PR 304 | Optimism

 

Tough times are inevitable but what you can do about them is all within your choice. For Max Borges, life wasn’t always easy. But with optimism, he found countless opportunities and achieved more success than he has ever dreamed of. Helping others get through life, he wrote the book, How to Be Fan-f*cking-tastic!—a collection of wisdom, motivational quotes, statements and insights from his journey growing his namesake agency. In this episode, he shares some of them with us, leaving inspiration to face life’s curveballs. Particularly, Max tells his journey of growing his agency from a laptop on his kitchen table to generating $10 million in annual revenue. Through it all, his story highlights how we can always come back from difficulty. It’s a matter of responding to it not with dread and fear but with optimism and action. Tune in to this conversation and be fan-f*cking-tastic!

 

Show Notes:

  • 08:53 – It Ain’t Rocket Science
  • 10:39 – Resource And Resourceful
  • 14:08 – Spend Time Doing Nothing
  • 16:58 – Imagination In Business
  • 27:16 – Max’s Definition Of Resilience
  • 31:35 – Rituals For Resilience

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Coming Back From Difficulties With Optimism And Action With Max Borges – Replay

Is luck still evident or is it a thing of the past? We see many people thriving in their careers and we can’t help but wonder, “What’s their recipe for success?” Is it grit, optimism, resilience, or sheer luck? Max Borges is the Founder of the Max Borges Agency, a 50-person PR firm that focuses exclusively on consumer tech clients. Collecting wisdom and motivational insights from his growth journey, he compiled his learnings and wrote a book called How to Be Fan-F*cking-Tastic.

Some of the things that we discussed were the role of luck in this world, building resilience habits, and Max’s own journey from starting his agency on a laptop at his kitchen table to generating more than $10 million in annual revenue, how optimism propelled Max to rise through countless opportunities and achieve success, as well as the positive effects of working from home. Sit back and enjoy this episode of my conversation with Max Borges.

I am in this moment feeling peaceful, appreciative of that peace. It’s a hard-fought peace. At times, it’s an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms, but peace is something that I don’t think is, for me anyway, it’s not negotiable. There are so many things that take me out of my peace in my own life, in my own way of living, my own way of being, first and foremost. There’s all that shit on the outside, in the world, politics, and other things that we’re craving like social justice and other forms of equity, fairness, etc. In the midst of some of those struggles, I find myself angry at times. I’ve been even, in the last couple of months, noticing the level of my own anger rising at times.

I did something about that in the last couple of weeks. I went away on a retreat. I was lucky enough to get to go to Costa Rica twice a year. I didn’t go twice in 2020 for obvious reasons, but did get to go safely. I made it there and made it back all well and good to a retreat center where, among other things, I get to work with people individually on finding greater self-love and peace and get to be facilitated by expert shaman in Ayahuasca journeys and ceremonies that we do in the evenings, which is a whole other topic for another day and another show. Although who knows, maybe my guest and I’ll riff on that.

I feel fortunate to have come back from that experience much more grounded. I haven’t felt angry in a while. That’s probably good. Mission accomplished. I feel blessed to be able to spend some time with a gentleman that I’m going to share with all of you. His name is Max Borges. I’ll tell you a little bit about him.

He’s the author of How to Be Fan-F*cking-Tastic. Killer book, a collection of wisdom, motivational quotes, statements, and insights from his journey of growing his namesake agency from a laptop on his kitchen table to $10 million in annual revenue. His optimism and positive attitude have led him to countless opportunities, both personal and professional, which have resulted in more success than he ever dreamed possible. It’s a wonderful opportunity to chat with you, Max. I’m so glad you could join us and be a part of the show.

It’s a pleasure to be here. What a great intro. I resonate with a lot of the things that you were saying. You brought up Ayahuasca, and that’s something that is on my list of things to try. I’ve got a good friend that’s done it about five times and it’s changed him. I’m open to it. Thank you again for that wonderful introduction.

Max, my first question to you is, what’s not a part of the introduction that I did share that you would love for people to know about you? What’s one thing in particular that you want our folks to know about you?

