Zack Friedman: The Lemonade Life | E74
#74: The Lemonade Life with Zack Friedman
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
On today’s show we are chatting with Zack Friedman, founder and CEO of Make Lemonade, a leading online personal finance company helping Millennials make more informed financial decisions such as paying off student loan debt. He is also the author of ‘The Lemonade Life’ in which he reveals the five simple changes you can make to create an extraordinary life.
Zack is a former intern for the Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, previously holding various high profile roles in companies such as Blackstone and Morgan Stanley, as well as being an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and start-ups.
Zack believes EVERYONE has a shot at greatness by putting happiness at the center of everything you do, taking his learnings from presidents, prime ministers, CEO’s and billionaires.
In this episode, we YAP about the difference between a lemon and lemonade life, the best morning routine to set you up for a productive and positive day and the 5 internal switches people can turn on to accelerate their success!
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Reach out to Hala directly at [email protected]
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Follow Hala on Instagram: www.instagram.com/yapwithhala
Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com
#74: The Lemonade Life with Zack Friedman
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Hey guys, it's Hala. Before I kick off the show, I always like to thank the folks who take the time to leave us an apple podcast review, or a comment on their favorite platform. This week. I wanna share a five-star review from femme adore three. Great podcast. Hala is so well prepared and really connects with her guests.
Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious. I've learned a lot from every episode, go Hala. And here's another one from Cody bear 22. Amazing guests and tons of value. I listened to number 71 with Lauren Tickner and this was such a great conversation. I'm motivated to succeed by the desire to create a life of freedom and fulfillment.
Basically the ability to stay home with my dog. Whenever I want also motivated by hearing people like you and Lauren Tickner, who are hustling every day and providing so much value to others. Wow. Thank you guys so much. I just love reading all these reviews. I appreciate all the kind words and to everyone out there
The number one way to thank us is through an honest review or a comment on your favorite platform. I can't wait to hear what you think about this show. You're listening to YAP young and profiting podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host Hala Taha and on young and profiting podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world.
My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life. No matter your age, profession, or industry. There's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, negotiation coaches, self-made billionaires CEOs, and best-selling authors.
Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain, influence the art of side hustles
[00:02:00] and more. If you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love it here at young and profiting podcast today on the show we're chatting with Zack Friedman.
Entrepreneur CEO investor and the author of the lemonade life in which he reveals the five simple changes you can make to create an extraordinary life. Zack believes everyone has a shot at greatness by putting happiness at the center of everything you do. And he took his learnings from presidents, prime, ministers, CEOs, and billionaires.
Zack's company make lemonade is a leading online, personal finance company, helping people, particularly millennials, make more informed financial decisions, such as paying off student loan debt. In this episode, we yap about the difference between a lemon and lemonade life, the best morning routine to set you up for productive and positive day.
And the five internal switches people can turn on to accelerate their success. Hey, Zack, welcome
[00:03:00] to young and profiting podcasts.
Zack Friedman: Thanks so much for having me, Hala. It's great to be here.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I'm super hyped for this interview. I think you're really interesting. And I think our listeners are gonna find great value with this conversation.
So starting off, we always start off with an intro question and I noticed that you had like a finance background. You were the CFO, you were a hedge fund investor. You worked at Blackstone Morgan Stanley and the white house. And you spent a lot of your time actually working for other people, but then you became an entrepreneur and you started a personal finance company called make lemonade.
So how did you transition from employee to entrepreneur? What triggered that transition?
Zack Friedman: That's a great question Hala, and look for so many people escaping that nine to five and starting your own company or organization, or just doing your own thing is one of this aspirational dreams, right? I think for some people it makes sense.
And for everybody else, it may not make sense. So it really depends on you. For me, I had enjoyed working for other people and developing in my career, but
[00:04:00] I always wanted to start something myself. And I had tried to start things over the years, but really wanted to go full force with what I run today, which is make lemonade, which is an online, personal finance company.
And so for me, it was really about taking that step away from working for other people. And so it was a huge risk, obviously when you're not working for somebody else. And they're taking care of your day to day. It takes a lot of courage to do that. And it's not that I'm especially courageous because there are plenty of other people who do more courageous things than I do, but I wanted to create something that I had a vision for, and it was really about taking that vision and executing it.
And so it was really building out something from the ground up. It didn't exist before. I had to put it , put in the resources and the time to do it, but I haven't looked back and I've been running it for several years and it's been very successful. So I'm very grateful for all the folks who use, make lemonade and have benefited and changed their lives become of it because I think that's something that's really important is how do you create value for other people?
What can you give to other people? When you start a company or you're an entrepreneur, or you host a successful podcast like you do, it's never about you. It's not about Hala. It's not about Zack. It's about the people
[00:05:00] that we serve. And I've always kept that in inside of me. So I'm always looking at ways I can create value for other people.
And that's been the basis for me becoming an entrepreneur.
Hala Taha: Cool. So did you start off make lemonade as like a side hustle or did you start working on it while you were an employee? Or did you just take a clean break and how did you decide when the time was right to actually become an entrepreneur?
Zack Friedman: So it was a clean break. It was not a side hustle. I was not doing this behind the scenes. I really believe, side hustles are great. And if you can manage both and more power to you, I really believe that if you're gonna build something big that you have to go all in. And I know that may not be possible for everybody just given financial resources and the, the state of the economy.
But when there are opportunities for you to go all in and you don't have a plan B, I talk about this in my book, the lemonade life, when you can go all in. You're really putting yourself out there and you're putting all the risks out there and it's not that you're taking crazy risks, you really have to be committed because if you're half in and you're half out, it's really hard to execute and it's really hard to be fully invested
[00:06:00] in create what you ultimately wanna do, because you always know this safety blanket is behind you, right?
