Meet Tom Wassermann - Professional Israeli Triathlete and Founder of Social Media Agency - Wasser Media.
What was the hardest part of building your startup?
Oh definitely building it while training as a full time elite triathlete. Thankfully, I don't have to do this anymore, but for a few months I would wake up at 4am to get my first swim workout in, which would be followed by working 3 hours straight of mostly cold calls/emails/walk-ins/proposals, etc. Then I would do my next workout and repeat this process for a total of about 2-4 x per day. By 23:00 I would collapse on my bed and start over the next day. This was mostly during the winter season, where my base training is close to 30 hours per week. However, the absolute hardest thing was (and still is) finishing an intense session of a few hours, then immediately getting a crisis call from a client. Suppressing your fatigue and hunger while maintaining patience to fix the situation is probably one of the hardest things I can do. Anyone who knows me, knows I get hangry real quick. Losing a client and learning from it was also a hard process for me.
What are your best hacks for productivity?
Exercising first thing in the morning I think is the biggest productivity boost there is. Once you finish your morning workout, you're officially awake and have already accomplished the first task of the day. That releases dopamine and you feel ready and motivated to tackle the next task, and so on. Also, I have these semi noise cancelling headphones that I use when I do work. I put them on with some music and it helps me focus and get into the flow state quicker when there is a lot of work that needs to be done. If you don't know what I mean by flow state, I suggest you read "The Rise of Superman" by Steven Kotler.
What was your most life-changing experience?
During my Junior (3rd) year in University, I had a "mid-life crisis". Everyone that studies accounting knows that the internship between your Junior & Senior year is critical in terms of securing a job post graduation. For some reason, I began to panic and my life flashed before my eyes. I began to question "the meaning of life", what is our "purpose", and other cliche philosophical questions. So that summer I decided to put my skills to good use and bike across the country (from Baltimore to San Francisco) with 18 other people to raise money for the Ulman Cancer fund for Young Adults. I received the best education about life during those 70 days (I also vlogged each of the 70 days, which you can wartch here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYek1Ch7A5cm2sNoUt6EY3j0OI3bwzE0Q). The following is what I learned from this experience:
1) Patience is key. Coming into this trip, I was one of the stronger cyclists on the team. As a result, my definition of a "comfortable" pace was not the same for everyone else. It would have been so easy for me to become frustrated at my team and yell at them to pedal hard and that they weren't trying hard enough. But what would have this accomplished? Simply resentment and anger directed at me. I quickly realized that we were going to arrive at our destination at the same time, regardless of how fast I wanted to go. I began to use my past cycling experience as not just a strength for me, but for my team. Whether that would be pushing people up hills, giving encouragement, or staying behind with the slowest teammate that day. Yes, sometimes people would get fed up with one another and burst out in anger. But In the end of the day, you know they were probably dealing with something. Everyone on the team has a strength and something to contribute, but frustration and anger will only slow you down.
2) Time is limited. During this trip we stopped and volunteered at a few hospitals. We also had the pleasure of speaking to many cancer patients during these visits. I can tell you that 100% of these patients did not plan or expect to have cancer. Yes, some of them smoked and had bad habits, but nobody believed their life might be taken from this disease. The patients ages ranged from 9-99 years old, so you never know what life can throw at you or even when. There was also a point during the trip where a cyclist from Bike & Build (another organization biking across the country) was hit by a car and passed away, not far from where we were that day. This unfortunate event could have easily happened to one of my teammates. As cliché as it is, live every day to the fullest... you'll never know what will happen. You have an idea that you want to pursue? Do it now, don’t wait another day or week! Who knows what’ll happen or what it can eventually lead to!
3) Regret. This kind of ties in the previous 2 points. Would your resentment & anger towards a teammate, friend, or family member matter if they passed away? If you found out you had cancer, what would you have done differently? Yes, these are dark thoughts, but relevant. When I am 80 years old, I don't want to look back at my life and think "I wish I did or I tried to do …(insert activity here)". I have made it a goal of mine to live the rest of my life without regrets. This is the exact reason why I am pursuing a career in professional triathlon while building my own company. I don't know if I can "make it" as a professional athlete or as an entrepreneur. However, when I am 80 years old I don’t need to think to myself "What if I tried to compete as a professional athlete, etc.". I did try to compete as a pro athlete, I did start my own business, I did ask that girl out, and this is what happened…
Go-To Strutting Down the Street, Confidence Boost Power Song: It changes, but currently it's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9mxV2KXclE
Breakfast of Champions: After a hard morning workout, I love to cook ~5 eggs + tuna. All on a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter or hummus. Then make a smoothie with strawberries, grapes, bananas, and milk. It doesn't even taste healthy, but yet it's so sweet.
Words you live by: Fear is the enemy, so f#ck fear and just do it.