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20 Harsh Truths at 47 I wish I knew at 27

Eric Partaker

Recently on LinkedIn, I shared a collection of “harsh truths” that I’ve learned over the years. I was surprised to see the post go viral with nearly 4 million views so far.

It seems many people have experienced the same harsh truths in their lives as well!

In case you missed it, please find the collection of truths below… and if you’re not yet following on LinkedIn you’ll find my profile here (I post several times per week on LinkedIn).

Harsh truths I know at 47 I wish knew at 27:

1) As a leader or manager, when something isn’t going to plan, the first step is to look into the mirror.

2) Business can be ruthless. Even if you play fair, don’t expect others to do the same.

3) Unlocking your full potential may alienate you. Not everyone will understand or support your drive.

4) “Resilience” isn’t good enough. You must go beyond “resilient”. You must become “antifragile”, whereby the more hits you take the stronger you become.

5) Your journey will be paved with failures, rejections, and heartbreaks. You’re either winning or learning.

6) Leadership isn’t about power, control, or status. It’s about serving others, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient.

7) The world is non-linear. 20% of your actions will create 80% of your results. 20% of the people in your life will lead to 80% of your opportunity. It’s your job to identify the 20%.

8) It’s just as important to decide who you will no longer spend time with, as it is who you will.

9) Your job isn’t to master everything. Your job is to correctly identify that which should be mastered – and then find the person who’s 10x better than you at doing it.

10) Amateurs believe that feeling generates action. Professionals flip the script and know that action generates feeling. Make a decision to “Turn Pro” and take action, whether you feel like it or not.

11) To unlock your full potential, you’ll have to face your own demons. It’s an inner journey as much as it’s an outer one.

12) Perfectionism is nothing more than procrastination in disguise. Practice deliberately “shipping before you’re ready”… that speech, that product, that plan, that presentation.

13) If you’re given 5 extra minutes on your deathbed you won’t use it to close another deal. You’ll hug your loved ones a little longer. You’ll tell them how much you love them. How much you care. Remember this, today.

14) Doing your best on the health and home fronts requires intentionality. Define what best looks like in each. And evidence it daily.

15) Relentless consistency and hard work are cornerstones of success. If you’re not where you’d like to be you’re probably not ticking both of those boxes.

16) Leadership includes making tough, unpopular decisions. It’s less about being liked and more about being genuinely respected.

17) Business isn’t about making money. It’s about creating value. When you focus on value, the money follows.

18) Great leaders listen more than they speak. They appreciate the value of understanding different perspectives.

19) You honestly have no clue what you are capable of. Your full potential is far beyond what you believe it to be. Don’t limit yourself.

20) As a leader you must role-model the behaviors you want to see. Don’t expect reliability if you’re unreliable yourself.

20 harsh truths I wish I knew 20 years ago. Truly take them in and you’ll live a better life.

That’s all from me and I hope you have a great week ahead!

Announcement: New Coaching Program

My Ultraproductive co-author and executive coach Dr. Christian Poensgen has created a new Sustainable Productivity Habits 1-on-1 coaching program. In the program, he helps you increase your productivity by between 100% and 900% – and make stress work for you instead of against you. Drawing from his PhD on stress and performance as well as research from Stanford University, McKinsey and others, Dr. Poensgen will help you develop rock-solid habits for focusing intensely, sleeping deeply, and dealing with stress like a pro, to name just a few.

The program starts in July and is limited to 15 seats, a few of which are still available. You can learn more about the program and get in touch with Dr. Poensgen here. And by putting “Eric” in the subject line, you’ll get 15% off.

Do you want to scale your business, become a better leader, and unlock your full potential?

Most business coaching focuses only on scaling the business. I do things differently. I help CEOs, founders, and leaders scale themselves, their leadership, and their businesses.

This is business coaching and mentoring from someone that has worked in the trenches, drawing from my time advising Fortune 50 CEOs at McKinsey, my experience helping build Skype’s multi-billion dollar success story, and my own entrepreneurial journeys – together with behavioral science from Stanford University.

Inquire about a complimentary coaching session here, so you can scale your company and become a better leader, while becoming all that you’re capable of being.


If you have a team or audience that I could help inspire and motivate, then please get in touch here.

Best wishes,

– Eric

Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.

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