surprised when they hear this. But let me tell you, I LOVE my alone time and really dislike groups of people.

So I totally understand how that can seem like a daunting task. But I do want to share my strategies as an introvert to not just overcome that –but use it to my advantage.

Before we get into that, let’s really understand…

What does it mean to be an introvert:

Having an introverted personality is not about being shy. Or quiet. Or reclusive.

I’ve heard them all before. But, to me, being an introvert is much more complex than simply withdrawing yourself into a quiet room like a hermit in rural Nebraska.

Sure, as an introvert, I love being alone.

And yeah, being in big groups drains my energy. I personally don’t like being around them. I gain this energy back by being by myself and doing my own thing.

But, on the other hand, I’m good at communicating one-on-one with potential clients, for example.

And I’m more than fine leading meetings with my team.

The point is, there’s a spectrum to intro and extraversion. I consider myself an introvert with extroverted tendencies. But let’s not assign cliches to either side.

At the same time, your personality does affect how you should be…

Networking as a business owner

If you’re a business owner, you need to sell. Period.

But, many introversion-oriented business leaders have a tough time creating organic relationships through networking.

The thing is, it’s not that you can’t do it. It’s that you’re not approaching it from the way that will give YOU results.

You have to custom-tailor it to your strengths, and then capitalize on them.

When I first started Jakt, I was told over and over again that I should go to large networking events. That I should go to these big conferences and push business cards through people’s throats.

If you’re saying “fuck that, I’m not doing that”…

Well, don’t do it then. Seriously. Do what comes naturally to you.

I found that I built much closer connections with people one-on-one rather than attending every networking event to meet hundreds of people at once.

That’s just not me, so I don’t do it.

There are other ways we introverts can network…

Why not just email someone you want to meet and invite them out for coffee? Or video chat with someone if you’re remote? Or connect with them first on social media and start a conversation?

I do all of these. All the time. And have been for years.

Instead of wasting time, effort, and energy on doing shit that makes you suffer, start…

Playing to your strengths.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, know what you’re good at and what you like. And triple down on that.

If you’re an extrovert, great. Use that to your advantage. Go meet all those people at networking events. Just remember that you still need to make a deeper connection.

And if you’re an introvert, take a more selective approach. Build this connection one-on-one –it doesn’t matter. In the end, we’re both accomplishing the same thing.

But doing it the way it comes naturally to you will make you achieve more results without hating every second of it.

Self-awareness and being uncomfortable.

Don’t get me wrong:

You have to meet people.

And I’m not saying you should stay recluded in your comfort zone –all warmed up under the blankets.

Yes, be self-aware enough to know what you like and what you don’t, and what you’re good at and what you’re not.

But also, strike the right balance between embracing your strengths and doing things that may make you a bit uncomfortable.

Let’s say you’re at your city’s WeWork and you hear a couple of people talking. What do you do?

You can stay quiet and mind your own business. And, honestly, as an introvert, that’s our first reaction, right?

But, if you have something valuable to add, make yourself uncomfortable.

Jump into the conversation (the timing has to be right and what you say and how you say it has to be right otherwise it will come off weird – but that’s out of the scope of this article).

Build a connection, add some value and maybe even help them out. You never know which stranger can be your next client –talking from experience here!

Networking as an Introvert Takeaways:

  1. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you are a shy or that who can’t talk to others. It’s about what gives you energy and what drains you.
  2. Play to your strengths. If you’d rather network over coffee, via Skype, or even Twitter, do it! What works for other people doesn’t have to work for you. Tailor your approach to what comes naturally to you.
  3. Be self-aware to know what you like and what you’re good at, but also be okay with being uncomfortable and placing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try shit out.


Self Care

Dealing With Loneliness As The CEO

When you run a business, there will be some days where you’re just… off.

You’re not on your game. Can’t get focused. Can’t get shit done.

And you’re not feeling it.

Something I like to do when that happens is getting a workout in and making my blood pump. That’s what’s worked for me but we all have different ways to blow some steam and get back on track.

I recently went through one of those “cloudy” days where I wasn’t feeling too great.

I went to the gym so I could try to clear my head. And, while I was there, I started thinking about how lonely and difficult it can be to run a business as a CEO.

Right after I got back to my apartment here in Miami, I decided to put my thoughts on this out loud and record this podcast.

But now, I also want to put them on paper so that I can expand in a couple of topics and get some structure.

What business owners are facing that others don’t see

I started Jakt 7+ years ago and we’re now a multi-7 figure business. It’s definitely been a journey with ups and downs — in business, but also emotionally and mentally.