Probably that it wasn’t always easy. My life’s been full of a lot of ups and downs and I’ve had to nail a lot of times to learn what I needed to know to finally reach the level of success that I always dreamed of.

It is a backing and filling process. no straight lines in the cosmos. I’d love to dig into the book. For example, what was the inspiration for writing a book called How to Be Fan-F*cking-Tastic? By the way, I love this what’s probably a bit of a subtitle. It says 100+ Pages of Practical Advice on How to Stop Sucking at Life and Start Being Fan-F*cking-Tastic. It’s funny too because right before we started the show, you asked me whether it was okay to use expletives in the show. I said, “Yes. We’re rated for that.” No kids, as far as I know, are consuming this.

PR 304 | Optimism

How To Be Fan-f*cking-tastic!: 100+ Pages Of Practical Advice On How To Stop Sucking At Life And Start Being Fan-f*cking-tastic!

Over my lifetime, I’ve had so many great mentors and people who have helped me throughout my life and given me this great advice. I always wanted to write a book. I started one night making a list of these great quotes that came to my mind, put them in a book form, and showed them to a friend. At this point, I had maybe twenty. He thought it was great. I showed a few more friends and I got some great feedback and I thought, “Maybe I could turn this into a book.”

Over the next year and a half, I started developing more and more quotes based on experiences that I was developing, recollecting, and remembering these quotes that are part of my principles and my values, and the way that I think, do business and conduct my life. I came up with over 100 of them and put them into a book. The feedback has been incredible. People are buying it. They’re turning around and they’re buying it for their kids, not for their little kids, but for their teenagers and their college-age kids. It’s been rewarding to hear that positive feedback.

I can see that this is a great gift for somebody. When did the book officially launch?

It was a few months ago. I don’t remember the exact date, to be honest with you.

So far, sales are pretty good and strong.

Sales have been good, surprisingly, because I haven’t done a whole lot of promotion for it, and yet people seem to be discovering it and liking it and word of mouth is causing it to sell.

This is maybe a little bit of a cheesy question or at least a question that might be tough to answer, but is there a particular quote in the book that is your own personal favorite? Maybe there’s 1 or 2 that you might unpack for us. The other thing, the alternative to that, while I give you a moment to think because I dropped that on you would be I can randomly turn to 1 page or 2 and we can discuss a couple of these. I don’t normally do that with guests, but I feel like this book is tight. There’s some great language and concepts in here. The strength is in the simplicity. However, like all great things that are simple, there’s also a lot deeper level that you can go to with it.

There’s a backstory on every one of the quotes. They’re all my children, but one of my favorites is, “It ain’t rocket science. Even rocket science ain’t rocket science.” Subline is, “Ask Elon.” What I mean by that is that I always used to take this attitude that everything is not rocket science. You can learn how to do it. You can open up a book. You can ask some experts, some friends. You can figure out about everything.

It ain't rocket science, even rocket science, ain't rocket science. Ask Elon. Share on X

You can go on YouTube.

The only thing you can’t do that with is rocket science. Elon Musk comes along who did not go to school to be a rocket scientist, reads a bunch of books, talks with a bunch of experts, and has a rocket company. Now even rocket science isn’t rocket science. It’s an inspiring quote for people to remember that things are not as hard as they look. If you take that first step forward and start learning and educating yourself, you’ll find that you probably can do things that you never thought of.

It would be challenging for me even if I knew all the quotes by heart to tell you which one is my favorite. There are so many. I’ll read a couple of them. “Smile. It pisses your enemies off.” That’s probably the New Yorker in me, that little sadistic there.

I like that one too. Sometimes people want to get you down and see you down. Somehow, they pick themselves up by seeing you down. Don’t let them do it. Keep your head up and keep smiling because even though not everybody’s going to be on your side, you’ve got to be on your side.

“If, at first, you don’t succeed,” then it says at the bottom, “Google it.”

This is a message that comes through in a few of the quotes in the book. “It’s not about knowing everything. It’s about being able to find the answers, being able to find them in real-time, and being able to find them fast.” Another one of the quotes is, “Life is an open book test, and it’s the same thinking.” We go through school being taught to learn and memorize things, and then we’re going to be tested on what we know.

