Principles From My Favorite Self-Help Book

Today I turn 37. Today’s post is a list of my favorite, most influential principles from my favorite self-help book, The Book Of Mormon.

Cover of The Book Of Mormon – Another Testament Of Jesus Christ

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Surprised that I would choose a book of scripture as my favorite self-help book? Then I apologize that I don’t talk about it more often.

In 2017 I wrote an entire book about the principles in The Book of Mormon. I was shocked to find that I had highlighted over 300 verses or sections during my research for the project and shared those in a daily email series that lasted more than 11 months.

The principles in The Book of Mormon, more than any other book, have improved my life, helped me to progress, and find joy and fulfillment.

I want to share those principles today on my 37th birthday, (I’ll try to get to 37 but I make no promises…) in hopes that they can help you as well.

In no particular order, here we go:

There Is A God

We have heavenly parents who love us, who know us, who we lived with as spirits before we came here.

There Is A Plan

This same God created a plan for us, his children, to be able to come here to earth, gain experience and make choices, and ultimately return to live with Him again.

There Is A Savior

Because the plan included agency – our ability to choose for ourselves between right and wrong, good and evil – there was also the reality that we would sin. Sin makes us imperfect, and so we needed a way to become perfect again to live with our family in heaven.

The plan required an ultimate sacrifice, one that could only be made by a perfect being. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, provided that sacrifice willingly, and by doing so he has made it possible for us to live with God again one day.

We Are Not Alone

God, in His infinite wisdom, didn’t leave us stranded here on earth to fend for ourselves. In this plan He provided a spiritual guide. A comforter, a source of truth and direction. A Holy Spirit that is one with Him in purpose – to help us live in heaven with our heavenly family forever.

Have Charity Towards Others

Charity is different than love. You can’t have charity for yourself – it’s an outward-facing attribute. This desire for the well-being of others is one of the most God-like attributes, and we should aspire to have charity for everyone.

There Is Opposition In All Things

This principle is essential when trying to make progress in life. There are choices to be made along the way, there are highs and lows, good days and bad days, love and hate, joy and sadness.

This opposition is important to remember – we wouldn’t know joy if there were no sadness. Our best days exist only because we are able to compare them to the hard ones.

Seek Joy

This life isn’t meant to be a struggle, a fight, a battle, or a war. We are here to have joy – joy in our work, in our relationships, in every aspect of our lives.

Keep Your Word

There is an emphasis on the importance of covenants in The Book of Mormon. A covenant is a promise we make with God – to keep His commandments, do His will, and live life in a way that shows Him how much we want to return to live with Him again. Our word is important – not just with Him, but with everyone with interact with.

Humility is Required

So many other principles – faith, hope, charity, repentance, obedience, etc. – are only possible if one is humble. Being humble means you understand a bigger picture – that without God nothing is possible. That we need to rely on Him, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit to get the joy we are after. That humility extends to the way we live our lives, treat other people, do our work, and more.

Avoid Pride

The opposite of humility is pride. It’s the belief that you can do it all alone, and that others – including God – should see things your way, rather than the other way around. Avoiding pride, entitlement, and the like is one of the best things you can do to have a life full of joy – because you’ll never be let down.

Seek Knowledge

Knowledge is mentioned many many times in The Book of Mormon. The desire for knowledge is important, to seek it, to nurture it, and to act on it. It’s a life-long pursuit that never ends, and can never be fully attained.

God Is Powerful

In moments that are hard, this principle helps me remember not only that I’m not alone, but that with God all things are possible. We can get so myopic sometimes, and just taking a moment to step back and see a bigger picture and remember the power that God has allows me to see and approach things a different way.

Faith Is Required

Faith, as I’ve come to define, is belief + action. Having faith means that I need to act in accordance with the things I believe in. My faith has not only allowed me to experience incredible joy through my efforts, but make incredible progress throughout my life.

Prayer Is Real

The ability to communicate with our Heavenly Father is an essential lifeline in my life. The responses aren’t always as quick as a text message or an email, but when I need Him, he’s there, and when I’m stuck, I can rely on Him to help guide me. Incredible blessings have come to my life through the power and act of prayer.