You always know the safety net you can fall back on. And I think that could be dangerous for entrepreneurs. So I know some people are like focused on the side hustle and that's great. And I support people who are hustling and grinding, but I think it's important to go all in, in terms of making that decision.
I think it's different for everybody, we all have different personal aspirations and goals and financial situations or other things that are pushing and pulling in our lives. And for me, it was just the right time to do it. I think it was the combination of, having an idea that I think would have track and it would get a lot of momentum for people and enable to build it over the past couple of years.
It's just taken off and been successful. So everyone has to make that decision for themselves. What makes sense for you to do, but I think once you made that decision, you may fail the first time, the first five times, the first 10 times. But if entrepreneurship is really for you, I do think everyone can find a way to get there.
Hala Taha: Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about make lemonade. What is it exactly what it, what does it do? And I know your target audience for that is millennials. So why do you think that we need the most financial health?
[00:07:00] Zack Friedman: So make, everyone needs financial help. So make lemonade is an online, personal finance comparison website.
So it's makelemonade.co and essentially we compare the best products, financial products, customer reviews, product reviews. And we do it in a very simple and transparent way. So we're talking about comparising the best rates for student loans, student loan, refinancing, credit cards, all the types of financial products that would give you a leg up in your financial life.
So you can go to college, go to graduate school, save money. Those are the things that we're really empowering people to do. There are other companies out there that kind of give financial information. But when I found, when I was starting to make lemonade is it's super confusing. Like I have a finance background and even I was
not getting the straight information, there was always like this fine print. And a lot of people don't wanna read the fine print. So we try to do at make lemonade is make it really simple. So using the financial background that I have, how can I share it with others to make their financial life simpler.
And so we show very simple comparison tables that show rates
[00:08:00] and loan terms, states of residency, all the fine print, we try to enlarge so people can understand what they're getting into, what are the risks, what are the benefits, and then to choose the best option for them. So it's not like you go to a lender and you just take the loan.
They give you because there might be a little rate out there or, how can we save money for you? So whether it's credit card debt getting a new credit card or refinancing, we just wanna empower people to live their best financial life.
Hala Taha: That's really cool. And so you came from a finance background, but what you're doing now is technical, like starting a website and comparisons, and I'm sure you're dealing with partners, sites and tracking and all that kind of stuff.
So how did you get tech savvy? Did you just hire the right people? Like how was that process for you?
Zack Friedman: Yeah, so we have a great team of people, particularly folks who focus on, as you said, the technology side, I think it's really important if you're an entrepreneur, certainly, when you start out, you're trying to do everything yourself, right?
You're the CEO, you're the janitor, you're the secretary, you're the marketing person, et cetera, et cetera. But I think as you build out the business and you scale it, it's important to let go, right? I think you can't control everything. And it's important to bring in partners,
[00:09:00] people that you can entrust to run different aspects of the business.
It's okay. If you don't know everything, I don't know everything. And I think finding people who are experts in technology or engineering, or, the front end, the back end partnership sale. Whatever it is in your particular business. I think it's important that you don't micromanage and that you can actually empower other people to lead.
Of course you can supervise, you can be involved, you can share creative ideas, but make sure that you have the right people around you, because that's how you really grow and scale a business successfully. And being able to admit that you're not good at everything. I think a lot of people who are entrepreneurs wanna be good at everything.
And when you're in a job working for somebody else you're always trying to put your best foot forward. You're like, I'm great at everything, whatever you need, I'm your person. But when you start your own business, you have to understand that you can't do everything. And so bringing in the right partners is critical.
Hala Taha: I totally agree. I love working in teams. I always work in teams. So let's talk about the business model because I think this is really important. I think a lot of people think that, in order to launch a business, you need your own product. You're actually not selling your unique service or product.
You're pointing people to the right
[00:10:00] solutions and you're more of like, from my understanding, like a content generator who points people to other services and apps and things like that. Do I have that correct?
Zack Friedman: Yes. So we don't sell loans. We're not an underwriter. We have partnerships with a number of leading banks and financial institutions and financial technology companies who make the actual loans or issue the credit cards.
No, we don't do any direct lending. Or directly issuance of credit cards. So we have great partners that we've entrusted that we've analyzed and audited to make sure that everything they do is legitimate. And we have full confidence in our partners and are very proud to be having them in our network.
Hala Taha: Yeah. So just for everybody listening some listeners out there are young. I want you to understand that you don't need to necessarily sell a product to start a business or sell a service to start a business.
Zack Friedman: Absolutely.
Hala Taha: You can be the middleman and of just curate the best things out there, make the partnerships and then make your business model out of that. So I just wanna
Zack Friedman: That's great point. And I think anyone who's trying to become an entrepreneur, I think people are always focused on these big ideas, right? Like how can you change the world?
[00:11:00] And that's wonderful. If you can come up with an ex Uber that disrupts transportation or grab hub, that's, food delivery, whatever you decide to do in , in the technology space or elsewhere.
If you have that big idea, wonderful, but you don't need this like trillion dollar idea to become an entrepreneur, you can literally pick any industry, any single industry that you think you can add value in a different way. And there may be businesses that already exist in that industry, right?
No matter what you choose, right? You could work in the pencil industry, you work in automotive, you could work in food. Whatever you like, I would go find that industry and find a way that you can make a business model better, better for the customer. Easier transaction a simpler way that you can make their life better.
