The Best Advice I’d Give Myself

If I had a time machine and could go back to talk to Cory in 2007-2008 and give him one and only one piece of advice, I would NOT talk about how to double revenue or how he should get to automatic subscription revenue as fast as possible, or nuances of team dynamics or how to hire and fire.

Those would be cool and great.

But here is the ONE absolutely pivotal advice I’d share and beg and plead with him to heed it:

Take good care of yourself … FIRST.

A couple of things to note about this advice:

First, notice I said GOOD care. Not the care you think you can take of yourself, Cory. You’re in your 30s. You might feel healthy now, but it’s misleading.

I’m talking taking REALLY GOOD. Like really really really good care of yourself. And frankly, you’re already getting chair-bound and starting to feel it.

And it’s not just your brain … but your body that affects your brain and everything else.

So, Cory ….

  • Get a counselor you like, trust, experience and can have on speed dial. You’ll need that person(s).
  • Start an exercise ritual-obsession-addiction. You hate running, you’ll joke about it …. but try the Rualk. It’s run-walk. Whatever you do, obsess over it.

Second, I said FIRST. Put your care FIRST. Not second and certainly not last as you did for the longest time. In fact you forget yourself.

As you start to board planes and do business travel (averaging like 1-2 trips a month over the next decade), you’ll hear over and over and over by the flight attendants:

Put on you mask FIRST before you assist others.

This applies to you on the plane AND in every other relationship you have.

If you don’t put your mask on, or take care of YOURSELF FIRST, I promise you ALL of the relationships in your life will suffer for it.

You’ll suffer. They will suffer. Compounding suffering IF you don’t put YOUR mask on FIRST.

Cory, you will have two children. They are so incredibly special and exponentially better than anything you have or could ever imagine.

If you don’t take care of yourself FIRST, you will not be your best for them.

Oh, in a couple of years you’ll meet this amazing woman. I won’t spoil the amazing gift she is to you and tell you all the details.

Suffice to say …. SHE is your person.

Start taking care of yourself NOW because you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to catch up to her.

And I promise you, you WANT to keep up with her. Because life is THE adventure with her.

So tape these words to your mirror, embed them in your mind and work to make them real in your life every day because you have a SHIT TON riding on all of this:


It’s the best thing I could give you for the journey ahead … and the journey I’m on today.

Give Your Team The Tools They Need

One of the EASIEST yet impactful takeaways from 12: Elements of Great Managing I got over the years but one I see bosses and companies being goofy about is the Second Element:

Give your people the materials and equipment they need to do their job well.

There are some things that are no-brainers, especially for web workers: laptops, screens, keyboards, mouse.

But you’d be surprised how often people work on crappy equipment and make their jobs less efficient (for you, dear leader) and them more frustrated.

For some of the requests I got that were more “out there” or questionable, all I asked was for them to give me a good justification of why they want it, how they’ll use it to be more productive, happy, etc.

It wasn’t a huge stupid process with 15 forms where they had to wait 2 months. That kind of wall to climb simply to get things that will help you do better for your job is RIDICULOUS and motivation stifling.

Mine was easy … just give me a good enough reason that this ask makes you better for your work here.

Most of these requests were so easy I instantly gave my credit card or ordered it on the spot for them.

You need a license of Camtasia to record video tutorials for our YouTube channel?


Btw, here’s the license for it. Surprise! Can’t wait to see the first videos!

Other times I would observe someone using a slow or outdated tool or workflow, limping along and offer:

Hey, I can’t believe you’re still using that …. I’m getting you a new one right now.

Because here’s the message I want to send by doing so:

Dear valued team member, I want you to have great tools, resources to contribute your very best here.

And I’m committed as your leader to blow up roadblocks and obstacles for you.

Let me show you right now.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish

Be The Person Everybody Wants to Work With

NOTE: The context of this post was written with controversy as a way to stand out in or get ahead in an industry and work setting. My remarks here do NOT pertain to or include issues of diversity, equality or other cultural, political or human rights issues. Please take a stand on those. I stand with you.

Early on as I was building and growing iThemes, I thought to myself:

Be the person everybody wants to work with

There will always be the people who choose the shortcut of controversy to get attention, but I choose to do the opposite.

Because here’s the deal: Choosing to be controversial might get you short term attention, but it has consequences.

I didn’t want to repel people …. I wanted to attract the best people.

So that belief formulated my actions and reactions for past next decade, with two basic values steering my way:

  • Be gracious and generous with my time, experience and connections.
  • Be good people. Do right by people every damn time.


Well, there’s two simple reasons for me:

  • It’s the way I do human. And frankly, the way I think we all be doing it.
  • Vast unexpected or intended opportunities that blossom from it. See all Cultivate Epic Relationships.

This applies to entrepreneur, leaders and any professisonal …. and here are some more specific benefits if you need more convincing:

  • Earns you a stellar reputation
  • Become magnetic for the best relationships which lifts you higher as a person — You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, kind of thing.
  • Compels others to talk well of you, refer you, etc to their spheres of influence
  • Everybody will root you on too

I believe it’s the reason why Rebecca, Jeff, Brian, Jonathan, and others were open and trusted me to partner up.

Be the person all the best people want to work with. It pays off richly.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish

Juggling Multiple Projects

Most people think I’m busy and probably a little bit weird because I juggle multiple projects.

But I like it this way:

  • I’m never bored. When something starts getting too routine I start to lose interest.
  • When I get stuck on one project, I can move on to another and then come back to the original issue.

And the projects benefit in three ways:

  • Alignment — each project I’m part of is an area I’m interested in. They align with my passions, purpose and life.
  • Mutually beneficial — when I learn something from one I get to apply it to the others. And mostly they build on each other and benefit from exposure of the other.
  • They aren’t dependent solely on me — I either have partners or a team which is so awesome. We get to multiply our efforts together.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish