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Sign up for the Honesty Experiment!

UPDATE: I’ve hit pause on the Honesty Experiment for the time being – for more posts on psychology, positivity, and happiness, check out KiraMNewman.com!

The Honesty Experiment is a 30-day self-improvement challenge. Want to be more honest with others? Want to learn something about yourself? Sign up, and you’ll get one practical tip every day to bring more honesty and self-awareness to your life.

Honesty Experiments we offer

  • General: Participants get daily tips on how to be more honest with themselves and others. See all past resultsSign up.
  • For couples: Participants get daily tips and questions for understanding each other, improving the relationship, and becoming closer. See all past resultsSign up.
  • For figuring out a career: Participants get daily tips and questions to learn about themselves, explore their options, and take action toward a career. See all past resultsSign up.
  • For entrepreneurs: Participants get daily tips and questions to understand themselves, identify weaknesses, and improve their business. See all past resultsSign up.

Week 4: The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs wraps up

The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs is a 30-day challenge to become a better entrepreneur. Participants get daily tips and questions to help them understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and apply these learnings to their business. Sign up!

In week 4, participants focused on taking everything they learned so far and putting it into practice. Here’s what happened.

Chris Barrett

Chris BarrettWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this month? The biggest thing I learned this month is to only take on what I can handle. In the past three years since launching PRserve, I find myself constantly wanting to handle everything that goes into each client launch and campaign. Most PR agencies like to over-promise in order to sign clients on monthly retainer, but, by the end of each month, they’ve under-delivered, because public relations is not easy and the field is always changing.

This month, I made sure to keep my clients’ PR expectations in line. If a potential client wasn’t a fit for a certain media outlet, then I let the client know we weren’t going to pitch them.

I’ve also made it policy to inform potential clients during their initial phone calls that there are never any guarantees with public relations; you could have the best product in the world but, if a reporter is busy or wrote about a similar company recently, then those circumstances are out of our hands.

Martin

What’s the biggest thing you learned this month? Working out goals in a team, even if only one person works on it, is more effective.

Week 3: The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs

The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs is a 30-day challenge to become a better entrepreneur. Participants get daily tips and questions to help them understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and apply these learnings to their business. Sign up!

In week 3, participants focused on identifying areas for improvement as an entrepreneur and in their business. Here’s what they discovered.

John Michael Hydo

John Michael HydoWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? When faced with hard decisions, put one foot in front of the other…Trust God and keep feet moving. You’ll be surprised how things work out.

What’s the most surprising insight you gained this week? I remember with a smile on my face, that every little thing is gonna be alright.

What actions could you take around your business? Is there a difference between “personal” and how I conduct “business”? Nope.

Martin

What’s the biggest thing you learned this week? Breaking up the week’s goal into daily tasks helped identify where I waste time on things not relevant for the goal.

What actions could you take personally? Try to be more focused on the short-term goals.

Week 2: The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs

The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs is a 30-day challenge to become a better entrepreneur. Participants get daily tips and questions to help them understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and apply these learnings to their business. Sign up!

In week 2, the entrepreneurs focused on understanding their assets as an entrepreneur and in their business. Here’s what they discovered.

Chris Barrett

Chris BarrettWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? The biggest thing I learned this week is how critical it is to take one thing at a time. I have a number of clients who are tackling lots of amazing things at once. But instead of spreading our energy over every media goal, I’ve found the best way to build success is to devote all our attention to one goal, accomplish it, and then keep the momentum going by devoting 100% to the next task. This approach really helps keep both my team and my clients focused. I like to set short-term goals for myself and my clients and, only when we’ve met one goal, do we move onto the next. I’m honest with clients: we will have the most success if my team focuses on one goal at a time.

Jose Mejia

Jose MejiaWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? This week I learned that I should feel more confident than I do about my livelihood and chances at success. Taking stock of the assets I have at hand to take the steering wheel and drive my career was a helpful exercise that gave me a much better perspective on what I’m capable of accomplishing.

What’s the most surprising insight you gained this week? I was mostly surprised by the reach of my network. Sure, I’m one of those people – like many – that “knows a lot of people.” I took the time to sketch/map that out a bit and was pretty shocked by the reach.