And if you can find that there are so many ways to do that, you don't have to come up with a trillion dollar idea, it could be a small business that's consistent and you, that you can grow over time. So that would be some advice I'd give to entrepreneurs as well.
Hala Taha: I totally agree. Okay. So you're also not only the CEO of make lemonade.
You're also the best-selling author of a book called the lemonade life. And so it was apples falls, biggest
[00:12:00] audio books, and it was called a must listen, it debuted number one, new business book on apple books, bestseller list. So those are huge accolades that must've felt good.
Zack Friedman: I was, It was a complete honor. I eliminate life.
It was a lot of, a lot of hard work, but I'm so thankful and humbled by readers from all over the world who just embraced this book. So thank you to everyone out there. Who's read the lemonade life or downloaded the audio book. And if you haven't, I can't wait for you to read it and listen to it and tell me what you think.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I read it and I loved it. It was very entertaining. Super easy read. What came first? Was it the book or the company?
Zack Friedman: The company came first, the company came first and the book came out after I started the company.
Hala Taha: Cool. So let's move on to the main portion of our interview, which is really gonna be covering the book.
Your book is about defining your own life and choosing the life you want. It's about making better choices, broadening your perspective, taking calculated risks and breaking free from the herd mentality and taking action. So two huge concepts in your books that you describe is the difference between the lemon life
[00:13:00] and the lemonade life.
So tell us in your own words, what is the lemon life and what is a lemonade life?
Zack Friedman: So every day, all of us, whether we realize it or not are making a fundamental choice. Are we gonna live one of two lives, right? And that first life is called the lemon life. Okay. That's the life you don't wanna lead. Okay.
But unfortunately about 99% of people are stuck in the lemon life, whether they realize it or not, or whether they're willing to admit it. And the lemon life is built really unsettling. It's a life that you're settling. That's something less than your best self. So you're settling, you're pretending you're chasing and you're stuck in this hamster wheel, but you might not know how to break out of it.
And some people are aware of it. Some people are not, but there's actually a better life. And it's called the lemonade life and the lemonade life is built on really two things it's built on purpose and possibility and purpose is the underlying reason why you do what you do. It's the reason you get up every single morning to go live a great day ahead of you and possibility is endless infinite opportunity.
And so when you can connect that underlying purpose, why you do
[00:14:00] what you do, why you get up every morning with that endless opportunity and you do it through action. That's how you leave the lemonade life. And so we all have this decision in every day, it reset. So it's not like you're stuck in the lemon life and that's your life and that's your destiny.
It's really what can you do every single day you get up? Cause it starts over every day in the lemonade life, it's not what happened yesterday or what happened last week or what happened five years ago? And you're just destined to be stuck. It's what can you do every single day? Because it resets to live a better life.
And I show you in the book, how to do that very easily and very practical ways that you can change your life to just slight changes through behaviors and thinking and positive psychology to do that.
Hala Taha: Cool. So just to boil it down for everyone, the lemon life is basically not taking control of your destiny, allowing other people to shape it, being content with the status quo while the lemonade life is leading life on your own terms, taking control and designing the life of your dream.
So we all obviously want a lemonade life. We wanna stay as far away as possible to a lemon life. You open up your book
[00:15:00] with a story about your lunch with Warren Beffet which is really cool. I'm sure that was a check off your bucket list. Tell us about that experience and also why he embodies the lemonade life.
What's it about him that makes you think that he embodies the lemonade life?
Zack Friedman: Yeah, so I had a tremendous opportunity with a group of folks to go have lunch with Warren Buffet. And you can imagine, yes, it's definitely a bucket list item, especially when we got to go out to Omaha, Nebraska and have a, a steak lunch with some root beer floats.
So it was a definitely buffet food for anyone who follows form. But it was a great time and meeting Warren Buffett, you expect to learn all this wisdom about business and investing and the economy. And I heard all of those things that day, but what I actually started to hear was a deeper message.
And it was one of the inspirations to write the lemonade life. Warren Buffett started talking about. Not so much about business and money, but really about happiness. I was a little taken aback by it because you don't really see that in, in a lot of the books written about him and a lot of the press, when you see them on TV or in the newspaper, it was really this message about happiness
[00:16:00] and doing what you really enjoy in your life.
So for him, it might be a root beer float, he drinks, diet Coke a lot, and that gives him a joy and hapiness. It might be investing, which for him has been the best thing he could ever do, or it might be playing bridge, which is a game he loves to play as well with cards, but it was really pursuing a life that is based on your own terms.
It's not based on what other people do. Warren Buffet did not, being the investment guru, he has, he didn't move to New York or to London or Hong Kong. He moved to Omaha, Nebraska. He wanted to go back home and very few people can say that they've done that. And build an empire from their hometown.
Similarly, like he talked about risk and he was like he had the self-awareness right to say, I don't really know much about technology stocks or I don't invest in them. Over the years he started investing in a couple like apple, but, historically he never touched technology stocks and there's a lot of people out there that would say, what's so hard to understand, you can understand apple or Amazon or what they do.
But he just never touched it because he said, I don't understand them. And he focused on what he understands, which were things like banks and insurance and manufacturing and retail, and that's been his bread and butter. But when I started to hear about
[00:17:00] Warren buffet, it was this guy who was being very self-aware self-deprecating in some ways he was being honest about what he's good at, what he's not.
He was being really trying to convey that how important is to be happy with what you do. And that was so refreshing to hear that because I interacted with. Other folks who had achieved a lot in life from billionaires to different presidents and prime ministers over the years. But I hadn't heard that message before it stuck with me.
And it really ignited within me something that was important to share with others because I've used it in my own life. And I want to make sure that others could embrace it as well. So that was the, you can read a lot more about it in the lemonade life, but those were some of the things that I took away.
