Episode Date September 19, 2023
Featured Guest Tony Stubblebine
Featured Book "Once a Runner" by John L. Parker, Jr.

Episode Summary

Tony Stubblebine reading from John L. Parker, Jr.’s Once A Runner, and discussing strategies to motivate yourself to win without making excuses.

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The idea at the heart of my book, How to Begin, is that we unlock our greatness by working on the hard stuff. Now, when I wrote the first draft of that book …and I shared it with friends, the feedback I got was it was confusing and a deeply underwhelming mess. And so when I picked myself up off the floor and I picked through the rubble to see if there’s anything that could be rescued, the most precious thing was, in fact, that line, ‘We unlock our greatness by working on the hard stuff.’ But here’s the rub. What that is saying is this: how will you disrupt what’s comfortable for you now? How will you stir things up? How will you confuse and disappoint and anger some people around you? How will you make them and you nervous? …When you step up and you work on the hard stuff, you step forward into the unknown and to that ambiguity, you find something thrilling and important and daunting.

I first came across Tony Stubblebine because, back in the day, he started Coach Me, an early habit tracker app. He turned that app into a successful coaching business, in part by becoming one of the most successful writers on Medium, a platform devoted to publishing, writing about human stories and ideas. When the founding CEO of Medium wanted to step down, Tony welcomed the opportunity to step into that role, and grow Medium and widen its impact.

Tony Stubblebine reads two pages from Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. [reading begins at 21:41]

Hear us discuss:

  • The desire to create your own company. “A lot of entrepreneurs have a lack of trust. [A belief that] I cannot put my career in the hands of other people.” [7:00]
  • When you say yes to something, you’re saying no to other things. Tony talks about what that meant for him when he was called back to be the CEO of Medium. [10:00]
  • “People especially are like, well, we got to put a bunch of ideas out and let them compete, and the best ideas will win. I think what we found is the best ideas don’t win and the loudest ideas, the most toxic ideas, often are the ones that are winning.” [15:00]
  • Endurance athletes can experience expending all of their mental and physical resources; going to and tipping right over the edge of what is possible by observing and accepting what is happening rather than negotiating whether or not they can do it. There are benefits to this type of focus for everyone, and mental conditioning such as meditation can help you achieve them. [24:55]
  • “People always want a quick fix, but the most reliable fix is a massive amount of work.” Tony shares how increased calm and mental awareness can help you use what you know more effectively, even when you’re under great pressure. [34:16]
  • When you look beyond habits you find identity and belief which have a greater influence on the choices that you make. [41:40]
  • What can change for you when you think about your life in terms of a cognitive budget, and reducing the number of opportunities you have to make choices that aren’t aligned with your identity. [50:35]

Get access to full transcripts and past episodes at www.MBS.works/podcast

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Mentioned Episodes | Ep. 92: Dancing With Ambition: Eric Zimmer | Ep. 49: How To Survive Being Creative: Jessica Abel 

Tony Stubblebine on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter

John L. Parker, Jr. | Once a Runner

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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