The Holy Spirit Knows ALL Things

No matter what I deal with in life, when things get hard, if I remember to be humble, to have faith, and to go to my Heavenly Father in prayer, there’s nothing that I can’t be taught or shown or directed to through the Holy Spirit. It’s – for lack of a better word – the ultimate “life hack”, to have the companionship of a member of the Godhead helping me in my life.

Remember Your Covenants

Similar to keeping your word, when you make covenants with God, they dictate the way you live your life. Covenants like baptism, receiving the priesthood, and marrying my wife are all things that inform how I live day to day. Remembering our covenants can help remove options in life that would only distract us from getting to where we want to go.

God Speaks To Us Through Prophets

Throughout the Book of Mormon we see examples of God speaking to prophets and leaders to guide groups of people. Following these inspired leaders gives me the direction I need at a high level to know what I can focus on to bring more joy into my and my family’s lives.

Scriptures Are A Source Of Truth

Truth is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. The scriptures not only teach eternal truths, but help us apply those truths to our own lives and situations. As a bonus, the act of turning to the scriptures for knowledge and truth and guidance is a way to interact with the Holy Spirit to get inspiration and revelation that may not be on the page, but comes from the process.

Diligence Is Needed

Life is hard sometimes. And those hard times can last longer than we hoped or expected. By keeping a long-term focus and not giving up, we can get through those times and we can come out stronger on the other end.

Agency Is Given To Everyone

When we disagree with or are frustrated by the actions of others, it’s important to remember that all have this same gift from God, the ability to choose and act for ourselves. We’re not always going to choose good over bad, right over wrong, and neither are others. We have to remember that the freedom to choose is God-given, and not for us to take away from others. Remembering this makes it a little easier when others make choices I disagree with.

In the Big(gest) Picture – Life Is Fair

There are rules, there are laws, there are things in place that – in the big picture, the eternal picture – make life fair. I realize my privilege as I write this, but firmly believe that God’s plan and God’s laws are fair. They are based on truth and justice, and we can use that truth and justice to feel better about the work we’re putting in every day, even if things aren’t working out how we’d planned.

Repentance Builds Faith & Humility

If there were a “superpower” of a principle, it’s repentance. Going to God regularly to ask for forgiveness for bad choices, missed opportunities, and the like gives you more of two other essential attributes – faith and humility.

It requires humility to repent – you have to believe that you need repentance in order to repent – and the act of doing so builds faith.

Prosperity Comes To Those Who Do God’s Will

My experience has been that the more that I’m living these principles, the better my life is. I have more joy. I have more peace. More unexpected blessings come into my life from my Heavenly Father. I feel closer to Him and feel more guided and more clarity from the Holy Spirit.

We Show Our Love For God Through Service

When our lives are centered around benefitting others rather than just ourselves, it’s a way to show God that we “get it” – that we understand the plan, and we’re willing to be a part of it. Communities and families in The Book of Mormon thrived when things were common among them, when they looked out for each other, when they acted out of love and charity rather than pride and to “get gain”. God then rewards those people when they are serving each other and loving each other.

Work Is Necessary

In order to realize any of the principles and blessings that are outlined in The Book of Mormon, we have to put in the work. Not only for a short, set period of time, but for our whole lives. We need to be actively engaged, putting effort into things that are good, that serve others, that make the world a better place. The blessings flow to those who act in faith, not those who are slothful or lazy.

I lost count as to how many principles were covered there, but I want to end with my belief that these principles have served me well over the last 37 years.

Many were taught to me by loving parents who I am incredibly grateful for. Some were reinforced or reminded of because of friends or coworkers or people I follow online.

When you live your life according to principles that help you feel joy and love and certainty, you can’t help but experience those things.

Despite how crazy and uncertain this year has been, these principles have provided a foundation for me to build on. I’ve started two businesses this year. I have created more time with my wife and kids each day and each week. I have new friendships and have had new experiences that never would have come in any other year.

Overall I’m incredibly grateful to be alive, to be loved, to be able to do what I love, and to be right where I am. If you’re reading this, you’re part of that incredible feeling of gratitude, so thank you for your time and attention.

I’m excited for what’s to come this next year, and looking forward to all of the people I get to work with and serve along the way.

Finding And Creating Leverage In Your Business

Pulling lessons from Naval Ravikant and Nathan Barry on creating leverage, and using it to get results in your business.

