One of my favorite parts of today’s world is how easily accessible successful people are. They’re on social media, writing long-form posts and joining podcasts now more than ever.

Though it’s cool to see The Rock working out or Gary V giving a keynote anytime I want, I crave the principles that led to this success. The “behind the scenes” cut 10 years before they became an “overnight success”.

I was fortunate enough to get the scoop from Jason Feifer in a recent interview. Jason is the Editor-In-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine and hosts two podcasts: Pessimists Archive and Problem Solvers.

That’s nice, but I want to know more. Where was he 20 years ago and how did he land in this spot?

Jason told a great story.

About 20 years ago, Jason was working for a local newspaper in Western Massachusetts and had his heart set out to work for Boston Magazine. He quit his job, moved to Boston and asked for the job. He didn’t get it immediately but finally landed a gig there.

Once he got his shot, he created a mantra for himself: “I’m not fucking around.”

“I just needed something to keep me focused. I needed something to tell myself that there’s a reason I’m doing this. There’s a reason I’m taking risks. There’s a reason that I’m pushing myself. And it’s because I’m not fucking around. I’m not doing this stuff just to do it, I have a mission to create the best, most exciting career for myself and to push myself to things that I know I’m capable of doing.”

This is powerful but it isn’t new.

I’ve talked about Dr. Michael Gervais’ principle of having a personal philosophy under 25 words.

Daymond John says you should be able to define yourself in 2–5 words.

Charlie Jabaley literally created alter-egos for himself to become successful.

My most recent draft of a personal philosophy: Make bold decisions. Compete with passion and enthusiasm. Love and trust your team.

It’s a work in progress.

So, what’s your mantra? Your personal philosophy? Your clear, concise statement on why you’re doing what you’re doing?

Find it and use that to guide your path forward.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Originally published at


  • Tom Alaimo is a obsessed with helping others reach their full potential. He works in B2B sales and runs Millennial Momentum, a blog & podcast focused on millennial personal devleopment. When not writing or podcasting, you can find Tom playing tennis, running endurance races or reading a good book in San Francisco. For more info, check out