Life isn’t like that. Life’s an open-book test. If you’re challenged with something, you normally get time to go and look up the answer, to read a book, to ask some experts, to surround yourself with your mastermind alliance who you can reach out to and get some input from on how to do things better. It’s about being able to learn, being able to find the answers, and not necessarily knowing the answers.

To me, the two words that come up are resourced and resourceful. A lot of people don’t utilize either of those. They feel they’re under-resourced because perhaps they don’t have the money that they think they need to succeed in something. The fact of the matter is that there’s the resource of education, mentorship, and other people’s experience, so many things that you can learn from in that regard are priceless. Some of the best lessons in life cost a lot of money. To be able to learn some of those lessons without having to put up that money is valuable. People don’t ask questions where they feel as though, in some way or another, asking a question indicates they’re dumb, they’re not educated, or they should know.

There’s all this ego involved in why someone won’t walk up to somebody that’s doing well that they respect and simply ask them some basic questions about how it is that they were able to get to where they are or what have you and then being less than resourceful. There are resources that people might not feel they have. There’s this concept of, “How resourceful are you in the midst of a pandemic?” There were more opportunities and more ways to thrive in the midst of chaos, uncertainty, and adversity this 2023 than I’ve ever seen before. The proof is in the pudding in so many different respects. If you weren’t resourceful, then you’re watching the carnage.

I strongly believe that everybody’s lucky, but some people are better at turning that luck into something great than others. Some people are going to let those lucky events pass them by because they’re not optimistic enough or positive enough to go, “This is something interesting. Let me try this out. Let me go down this road a little bit and see where this might lead.” Successful people see those opportunities and realize, “This is a detour.” You can’t get too stuck on the path that you’ve set for yourself, for your life that you’re not going to be open to these great opportunities that life gives you almost every single day. You’ve got to take advantage of and get what Jim Collins calls a return on luck. You’ve got to capitalize.

Where opportunity and preparation meet is the crossroads called luck.

Where opportunity and optimism meet.

I love this too. “Spend some time each day doing nothing at all. It is during this time that the best ideas will come.” Schedule a time to think or to do nothing. It’s a profound ritual that I was introduced two years ago.

We used to do it a lot more before the iPhone. Now, we’ve got something to fill up every moment that maybe you might have been thinking and coming up with a good idea or a solution to some problem. You’re in the elevator. What are you doing? You’re staring at your phone. You’re on the toilet. You’re staring at your phone. Now the only time that maybe we’re not doing anything is in the shower. That’s usually not long enough to allow you to get some great ideas. You’re on your phone until you go to bed. You’re on the phone the moment you wake up. You’re listening to a podcast on the way to work. You need some dead time to let your mind go and think through all of the challenges and opportunities that are before you so that you can come up with ideas and solutions.

I love that idea. “You need dead time to come alive.”

Meditation is important but I’m not talking about meditation because meditation isn’t about thinking. It’s going out and taking a walk. If you’re a runner, not running with music, not running while listening to a podcast. Let yourself think. Let your mind go.

Randi, my wife, and I have been doing such great thinking together, ideating about things in the hot tub, and that’s a place we don’t take our phones. It’s interesting. Where can you be phone-free on some level? My recommendation would be, we don’t take it into the bathroom. You’re right. Lots of people are doing lots of tweeting at the highest levels or at least they used to be.

My agency did a study in 2022 on Millennials’ Amazon buying habits and found that 30%-some Millennials had purchased something on Amazon while sitting on the toilet. We’re using our phones too much and need to schedule that dead time. If you don’t schedule the dead time, it doesn’t happen by itself anymore. It doesn’t happen organically anymore.

That’s the law of the cosmos anyway that a vacuum is always filled. There’s always a rush to fill a space. We know space is creative, so how it is that you organize space, organize the opportunity, and even quarantine. If we can use that word a little differently, we quarantine ourselves for space, for the creative ability or opportunity that exists in that space. I’ve got a book that’s coming out myself called Change Proof, which is all about leveraging the power of uncertainty to build long-term resilience. It’s a book about resilience, which I want to talk to you about. I already know what the book after that is now, which is a book about imagination. You’re in a creative business. You’re in the marketing space. You own an agency.