Hala Taha: Yeah. Cool. And a great example. You mentioned it is that you guys reading steak and root beer, and so he eats whatever he wants, right?
Zack Friedman: He does. He does, he eats like a, old, as I say, in the book and he drinks a lot of diet Coke, a lot of ice cream sundae, a lot of burgers, a lot of steaks.
So it sounds like a. A great life. I would say the people who enjoy that. Yeah.
Hala Taha: So in your book, you described four different types of people. The eternal
[00:18:00] excusers, steady settlers change chasers, and the daring disruptors. Can you help us understand what each one of those types of people are and what the differences are?
Zack Friedman: Sure. So in the lemon life, you meet three people. And these are three people that all of us have met before. So it could be people in your social circles, it could be people you've met at a backyard, barbecue. It could meet people that you went to school with. You've definitely met these people before. So the first is an eternal excuser.
And just like the name suggests, these are people who endlessly complained about their lives. And they have an excuse for everything. I'm too old. I don't have enough money. Oh, that'll never work. Sometimes they criticize themselves and sometimes they criticize you, you may say, I wanna start this podcast.
Oh, but you're working Hala. How could you possibly do that? Or, oh, there's so many podcasts and there's so much competition and they talk themselves out of ever doing anything and then in their lives. And they sit on the sidelines. They're not on the field or they sit on that, the front porch shouting at people on the street, but they're not in the street.
And so those people end up losing out on life because. There's always an excuse or roadblocks standing between them and greatness. And so that's the
[00:19:00] first group of people. They really are. The epitome of the lemon life. The next group is called the steady settlers. These are folks who basically settle for the life they've been given.
They may be successful, right. They may work in a job where they're financially making money and that's great, but they really don't like their job. And they're just do it to impress other people. So they're . They're keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak, they're living a life built on dependence rather than independence.
So they're very into materialism. They love to show off their car, their house they would never change their job because it would hurt their social status. And so they're really just settling, not because they're achieving their best self because they wanna actually accomplish something it's because of exterior outward appearances.
So that's the second group of people. The third group of people in the lemon life are called change chaser. And they're just always chasing things, right? They don't actually do the work. So you can think about, your crazy uncle. Who's like following some, get rich, quick scheme, or they're people who chasing the next opportunity, but then when there's a new opportunity or shiny object down the street, they forget that.
And they move on to the next business. And we see this a lot with people on LinkedIn, you brought up earlier who call themselves serial entrepreneurs, right?
[00:20:00] And there are serial entrepreneurs. These are people who have built a business scale to business and sold a business or exited a business. And moved on to the next one. But there's also many people who call themselves serial entrepreneurs and they're really just change chasers. So there are people who start a business and that's really hot and they're like, oh wait, you know what? I didn't really start it. I gotta move on to the next thing. Cause I got invested in, digital currency and then they start that and they're like, yeah, you know what?
I don't wanna do that. I'm actually starting a podcast now, or, oh, that didn't work.
Hala Taha: It just keep borrowing and borrowing money, right?
Zack Friedman: They borrow, borrowed money. They borrow and borrowed time and they borrow and borrowed ideas, but they don't actually do the work or suffer through what it takes to build something.
And so those are the people you meet in the lemon life. There are many others that exist in the lemon life, but those are the three that, that you'll meet that are most. Prominent, but there is a better person and I call that person a daring disruptor. And these are people who really changed the game.
They're independent minded. They're self-aware they're people who take action. They're proactive. They're not letting life happen to them. They're making life happen for themselves. And there are so many examples in this book, in the lemonade life about who was a daring disruptor, everybody from, Warren buffet
[00:21:00] to Tyler Perry, Sylvester Stallone, Jim Carrey.
Business leaders like Sam Walton who started Walmart and so many others that have just in many ways defined what it means to be someone who is daring. They're willing to take chances and risks, but they're calculated risks and they're willing to be proactive. And I go into a lot more about what it means to daring disruptor and put in a lot of inspirational stories from real people that you've definitely know.
And a lot of people you've never heard of before who become very successful, applying the techniques in the lemonade life.
Hala Taha: Cool. I hope to pick your brain on some of that. That's really resonated with me. I thought, I'm probably a mixed between a steady settlers and a daring disruptor. Really? I'm probably a daring disruptor, but I'm just trying to make like my mom and my boyfriend happy, like being a steady settler because everybody else is scared of me.
I'm ready. Let's stick on eternal excuser for a little bit, from my understanding, my research. You went to Wharton, you went to Columbia, you went to Harvard. So I'm sure a lot of people have said to you, it must be easy for you to say you don't have an excuse. Look at the foundation that you have, look at the opportunities and the
[00:22:00] resources that you had.
What would you say to somebody who didn't get a chance to go to an Ivy league school, whether they didn't have the resources or the grades, what would you say to them to help them get out of being. Like having all these excuses.
Zack Friedman: It's a great question. Look, I'm very grateful for the opportunities that I've had.
And I understand that people may approach life differently in terms of opportunity and what they see in front of them. And I understand that. And what I would say is I make this very clear in the lemonade life, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you do for a living or how much money you have.
I fundamentally believe that everyone has a shot at greatness. You don't need a fancy school or grades. You don't need the money behind you to do this. It's really about who you are as a person and the value you're trying to create for other people. And so all of those things are nice to have, but they're not the people who create success.
And I talk about this in the book a lot, and you can make an excuse that you don't have the background. You don't have the requirements, you don't have this, but there really aren't any requirements. If you're trying to create something in life, you're trying to create
[00:23:00] value. Nobody cares where you went to school, nobody cares what your grades are.