What actions could you take personally? Definitely going to focus on owning my confidence and being more consistently confident about what I’m doing. It’s easy to feel like everything you’re doing is pointless, even when you’re doing well. I feel like I’m better equipped to deal with those feelings now.

What actions could you take around your business? Nothing in particular besides ensuring to keep up with my existing habits and new systems.

John Hydo

John Michael HydoWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? Saw a picture of my wife and I and we were standing in a river in Hawaii. The actual photo was a picture of our feet in the water. That picture reminds me to remember where my feet are. My feet are not in the past nor are they in the future. My feet are here, right now. Enjoy the moments.

What’s the most surprising insight you gained this week? Firing people is hard. It’s never been easy for me.

What actions could you take personally? Keep feet moving.

What actions could you take around your business? Fire quickly.

Week 1: The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs launches

The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs is a 30-day challenge to become a better entrepreneur. Participants get daily tips and questions to help them understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and apply these learnings to their business. Sign up!

In week 1, the entrepreneurs focused on understanding their motivations and goals for starting a business. Here’s what they discovered.

Chris Barrett

Chris BarrettWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? I’ve spent the past two years taking new client calls every day of the workweek. Sometimes, I’ll talk with prospective startups and CEOs, each with their own unique set of circumstances and extremely specific media needs, for three or four hours straight. Staying on my toes and honing in on so many clients back-to-back (I substitute a lot of meals with Starbucks) can be thoroughly exhausting. I realized, recently, that my desire to fit as many calls in as possible was running my energy into the ground. In the short term, I was getting a lot done, but in the long term I was sacrificing quality (and sanity) for quantity.

So, last Friday, I decided to shake things up a bit. I took an office field trip down to Vocus’s HQ in Beltsville, Maryland, so I could give a talk on the innovative ways I’ve been integrating Google Glass technology with work and life. The day away from the daily grind was so invigorating and restorative that I was exponentially much more successful, come Monday – even though I’d spent an entire workday out of the office and off the phone. The experiment was so successful that I’ve now officially blocked my Fridays off from taking calls for the rest of October. It’s quite possible that “No Call Friday” will become a permanent part of PRserve.

Jose Mejia

Jose MejiaWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? Nothing I didn’t know already; just helped to sharpen my focus on what matters to me during this period.

What actions could you take personally? More clearly define the lifestyle I want to lead moving forward and set stricter boundaries.

What actions could you take around your business? More clearly define the goals I want to achieve moving forward and set stricter timelines.

Anything else you want to share? So far, it’s been good to get the things that are otherwise just floating around in my head out into words and sentences. It helps sharpen my focus on what I want out of life.

John Michael Hydo

John Michael HydoWhat’s the biggest thing you learned this week? My spirituality must become bigger than my problems.

What’s the most surprising insight you gained this week? It’s not.

What actions could you take personally? My action is to put my “me time” as a priority. Me time starts as soon as my knees hit the floor.

What actions could you take around your business? When “me time” is my first priority in the morning, my day usually goes a bit better and when issues arise, I am in a better state of mind to find solutions.

Martin

Anything  you want to share? Had a holiday week with family visit and little time to work, so no learning that’s worth sharing, other than that it is harder to get back into coding after a longer downtime (but I knew that already).

Meet the participants in the Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs

The Honesty Experiment for Entrepreneurs is a 30-day challenge to become a better entrepreneur. Participants get daily tips and questions to help them understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and apply these learnings to their business. Sign up!

Entrepreneurs are constantly trying to get inside the minds of their customers, but do they know their own minds? If they understood themselves better, would their business improve? In the next 30 days, we’ll find out – follow us on Twitter to stay updated!

Danny Beckett Jr

Family is first and after that he’s all startups and business (San Francisco)

@dannybeckettjr

Danny Beckett Jr

Why participate? “Always searching to learn and grow myself.”

Chris Barrett

Founder of PRserve (Philadelphia)

@chrisbarrett

Chris Barrett

Why participate? “I always try to be as honest as possible, but I want to learn how I can even be more honest!”

Jose R. Mejia

Multi-disciplinary disciple of getting things done (New York City)

@JoseRMejia

Jose Mejia

Why participate? “Seems like a great way to craft a better version of myself.”

