Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How a Harvard Educated, Asian basketball player broke through the NBA glass ceiling

The reality of Sports as it is in Business, women and minorities will find it difficult, but not impossible, to break through the "glass ceiling" in their careers. For many of us as Free Agents and Entrepreneurs, we have the same dilemma as we did not want a glass ceiling on our freedom or our income working in Corporate America.  Jeremy Lin being one of the first Asian-Americans in the NBA, I was impressed as many people are with the "Firsts".  Another great example of a first many are proud about, Barack Obama as our first African-American President.  It gives us ordinary people something to strive for to be extraordinary. But as pioneers, there were many obstacles to overcome to become the first Asian-American NBA player or first African-American President.

You have to give credit to Jeremy Lin as he had other choices graduating from Harvard.  But he decided to follow his passion and dream in the NBA. A decision that his family and many relatives advised against.  He made history by becoming the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. During his college career, he had some major accomplishments on and off the court. Lin finished his career as the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225). He graduated Harvard with a degree in Economics and a 3.1 grade point average. This shows Jeremy Lin is not the average NBA player.

As a poised Harvard grad, Lin has often fought hate with love playing basketball. Sometimes the hate originated from jealousy and other times it could have originated from racism. His thought process in overcoming this "glass ceiling" showed his maturity and his intellectual humbleness. He was very humble during his time playing with the New York Knicks and when Linsanity exploded during his time he was filling in for a key player that was injured. We take a look at his experiences and his thoughts on racism below.

The racism is as subtle as choice in hair style. Jeremy Lin's thought process about having dreads changed after talking to a Nets staff member, who’s African-American, and her message really resonated with him. "Jeremy Lin told her about his thought process — how he was really unsure about getting dreads because he was worried that he would be appropriating black culture. She said that if it wasn’t my intention to be dismissive of another culture, then maybe it could be an opportunity to learn about that culture."

Jeremy Lin's words:  I’ll be honest: At first I didn’t see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation. Growing up, I’d only ever picked from one or two hairstyles that were popular among my friends and family at the time. But as an Asian-American, I do know something about cultural appropriation. I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong. I know how much it bothers me when Hollywood relegates Asian people to token sidekicks, or worse, when it takes Asian stories and tells them without Asian people. I know how it feels when people don’t take the time to understand the people and history behind my culture. I’ve felt how hurtful it is when people reduce us to stereotypes of Bruce Lee or “shrimp fried rice.” It’s easy to brush some of these things off as “jokes,” but eventually they add up. And the full effect of them can make you feel like you’re worth less than others, and that your voice matters less than others.

Reading these comments and Lin's thought process, you realize his journey towards breaking through the NBA glass ceiling hasn't been easy. But as with anything in Life, you have to fight for those things you really want. Other keys to his success was that he was humble and he perservered despite all the criticism and obstacles. His ultimate message was for everyone to understand discrimination and racism leading to an understanding of other cultures.  He wanted to be more of the conversation about race as an Asian-American as he had an unique platform to share his message. This is how a Harvard educated, Asian basketball player broke through the NBA glass ceiling...

Best Regards & Success,

Chief Free Agent #1

P.S.  Check out our new community!

NOTE: To read more about Jeremy Lin's journey click on the sources or video below.

Player's tribune blog - Jeremy Lin

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FREE AGENT NATION | Lessons from the master motivator and CEO whisperer:Tony Robbins

When I was younger, I was enamored with learning gurus and motivational speakers. One of the master motivators that led me to a career as a Free Agent & Entrepreneur is Tony Robbins.  He had charisma and a business sense that got me interested in public speaking and encouraged me to join my first Toastmasters club after college.  Tony Robbins made me realize that my calling and passion was entrepreneurship. These are my five lessons learned from Tony Robbins.

1. Get up from failure -  Many people associate failure as negative but in reality failure should be equated to learning.  When you fail, you have hopefully learned what doesn't work and adjust your actions to be one step closer to success. Robert T. Kiyosaki stated it perfectly when he said “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” So always get back up from failure and learn to always perservere because failure is the seed for success.

