Monday Seven No. 032

On coaching, effective leadership, and true friends

Welcome to the latest edition of Monday Seven — actionable ideas and frameworks for people who want more out of life and work.

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Hi Friends,

Today was hard.

I try my best to write honestly. It’s easy to share the good, but it’s important to share when life’s not going so well. In the middle of writing to you, I had to take a few hours to process some personal news. I’m fine (spoken through tight lips pressed firmly against each other) and no one’s physically hurt. It’s just emotional.

I provide a warning as you might hear it in a more somber tone than usual.

Anyways, here is the original intro:

A few weeks ago, I was finally able to share that I sold my company. Publicly sharing the news brought clarity and allowed me to lift the curtain on a few projects.

Today, I’m excited to let you know about my coaching practice. I’ve been coaching a handful of clients for a while but finally decided to give it a page on my personal site. I’ll be a coach for the rest of my life. I love the work.

This week we dive into why I coach, effective leadership, building habits, and discomfort challenges, and true friendship. Let’s get into it.

No. 032 - On coaching, effective leadership, and true friends

1 — Why I Coach: My mission is to help people maximize their potential and reach their wildest visions. I believe in people. I also believe at some points, we all need someone to help us level up. The challenges I often help leaders address include:

  • improving habits and productivity,

  • finding purpose and power,

  • aligning values and vision,

  • managing relationships,

  • building resilience, and

  • making better decisions.

From personal experience working with a coach and going through the painful and transformative process of developing as a leader, I’ve learned that the hardest work is the work you do on yourself. It’s also the highest leverage and most rewarding.

For now, I’m working with no more than eight people at once. I plan to keep it small. If you’d like to learn more about working together check out

2 — Seven Pillars of Effective Leadership: A few years ago, with the help of an executive coach I had a 360-review. The people closest to me gave feedback and rated me on a series of leadership qualities. What they shared helped me drill down on how I can be a more effective leader. I’ve since expanded the framework for my own coaching practice to help founders become extraordinary leaders.

This is still a work in progress, but I believe leadership comes down to seven pillars:

  • Inspire with a clear vision

  • Listen with curiosity

  • Speak with transparency and candor

  • Facilitate healthy debates and meetings

  • Make inclusive and effective decisions

  • Delegate effectively and create accountable teams

  • Support others in developing

I’m interested to learn what leadership traits you consider important. What qualities define a great leader you’ve known? What about horrible bosses?

3 — I play little games to build healthy habits. Last year I completed 60 days of one-hour silent meditation to start the morning. I’m currently doing 100 days of 150 pushups (Jan 31 to May 11). This week I’m starting 30 days of Wim Hoff breathing.

I didn’t have a word for these little games. They’re just stuff I did. But, good writers have the ability to coin terms and make concepts stick. I’m not one of them (yet), but Leo Babauta is. He calls them Discomfort Challenges and explains the benefit “as a way to continue my training in falling in love with discomfort and uncertainty.”

4 — Friendship. I’ve been contemplating the meaning of true and false friendship. I’ve been in this group chat with long-time friends for nearly a decade. The group provided a few good laughs and a daily dose of feeling connected. But it also gave a false sense of friendship. It was loud, yet empty. Being in the group was holding me back from true friendship with many of the very same people. So I left.

We’ve commodified the word “friend”.  Many of the people we call friends today are really just acquaintances. Friends are people that you call for no reason just to hear their voice. New adult friendships are hard. I’ve made more online friends with people in Toronto than I’ve made real-life friends here in three years.

Online friends are what I call idea-based relationships. Some of the most interesting people I know I’ve met online. I call them friends, but only because we lack the language to define the types of friendship.

Growing up, the kids with the most friends seemed to be having the best time. It’s natural to think friendships are about quantity. So we take our online-friends, idea-friends, work-friends, and friends-of-friends and throw them all together into a big capital-F Friend bucket. But, I tend to prefer a handful of truly close friends.

5 — I ran through a cemetery and tweeted about it.

6 — Music of the week: I love writing this newsletter as a way to share that you may otherwise not come across. In the last edition, I shared Persian music to honor my family’s heritage and Nowruz, the Persian New Year. This week I want to introduce the Persian Santur. I recently added learning to play it to my long-term life goals.

7 — Quote of the week:

Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul.
—Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

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The next time you’ll hear from me will be Monday, April 12.

Until then,

Yashar ✌🏼