#60: Reflecting on the first half of 2021 with Sean Weisbrot
Thanks for joining me for the 60th episode of the We Live to Build podcast!
I started this podcast in September 2020, and I’ve interviewed over 50 people in that time.
Talking to other entrepreneurs has been extremely helpful to me, and it’s almost like a free therapy session by commiserating over our experiences, especially during the pandemic when it’s hard to go out and meet people face to face.
I’ve learned SO much from all of them, and I really appreciate everyone’s time and energy, so here’s to another 60 episodes!
One of the things I promote on this podcast is open and honest communication about what life is like being an entrepreneur, and I felt now was the time to publish a solo episode where I talk about what’s been going on in my own life before returning to publishing episodes with guests starting next week.
First of all, I’m sorry in advance for the recent lapse in publishing episodes on time, which I’ll explain shortly. And with that in mind, let’s get to the core of why this episode is so important to me.
Back in February, my wife and I decided to get a divorce after being married for only 2 months, which was a bit of a shock, and I’m still working through how I didn’t see the warning signs despite living with her for over a year and dedicating almost 2 years of my life to encouraging her and building for our future.
Thankfully, the process of getting divorced in Vietnam was fairly simple and fast because we didn’t have kids or any shared assets or liabilities. In total, it took only 6 weeks to get a final verdict from the government, and it felt bittersweet to get the letter in the mail.
From when we first filed for divorce until now (June 17th), I’ve lost 16kg (35 pounds) because I decided to focus on my health a lot more.
It’s required a massive change in my lifestyle, (and I had already cut meat out over a year ago). Essentially, I increased my fats and significantly decreased my carbs, completely cut out sugar and dairy, and began walking 3 hours a day on top of bodyweight exercises called calisthenics.
I’ve noticed a huge change in how I look and feel, as if 10 years has come off my mental and physical age as a result.
This has also given me the mental strength to focus on scaling my company’s operations, which meant empowering my team. Therefore, we promoted my Lead Developer to CTO and gave him complete authority over the daily operations of tech. We also hired a Marketing Director, who has quickly established operational systems and is preparing to execute on them soon. We also hired a Product Manager, and she has taken over my Product and Project Management responsibilities.
By offloading a tremendous amount of responsibility and trusting the team to handle it, it’s allowed me more time to start transitioning into the next phase of our company’s development, which is why I decided to leave Vietnam.
I arrived in the US on June 14th with this goal in mind.
We are fast approaching the product being stable enough for the team to test it internally, and a month after that, I’ll start working to bring our first batch of beta testers on (let me know if you’re interested!)
Since most of these beta testers live in the US, Nerv needed me to return to the US to focus on establishing and executing on business development, onboarding, engagement, and customer service systems now, which is critical for ensuring the company’s success in the short to medium term.
I also went back because it’s been over 2 years since I saw my family, and I have a lot of personal things to take care of here before I can really leave again.
For example, I want to get vaccinated from covid-19 so I can deal with some of the fear and anxiety that has built up inside of me over the last year or so.
I also want to help my parents declutter the house (because it makes us all feel better), and I am researching alternative treatment options for my mother’s declining cognitive function that I couldn’t execute on while living abroad.
Once Nerv is starting to gain organic inbound leads in the hundreds or thousands, I’ve taken care of the personal things in my life, and I’ve had enough quality time with my puppy Max, I’m planning to spend the first half of 2022 in Europe to start our expansion there.
I’ve loved doing the podcast until now because I get a lot of awesome advice from our guests, and I notice that when I try to implement their suggestions in Nerv, things only seem to get better!
So while my life is about to get very hectic and challenging in a positive way, the frequency of the episodes won’t change. If I work smart, by the end of this year, hopefully I’ll be able to bring on an editor and an assistant for We Live to Build, which might enable me to produce two episodes a week again!
Thanks again for all your positive words of encouragement and support, it helps me know I’m taking the podcast in the right direction!
There’s one last thing I want to share, and that is 2 books I’ve read recently I highly recommend everyone look at.
The first book is Pencils of Promise by Adam Braun.
This book shares how Adam went from working on Wall Street to building a global, for-purpose social enterprise that provides schools to impoverished areas of many developing nations, and it started with a backpacking trip where he was inspired by a poor kid telling him he just wanted to go to school and be able to learn new things.
His story is very inspiring, sweet, and may make you cry at times.
At the heart of it is a replay of the thoughts he had about what he did, why he did it, and what the results were, even when people kept telling him to stop or that he was crazy.
It’s something we can all relate to, and it made me want to focus more on giving back (even though I already do a lot for others).
This takes me to the second book you really need to read this minute.
This book is called Give or Take, and was written by Adam Grant, Ph.D.
In the book, Adam talks about how there are 3 behavioral patterns people use when employing a social strategy related to cooperation vs competition.
The first pattern is called “giving”, where people give, possibly with the goal of getting nothing back, although this depends on the person.
The second pattern is called “taking,” where people take from others, possibly with the goal of not giving anything back, although this depends on the person.
The third pattern is called “matching”, where people give back as much as they take, or ensure they take as much as they give, in order to make sure it’s equitable or fair in the long-term.
The book uses examples of different real life people to show not only which pattern provides the best results short-term, medium term, and long-term, but also how to learn the skills you need to determine which patterns people apply and why.
Spoiler alert, the people who are genuine givers are the most likely to be very successful in the long-term because people around them appreciate their giving and want to see them be successful, so they do what they can to help them succeed (assuming the giver is also not a pushover who allows takers into their life who just suck their energy and networks).
I highly suggest you read this book to get a better sense of who you are, and if you find you aren’t a giver, you may want to consider how you came to adopt the pattern you use and why.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this episode!
Stay tuned for our next episode on Monday the 21st with Benn Stancil, the CEO of Mode, which has raised $80M USD to date, and we talk about how raising funds changes you, your team, and your company.
Don’t forget that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint, so take care of yourself every day, and make sure you tell at least 1 person important to you today that you love them, because hearing it makes people feel good!