2. Always be positive and don't listen to haters -  We have all been around that customer, co-worker or relative that is always negative and sees the glass as half-empty. Most people would agree that this is not a great experience as it doesn't help you out or improve your morale or that of your staff.  We are usually running away from these type of people but that is not always possible and there will always be those haters out there. But to succeed you have to get away from the haters and negative people because they will put negative voices in your head. I have never known anyone who was super successful without being super positive.

3. Manage the hustle and outwork your competitors - As a Free Agent or Entrepreneur starting out, you may not have many resources or capital to compete with the bigger companies in your industry. But you do have time, so the essence in winning is to manage the hustle and outwork your competitors. The key in executing this is to work smarter and capitalize on your competitor's weaknesses. Hard work and perserverance often levels the playing field when your competitor is bigger and has more resources.

4. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) -  My definition of NLP is programming your mind for success. Tony Robbins didn't invent NLP but he popularized it among the masses in his seminars.  The best link I found that explains NLP without boring you to death is HERE.  A good example I always use, as I live in California, is controlling your mind/temper when driving in traffic. Most of the time if you do something wrong driving in California you will get two different reactions from the other driver.  You might get the middle finger or, if you get a psychopath, you will get road rage. If you don't control your mind for success, you will get the escalated road rage which could lead to death. Back in 1990, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of over 10,000 traffic accidents linked to driver violence. Road rage was linked to 218 deaths. If I was a NLP practitioner, I would smile and wave back to the other driver. The reason this works is you are in control of the situation and you are not letting the situation control you. An understanding of NLP is a must for those in business.

5. Learn from the Best - Anthony Robbins is a great example of this. For one of his books, he interviewed 50 of the greatest financial minds to learn what he didn't know. This book became Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook (Simon and Schuster, 2017)  The takeway from this is never stop learning from the best.  Read as much as you can and soak up knowledge like a sponge.

Many of these lessons are not just business lessons but Life lessons. With all the current tragedies, we have to realize that life is too short to give up. It's also better to learn from other's mistakes rather than repeat those mistakes yourself.  I want to encourage all Entrepreneurs and Free Agents to live an EXTRAORDINARY Life because when you look around the world today you will realize that life is too short.

Best Regards & Success,

Chief Free Agent #1

P.S.  Check out our new community!

Fortune Article - Tony Robbin's best advice

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Greatest Country in the World: United States of America

I want to preface this post by stating it is no way meant to be political or meant to offend any demographic group.  It is meant to stir up some conversation and debate, in a professional and courteous manner, about the world we live in. We live in America and freedom of speech was built into the Constitution. And we believe that with that freedom of speech comes great responsibility. Let's start off with a feel-good story.

When natural disasters strike, Americans are the first to unite to help those in need. People will come together despite their political or cultural backgrounds. This is one example of an immigrant giving back when natural disaster Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. Businessman Kieu Hoang stepped up and wrote a check for $5 million to the relief efforts. “I am here to pay back, contribute and show my gratitude to this great country,” Hoang said in the Houston Mayor Turner’s release.  He reiterated his call for unity when he said "Regardless of party affiliation, Republican, Democrat, Independent, sex, race, color, white, black, black, brown, red, yellow, we are all American."  My parents were immigrants and they came to America for a better life for their kids. For myself and my wife, we want to build a better future for our kids where they have the freedoms that we have enjoyed during our lives.

I am very patriotic because as an Asian-American I have seen first hand how communism, socialism and a dictatorship effects people and their morale. Capitalism isn't perfect but for a country founded on FREEDOM, it's the only economic system that makes sense for our history.  I have a huge respect for the military and police who risk their lives every day to protect our freedoms.  Our family had many relatives in the military who fought for freedom. We have a great responsibility in the USA as a role model for other nations and envy of the World.  Voltaire stated, "With great power comes great responsibility." 

