The things you own don’t belong to you
Choose wisely, spend more easily, and get richer
Evgeny here. This is the fifth edition which means I’ve lasted that long. And I’d like to thank you for being a part of it. To celebrate this small anniversary let me share some insights and updates on my newsletter experiment:
Saturdays are now my days off. I spend them in a receiving mode: reading books and articles, listening to podcasts and interviews, watching movies, and talking to people. This is the day when I plant “seeds” and then wait for them to grow and turn into “fruits”. The rest of the week I spend processing the new information, waiting for insights, and jotting them down when they arise.
Write every day, no matter what. Even though I was busy with work and home errands the last two weeks, I tried to write every morning, both in Russian and English. Consistency is the key and the second point demonstrates how it converts into results.
From 84 to 155 subscribers in two months. My audience almost doubled since I published my first edition. I think it’s a great result because I didn’t make any collaborations with other writers.
My writing skills in English have drastically improved. And it’s only after two months of writing. I’m looking forward to sharing more about writing and leadership but also covering my life in Siberia, as it seems to be a terra incognita for the rest of the world.
Tell me why you’re here
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to help me make this newsletter a better place for you. Here are some questions I’d like to ask:
Why did you subscribe? What attracted your attention?
What do you like about “Russian Rules” and what do you not? Why?
What is missing? Is there anything you expected but didn’t get?
Anything else I should have known but didn’t ask.
Insight of the week. The things you own don’t belong to you
One of the biggest truths about life is that we don’t own most of the things we think belong to us. Sounds crazy, but keep reading, and you’ll get there.
The money in your bank account doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the bank. If tomorrow it goes bankrupt, you’ll have no money.
The lease car you’re driving doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to a leasing company.
The money you invested in stocks or real estate doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the company you’ve entrusted them to.
Neither cool things nor expensive toys you buy belong to you. They are simply tools that provide comfort for you and your family. But they don’t belong to you. They are not a part of you. Even the clothes you wear, and the food you eat don’t belong to you. Those are just things you buy with money.
Money is the biggest illusion of power and stability.
Politicians own your money, and they screw up every goddamn day. One poor decision of theirs and you have less money than you had last morning. Trying to be in control and believing you’re in control of the things you own is probably the biggest self-deception in the world. Don’t fall into this trap.
Your real possessions are the money you’ve already spent and the experiences and skills you’ve acquired with that money. Choose wisely, spend more easily, and get richer.
Leadership principle. Always be the last to speak
Good leaders are always the last to speak on a meeting. They let the other team members share ideas and feel appreciated for their opinions, and only then they make a decision.
Bad leaders never care for a another opinion. They’re too busy enjoying their power of a leadership. Team members with this type of leaders simply become indifferent to the decisions their leader makes. They end up feeling burned out and useless.
For leaders it’s important to see the whole picture, not just fragments of it. If a leader speaks first he or she doesn’t let team members have their say. Such a leader will never learn what real picture looks like!
Therefore, always be the last to speak.
Writing trick. Ten steps to writing a good follow-up email
Most people spend hours writing follow-up emails after meetings with their clients. They keep looking for the right words that will work. However, follow-up emails aren’t about the right words and metaphors. Speed and accuracy is all they require.
A follow-up email is easy to turn into a template and reduce the time of writing one to 20−30 minutes maximum. The meeting itself is where all the magic happens. Here’s a ready-to-go plan to nail follow-up emails, follow it and you’ll be able to build trust with your clients way faster than before:
Read up and prepare questions. The best meeting is the one you’ve planned in advance.
Group the questions you need to discuss into sections. For example, if you have to get a client’s feedback on your draft and discuss the next milestone, there’ll be two sections:
Suggestions & corrections to your draft from a client
Outcomes of the next milestone and tasks you need to solve on your way there
Show up on time, don’t make people wait for you. Even if you have a great credit, get on well, and work together for over a year.
Respect other people’s time if you want them to respect yours.
Remind participants why you’re having this meeting and draw a short plan of what’s going to happen next. For that, use sections, they actually are particular steps of your plan!
Ask questions, shut up and listen to the answers—that's the most important part. Your client has all the necessary information you need to solve your problem.
Let them talk, let them vent, don’t interrupt.
Ask additional questions to clarify anything you didn’t get or have doubts about. Don’t be timid, it won’t help you to do a good project. Ask anything you think may be useful for you to deliver a great outcome.
Make notes during the meeting. Write down only core ideas and thoughts. It shouldn’t be a word-by-word transcript.
Edit notes and turn them into a list of agreements, certain steps, and tasks with deadlines. Use sections (yes, again) to group notes in the same order you discussed at the meeting.
Send the list of agreements and the following steps to your client within one hour span after the meeting. Ask them if you got it right and offer to make suggestions to your notes if not.
I added this point to make the total number even.
A few more words about bias toward Siberians
There are many prejudices and myths about Siberia, and in my emails I am going to dispel some of them. What I hear most frequently is that people who have never been to Russia often imagine Siberia as a place without civilization, as if we live here in the woods, hunt bears, and shit in the streets.
It may surprise you, but Siberian people love comfort, and they’re probably one of the most demanding customers in the world.
In Tyumen, where I live, people love good food and inviting loft places where you can have some beer with a burger after work. Me and my friends visit one of those places from time to time. It’s called “Garage Temp”. I like this space for its wild mix of Soviet furniture with modern Russian art, for ginger ale, and delicious Italian wood-fired pizza. Just look at the picture to feel the vibe of this place!
That’s it for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed this email. And if you have, share it with your friends and people who may like it. I’ll appreciate your support and feedback.
See you in two weeks.
Tyumen, 2 September 2022
Ask me anything via email: email@example.com