Nobody cares who your parents are, who your boyfriend is, or your girlfriend or your spouse. It's really about who are you as an individual? What kind of person are you and what kind of value can you create for others? And what's the idea or the business that you're trying to build. That's what people care about.
If an investor is gonna invest in you, they're gonna invest in you as a person and they're gonna invest in your business. So there are tons of CEOs, tons of successful people, whether they're in entrepreneurship, who didn't go to a certain school or didn't get certain grades. And there's so many great stories of people who have done that.
So I really believe that everybody has a shot at greatness. And so don't talk yourself out of doing something that you don't actually need to talk yourself out of. It's don't put up that artificial barrier before you've taken the chance to do something. If you wanna go out and do something, don't do it for other people.
Hala, if you wanna create something big. Don't do something else just because you have to impress to other people, right? It's go out and do it for you. And maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but you have to make that commitment to yourself. Otherwise
[00:24:00] you are somewhat living a life of dependence and you have to make the right decision for you.
There's other factors, not just do you have a great idea? Do you wanna create something big? We all have responsibilities in life, but it's important to measure those two things and weigh them. I think that's something that people need to really convince themselves and really talk to themselves about.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I think a lot of people are probably in denial that they're in eternal excuser or what are some ways that you can tell if that's really you, like, how would you tell?
Zack Friedman: I think, you need to be honest with yourself. And you're right. People don't walk around saying, oh, I'm an eternal excuse. Or I'm the one who always says no to people, or I'm always telling people they can't do something.
So yeah, eternal excusers, we're not gonna brag that they're eternal excusers obviously, but I think everyone needs to self audit themselves. And they need to actually take a step back and maybe it takes a friend to tell you this, or it takes someone in your life and your family to tell you and say, look, just listen to yourself.
Think about when you go through a day in your life. Are you telling yourself no. Are you telling yourself? Yes. And I'm not talking about restraint or being responsible, when you hear that someone wants to create something, are you the first to say, oh,
[00:25:00] that's not gonna work or that's impossible, or it's already been done before, or look at all the competition again, it's not trying to balance what are the positives?
What are the negatives, but are you actively hurting your life trajectory? And a lot of people do that and sometimes they do it and it's a fleeting issue, but sometimes it's permanent. And so many people, I think create these artificial barriers around themselves, almost like an electric fence. And they're afraid to go towards that fence because they think they'll get shocked.
But a lot of times. There really isn't an electric fence, or there's an electric fence on one side, but there's a pathway on the other. And it's really about rewiring your brain. It's really being able to talk to yourself or having another person show you that your language, your actions, your thought processes are preventing you.
From really achieving what you wanna achieve. And the people who make those excuses are hurting themselves. They may need help to help show them a better way that they can help manage their feelings and manage some of the doubts that they have and apply it in a different way, with more
[00:26:00] positivity and better energy.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I think that's wonderful advice. So I think a lot of my listeners out there are most likely steady settlers. I feel like most people are in that bucket. Yeah. And in your book you say they plan not to lose rather than plan to win, which I thought was really impactful and it's so true. Sometimes we're so like risk averse that we don't take chances.
And then we don't, we can't actually achieve like our ultimate goals and dreams and we never just get to that like extremely successful point. We might be successful, but we won't reach like extreme success, working a nine to five working for somebody else. Yeah. So, how can you tell if you're a steady settler, same question as before, because I think it's important.
And I think those are the two that most of my listeners probably fall into. And then how do you become a daring disruptor from that? Cause I think that's like kind of the level before you become a daring disruptor.
Zack Friedman: Yeah. So two things there. So one is, how do you know you're a steady settler?
So in the book I walked through the profiles of what it means to be a steady settler and a lot of these other characters and, steady settlers most prominently, they like safety
[00:27:00] and safety is okay. Everybody likes safety, right? They want security. They want safety. They want to have their comfort zone or their happy place.
And that's okay. I don't think that's a negative thing, but you really have to make sure that being in that safety zone is actually your safety zone. If you like working for other people and that's fine. Not everybody has to be an entrepreneur. I think there's so much advice out there that says escape the 9-5.
For many people, the nine to five is great. They enjoy that. Or they like working for the people because they want security. But if you're working for other people because of appearances or the name of the company or the prestige, or, you wanna buy the material items because you think that's what you're supposed to do.
That's the problem. If you like buying nice things, that's great. And that's important to you, all power to you. And many people do that and they're successful and that's great. But again, if you're doing it for a life of dependence, rather than independence, then you're stuck living somebody else's.
Keeping up with the Joneses as I talk about in the book and the lemonade life, it's one big Ponzi scheme because you're keeping up with somebody else, another family, the neighbor, the friends, but they're also keeping up with somebody else and someone's keeping up with somebody
[00:28:00] else and somebody else.
And it's you're playing leapfrog or you're just jumping from one life to another and focus on your own life. Like figure out what do you really want in life? And I think the people. Who say that they really don't care. Whether people think about them. I know people throw that around, but people who fundamentally actually don't care what other people think about them.
It is such a weight off your shoulders when you actually can just be yourself and do what you do rather than acting like you're in high school or middle school and kind of creating this like false sense of appearance. So that's what I would tell people, if you love what you do and you're not settling, if you enjoy what you're doing and you work for a company, that's fine. But again, if you're in this life of dependence, you're living off of other people, it's time to make that switch. And so how do you jump to the lemonade life? That's really what the whole book is about and become a daring disruptor.