Brian

A touring and recording musician who runs an event production company called Mole Street (Philadelphia)

@molestreet

Why participate? “To keep building.”

Anna Lauren Farrell

A freelance entertainment producer in film, theatre, and digital/television commercial production (New York City)

@annalaurenf

Anna Lauren Farrell

Why participate? “I’m all about personal development in business and matters of the heart. If I can marry the two that’s a sweet spot. Successful people understand people. Understanding yourself is the first step in that process.”

John Michael Hydo

I’m one grateful dude (Los Angeles – Silicon Beach)

@JohnHydo

John Michael Hydo

Why participate? “Getting honest with myself, introspection, the hard questions, and ‘what the heck am I doing here’ are all core to who I am. I’d love to be part of an ‘experiment’ that explores who we are and why we do what we do. Honesty is a great tool that I use to uncover and discover God and the answers to those questions. Doing this experiment with others on the same life journey sounds fantastic.”

Paulissa Kipp

Creative BraveHeart and Curious Phoenix empowering truth prospectors to discover the gold within (Omaha, Nebraska)

@paulissaisms

Paulissa Kipp

Why participate? “As an entrepreneur, it is as important to be honest with yourself as it is to be honest with customers.”

David Brown

A young latino cofounder of Smart Money Entrepreneurs, an equity crowdfunding portal that protects investors through proprietary financial tracking tools (Yonkers, NY)

David Brown

@SmartMoneyDave

“I want to share my experience building a tech startup in NYC.”

Amber

Defined by three words: introvert, wife, mother (San Antonio)

@aleighsb

Why participate? “I would like to take an honest look at whether I’m cut out for being an entrepreneur.”

Martin

A software developer and currently cofounder in a startup (Beijing)

Why participate? “I want to find out if I am honest enough about my contribution to our startup.”

Week 4: The Honesty Experiment for Figuring Out a Career

The Honesty Experiment for Figuring Out a Career is a 30-day self-improvement challenge to kickstart your career search. You get daily tips and questions to help you learn about yourself, explore your options, and take action. Sign up!

Lisa

Lisa WoodsWhat have you accomplished this month? I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the things I do and do not want to do on the job. I was able to be honest with myself about what is important personally and professionally and what isn’t. I am starting to see the pathway to creating a stable yet fulfilling career. I gained some new insight and tools as well.

Write a list of reminders for yourself for your career search. Be open-minded in applying.
Try to find someone to connect with at the company.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Be open to the experience of rejection and where it can lead.
Everything happens for a reason.
Try to be more outgoing and not get down if I don’t hear back from companies.

How has your approach to finding a career changed? I am much more optimistic about finding a career now. I realized that I have the power to be picky to get what I feel I will need to be happy in a workplace. If I don’t like what I see or hear from a company, I can turn the opportunity down because there may be something better…as long as I have enough options. I am going to try to go about finding a job or career in different ways. I could volunteer with an organization I really want to work for and see how it goes before committing to a full-time position. That would help me get to know people and see what it’s like. I could also use tools other than email to get their attention.

What careers are you considering? I am considering getting more into marketing than advertising. Becoming a therapist has always been in the back of my mind so I could spend some more time exploring that career option. I also considered life coach as a career. Somehow, I would like all of this to lead to owning my own business.

What next steps will you take? Research other career options brainstormed during this experiment.
Apply for jobs and find someone at the company to reach out to.
Continue learning about companies and creating conversations and relationships

Jon F.

Jon FWhat have you accomplished this month? - I had a little girl born into our family that reminded me the importance of having a job in order to help provide for my family’s temporal needs.
– I completed my annual performance review which reinforced the fact that my current job position is not what I envision myself doing for a long time,  and it helped my supervisor know the same.
– I visited somebody in a field I was interested in and realized that, although certain aspects of their work intrigued me, their job would not have been anymore satisfying than my current position.

Write a list of reminders for yourself for your career search. Remember that my current job position does not define my career and so focus on seeking out opportunities outside of my regular job position to meet my career goals.

How has your approach to finding a career changed? My approach to finding a career has changed from looking through job openings to find the perfect job description, to looking for opportunities outside of my job that fulfill my perfect career description.