I’ve lately had some very interesting conversations on this issue. I also haven’t felt too on point, so I thought it was a good time to share everything out.

You see…

Running a business gets really lonely and it’s a fucking hard thing to do.

If you’re a business owner, you might know what I’m talking about:

The tough challenges you’re facing, how you’re feeling, the risk you’re going through, the stress, the financial pressure…

Empathy goes both ways

Unless you run a business — and this is just my opinion — it’s going to be hard for you or other people to understand.

And by other people, I mean literally everyone around you: your friends, your family, your employees.

Sure, you can have empathy for someone.

But… until you sit down and try on that same pair of shoes, you won’t get the full picture.

And, at the same time, I have empathy for everyone else when they don’t completely grasp what I’m talking about.

It’s easy for CEOs and business owners to get frustrated when others don’t “get it” right away.

The truth is, they just can’t know. They haven’t been in your shoes. So I think we need to work on having patience and empathy towards them as well.

The risks that business owners put themselves through

Just a few days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I stumbled upon a video that resonated with me on this.

A student at George Washington U. recently asked this question to Ben Shapiro:

“Let’s say you own a pencil factory and I’m an employee there.

Without us the workers, you’d have nothing. We’re the ones that put together the pencils and, if we left, you wouldn’t even have a business to run.

So, therefore, you should distribute all the profits evenly.”

The counterargument he made was this:

“How do you think everyone should be compensated the same when… it was me –the business owner– who took on all the risk, right?

The one who had to invest in all the equipment. The one that assumed the financial risk.

And, if this doesn’t work, my downside is not capped. The employee can lose a job, but I lose everything.

If we get sued, the employee doesn’t have to pay for that. I do.”

And please, understand that…

I’m not shitting on employees here.

We have extremely talented and capable people here at Jakt and other Polpo companies.

Being an entrepreneur is not better or worse than being an employee. And I believe people should do what comes naturally to them.

But there’s a disproportionate amount of risk that falls on the side of the employer. And that brings with it certain things that we have to endure that can have an effect on our mental health.

The counterpart of risk: rewards

Here’s why (some) business owners get paid that much.

That video was a great example of what happens behind the curtain. The risks and pressures that come with being an entrepreneur and that so many people don’t see.

But that exactly why the rewards are different, right?

Starting a company is a high-risk, high-reward job. We’re putting everything in the line to build and add value to something from scratch. Our downside is bottomless, so it’s only fair that the rewards are larger too.

On the other hand, an employee gets to have a steady amount of income and is shielded from the risk.

For example, if a customer doesn’t pay our business, I don’t receive any money. But I’m still obligated to pay my employee every two weeks like clockwork.

Feeling lonely while running a business

I don’t want to over-romanticize entrepreneurship. I’m just sharing my perspective and trying to come at it from a logical standpoint.

But if you’re a business owner, this article might really resonate with you.

It’s hard for people to understand what you’re going through if they haven’t been there themselves. They just won’t.

That’s why it’s often easier to talk to other business owners who have been gone through similar circumstances.

They get how it feels when you’re losing money. When you can’t take cash out of the business. How it feels to have to sit across the table and fire someone.

They understand the pressure. The anxiety. The depression. Not being able to sleep and turning in bed for hours.

They get it. You’re not alone.

You might experience loneliness, But remember these 3 things: 

  • Running a business can be very lonely and difficult. Have empathy for those people that don’t fully comprehend what you’re going through — they haven’t been in your shoes.
  • Starting a company has an unlimited downside that comes with potentially high rewards. Some people want that, and others do not. And that’s okay.
  • Other business owners will probably be the people that best understand what you’re talking about. They’ve been there themselves. Try to connect with them and share your experiences.

And if you’re looking for a community of business owners on the same path as you, click here.

Self Care

The Difference Between Struggling And Suffering

I’ve written about working with an executive coach before. I think it’s a way to constantly grow and push yourself to get better. It’s also helped me figure things out I wouldn’t ordinarily have the time or ability to stop and work through. One of my 2019 objectives is to focus on having an abundant mindset. I want to let things flow to me easily and effortlessly. At the same, I know that the Law of Attraction doesn’t work unless, well, I do.

So the other day I was talking to my coach when I asked her:

How can something flow easily and effortlessly when I also know I can’t just sit on the couch doing nothing my whole life and things will happen? How can I make sense of this?

There is work need to make things happen, yes. But it doesn’t have to be hard? Where does that leave us?