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I’ve thought a lot about the idea of leverage since reading Naval Ravikant’s famous Twitter thread on weath:

In it he mentions the topic of leverage a few times. I’ll share those tweets here, then get into how we can use this principle in our creative businesses:

Lets dive in!

How To Use Leverage In Your Creative Business

The idea with leverage is to use your time, your assets, your mind, whatever is at your disposal to get to a desired result faster.

You’ve likely heard of Archimedes’ comment on leverage –

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. ”

He knew, and could prove using math, that this principle is true.

Naval gives us an updated and specific call to action – arm yourself with…leverage.

It’s one of three things he says we need in this context in the pursuit of riches, or wealth.

For us creative types, we can look at a creative freelancer for a perfect example of how to apply this principle.

Creating Leverage – From Freelancer To CEO

Nathan Barry is someone I’ve been following for a long time, nearly a decade now. He started off as a freelance designer, trading his time for dollars. In this scenario, there isn’t much leverage. In order for money to be made, Nathan had to be working.

A few years into his career, he created some digital products that he could sell – iPhone apps and ebooks.

All of a sudden, he created a little bit of leverage. These products could be sold without him being present. He could code an app, or write a book, once, and sell it many times over.

Nathan made hundreds of thousands of dollars off of his products without needing to increase the amount of time he was working. He created leverage. Now, instead of 40 hours of work for a $3,000 project, he could spend a week writing a book that could make $250,000 in sales.

From there, Nathan created a company called ConvertKit – an email service provider for creators. The initial version he built was $50/month to use. I know because I was probably one of the first hundred or so users back in 2013.

Since that time, he now serves over 30,000 creators, has a company with dozens of employees, and revenues in the millions of dollars per year. ConvertKit’s business is open for anyone to view, and you can see the kind of leverage he has created through code, people, and media.

Creating an app and a company to leverage turned his time into millions and millions of dollars.

From $3,000, to a few hundred thousand, to millions of dollars. That’s what leverage looks like in a creative business. Nathan took the same principle Naval talks about and used all three forms of leverage – capital, people, and products – to create an incredible life for him and his employees.

“Code And Media Are Permissionless”

This part of the thread is where I want to leave off today. Creating this kind of leverage doesn’t require permission from anyone.

You can create assets like photographs, music, books, apps, courses, and more and no one can stop you. There are no gate keepers, no authorities, no one in your way.

The difference between being a starving artist and creating a six- or even seven-figure business for yourself starts by understanding leverage.

What does that look like on a daily basis?

You need to devote enough time each day to creating assets that can work for you while you work on other things. Products, for example, are a great place to start.

You could spend your time – like I’ve been known to do – writing another blog post. But you can also spend an extra few minutes ensuring that the post is set up properly for SEO, so that the content can be a source of leverage for you in the long term.

You can trade the time scrolling a social feed to build an audience there instead, something that you can leverage later on.

Take some time to think about the goals you are trying to achieve for you and your business, then think in terms of leverage in order to get there quicker and more directly.

If you want help with what that looks like for your business, you can always reach out.

Improving Your Mindset With The “We’ll See” Principle

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I try really hard to not comment on the day-to-day events because a) you never have the full story within the first hour or two of events breaking, and b) that commentary is out of date within a few days.

But there’s a principle in that approach that applies to our Mindset, which is what we’re talking about this month in the newsletter.

Today I want to cover a principle that has served me well over the last few years professionally and as I’ve been building two new businesses.

The “We’ll See” Principle

I love this story that illustrates the principle perfectly:

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn’t have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field.

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, “Oh, what a horrible thing to happen.” The farmer said simply, “We’ll see.” He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.

Everyone’s reaction now was, “What a lucky man.” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, “What a poor fellow!”

The farmer smiled and said, “We’ll see.”

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, “What a fortunate man.”

The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Later in the year, the farmer’s young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, “What a shame for the poor boy.”

The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, “What a fortunate young man.”

The farmer smiled again – and said “We’ll see.”

Call it Stoicism, call it perspective, call it whatever you want. This attitude, or mindset didn’t change the events. The man in the story realized, fully, that these events were out of his control and decided rather to focus on what he could control – himself.

This same mindset can be applied to every aspect of your life. Making it a global mindset – one that applies in every time, place, event, no matter what, is what will help you get through “crazy weeks” and come out ahead.