It’s a PR agency, but I imagine you do marketing as well, or some element of it. I’m curious what your thoughts are on imagination, and maybe that’s a broad question. I’m looking at imagination as a way to guide us, to look at the future as a guide for the present as opposed to, and here’s my premise, looking at the past. It is conventional to think that our past experiences teach us and give us this wisdom to be able to know how to Pivot. I’m throwing in another book title for the moment at the moment.

My theory is that we’re always going to be as adept and agile and able to deal with disruption in the present as our past has allowed us to form some wisdom to operate now. The thing that we’re not prepared for is this unknown future. I think about the unknown future. I think about the people who were able to iterate things in the space where the past wasn’t going to inform them like Walt Disney, people who were known for that imagination, imagineering, and visioneering. I’m curious about your thoughts on imagination and how much you use it in your business.

I’ve used it a lot in building my business, not just for my clients, but thinking about my business in an imaginative way. One of the things that I’ve observed over the years is that first of all, people are not afraid of failure. They’re afraid of looking stupid in front of other people. They’re afraid of being humiliated. When it comes to being imaginative and coming out with some crazy idea, and by the way, every great idea starts as a crazy idea. You’ve got to be willing to humiliate yourself a little bit, put on the clown nose, and be laughed at if you’re going to be truly creative. Otherwise, you’re going to limit yourself to only the stuff that’s safe to say without humiliation. That’s not where the great ideas come from.

PR 304 | Optimism

Optimism: Every great idea starts as a crazy idea. You have got to be willing to humiliate yourself a little bit, put on the clown nose, and be laughed at if you’re going to be truly creative.

 

If you look at, for example, Uber, Uber was a terrible idea. Let’s think about it when it first started. You’re going to have a stranger pick you up in their car. Two strangers driving together in their car. How is that a good idea? That’s a terrible idea. When I first heard of Uber, I thought, “That’s weird. I don’t want to get inside in some stranger’s car.”

When you think it through, when you allow yourself to have that crazy idea and go, “How could this work? What if there was an app? What if all the drivers were rated? What if all of the passengers were rated? What if you could see exactly where your driver was on the way to come get you? What if you could share your location with other people so they always know where you are? What if you could see where your kids are if they’re in an Uber driving somewhere so you can follow them at all times? How does that make it different?” Suddenly, Uber becomes a brilliant idea.

It’s the same thing with Airbnb. You’re going to let some strangers sleep on your sofa. Terrible idea. When you think it through and you think about how the app assists that idea and makes it better, then it turns into a brilliant idea. You’ve got to be willing to think of these crazy stupid ideas and think, “How can I make them not so crazy and not so stupid?” If you don’t allow yourself to live in that crazy place in your mind and share those ideas with friends and people who you trust in a constructive way, then you’re never going to get to that place where you’ve come up with something imaginative and unique.

There’s an old expression, you’ve probably heard it before, about the concept of thinking outside the box. However, the problem with thinking outside the box is that the instructions for how to get out of the box are outside of the box.

That’s great. I’ve never heard that before.

It’s wonderful. I’m glad. That’s cool because this stripping away whatever the walls are, the walls that hem us in. It’s a big deal. In our work, we train speakers and people who want to speak professionally and those who want to get on a TED stage with an idea. One of the big things that is a challenge to so many folks is not the fear of public speaking. It’s the fear of public humiliation. That’s at the root of why somebody won’t go there, even though they have this desire to share something. The risk of being humiliated is so intense.

A lot of times, we can have somebody in our life, whether it be a spouse, a parent, or a close friend that we think of in that situation. That makes us feel uncomfortable because we think, “What if this person who means so much to me whose opinion I value so much watches me and I don’t think they’re going to like it?” That can bring you down. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself. One of the quotes in the book too, is, “If your friends don’t make you better, then get new friends.”

Someone said, “You’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” It’s critically important that you surround yourself with the right people who are going to support your crazy and imaginative thinking and support you when you’re trying to do something that maybe you’re not that great at yet, but you’re giving it a try so that you can develop, grow, and have that support system that you need to be the best you can be.

