Improvements from Reading 29 Books in 6 Months

Unapplied Knowledge is No Knowledge at All

Erik Thoughts of a Mastermind 19 Comments


I’m failing. I set some goals at the beginning of the year, and I’m not on pace to reach them. I set a goal to read 75 books, and I haven’t even finished 1 in June. At the beginning of the year, we set out to build a great following and platform – we haven’t even reached 4,000 views in a month. I’m not crying or asking for your pity – I’m trying to make a point: The Mastermind Within is a blog where we will share our victories, and our losses.

In this post, I want to touch on a few things in this post that have been on my mind.


Frankly, I owe this to you – with all relationships, transparency and openness is crucial for growth. I love that I have been able to share all my victories with you, but I also need to share my losses, as these can be as much of a learning experience as victories.

April and May were unbelievably fun months. In April, I nearly bought a second house, and then was able to get out of the purchase agreement. In May, I started a business, we launched a Kickstarter, and have been growing followings on Twitter, Instagram and working towards sending off the first kombucha tea subscription boxes.

Now in June, it was my birthday last Thursday, I’m working on building out a website for our business’s second income stream, and I passed the Certified Food Manager exam this Tuesday.

Like I said, I want to share all of the victories and losses with you because that’s the only way our relationship will grow. Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling to prioritize you as my reader.

Incentives Influence Your Priorities

Why do people choose to do one thing and not another? What prevents a person from going for their goals? Life is all about incentives – give me a reason to do something, and I’ll do it. Over the past 2 weeks, I have had large incentives on the business front, and small incentives on the blog front.

On the Business Front

As mentioned briefly above, I’ve been working on launching our second income stream via Print on Demand (a post to come in the future), and an online shop for t-shirt designs.Β The website is not quite done, though I’ve spent 5-10 hours putting it together the site and integrating various other components (Plasso and Stripe for payments, working in Photoshop for pictures, etc.)

For the kombucha subscription kit income stream, we are working on getting hype through social media channels and various influencers. I spent about 15 hours getting the Certified Food Manager certification, and now am working with a commercial kitchen to reserve some space for us to package the food.

So far, we have brought in about $2500 in a month between the two businesses and I’m LOVING doing it. The incentives here are massive – I could build a fair amount of wealth in the next 1-2 years and I’m excited to help people enjoy kombucha tea and provide them with value from our t-shirts.

On the Blog Front

I love building things and I love grinding out the early stages of growing a brand and product. For the first 5 months of The Mastermind Within, I was putting in 40 hour weeks in addition to my 9 to 5 day job to write, promote, and build the site. We reached 100 subscribers in May, and have continued to grow in June. That being said, we have only posted 6 times in June and have fallen off.

What’s my point? The incentives haven’t necessarily been there. In January, I joined in on this project to build something special. It’s been a learning experience for me dealing with partners, the blog, and my readers and while I’m running out of steam, I’m recharging and looking to get back to it.

Unapplied Knowledge is No Knowledge at Allunapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all

Stephen R. Covey says it best: “Unapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all.” I could read 1,000 books, and none of it would matter if I didn’t take action. I could attend 50 seminars, but it would be a waste of time if I didn’t do anything with my enthusiasm.

How many people do you know who claim to be experts in some fashion or another? The supposed health guru who is 50 pounds overweight? The personal finance expert who has 10’s of thousands of credit card debt and spends more than they make? I’m sure we have all encountered the person giving our relationship advice when their relationships are a struggle.

I’m not going to be like these people – or should I label them? Imposters? Wannabes? I’m not going to be an imposter or wannabe. I’m applying my knowledge finally – I’ve read 5-10 books this year on business and self-development – and now I have a business registered with the state and collecting orders. Growth occurs outside the comfort zone and I’m going to continue to push into the “Non-comfort” zone.

Also, as I touched on above, transparency and openness key in all relationships. I’m looking forward to providing you with updates into my life and adventures. It’s written in The Mastermind Within Mission Statement:

The Mastermind Within hopes to build a collaborative community where ideas can flow openly, and readers can build knowledge and experience amazing personal growth.

Like it’s written above: a community where ideas can flow OPENLY – that’s the goal.

Being Authentic and Real

Henry told me something powerful I’ve been looking to apply in my life recently: being authentic in what I do, or in other words, being MYSELF. Who am I? I’m a grinder – I work each and every day towards my goals. I’m a problem solver – if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get it somehow. I’m realistic – not many people can be consistent every day, and I look to forgive and understand those who may be struggling.

Going forward, I’m going to keep grinding towards my goals. I received lots of positive feedback from my birthday post, and I appreciate every comment I get on here. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, and it’s our job to take them in stride and keep on the path to excellence.


