Jason Pliml is the fearless leader of our LongerDays tribe. We recently interviewed him about his experiences as a software developer, business consultant, business owner, and dealing with life’s ups and downs.
The result? Some great advice we just can’t keep to ourselves!
Enjoy some wisdom, directly from the man in charge:
1. “If you are working at a business and want to eventually become an entrepreneur, use that job experience to train yourself. Approach everything from the mindset that you are the owner of this company.”
2. “It’s important to remember that when you are under stress, you tend to go to what you are comfortable with and that’s often not the most effective option.”
3. “In a services business, you get paid more for saying Yes. In a product business, you go broke by saying Yes.”
4. “Immediately after any transition, write down all the things you’ve learned – or still need to learn – about your strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, you will forget all those small lessons you’ve picked up along the way.”
5. “Telling people no actually builds credibility. It’s better – and more effective – than pushing something on people that they don’t need. You show that you actually care, instead of just getting paid.”
6. “There is black and white and a big area of gray in ethics. The minute you step a tiny bit into the gray, you really don’t know where you are in that gray. You always think you are in the light gray, but public perception is really what matters in that case. And you don’t know. I consciously avoid the gray and always stay in the white because then you always know where you stand.”
7. “Work is a big part of your daily life, so if you can learn skills, change, and grow personally at work, you get the benefit at home and in your personal life. You get the benefits in relationships, parenting, all of those things. I signed up for coach training thinking it would make me a better consultant. It actually made me a much better human and the work benefit was merely a bonus.”
8. “I’ve learned that you can have your own perspective, but you have to validate that perspective to make sure that it’s accurate. We all want to believe all the best things about ourselves, and sometimes you either have blind spots or simply don’t want to see the less flattering reality. I think that one of the better things I have learned is just accepting that I have blind spots, and I always will, and to not see that as failure, but rather as being human.”
9. “Some of the most wonderful and high integrity people, they work really hard and make $10, $12 an hour. The people with high billable rates have highly sought-after skill sets, but they are often very narrowly defined people. I don’t mean to broad brush – there are plenty of good people there too – but that does not define you as a human being at all. It’s actually misleading, and I wish our society didn’t place so much emphasis on what you earn defining how much you matter.”
10. “I value vulnerability and authenticity, seeing real people. It’s gotten to a place in my life where connection matters so much that everything else feels pointless.”
11. “I have to live without internal contradictions. I’m finally at a place now where my life is entirely consistent with my values. I don’t feel discord. It wasn’t until that feeling was gone that I realized it had always been there. I was always in some low-level discomfort — a feeling of how I’m living, how I’m acting, or what I’m saying wasn’t fully congruent with what I actually believed or felt. Facing it was scary until it wasn’t. It was scary until it became my normal. You couldn’t make me go back to being less than 40 years old. No amount of money, no amount of things… I’ve never been happier than when I turned 40 and beyond.”
12. “Be fearless in asking questions. You think it reflects on what you don’t know, but no one cares about that. Everyone assumes you don’t know stuff. If you don’t ask questions, they just assume you’re lying. If you ask questions, people will respect that you are willing to be part of the team, that you respect the person you are asking, and that you respect their knowledge.”
13. “I am most personally proud of just being able to be myself unapologetically, but also with an awareness of how I show up and how it affects the energy in a space. I used to think that I could quietly check out and I would disappear. I don’t. I check out and I disrupt a space. I unfairly take away energy from a space when I do that, and I strive to remain aware of my responsibility for how I show up.”
14. “Not making a choice between this or that is still a choice. An action is a choice, and you are responsible for it. I used to think I could dodge all kinds of responsibility by not actually choosing something. You end up with two things happening: choices choose you and then you lose control. I don’t like not having control. Also that really is BS that you’re not making a choice, because you are… You are choosing an action, you are choosing to wait, and you are choosing to not choose. And that is absolutely a choice!”
15. “You ultimately control the choice of how you feel about anything. How you feel about what someone says, about what someone does… No one can make you feel a certain way. You choose your reaction to everything. And sometimes you can give yourself permission to react negatively and emotionally, and you can choose differently – but it’s ultimately your choice. You can’t opt out of that choice. You can act like you are, but you really can’t. That was a lesson I really hated. I fought hard against that one until I finally accepted it. If your reaction is, ‘I don’t like that advice, I’m gonna dispute it,’ you can keep disputing it – but you are eventually going to find it to be true.”
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