As many of you know, since creating this blog in July 2011, I’ve been on a quest to become the best version of myself.
A quest to achieve extraordinary performance in all areas of my life.
A quest to unleash my full potential and help others do the same.
A quest to become… Superhuman.
Along the way, I’ve made some incredible discoveries, figured out a lot of stuff, and managed to take my life to the next level.
But a couple months ago, I realized that in order to keep moving forward, I needed some help.
First, I hired a team of kick-ass individuals to help me run this website.
Second, I applied to The Bold Academy.
What is The Bold Academy? Well…
The best way I can put it is this: It’s a revolutionary 30-day program designed to help young entrepreneurs and change-makers overcome limiting beliefs and negative habits, get clarity on their greatest gifts, and learn how to share them fully with the world.
My application was selected, and along with 17 other young “superheroes-in-training”, an extraordinary staff of 8 people, and a slew of world-class mentors, I spent all of July at The Bold Manor (a pimped out fraternity house).
Every day was filled with workshops, activities, challenges and exercises designed to really help us step up our personal and professional game.
There was laughter and there were tears, there was elation and there was frustration, there was a whole lot of everything…
We kept it real. Very real.
And in the end, everyone walked out with a head full of amazing memories, a different perspective on life and a newfound (or renewed) desire to make the world a better place.
For all of you who couldn’t be there, I’ve decided to distill the best of what I learned at the Academy and share it, so you too can unleash your inner superhero.
My friends, here are my top 7 life lessons from The Bold Academy:
1) Work Hard. Real hard.
While I was at Bold, I was lucky enough to learn from some of the most brilliant minds in the world as they came in and talked to us about their journey.
They were all really, really smart. But the one thing that struck me is that they also work their ass off.
Total commitment, long hours, big risks, superb focus, and never-ending hustle.
While some books out there *cough The 4-Hour Workweek cough* lead us to believe that success is possible with minimal effort, I’ve realized that no matter how smart or talented we are, hard work is simply necessary to create something meaningful in this world.
As Daniel Epstein, founder of The Unreasonable Group told us: “Being an entrepreneur means living for 5 to 10 years the way other people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life the way other people can’t.”
2) Set Clear Goals. And Put Them Up.
Ryan Allis is quite the accomplished guy. Only 27, he’s already sold the company he co-founded (iContact) for a hefty 169 million dollars. Needless to say, when he came to talk to us about building a successful business, I was all ears.
After he was done speaking, I approached him and asked him how he was able to stay so focused and disciplined throughout the 9 years he spent building iContact.
His answer? “I always had clear goals written down and framed on my bedroom wall.”
Interesting. Right as he said that, it hit me: why the hell didn’t I have clear goals?
All through my swimming career, I always had clear goals for each season. And guess what? Staying focused and disciplined was easy, even though the training was super hard.
I saw each workout, each length of the pool, each repetition in the weight room as a stepping stone towards these goals.
I have now given myself clear goals for the next 4 and 12 months and I can already feel a significant shift in my level of focus and commitment.
As you’re reading this, if you don’t have a set of clearly defined goal for the future, I strongly urge you to take 30 minutes to clarify exactly what it is you’re aiming for.
Include both what you want to do and what you want to be (how do you want to show up in the world) and make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
From there, review your goals every week and make sure your weekly actions align with your bigger goals. It’s going to rock your world.
3) Ask For Feedback. Quickly.
I’ve always been a little bit scared to receive feedback (I’m sure I’m not the only one!). Receiving feedback means potentially being told that we’re not good, that our idea sucks, etc.
But in reality, getting feedback is the fastest way to improve ourselves and what we’re working on. It helps us see our blind spots and gives us ideas that we wouldn’t have come up with ourselves.
Tom Chi, the lead engineer at Google X, taught us a powerful process called “Rapid-prototyping”. This means that when you have an idea (big or small), you should create a prototype as fast as you can and immediately get someone to try it out for feedback.
That way, you’ll know right away if there are flaws and you’ll be able to correct course instantly.
We all tend to spend way too much time in our own head, tweaking our ideas and refining them, but the truth is we need to get our ideas in front of potential customers in order to know if they’re truly viable.
4) Be Honest. Radically Honest.
Just as asking for feedback is important, being able to be radically honest with people is a wonderful quality, and one of the greatest gifts we can give people.
Sometimes we shy away from telling people the hard truth in fear of hurting their feelings, but we really are doing them a disservice in doing so. We’re preventing them from a golden chance to improve and take a big step forward in their life.
Next time you’re hesitant about telling someone something, be compassionate and respectful, but be radically honest. You’ll be surprised how well the other person will take it and you’ll be proud of yourself for keeping it real.
5) Rejection is OK. Regret SUCKS.
One of the challenges we did at Bold was called The Boulder Hu$tle. Inspired by the American TV show The Apprentice, we had 24 hours to go and earn as much money as possible by hustling around Boulder.
Our team’s strategy was to create a menu of different services we could provide to entertain people, from doing the chicken dance, to taking a picture shirtless with them, to teaching them some French/Spanish, and many other crazy things… believe me. :)
During that day, I probably approached about 300 people on the street. Most of the time, they didn’t want my services.
But here’s what I learned: rejection doesn’t really hurt at all. In fact, it feels pretty good you know you went for it, and that’s all you can really ask of yourself.
The only time I felt bad during that day is when I had the chance to approach someone and I didn’t go for it. The regret stung much worse than any rejection.
To find out what happened at The Boulder Hustle, check out the full story here.
6) Don’t Fear Failure. Fear Not Trying.
During the first week of Bold, we spent a lot of time figuring out what was stopping us from succeeding. In my case, I realized that fear of failure was a BIG thing. I was afraid that if I went for it 100% and came up short, people would see me as a failure, think less of me, etc.
But as I started to look at this fear… I realized it’s all an illusion. Whenever we see someone go for it and not quite achieve what they were aiming for, we have only respect for their trial. Plus, in the end… This life is our life, not anybody else’s.
So if you want to try something… Go for it! As they say… Fortune favours the bold. :)
7) Community Rocks.
While living in a house with 30 other people was a bit much at times, it was also super cool to be surrounded by like-minded people. By supporting and keeping each other accountable, trading ideas, sharing insights and challenges, and imagining + creating a better world together… We realized that the sky really is the limit.
I truly believe that it’s communities of like-minded people who are going to change the world in the future. And wherever you are in the world, I encourage you to find a community of people who share the same values as you. If you can’t find one, consider moving someplace where you will. It’s that important.
The 28 days I spent at Bold were truly special and I feel very blessed to have been a part of it. If you’re curious about what a day was like at the Academy, check out this sweet video by Ryan McDaid and Mike Bell.
To being BOLD,
PS If you’re ready to unleash your own superpowers, check out and apply to my coaching program The Peak Performance Experience.