What careers are you considering? I am considering a career to design and build water and wastewater systems for small communities. Some job positions associated with this career include: pilot plant technician, water/wastewater treatment plant operator, applications engineer, consulting engineer, plumber, and certified well contractor.

What next steps will you take? Visit somebody who both designs and builds water and wastewater systems for small communities.

6 TED talks to inspire your career search

The six talks below will help inspire you to take action, face failure, and find your passion.

Passion

Larry Smith: “Why you will fail to have a great career” (TEDxUW)

In a passionate talk that borders on a performance, economics professor Larry Smith explains the three simple reasons why you will fail to have a great career. We come up with excuses, like we’re not lucky enough, smart enough, or weird enough. We settle for being interested in our jobs rather than passionate about them. And we decide that relationships are more important than career, effectively making our loved ones our “jailers.”

Smith is obviously passionate and weird himself, and I have a feeling he loves his job. If you want a jolt of inspiration, watch this video and learn the power of the little word “unless…”.

Steve Jobs: “How to live before you die” (Stanford University)  

Not technically a TED talk, this commencement speech was featured on the TED site around the time of Steve Jobs’s death. He tells three stories from his life, and draws three lessons – lessons that we’ve all heard before, but are somehow transformed when spoken by Jobs.

1. The winding pathways of your life only makes sense looking backwards, not forwards. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference,” he says.

2. Love keeps you going during the hard times. “Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did,” says Jobs, talking about being fired from Apple in the 80s.

3. Death gives us the motivation to truly live. Every morning, Jobs would look at himself in the mirror and think, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer was no too many days in a row, he knew something had to change. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish,” he urges the crowd.

Advice

Meg Jay: “Why 30 is not the new 20” (TED) 

Clinical psychologist Meg Jay encountered a troubling paradox. On one hand, researchers have found that your 20s are crucial: you are determining your lifetime earning potential, meeting the person who will probably be your future partner, finishing your brain growth and most of your transformative life experiences, and shaping your personality. Yet experts seem to trivialize the 20s: they have coined terms like “kidults” and claimed that 30 is the new 20.

Having counseled many 20-somethings through this rough time, Jay wants to quash once and for all the notion that the 20s don’t matter. She tells them three things:

  • Get identity capital: Do something that adds value to who you are.
  • Branch out of your social network: That’s where jobs and new opportunities will come from.
  • Choose your partners wisely: If not, you may end up at 29 and settling down with whomever you’re dating at the moment.

Click Your Fortune (TED Ed)

This isn’t a TED talk, but a series of vidoes created by TED Ed where professionals answer career-related questions submitted by the TED community.

It’s called “Click Your Fortune” because it’s interactive, “choose your own adventure” style. You watch one video with one question, then click on the question you’d like to hear answered next. The first episode features Jennifer Healey, research scientist at Intel; Nate Mook, founder of Localist and BetaNews; Gillian Martin Mahers, learning practitioner; and Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, head of GoThinkBig. They answer questions like these:

  • What job that doesn’t exist today do you think will be one of the world’s “top 10” jobs in 10 years?
  • What careers did you imagine for yourself when you were in grade school?
  • What skills are most important for people to have for jobs available in 10 years?


Failure

Michael Litt: “Why you have to fail to have a great career” (TEDxUW)

In response to Larry Smith’s talk, entrepreneur Michael Litt’s cleverly titled talk explains why failure is crucial to figuring out a career. Most of the video explains an epic failure he had with his unsuccessful company, Litt Energies.

Alain de Botton: “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success” (TEDGlobal)

Like a good philosopher, De Botton starts with a paradox: “It’s perhaps easier now than ever before to make a good living. It’s perhaps harder now than ever before to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety.”

He believes that societal views of success and failure are to blame: we judge each other based on our jobs, and our notions of meritocracy mean that people who fail probably deserve it. We have high expectations for our own careers, then envy people who do better than us.

The solution, for de Botton, is changing those views. We should judge people less quickly for their failures or mediocre careers, recognizing the role of chance and accidents. We should recognize that we can’t be successful in everything, and make sure the path we choose is our own rather than what’s expected of us. And we could use a little Shakespeare-style tragic art to make those who fail seem sympathetic, rather than ridiculing failure in the media.