About steveacho

Business Geek, Musician, Lover, Fighter, Writer, Delusional Optimist


Leverage means investing in activities that provide a disproportionate return.  Get your short list right, and free up mental capacity to focus on what matters.  A few examples for me are:
– Sleep
– Reinforcing discipline (in multiple areas)
– Exercise
– Human connection
– Meditation
– Not watching the news
– Not stressing over what others say or think of me


The things we protect

We guard our money, property and identities from people who might steal, exploit, or take advantage of us.  But we commonly allow others to seize our truly non-renewable resources:  time and attention.  (And time has little value without attention.)

Guard your valuables. And include attention as among the most precious.

Cause for compassion

Everyone endures some measure of suffering. Past or present, chronic or acute.   Perhaps you believe your suffering is more justified than others’, or that you could manage their challenges better than they do.  But you don’t know what it’s like to be anyone else.  


Knowing this is cause for compassion: remind yourself often that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Their battles are very real to them.


The importance of systems

An organization I won’t name has an effective marketing system that gets me in the door.  Once I’m in though, there is no record of the appointment I made (I bring the email confirmation they sent me), and there’s total confusion when I arrive.  Great system for bringing me in – failed system when I show up.

This reminds me of the importance of systems themselves. This applies to how we manage our calendars or finances, to our individual daily habits (having a consistent place for car keys…planning tomorrow’s schedule today…)

You either deliberately create systems that serve you, or ignore them altogether and hope things work out.

Just a few things I learned from my dad

 – “Don’t confuse motion with action”– Don’t tell me how hard you worked, tell me what you accomplished.
– “If you can’t explain it you don’t understand it” 
– “Think big picture” – Forget the exact answer.  Does it make sense that 20% of a number could be larger than the number itself?  Make sense of things at a high level before obsessing over the details.
“Know your inventory” – Do you know how much cash you have access to? What your living expenses are? How long you could go with no income? How much debt you have and how you’re trending and spending? What your best chance/customer/project is that could earn more money?  If you don’t know where you are now you can’t know what’s best to focus on next.


On being assertive

Aggressive: Doing what serves you with no respect for others – “We are going to THIS movie. Why do you even want to see that one?”

Passive-aggressive: Communicating in a cynical way –  “Great, let’s go to THAT movie”

Assertive: Stating your beliefs or preferences while respecting others’ – “I’d love to see a movie with you, but not that one.  Can we pick one we both like?”

You choose how you communicate.

Validation and value

Get 100 employees in a room and you’ll be hard-pressed to reach unanimous agreement on anything other than raising salaries.  We’d all prefer to be paid more.  There’s something else we have in common: a need to feel valued, respected, and that what we do matters.  Not just in our jobs.

Some difficult people are that way because they feel unacknowledged.  You strengthen any relationship by recognizing out loud that a person’s work, input, or very presence is appreciated, and that they do in fact matter.

Take a few seconds to acknowledge someone.