So it's really through these five switches and they're five behaviors that are inside all of us. And so when I was, when I was thinking about the lemonade life, I started studying all these people who were successful right in business and politics and sports and different facets of life and to figure out, what drives success.
[00:29:00] And I came across these five behaviors, these five common characteristics, I call them switches, just like light switches in the book. And when you flip those five switches that really helps enable you to become a daring disruptor who leads the lemonade life and you can escape the lemon life.
Hala Taha: Cool. So when I was looking at those four profiles, I kept thinking like, you know what, maybe one morning I am an eternal excuser or maybe I didn't sleep well.
And I feel like shit, and I do make excuses and I'm tired or whatever it is. And then the next day I'm a daring disruptor. So I did see that you have morning routines that daring disruptors do. And I thought maybe that's the key. Maybe it's setting your intentions in the morning. Could you walk us through one of the morning routines that you suggest that people should take to get into the right mindset to start their day?
Zack Friedman: Absolutely. And I just wanna say, Hala, you brought up an excellent point that it's not necessarily black and white, that you can only be a daring disruptor only being an eternal excuser, or I think if you look at most people, they have all four of these attributes, right? At some time they're an eternal excusers or a little
[00:30:00] bit of an eternal excuser or , some of them is a daring disruptors.
Some of them is a steady settler change chaser. And the goal is really how can you move to a daring disruptor? It doesn't mean that you're happy 24 hours, seven days a week. I don't think that's realistic, how can you maximize your chance of being a daring disruptor? And I think that's really important what you brought up.
And I think in terms of morning routines, I'm a huge believer in morning routines, because as you said, it really sets the pace and the tone for your day. And I think there's many routines you can do. And I talk about them in the lemonade life. So it's everything from. Exercise in the morning or going for a run or for a walk.
If you're more an inside person or it's cold weather outside, I'm a big believer in gratitude journaling. So I have a gratitude journal. Again, this could be any piece of paper. It can be on your phone if you want, but I like it better if it's on paper. And I spent about 10 to 15 minutes each day, writing down three things that I'm grateful.
These can be really simple things. You don't have to be grateful for huge things. It could be small things in your life. It could be, your significant other, it could be your family. It could be a compliment you got at work the other day. Just three things that you feel grateful about because we have a lot of physiological changes and mental changes in our body.
When we think about gratitude or we
[00:31:00] think about kindness. And so writing that down in a journal each day and actually doing that activity. It's a huge benefit to everyone who is willing to take that into their lives and then spending another 10 minutes to reflect on that almost meditating. I find to be incredible for the day.
And then I spend time praying which I also find to be very soothing for me and very impactful to start my day. People may have different variations of what's important to them but having a gratitude journal and prayer I've been to that had been big for me. And I would recommend everybody to do it in your morning for some people it's better at night when they go to bed, they like to think about the day ahead.
And that's fine too, if that works for you, but find something that can give you more intention and purpose for your day. And I, and the other thing I would say is I would encourage you to do it on a piece of paper and not your phone. I think so many people, the first thing they do when they wake up is they grab their phone, get on social media, check their work email.
Don't do that. Literally don't do that. Don't check your phone in the morning. Please do these things first, because that will create the intention and the purpose and the tone for the day so that you have things that, you actually don't wanna see if it's something that's social media or it's something on your work email.
At least you
[00:32:00] have something positive that's gonna ground you.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I really need to get started with my morning routine. I just wake up and like hop on calls and then just the day just keeps going.
Zack Friedman: Most people did that.
Hala Taha: Yeah. And you just never get a chance to just reflect and just internalize and note your goals.
And I really would like to start with, and I encourage everybody listening to to be grateful, like you said, and set your intentions in the morning. It's so important. You mentioned physiology and it reminded me of a thought that I had when I was reading your book daring disruptors are happy.
And they're usually happy, but a lot of scientists say that happiness is really based on biological factors. And I'm just wondering what you think about that in terms of, can we really control our happiness? Is that really fully in our control or do you believe that, our biology kind of determines our level of happiness?
Zack Friedman: I think it's both, scientists do believe that you're right. There is scientific evidence that it comes from biology. And I think, we are, pre-wired based on our genetics and who our families are and where we come from. For that said, I do think there is opportunity
[00:33:00] for everybody to create their own happiness.
Part of the subtitle of the book is how do you create your own happiness? And I do believe despite, where you come from or what your physiology or your biology is that you do have a way to impact who you are in life. What you can get in life, how you can better yourself, how you can create more positivity in your life.
And I do believe that is possible. So I would encourage everybody who, at times doesn't feel happy. Certainly if you need to speak to a mental health professional, or you need, additional help to do that, I think that's one thing and I would encourage people to do that, but I do believe that people can create a better life and a better existence for themselves by taking action.
Hala Taha: So in your book, you talk about this Japanese concept. It's called ikigai. I think that's how you say it. And it's actually a really popular concept since I read it. I keep seeing it everywhere. And I'm like, how did I not know what this meant before? So could you share what that means to our listeners and explain how that relates to the lemonade life?
Zack Friedman: Sure. So ikigai is a Japanese term and there's different ways to explain the definition, but one of the
[00:34:00] ones that I like is focusing on purpose in your life and meaning in your life. And so we've all heard the term purpose before, but what does it really mean? And so in the lemonade life, having a purpose driven life.
Why do you get up every single morning? Why do you do what you do? If you have that in your life, it gives you a reason to go on every day. You're not just aimlessly going through life and waking up and going to a job and going to the gym and getting your groceries and coming home and repeating that five days a week.