The difference between someone who makes $100,000 a year and feels content and fulfilled and grateful, and someone who makes $1,000,000 a year but is constantly chasing “more”, is mindset.

The difference between someone who overreacts at something that happened online and someone who is able to keep scrolling without engaging – mindset.

How To Start Working On Your Mindset Today

Two things that I’ve found very helpful especially when it comes to social media:

1. Put down your phone.

Have times throughout the day where you have your notifications off and can get some deep work done. Put it away before you go to bed, rather than scrolling until your eyes are too tired.

2. Don’t immediately respond.

I can’t think of a single time that I regret not posting some quippy response or jumping in to tell someone all of the many reasons I disagree. Sure, it’s hard, but in the long run, it will play out better for you if you let it go, and focus on what really matters.

I love this tweet from Justin Mikolay when it comes to social media:​

Shifting your mindset when it comes to social media is a simple action with huge benefits.

What about your business?

We can’t forget about how to apply this to your business. My suggestion:Think long-term, not short-term

When it comes to how you react to the events in your business, don’t let something that happens throw you off your game for more than a few minutes.

You don’t have to become a robot and emotionally detatch from everything. It stings when a project falls through, a client doesn’t pay you, or when something you create doesn’t land with your audience in the way you hoped it would.

Rather than get upset, say “we’ll see”, and get on with the things you can control.

A year from now, the things that happened today won’t be something you even remember, let alone their effect on your business.

Your business is a cumulation of hundreds and thousands of days, events, people, projects, and actions. Don’t let a single one distract you from your goals or mess with your mindset.


PS – Again, be sure to check out the giveaway that’s running this week, and share it online for extra entries. There are prizes for those that share it, so go and enter today.

PPS – Two newsletter recommendations for you today from two people I’ve grown to really enjoy – not just their writing but following online.

I already mentioned Justin Mikolay (link to his twitter account), and his newsletter is one that I actually allow into my inbox. He does the painstaking work of culling through 3000+ top tweets of different individuals and summarizes them. I imagine it’s a lot of work, but the way he distills the info is really great.

Check out his newsletter at

The second recommendation this week is to follow Codie Sanchez and her newsletter Contrarian Thinking. Codie deeply understands what she calls Contrarian Arbitrage – finding opportunities where others don’t see it. She writes about investing, building wealth, and growing businesses.

Subscribe to her newsletter at

Why You Need To Know What’s True In Your Business Using Analytics

Any breakthrough in your business starts with understanding what is really going on – what’s really true.

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This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.

My favorite definition of truth comes from a book of scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants.

The book is a series of revelations given to modern-day prophets that were written down for us to learn from and live our lives by.

Here’s the verse:

Truth is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.

Doctrine & Covenants 93:24

In order to get what we want from our businesses, we have to know where we currently are. We have to know the truth.

Before any breakthrough can happen, we have to see things as they arewe have to know the truth.

Here’s how to get to what’s really going on in your business:

Take A Step Back To Get Perspective

It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the size of a problem or situation when we’re right in the middle of it.

Practicing prayer or meditation, taking a walk, physically stepping away from the problem – all of these are ways to take a moment to get some extra perspective.

You can also bring in outside help. A friend, fellow business owner, or a coach can help you see what might be in your blindspots, or the things that you aren’t willing to see because of things like sunk cost or the emotional attachment to different parts of your business.

Even the best have coaches. Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Tony Robbins.

They all have various coaches, mentors, peers, and partners that they rely on to improve their game. That process of improvement starts from getting to the truth through feedback.

It’s important to not just see things as they are, but also not worse than they are.

Beating yourself up, getting down on yourself, or adding emotion to the situation rarely helps. It will only keep you stuck where you are until you are willing to let go and get to the truth without the emotional attachment to what the truth means.

Use Business Analytics Data Where Possible

It’s easy to say that things are going well, or that things aren’t great.

But is that the truth?

Things may be much better – or much worse – than you think they are, but you’ll never know by how much unless you are analyzing the situation with data.

A common example:

Creatives I work with often say “I’m just not good at marketing”. That limiting belief keeps them from ever trying, because they believe that any effort spend on marketing their business will only come up short.

What if, instead, they tracked their effort over two months. The only thing they did was to post more regularly. From once a week to once a day.

