Meet Sean Tierney, an experienced salesman, podcaster, global citizen and founder of multiple initiatives. Driven by self-actualization and infinite human potential Sean empowers people to think and live bigger.
Here’s my interview with Sean Tierney sharing his habits, routines and life philosophy.
Who's Sean Tierney?
Sean Tierney is the Director of Sales for Pagely, the first managed WordPress hosting provider serving some of the world's largest brands.
Sean lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal half of the year and spends the other half traveling and kite surfing. Learn more about Sean Tierney on his personal blog at Scrollin' On Dubs.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
Staying in control of your morning is the most high-leverage habit you can implement. I put my phone in airplane mode when I go to sleep then have a morning routine in which I:
- Wake up and do a quick 5 min gratitude journaling practice.
- Do 15 min meditation (started with Headspace then Sam Harris' Waking Up, now doing my own practice).
- 1 hour of exercise (alternate days between TRX and minimalist running).
- Take an ice-cold shower.
- Do 15 min of spaced repetition cards (add 5 new cards, work through 5 existing ones).
Then I work on the one task that has the most potential to move the needle that day before I ever open my email/social media. Whatever your morning routine it should get you into an optimal state and then you want to operate in that zone where you're proactively driving things vs. reactively responding to whatever is coming at you.
I take my phone out of airplane mode once I've knocked out the main creative task I set out to accomplish. As soon as you open the floodgates with your notifications you are from then on buffeted by the winds of other people's agendas. By fencing all that out early in the day you retain control over your morning and can operate more strategically during that time.
How Do You Manage Time?
I use my own Frankenstein variant of David Allen's “Getting Things Done.” I know he advocates for getting everything in your head into a single trusted system but I've just found personally that I operate better using a mixture of Things, Trello and Reminders in macOS. I use Things for minor todo's (pick up groceries), Trello boards for projects and tasks (board = realm like a business, card = project, checklist within card = task) and Apple Reminders for deadlines.
I experimented with Pomodoro but found it to actually to be counterproductive to my rhythm. I think whatever allows you to operate in a flow state more frequently is what you should use.
What's Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
It's an iterative process of cycling through formulating a strategy, executing and assessing how it went. Regardless of whether I'm working for my employer Pagely or on my own projects I'll start by trying to identify what represents highest potential yield in terms of impact to the desired outcome, the likelihood of success, etc.
Figure out the minimum set of stuff I can execute in that vein to get the max results, then go do that. Then (and this is key) do a post-mortem on did it actually create the expected yield. If you take the extra time to close the loop you'll get better at estimating and better at picking activities that move the needle.
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
For body training, I do a mix of TRX workouts and minimalistic running with the Vibram shoes. I'll alternate days and take Sunday off typically. I also do kite surfing about every other weekend here in Lisbon and that's a solid leg workout typically.
For mind training, I read a fair amount then extract important concepts I want to keep into spaced repetition cards using an iOS app called CleverDeck.
I also host Nomad Podcast and am in the process of booting up a pod for my employer Pagely. These sessions are like having free consulting with brilliant experts where I get to interrogate them about their craft. That practice has been really valuable in sharpening my thinking and interviewing skills as well as getting access to their distilled expertise and then exposing it for consumption by others.
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
Lisbon has no less than four different Meetups happening every night. Attending Meetups is a great way to branch out and meet people.
Interviewing podcast guests has been a fruitful way to access to high-caliber folks and as well tap their networks. I went to an “unconference” over the summer called Kinnernet and the Nomad Cruise back in April. Both of those are great events for meeting remarkable people. I also run something called Charity Makeover which has been a rewarding way to provide a platform for others meeting and working together in support of local charities.
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
I admittedly struggle with sleep. It's often difficult for me to wind my mind down at night when I have so much going on. I've found these rituals help: take a warm shower before bed, drink chamomile tea, use nightshift and f.lux on devices after sundown, put phone in airplane mode, use Vetiver and Lavender essential oils and wear an eye mask in the morning if you wake up early and you need more sleep when it's starting to get light out. If there's disruptive noise use either earplugs (wax) or a white noise/sleep meditation apps.
What Are Your Investing Habits?
Diversify, when in doubt invest in your own education, buy things you understand and can have compounding returns.
I think everyone should have some portion of their net worth in assets non-correlated to the economy at this point (or better yet antifragile ones that are inversely correlated to the economic downturn). Aggressiveness of risk vs. return is something you need to calibrate to your personal situation but have a portfolio approach so you're not all-in on one asset or asset class.
What's One Question That Helped You Understand the World Better?
It's the question I ask of all my guests at the end of each podcast episode: “If you had a time machine to go back and visit your former 20-year-old self and give yourself any bit of advice, what would you say?”
If you ask that question of enough wise people you will get an unbelievable amalgamation of diverse life experiences and retrospective vantage points. This is a million-dollar meta-question because you get not only answers that are providing specific advice but usually at a higher level they either endorse a regret minimization approach to life or gratitude, both of which are good practices to reinforce.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
People: Naval Ravikant, Ray Dalio, Tim O'Reilly, my parents.
Experiences: nomadic travel experiences (too many to list) and a “permission to color outside the lines” lego-building experience as a child.