But actually, what are you working towards in your life? It might be your family. It might be to serve other people. It might be, to yourself, you're doing it for yourself. I Whatever your purpose is, and I would encourage everyone to do this. Like very simple exercise which is grab a piece of paper, grab a phone and just type in these three words.
My purpose is, and then fill in the blank. And that sounds so simple. People can do that. I can do that in 10 seconds, but if you actually spend like 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes actually thinking about like, why are you here? What do you do on a daily basis in life? What are you working towards? I think the people who have that life purpose coming
[00:35:00] back to ikigai.
Those are the people who actually send their lives because they're trying to win for something they're winning for themselves. They're winning for their mom. They're winning for their dad. They're winning for their kids. They're winning for themselves. They're winning to help society, whatever your purpose is, having that purpose driven life.
That's the basis of ikigai in my perspective. And there's been studies that people have that in Japan, they've done studies on this. People actually prolong their life. They have longer longevity because they have a purpose driven life.
Hala Taha: Wow. That's so interesting. Very cool. Thanks for explaining that to us.
So I wanna go back to you brought something up your five switches that you talk about in your book. I was hoping that you could break down each one of these steps that we could do to switch on and become more of a daring disruptor.
Zack Friedman: Sure. So there are five switches or behaviors in the lemonade life, and they're inside all of us.
You don't have to be a billionaire or, a successful entrepreneur to do this. The five switches are super simple to remember you have this acronym, it's prism. Okay. P R I S M prism. And when you look through a prism, that's the life of the lemonade life. It's a life
[00:36:00] that a daring disruptor leads.
And so P is for perspective. R is for risk. I is for independence, S is for self-awareness and M is for motion. And these are the five behaviors that all successful people have. They're obviously others, but these are the five that I found. There was a continuity and a collective among the people who've been most successful in life, across various spheres and industries.
And if you can flip on those five switches inside of you, just like a light switch, when you flip on those five switches. Anyone can lead the lemonade life. And I walked through in the book how to do this, and I go into detail on different ways that you can change your perspective, or you can think about risk differently or become more independent or embrace more self-awareness in your life, or take more motion, which is really putting in the hard work and the action, which if you don't do that, all the other force, which is a irrelevant.
So it's like, how do you flip these five switches and how do you use that to become a daring disruptor and really change your life?
Hala Taha: Very cool. I hope everybody goes out and picks up the lemonade life. It's a really good read. I
[00:37:00] highly encourage it. I'll put the link in our show notes. I'm switching off from the book for a bit.
I see that you have a piece of advice for people to write themselves a $10 million check. Jim Carrey had a similar exercise that he did. In his case in 1985, he wrote himself a $10 million check for acting services rendered. He dated it 10 years in the future and he kept it in his wallet. And then in 1995, he was casted in the movie dumb and dumber and he made $10 million.
So why do you think that the actors like exercise of writing yourself a big fat check works?
Zack Friedman: Yeah, that's a great story. And it's in the lemonade life and Jim Carrey, when he first came to Hollywood, he's from Canada. When he first came to Hollywood, before he was the big mega star that we all know, he used to drive up to Mulholland, drive anyone from LA knows Mulholland drive.
And he would sit up there and really think about life because he, during the day he'd go to all these auditions and casting directors and directors, oftentimes they would reject him. They just didn't understand them at that time. And so he'd set up every night and he'd tell himself.
How wonderful he was, he'd say
[00:38:00] Jim, like you were wonderful today. All the directors love you. All the casting agents think you're the best and you're fantastic. And it was this like self reinforcement and positivity and this pep talk he would give himself and you're right.
He wrote himself a check for $10 million and he did sign that deal and he went out and make even more money afterwards, better movies, but I think when you take again an action to do something some people just say I'm gonna be successful. That's not enough. If you actually write down to yourself and you keep a note in your wallet, or you keep a note at your desk or next to your bed, that creates intention, it creates purpose.
It's actually a step that you've taken. You may realize it or not, but you actually have a clearly defined goal that you're working towards. It can be money oriented like he did. But it could be something else. It could be a smaller thing. I wanna create a successful podcast or I want to create a nonprofit that's important to me, or I wanna go to business school or whatever your goals are.
If you can have more intentionality about it, it's really gonna help you move towards that goal. And of course you can fill in the details after that, but start with that first step. And yeah, I would encourage everyone to write a $10 million check to themselves. And if it's not, if you're not a money oriented person, that's
[00:39:00] fine too.
If you don't wanna be young and profiting and that's okay. So listen to the podcast, of course, but write the equivalent to the $10 million check for yourself. I think that's important.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I think there's so much power in writing things down and setting reminders for yourself. So a trick that I do is that all my computer, any past receipt
you have, and there's so many past receipt that you're typing in every day. I always make sure that it's like goal oriented and positive. So this is not a password I have anymore, but it would be like top podcasts, 2020, or like something like that, and then every time I type it, I'm like, oh yeah, top podcast, 2020.
That's right. So that's a little trick that I do. And you can even set reminders on your phone when your alarm goes off and have a message pop up, that just says what your goal is, so that you're continually reminded and you just wanna keep writing it down, keep saying it out loud. And I think that's really powerful to help you, subconsciously work towards your goals.
Zack Friedman: I love that. That's a great idea.
Hala Taha: Okay. So I saw that you have a Ted talk and it's called the secrets to the happiness at work. I have a stat here that shows that over
[00:40:00] 85% of Americans hate their jobs. Why do you think that's true?
Zack Friedman: I think people are in the wrong job, I think a lot of people, obviously you have to put food on the table, absolutely. But I think a lot of people are in a job for the wrong reason. And they end up being stuck there because I think we're taught at a young age that this formula of, work hard in school, get good grades. Then you take a job and you're you work in that job for 40 years and then you retire and then, your life starts at age 65.