It's critically important that you surround yourself with the right people who are going to support your crazy and imaginative thinking. Share on X

It’s not easy. I love this quote from the book. It says, “If being fan-f*cking-tastic was easy, everybody, we’d be fan-f*cking-tastic.” It’s funny because, on the other side of the other page, some people would rather sleep than be successful. There’s this understanding that things that are simple are not always easy. A lot of what we’re talking about is simple. We make it complicated. That’s what we do as human beings. We complicate things. In part, I don’t know if you agree with this or not, let me know that we complicate things to make it easy for ourselves to not do something.

That happens all the time. The most important thing when thinking about any idea or any endeavor, my friends will say, “I got this idea. I got that idea.” However, they never take the first step to research it. Taking the first step doesn’t mean making a commitment to quitting your job and starting a new business. It’s “Let me look at it and see if this is even feasible if this is even doable before I make a big commitment.”

The guy that started Netflix, before he started Netflix, wasn’t sure if you could even mail a DVD in a regular envelope through the mail without it being broken. He had no idea but he didn’t go, “I don’t know if that’s the case, so I’m not going to start.” He went to the store. He bought three CDs. He stuck them in an envelope and mailed them to himself. A few days later, he got them. They were all in perfect condition. Step one, done.

It cost him a few bucks.

His business is born. It wasn’t a commitment. He didn’t say, “I’m going to start Netflix,” before he sent those CDs out. First, he sent them out, made sure that they weren’t going to break, make sure that the post office was going to do their job, and then he started it. Most people don’t send those CDs to themselves. It’s such an easy step to go, “Is this even a good idea or not? Why don’t I take a few steps to see if this is something doable?” They talked themselves out of it before they even knew if it was doable or not.

My dad used to send his manuscripts. He’s still plugging away at his writing at 84 years old. He’s into some 310 pages of his latest book and still not quite finished, but close. I remember as a kid, he’d take a manuscript and put it in a manila envelope and I’d see him write his own name on it and his own address, our address. I’d go, “Dad, what are you doing?” Isn’t that supposed to go to an agent, a publisher, or whoever it is? He’s like, “No, I’m sending it to myself. This is my copyright protection.”

They call it a poor man’s copyright. I love it.

That’s what you get as a recreation director for the city of New York on a $25,000-a-year salary. You do a poor man’s copyright.

I had friends who would do the same thing with cassette tapes of their songs. They would send them to themselves and that would be the copyright.

I was a lawyer for eighteen years. As a lawyer, that’s pretty good proof. It’s not bad proof. If I’m a judge and I see that some guys got that evidence of when this thing was created, it’s pretty good. It’s evidence of something. I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about resilience because you’ve been in business. You’ve been an entrepreneur. You started something from nothing, grew it, got 50-odd employees, or something like that. That doesn’t happen without a lot of pain, a lot of twists and turns, and, as you said earlier, mistakes and tolerating those mistakes, etc. First, I’d love to get your definition of resilience as well as what it is that you’ve done both as a business operator and owner to develop resilience for yourself and within your organization.

Resilience is the ability to do something new as if you’ve never failed before. I started my business when I was 34 years old. In the years leading up to my business, I tried starting lots of different businesses, starting when I was about 17 years old. Each time I started a new business, I felt like, “This is the one that’s going to make it. This one’s the one that’s going to do it and make my dreams come true.” It wouldn’t work out. I would find something else to do and try that out. “This one’s going to do it,” and it wouldn’t work out. I wouldn’t look back on those as failures. I always looked back on those as learning opportunities. I can look back at every failed business that I had prior to the one I have now and tell you what I learned from it because there are important lessons from every single one of them.

Resilience is the ability to do something new as if you've never failed before. Share on X

That’s critical in developing yourself to have a successful business. Some people, like Mark Zuckerberg, get lucky. Their first business was a huge success and they became a billionaire. That doesn’t happen for 99.999% of us. Most of us don’t become successful in a business as a teen or in our early twenties. It takes a few more trips and falls, and a few more failures before we have enough knowledge, experience, and confidence to finally make something work.