Over two months, that’s the difference of 60 posts rather than 8. That’s more than 7 TIMES the effort. It’s hard to think that while each post individually might not be as successful as you’d like that you would have zero results from that sort of extra focus and effort.

Even if only one new client or customer came from that effort, it would still be worth it, would it not? Because now you can take the next step which is to imagine how to make things better. How to optimize and maximize those efforts so that they’re more effective.

When you start tracking these things, you’ll see that a) you aren’t as bad as you think you are at the “business stuff”, but also b) there’s a ton of room for improvement when it comes to your business, which means it can become more resilient, profitable, and fulfilling as you start working on it in this way.

Use the data to verify what’s really going on so that you can take action based on truth, rather than your limiting beliefs.

Make Things Better Than They Are

When you know the truth, you can then start to make conscious decisions based on that truth.

It’s like trying out a new diet or workout plan without first understanding the unique truths about your body.

If you’re allergic to certain types of food, you would want to avoid those foods in your diet, right?

With this new, intimate knowledge of your business, you can create a plan to get the breakthroughs you’ve wanted for your business.

The results you want are 100% within your control. We often just get stuck believing things that aren’t true which hold us back from getting those results we really want.

Choose now to make decisions for your business based on truth, and use that new knowledge to get what you want even faster.

How To Overcome The Feeling That You Should Just Give Up

What do you do when you feel like you’re working so hard with nothing to show for it?

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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Have You Ever Felt Like Giving Up?

I recently had one of the weirdest emotional moments.

In the span of one month, I felt the high of doing $10,000 in a single week just six weeks after launching my company Craftsman Creative, quickly followed by the low of getting furloughed for the summer from the TV show I was a senior producer on.

Recently, though, I had a moment of such extreme clarity that it just overwhelmed me.

I was simultaneously excited and completely terrified…

When you own your own business – as an artist, a creative, a startup, a freelancer – in the early months you’re really doing everything.

You’re not just the CEO, but the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technical Officer, VP of Sales, Content Manager, and the face of the company, the one who has every single interaction with every single person your company comes in contact with.

It’s…a lot.

I have been studying and learning about generating awareness for my company for the last few months. I realized early on that my audience wasn’t large enough to generate the kind of revenue I was aiming for with this new business.

I started doing whatever I could. I added partnerships (a HUGE win), took a dive into Facebook ads, Google ads, SEO, content marketing, and more.

Leading up to this breakthrough yesterday, it seemed like I was putting in all of this work with very little results to show for it.

That feeling is just terrible. It can eat at you and cause you to quit before things start to work.

I’m a firm believer that there aren’t any shortcuts in creative industries. Audiences, revenue, traffic, sales – everything takes time.

The graphic that kept coming to mind was this one from Visualize Value:

If we’re not continually putting in the work for a long enough period of time, we could give up before it starts working.

I could see, yesterday, the incredible amount of things that a company has to do in order to be successful. The difference between those companies and mine is that they have people to help with every single one of those jobs, whereas I’m responsible not just for the work, but the results of every single one…

Marketing, clients, sales, product, finances, growth, partnerships, etc – any two of those jobs would be enough to need another employee to hand off part of the work.

We solo-creatives don’t have that option.

This is especially hard when every part of our business is on the left side of “this is pointless” from that image.

That’s what it feels like to be doing all the work and not yet seeing the results.

The overwhelming feeling yesterday came from the clarity of seeing everything that still needed to be done while at the same time seeing the signs of success for the things I’d been doing for the last six months.

  • the email list has been growing day over day, independent of me publishing or sharing a link to sign up.
  • sales of the courses are occurring more per week than 4 months ago
  • partnerships are easier to create since I have more clout now than when I started back in April.

I’m not saying it’s all a breeze from here on out, but it’s nice to finally get a sign that things are headed in the right direction, rather than the feeling like “I’m working so hard, but for what?”

Two important takeaways:

  • Don’t avoid doing the important things you need to do in your business. Your business won’t grow on it’s own in the early months (maybe even years) without action on your part. No one else is going to do it for you.
  • Don’t give up. Most things work if you do the work. If you work on your marketing, improving your product or service, get better at sales calls, improve your website, create a budget – these things can take time to go from being a constraint to a strength in your business. Don’t give up before things start working. Keep going.

What’s one thing you can do today to improve your business?

If you need help answering that question you can work with me on getting your business to the next level.