And I just think that's a raw deal. I think that is a total raw deal. It's deferred happiness. And I think it's important for people not to chase again, it goes back to a change chaser. They think if you wanna be your parents push you in to go to medical school, or you say, I have to work.
I have to work in Silicon valley. Everyone's going to like technology. You have to work there. I have to go to LA for media, or I have to work in finance in New York. People just end up going into these artificial buckets because they think they're supposed to be there. Their friends are going there.
They read it in the newspaper. They hot trends. Where's the money. And I think people don't take enough time to actually look at themselves and say like, where would I do? Again, you don't have to
[00:41:00] work in the biggest, like really attractive industries. You can make money. Any industry in any state, in any country, like they're really opportunities.
And I think more people would open their eyes. They would see that. And unfortunately, you're right. There's all these people who are stuck in a job where they're not happy. And as I talk about in my Ted talk, we spend up to 70,000 hours of our lives at work. Just think about that 70,000 hours and many people spend more time at work than they do with their family or spend time with themselves.
And so I think it's just a recipe for unhappiness. And though. Again, I think people have to audit themselves and really say, is this what I wanna be doing?
Hala Taha: Yeah. And considering that you sleep eight hours a day, think about that. You're working 10 hours a day to work, or you're sleeping eight hours a day. When do you have time to do something that you love? If you hate your work?
Zack Friedman: It's true. It's absolutely true
Hala Taha: Any other advice in terms of being happy at work?
Zack Friedman: Absolutely. I would tell you right now to look at the culture at your company or at your organization. And a lot of people don't like their job because they have a bad boss or they don't like the team members or
[00:42:00] just the general culture and the feel at work.
And I would tell people that if that's your situation, which is for many people, that's their situation. The economy is tough right now. So I understand that, but in general, you need to quit your job. That's harsh advice, but if there are other opportunities for you, I know there's not for everybody, but if there are other opportunities, you have to look for them.
So it could be leaving your department. It could be leaving your team. It could be a different part of the company or the organization. But again, if the culture is everywhere throughout that organization, and it's a negative culture, you just feel bad about yourself every day when you come home from work or you're just frustrated.
I really think you need to leave your job and you need to do it now, because if you're gonna be stuck in a bad job, I don't believe you can have a bad job and then be happy at home. If you're miserable at work, you're gonna be miserable at home. They carry over you can't separate the two, as hard as you try.
If that work-life balance, it's not gonna work. So if you're happy at work, you're gonna have a better apparatus to be happy at home. So find a job that empowers you that uplifts you and don't worry about the money. The money will come. You can build great things, but you're not gonna be able to really achieve your
[00:43:00] maximum, unless you're happy with what you do.
You actually feel fulfilled and inspired every day. Otherwise what's the purpose, right?
Hala Taha: Totally. Yeah. And I know that happy people are more productive. They're more creative. So you wanna be happy in your job because you'll do better in your job.
Zack Friedman: You will do better in your job and it'll increase your happiness too.
Because as you said, you spend so much time. You spend so much time at work and make the best of it. So if you have another opportunity, I know everyone doesn't, but if you have that opportunity, you should really leave your job because you're never gonna be happy in it.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I totally agree.
So the last question that we ask, all of our guests is what is your secret to profiting in life?
Zack Friedman: My secret of profiting in life is being kind to people. I really think it's important that as much as you're hustling and as much as you're grinding is to treat people with respect and kindness and empathy. I think that is the number one lesson that I would give to all the listeners of young and profiting.
I think people have this idea that you have to be tough in business and you have to be like this tough leader that tells people the way that it is. And I think there's times for that, but most of the time.
[00:44:00] Lead with kindness. I talk about that in the lemonade life. I think the people who are kind and empathetic and self-aware always gonna win, because I think people wanna connect with people like that, right?
They wanna interact with people like you, Hala, who are friendly and outgoing and kind to people. And they generally want other people to succeed and win. And so I think the people who, if you can root for other people, you can understand their position. You can be empathetic. Those are the people that are always gonna win.
So if you wanna be young and profiting, definitely be kind.
Hala Taha: I love that. Thank you. And where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that you do?
Zack Friedman: Yeah. So you can find me all over social media. Zack A. Friedman on everywhere from Facebook to Instagram, to Tik TOK, LinkedIn as well, Twitter.
And then my website is Zackfriedman.com, Z a C K F R I E D M a N. And you can find the lemonade life, everywhere books are sold. Also the audio book, we have the paperback coming out August 4th, and you can find everything at lemonadelifebook.com. So I would love for you to read the book and let me know what you think of the lemonade life.
Hala Taha: Awesome. Zack, you know that you have a
[00:45:00] podcasting voice. Have you ever considered starting a podcast and interviewing some of your daring disruptor entrepreneurs on there?
Zack Friedman: Yes. Thank you very much. That's very kind of you to say yes, the answer is yes.
Hala Taha: I hope that comes to fruition. I think it will be a hit.
Thank you so much, Zack. It was such a pleasure.
Zack Friedman: Thank you so much Hala. This was awesome. Really appreciate it.
Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to young and profiting podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review on apple podcasts or comment on YouTube SoundCloud or your favorite platform. Reviews make all the hard work worth it. They are the ultimate thank you to me and the YAP team. The other way to support us is by word of mouth. Share this podcast with a friend or family member who may find it valuable. Follow YAP on instagram @youngandprofiting and check us out at youngandprofiting.com. You can find me on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name Hala Taha until next time, this is Hala, signing off.
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