TK Coleman, my coworker on the education team at Praxis, told his career journey story in two parts on the Isaac Morehouse podcast. It is worth a listen:
I’ve heard many parts of this story through working with TK, but I hadn’t heard the entire thing laid out. I immensely respected TK before listening to this, but hearing his early story just added to it further. Here are a few things from these shows that I find admirable:
- TK’s complete dedication to topics.
- How he unapologetically structures his life around his top priorities.
- How humble he is. He knows so much more than he lets on. The last time he stayed with Amanda and me, I assumed that he knew very little about cocktails because he didn’t drink and never hinted at knowing about cocktails when I talked about them. In this show I learned that he was a professional bartender for a while and dove into bartending with the same intensity that he dives into everything else. He is this way about everything. He knows so much, be he never flaunts it. He approaches everything as a learning opportunity and doesn’t let his current knowledge get in the way of learning something new. He told me that one of his pet peeves is that people prefer to talk instead of listen, so he tries his best to avoid that.
- He isn’t afraid to admit that he was scared and that stopped him from going to Hollywood at first. He always seems confident and fearless, so hearing this makes him seem more real. And even better.
Here are some of my takeaways from the two shows:
- It is okay to stick with a few things and do them seriously for a few years and then decide to move on to something else. Just don’t treat those two years as a half-hearted effort. Go all-in. You don’t need a grand life plan early in your career. When I think that the place I’m currently at in life is a huge deal, remember that there are multiple parts of TK’s story where he made something his life for two years, moved on, and now it barely comes up unless someone asks.
- Don’t celebrate or call your Mom until the check clears
- If your startup has a significant tech component, bring on a tech cofounder. Don’t rely on contractors for a core product.
- Never take money from someone unless you know they can lose it and be okay with it
- Never take money out of a place of desperation or powerlessness. Walk away.
- Doing something that you don’t need permission to do is the ultimate expression of power.
- When you are working for free or cheap, the expectations are low. It is easy to blow people away. When you get brought on full time, now all the things that were impressive before are expected.
- Leave things in a way that allows you to come back in the future.
- The best path forward is doing whatever you are doing now fully and with integrity.