One of the quotes in the book is, “It’s never too late to do something great.” I mentioned a few people. For example, Ray Croc, who was a salesman before he met the McDonald’s brothers, then started licensing the McDonald’s brand and turned McDonald’s into what it is from one store to thousands of stores worldwide. He was 52 when he started on that. He was a salesman up until that point. There are so many stories of people like that, but the ones that make the news are the ones of people who are younger and don’t necessarily require as much resilience as those people who started businesses when they were older and needed to pick themselves off the ground quite a few more times.

Even in the success stories, the ones that have been perhaps younger and easier, there are certainly moments along that path that require, that call out a tremendous amount of resilience. The example of even Zuckerberg, I’m not going to defend Facebook here. I don’t have the best thoughts about that platform or even about him individually. To me, it’s not all as cracked up to be. It’s a soft landing when you get $40 billion or something to your name.

When you’re involved at the level that he’s involved in and have the mission that the company has and want to succeed on behalf of stakeholders and everything else, now you wake up in the morning, it’s a heavy load. It’s a heavy responsibility. You’ve got to be resilient because you can end up getting sick and dying at an early age. We all know that money doesn’t turn that around. Time is equal as it meets out in the same way for everybody. Money doesn’t alter that eventuality.

Resilience, to me, is not a soft skill. It’s one of the most important things that organizations can develop and the best is when the leader of that organization and the leaders are modeling it for people around them. I don’t know that we’re taught that. We’re lucky enough sometimes that parents or others in our lives show us what resilient habits look like. By that, I mean habits that help you to recharge.

The way we define resilience is not how you endure, but how you recharge. Not how you bounce back, but how you bounce forward. To do that, you got to do it holistically. It’s a mental recharge. It’s emotional, spiritual, and physical recharging. I’d love to get a sense of your organization if you are that person, and I don’t know if that’s the case or not, so you let us know. What do your rituals look like? How do you model these things for the people around you?

It’s interesting how you put it about, making an example and the organization can then become resilient. I can think back many years ago when we had a client. It was Alienware computers. We were a small company and they were a big client of ours. One day, they got bought out by Dell and they fired us. That amounted to almost half of our company’s revenue that I was about to lose in the next 30 days. At that moment, I had two employees who lost faith in the business and quit.

I had to stand there in front of everybody and say, “We’re going to come back from this. This is just a bump in the road. We can do this.” I was saying it, I don’t know if I believed it but I knew I had to keep everybody looking forward and being optimistic or we would never get there. That’s for sure. We did come back. That year, the business grew quite a bit even with that loss because everybody plowed forward and got to work looking for clients, looking for new business. We were able to grow the business. That was one example, and there are others where I showed that we can always come back from difficulty and that it’s a matter of responding to it, not with dread and fear, but with optimism and action. That’s exactly what we did.

PR 304 | Optimism

Optimism: We can always come back from difficulties. It’s a matter of responding to it not with dread and fear but with optimism and action.

 

Now, I’ve got a management team that runs the business. I’m not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business anymore. They do a phenomenal job of showing resilience even as a team and dealing with whatever challenges they are. We had a challenge when they announced that they were going to be doing the lockdown and we had to go from everybody working in the office to everybody working from home overnight. My team did a spectacular job of getting everybody online and working from home quickly. Hours, not days. We came back from that.

Now we’re in a situation where the business is doing better than we were doing before the pandemic. People are doing better working from home than they were working from the office because we found better ways to do it. There were fewer interruptions than you’d normally have in the company and people could stay more focused, and get in the zone more. Resilience is something that’s baked into our DNA now. It can be learned not necessarily from a book, but if you experience it. If you’re part of a situation where somebody who’s leading you is resilient, you can learn what that feels like and then do it yourself.

The efficiencies that have been seen in a lot of businesses over the last years are remarkable because it’s the water cooler distractions. I remember when I was a lawyer constantly having a hard conversation with an adversary or I was writing a brief for an hour. I got to get up and walk and stretch my legs. I end up in my colleague’s office next door and we’re shooting the breeze for 45 minutes and you go, “Okay.” How useful that was for me to be able to get home for dinner on time to see my kids, but those distractions are going. I want to circle back to something you said too, because when it comes to being a resilient leader, which is something you can learn and it’s something that you model, modeling looks like what you said earlier.

