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  • Awkward Networker

3 New Habits for Success I Learned from Daymond John

Updated: May 25, 2019

Thanks to my friends at the Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, I had the incredible opportunity to meet Daymond John, founder of FUBU, host on Shark Tank, and author of a new book Rise & Grind.  I entered this experience not only a little star struck (let’s be honest), but also open to the possibility that Daymond could provide a few actionable tips for success.

I’m juggling a few things right now.  Raising a young family, running my own website, building my own brand, working for a large global consulting firm, and oh yeah… participating and leading multiple community organizations (gotta keep networking).  I love it all, but it’s getting… how do I put this gently?  NUTS!  It’s absolutely crazy.  I have ideas, visions, goals, initiatives, game plans, work plans, and above all… not enough time.  Luckily, during Daymond’s discussion and our brief time together after the event, I learned 3 habit changes that could greatly improve my success in life and career.

1.) No Phone For 1 Hour

What’s the first thing you do when you wake-up?  Be honest.  Before I brush my teeth, comb my hair, or sometimes even hug the kids, I open my phone and check my email and social media accounts.  It’s no secret that as a society we suffer from Nomophobia (yeah, apparently that’s a real term).  We’re addicted to our mobile devices, and no matter how often we vow to cutback, we only find more apps and uses than ever.  Try this: for the first hour of every morning, do not touch your phone.  Daymond cited 2 main reasons:

Emails are vehicles through which people drive their requests and agendas right into your brain.  Every email is almost always someone asking or telling you what to do.  Daymond challenges us to think of our inboxes as our defense and our outboxes as our offense.  By checking email when we awake, we begin each morning allowing others to dictate our priorities and actions for the rest of the day.

Our creativity?  Gone.

Our self-prioritization?  Cya.

We don’t have time to think about those things, because before we can wipe the crusties out of our eyes, we’re already worried about presentations, schedules, responses, and the demands of others.

Social media invokes a momentary interest (e.g. “Oh did he get another promotion? Man, he’s really going places!”), then washes over in a riptide of self-loathing and depression (e.g. “Ugh, is he even that much smarter than me?  I guess I have no skills and no one likes me.”).  It’s 6am!  It took longer to toast your morning Pop Tart than it took to completely obliterate your self-confidence.  Start your morning contemplating your strengths, your dreams, your skills, rather than your social-media comparative shortcomings.  Or as Daymond put it:

“Social media makes you feel shitty.”

That was a man worth $250 million acknowledging that social media can hurt your confidence… let that sink-in for perspective.

2.) Just One Touch

No, we’re not talking about my pathetic high school pick-up lines, a different kind of “one touch”.  As soon as a request or task finds your desk, get it done.

Boom, that’s it.


One Touch is Daymond’s belief that proper time management doesn’t live at the bottom of a to-do list or a series of “flagged” emails.  Of course, you should overlook low priority requests when managing a larger issue; but otherwise, touch it once and get it off your desk now.  Not later.  Success!

I struggle with this concept often.  Oh you don’t believe me?

Exhibit A:

If you need to get a hold of me, clearly your best bet is texting.  Great, now that all my “Type A” friends have passed-out from anxiety, let me talk to my fellow scatterbrains for a second.  This tip has already saved me A TON of time.  I still have a long way to go (approximately 38,000 emails worth), but step 1 is admitting you have a problem, right?  Say it with me.

My name is (First Name), and I’ll never “come back to that email later.”

Using Daymond’s One Touch approach has saved me from having that constant panic of suddenly remembering that email I never sent, that task I never started, or that call I never made.  One touch.  Here it is.  There it goes.  Next?

3.) You Are Your Hang

I’ve heard the advice before – Surround yourself with successful people and you will become successful.  According to Daymond, you should surround yourself with not only successful people, but also people who want you to be a success.  I can surround myself with all the rich people I can find, but if they don’t want me to be a part of their club, I may always be their charity case they invite to the occasional ball game.

Daymond’s lesson applies directly to networking events as well.  Are you putting the right people around you at networking events to be successful?

For instance, if the event is at a private club and you meet a club member, try to keep that person around for a little while.  That person will likely introduce you to other club members throughout the night, making your event more successful.

Another example – you’re at an event teeming with lawyers.  You know nothing about law.  You meet a lawyer, Michael.  Spend some time trying to find Michael’s soft spot, passion, or interest outside of technical law.  Maybe it’s family.  Maybe it’s college searches.  Maybe it’s sports.  Now that you’ve identified an easy non-law transition, hang with Michael as long as you can.  He will probably get into a conversation with another lawyer, at which point Michael should introduce you.  Let them talk law for 30-60 seconds, then flip the conversation back to the topic you know Michael enjoys and welcome the new person’s input.

You are your hang. If your hang is successful and wants you to be successful, then you should have no problem meeting new people… even as an Awkward Networker.

If you’re looking for more tips for on how to be a more successful grinder, then I highly suggest checking-out Daymond’s new book Rise & Grind.  Get it here:

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