This is the CALL TO ACTION! As Entrepreneurs and Free Agents, we can make a difference in our communities and our nation. Start at the level you control and pay it forward (refer to attached graph and video). Help unite fellow Americans in your community.  At the simplest level, do a random act of kindness every day.  Some of you may ask why?

The answer is because we are the The Greatest Country in the World: United States of America!

Best Regards & Success,

Chief Free Agent #1

Billionaire donates $5 million to Harvey Relief Effort

Free Agent Nation: Who are the NEW Free Agents and Entrepreneurs?

The origins of has its roots in finding a home (global platform) for Free Agents and entrepreneurs to collaborate and innovate. The big issue was that the business world was not paying attention to this demographic group because the segment was so fragmented (SEE BELOW) and this group is very difficult to organize into a united body. I use the terms Free Agent and Entrepreneur interchangeably because a Free Agent could become an Entrepreneur if he or she is able to turn their enterprise into a high-growth company. An Entrepreneur could become a Free Agent if he or she scales down to become a boss of one.  According to a large scale survey documented in "Freelancing in America: 2016," the number of U.S. freelancers is 55 million which is up from 53 million in 2014.  In the same survey released by the Freelancers Union and the freelancing platform Upwork, freelancers make up 35% of U.S. workers and collectively contributed 1 trillion in 2016.  Think about it, 1 out of every 3 workers in the U.S. is a freelancer. The statistic indicates this is a growing demographic that can't be ignored.  The term Free Agent was popularized by Daniel Pink's book, "Free Agent Nation" first published in 2001.

To understand this demographic group, we have to look at the numbers and their description.  Today’s free agents can be categorized into the following groups, and may in fact be represented across multiple categories as they build their portfolio of experiences:

Independent contractors: (64% of global free agent population) freelancers who work for an employer on a per-project basis
Freelance business owners: (28% of global free agent population) those with up to five employees who consider themselves both a freelancer and a business owner
Temporary workers: (24% of global free agent population) workers typically hired for a fixed duration, often through an agency
Moonlighters: (13% of global free agent population) workers with a primary, traditional “day job” who also do freelance work on the side
Diversified workers: (4% of global free agent population) those with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional and freelance assignments, with freelance work accounting for the majority of income
Source: Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2009-2013 Forecast. International Data Corporation.

You could say that there are hybrids of these categories including entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mompreneurs, consultants, giglancers and outcasts of the W-2 World.  Actually, the last category I added for some drama. The number mentioned above of 55 million U.S. freelancers is more likely understated due to the difficulty of categorizing this demographic group. We would further divide these Free Agents into two different categories: knowledge workers and gig economy workers.  The big difference between the two groups are that knowledge workers are striving for economic freedom while gig economy workers are looking to supplement their incomes.  Examples of gig economy workers are those using companies like Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and Takl where they have full-time jobs along with those gigs.

In 1997 when Daniel Pink was showcased on Fast Company, he estimated that Free Agent, USA had a population of 25 million residents. In 2016, the Free Agent population is estimated at 55 million. This is not a demographic group you want to ignore if you are a business owner or corporation.  We have attached an exerpt from Daniel Pink's Fast Company article (1997) below along with a Free Agent study published by Kelly Financial Resources.  I also wanted to share below a quote from a Free Agent and a response from a Free Agent when asked if she would go back to Corporate Life. Very interesting and relevant to our community of Free Agents and Entrepreneurs here at For me personally, I needed to get out of the Corporate Rat Race and be free by working for the best boss ever: ME.  Thank you to the Free Agent Community!

“Free agency forces you to think about who you are and what you want to do with your life.”

Would you go back (meaning Corporate Life)?
“I can’t imagine why.”

Free Agent Nation excerpt by Daniel Pink

Free Agency by Kelly Financial Services

Best Regards & Success,

Chief Free Agent #1

P.S.  Check out our new community!