I believe in you and I believe in this business. Like when you lost that client, there were a lot of people that were facing so many different kinds of losses. To be able to model for their teams that they believed in themselves, their talents, and their abilities, and they believed in the business. They believed that the model of the business itself is what people need to feel to be able to stick it out when things look dark.

They need to feel it. They need to hear it from their leader. They need to hear that you believe in them. That’s so important. A lot of times, people don’t hear that from their leadership enough. I’m a huge believer that people have way more potential than what they ever unlock. If I can help somebody through my example, words, and encouragement, unlock a little bit of their potential that they didn’t know they had, they’re going to be much more successful than otherwise.

One of the biggest joys of growing a business is having that opportunity to mentor, coach, and help people see that they can do a lot of things that they didn’t think they could do. That’s why I’ve got a lot of young people who didn’t have a lot of experience who took on a lot of responsibility early on because I knew they could do it. I knew they were smart enough to do it and they might not have thought of it in the beginning, but it didn’t take long for their confidence to go through the roof because they realized, “I can do this too.”

I’ve never tried to act like I was the smartest guy in the room at the expense of somebody else. I’ve always held people up on a pedestal and said, “You guys are the important people here in this company. You guys are the smart ones who make things happen with clients and other parts of the business.” That makes a huge difference and it’s critically important to do it. Otherwise, you’re not doing everything you can to help these people be the best people they can be.

One of the things I love most about what I get to do now is working with business leaders in a mentorship role. It’s tremendously fulfilling. It feels great. It’s always easier to help somebody else solve their problem than is to solve your own, to be perfectly blunt. I want to circle up the wagons here with one final question, and that is about the rituals that you’ve got and in particular one.

I gave a TED Talk some years ago about my one early morning waking ritual that changed so many things for me and still to this day, continues to change things on a regular basis. That is waking up, feeling grateful, and putting my feet on the floor. Instead of feeling the anxiety that I used to feel before I’d get going and get coffee in my veins and all that, I feel that gratitude, and I say, “I love my life.” Those four words come out of my mouth. Simple words, but not easy. That’s not easy to pull off all the time like your book says How to Be Fan-F*cking-Tastic. It’s, “How do you love your life?” That was the question I posed in my talk. That’s my waking ritual. What is your most important ritual, whether it’s at the beginning of the day or elsewhere?

It’s not at the beginning of the day. I tend to wake up always charged and ready to start the day and excited about what is ahead of me. The ritual that has served me is at the end of the day, making that one last call or doing that one last thing that maybe you’ve been procrastinating. I’m not involved in business development anymore, but before with my business, it was always about, “It’s quarter to 6:00. Who’s one more client prospect that I can call and see if I can get some more business?”

Do that one last thing that maybe you've been procrastinating. Share on X

I can’t tell you how many times that one last call got me a piece of business or got something accomplished that was important and special. That’s something I picked up from a book or some other sales motivational speaker and something that I’ve always done and I always try to do. To this day, I’ll look at something, and I go, “It’s almost time for me to go. What’s one last thing I can do so that I can feel good about what I’ve accomplished?”

Max, I’ve so enjoyed our conversation. I knew I would. As soon as you sent me this book, I go, “This guy’s got the simpatico attitude. I can’t wait to meet him.” This has been a tremendous pleasure. I know our folks have loved it. I’d love to get your comments. As always, you can go to AdamMarkel.com/podcast to leave a comment for myself, questions for me, for Max, and we’ll answer those personally. As always, subscribe. Tell a friend. If somebody you know is in business and struggling or is in between maybe in a transition phase and you think they would enjoy learning some of the wisdom, some of the experience that Max has shared, please feel free to share this episode with them as well. Again, thanks Max for being a part of the show.

Thank you, Adam. The pleasure is all mine. I appreciate it. This has been a fun talk.

 

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About Max Borges

PR 304 | OptimismMax Borges is an entrepreneur who in 2002 founded the Max Borges Agency, which is now the leading Consumer Tech-focused public relations agency in the country with close to 50 employees. He did this by studying the habits of business icons. He has also written a book called How to be Fan-fucking-tastic.