2017 has been an amazing year and I’m very glad I’ve been able to share my journey with you. I ask for your patience as I deal with some things here in June, and I’m excited to get back to writing since it’s become a passion of mine. Again, thank you for being a supporter and reader of The Mastermind Within, and I look forward to our interactions in the future.

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Comments 19

  1. I think it’s very important to re-evaluate your goals often and to be honest with yourself. It sounds like your effort is being pulled in 5 different directions at this point, and I think some burnout is natural. I was burned out toward the end of March and April due to the 70+ hours/week grind we CPA’s call Tax Season. I had stopped writing for our blog and ghosted our social media for about 3 weeks straight. Our traffic and activity are finally recovering after about a month of focused effort. I doubt anyone will call you out for being honest and transparent, and a mid-year goal re-forecast may be in order. Hang in there!

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      Thanks Ryan, I really appreciate the support. Yeah you are right, there are about 5 different projects I’m thinking about, and it’s definitely been an interesting time!

      I dated a CPA a few years back and she had a horrible time with the first 6 weeks of the year (she had a year end audit due March 31st). Times like these are tough but we need to push through!!

      Have a good one.

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  2. Erik,
    From the time I’ve know you, Henry, and Jake you’ve always struck me as a driven person. I commend you on creating a community that shares in tue victories and successes of your blog. It’s a testament to those who are looking for a deeper and more measurable way of viewing success, and what it takes to get there. I appreciate e your vulnerability as I have worked with executives who have yet to learn this lesson in life, and yet here you are, keeping your self accountable to you and your community as you acknowledge your humanity.

    All the best my friend,

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      Hey Kyle, I really appreciate your kind words and support. I’m very pleased with my growth as a man and as a friend to those around me.

      I’m sure there’s a word or concept for it (but I’ll leave it to you as the psychology guy to help me), to you point on the executives, some people don’t want to feel like they are inadequate or uncomfortable because that goes against their fixed mindset – which I’m trying to understand more.

      Looking forward to hanging out with you in the future! BBQ next Saturday!!!


  3. Thanks for the transparency. Priorities shift, life happens, it happens to all of us. I’m periodically reevaluating my goals, state of my blog, etc. All good things. I believe it shows you care, want to produce great quality. Nothing wrong with that! Good luck Erik.

  4. I feel you on dealing with people on a fixed mindset. I now get training on how to deal with it as it’s a large piece of my job. I would be more than happy to share those insights, lessons, and practices with you as I think they would think they would be a great fit for your business.

    Also, I will try to make the bbq. I think I might be out of town, but I will let you know.

  5. “Incentives influence your priorities” – nailed it!
    It sounds like you’ve got A LOT going on, and burnout seems inevitable. I think it’s completely normal, and healthy, too.

    I spend the majority of my day working on my blog and when the page views don’t reflect my efforts, I feel defeated. It’s sometimes difficult to find that incentive to keep going.

    Sometimes I have to walk away, turn off the computer and forget about the blog for a day or two. I always come back feeling rejuvenated with a new plan of attack.

    Thanks for your transparency in this post. You’ve got the drive. I look forward to seeing your results unfold!

  6. I totally understand Erik. Sometimes, I ask myself why do I blog and spend countless hours when I haven’t seen any money flowing in? With any business, you will have to grind and make a lot of sacrifices before you see any success. Keep on grinding, I believe that you can make it.

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  7. Thanks for sharing. I’m a grinder myself. It’s a chronic condition =) 80 hour work weeks is not uncommon for me. But we all have our seasons. I have down days too. And with a kid in the picture it’s been a bit tougher I gotta admit. Keep it up man, looks like you’re in the middle of multiple things. Sometimes that can lead to burn out.

  8. Sending you a virtual hug, a knowing nod, an understanding smile, and a deep appreciation for what you are going through.

    Hit the reset button, reprioritize your goals, find some balance, enjoy the victories, and keep on. Just be careful of your nose. πŸ™‚

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      Hey Amy, thanks for the comment – I’m definitely recharging and now getting back into the swing of things. It’s been a fun June but will have to refocus because we are making something great. Keep it up over on LZ, I’m enjoying your content πŸ™‚

  9. It sounds like time is at a premium for you between all of your ventures. Sounds like you are making money on a couple of your new ventures very quickly which is awesome. I love reading about the various ventures and hustles that you’re running. Can’t wait to follow along!!!

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  10. Hey man you just have to keep at it. Regarding the blog views thing – it’s pretty random. My traffic suddenly jumped to around 300 visitors a day (12k a month pageviews), and it’s held pretty steady. I’m getting around 4 email subscribers each day. Keep pluggin away πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks for the honesty. Sometimes you just have too much going and you burn out. Even if you weren’t working a full time job you would be busy. Throw in working 40+ hours a week and it is amazing you are getting so much done.

    For me I can only make good progress on one or two goals at a time. There are only so many hours in the day.

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