What she told me was this:

There’s struggling. And then there’s suffering.

There’s a HUGE difference between them. And you need to audit what you are doing and feeling on a daily basis to know where they’re coming from.

Let me give you a quick example:

After 7 years, I decided to take a step back here at Jakt. I didn’t want (or needed) to be involved in the day-to-day operations. It’s not that I was an apathetic sloth — it goes much deeper than that.

The Difference Between Struggling And Suffering

Was I struggling? Or was I suffering? And what’s the difference?…

Struggling is good, but suffering is bad

Do you go to the gym?

If so, I’m sure you’ll understand what it’s like to have that constant battle with yourself. First, there’s the willpower to actually go.

Then there’s the work involved: figuring out your program and what you’re going to actually do while you’re there. How to move up in speed, distance, strength…

And then, there’s the payoff.

Bench pressing a new personal record. Running your first marathon.

These achievements are set up by the work you put in at the gym. The constant struggle against what your body might say it wants. To stay in bed. To quit just one set, or one mile, early.

When you go to the gym and struggle through a workout, you do it because you know you’re heading for achievement. The goal.

It’s something you want. And the progress, the work, it’s actually fun. Okay, maybe not super fun, but it’s satisfying. It’s time well spent.

That’s struggling.

But consider this: someone steps into your life and says “you know what, you’re going to run a marathon.”

If you don’t want to, if it’s an external force making you do it, then that time spent at the gym is something else. It becomes a prison. A kind of punishment.

That’s suffering.

The Difference Between Struggling And Suffering

Whether you’re struggling vs suffering is determined by if that goal or thing is something you want.

Struggling vs. Suffering In Business:

I can think of –and I’m sure you can too– so many late nights planning sales calls for the next day. So many spreadsheets. So many hours of infinite meetings. So many ounces of pressure on our backs.

And I loved every second of it. Sure, they were a struggle because we wanted the deal, or to hit our targets… or anything else that motivated us.

But what if we didn’t really want that deal? Or if every minute felt like Chinese water torture? Or if we didn’t find meaning on it? Then it might feel more like suffering.

And yes, there are challenging moments in life.

But do we really need to suffer instead of struggle?

Suffering can be avoided.

My coach and I defined “suffering” as judging the struggle. And judging it poorly. Resenting it, really.

The problem is that, since they are somewhat connected, it’s hard to distinguish what it is you’re feeling.

I believe listening to your body and emotions is the key.

When you’re suffering, it sucks. You don’t feel good. You ask yourself things like: “Why do I have to do this again?” or “Why is it this way?” You’re just going through the motions, and you feel like Sisyphus rolling his stone up the hill.

So, that’s part of it: learning to understand if you’re struggling… or resenting it and suffering.

And your feelings can change.

Just because you loved the struggle of something doesn’t mean you will ALWAYS enjoy it.

Hear me out:

For me, this meant stepping out of the day-to-day at Jakt–going from working in the business to working on the business.

Not because it was a bad work environment, or because the company was doing poorly, but because I no longer enjoyed it.

After that, wading through it just… wasn’t satisfying anymore. It was an intimidating change. But, in the end, it was the best for both the company and myself.

Jakt was getting to the size it badly needed more of that strategic level of thinking. And I had been growing to the point that I was ready to help in a different way.

I went from struggling to suffering, and back to struggling but with a new set of challenges.

And here’s why:

Seeking the Struggle

The one thing I do NOT want you to get out of this article is this:

“I should step away from anything that’s difficult.”

Seriously, if that’s how I came across — I’ll punch myself in the face. Because I honestly believe quite the opposite.

Yes, if you’re suffering, you have a responsibility to yourself –and to your business– to change that.


You also owe it to yourself to seek out the struggle.

And so that’s the last thing I’d leave you with here:

There’s growth in struggling.

Moving outside of your comfort zone is the best for both you and your company’s continued advancement.

When you’re too comfortable, you’ll get complacent. Some people like to live in that state — do what makes you happy. (Although I don’t think anyone in that state is truly happy — but it’s scary to move forward).

But for all of us that don’t want to settle, you’ll find happiness and growth when you seek the struggle.

Suffering vs Struggling:

  • Struggling and suffering are not equal. Stop, audit your feelings, and figure out which one you are operating in.
  • Suffering is about judging the struggle. When you resent what you do (which is not the same as it is difficult), you need to take a step back and find the issue behind it.
  • Struggling takes you outside of your comfort zone. Embrace it and use it to help you grow.