Don't Hug "Big" Trees

Micro-dose of life & career advice to start your week

Hey friends,

Before we begin, I’m hosting my 10 Year Anniversary Workshop next month, come join me by enrolling at

If you ask my closest friends, they’ll tell you that Sherjan is a big believer of himself. No matter what the odds, I truly believe that I’m the safety net I’ve always been looking for, I am lucky to be where I am, and I’ll get through “this”…whatever “this” maybe. Having said that, I’ve had times in the past where I’ve relied heavily on someone else, with the belief that through them lay my success, and that foundational thinking ultimately led to my own failure. So, today I wanted to share a few lessons with you to help you avoid such people and give you more confidence in believing in yourself and achieving your dreams.

I remember when I was starting my most recent software startup, I met a “celebrity” investor who was interested in investing in our company. Now, this wasn’t George Clooney or someone of that level, but it was someone who had considerable wealth, resources, and on the surface, the right connections for making our startup a success, me a success along with it. I got pretty close with this investor, and not only that, I and other people in the funding round were convinced that our collective success was dependent on this celebrity investor joining our cap-table. At this moment, we did everything we could to accommodate for this investor and brought him into our company. Unfortunately, hat excitement didn’t last long. Very quickly we realized that there was no substance behind the investor’s celebrity status and there wasn’t much they could do for us. Not only that, their lack of experience in the field made it harder for us to manage their expectations.

Similarly, and more recently, I was working on another project and had found a lead investor who not only believed in my idea, but believed in me and took me under his wings. Having learnt my lessons from the last experience, I knew to tread carefully…but how careful did I need to be? He offered to lead our funding round with a $500,000 check by himself. Seeing such a large check and a vote of confidence can easily bring down your guard and in that moment you stop relying on yourself and start leaning heavily on this big tree. You start realizing that you have this massive support behind you, it will cover you from the storms, and shade you from the sun. But, once again, I was wrong. When the times got rough and the funding round wasn’t picking up steam, he was the first to bail ship.

There are a ton of lessons in here, but here’s how I would summarize them for you to consider:

  • Be careful about what people promise, take it with a grain of salt, it is likely very different from what they want and can deliver

  • If someone wants to invest money in you or your project, don’t just take their word for it, take their money first, then take their word

  • Never lean too heavily on someone else and use them as a support, always be in a position to balance on your own weight. The second they bail, you will fall

  • When you do fall, learn from it, get back up, and continue building with an even stronger belief in yourself

I hope this week’s note helps you avoid some bad apples in your life. No matter what happens, don’t lose faith in the good people, they exist, just continue searching for them and continue building your dream one step at a time. Good luck!


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Videos this Week 🎬

Top Bucket in Investment Banking is NOT Worth It: Top Bucket, you'll hear this term a lot in Investment Banking and see many young and talented people chase this dream. The truth is, being Top Bucket is cool, but it's not really worth it. It takes a toll on your health, on your friendships, and the firms don't really compensate you or acknowledge you for all the hard work you put into your work. In today's video I talk about why you shouldn't aim for bring Top Bucket at work.

Balancing Personal Life with Investment Banking: When you're working 100+ hours a week, it can be near impossible to even think about balancing a personal life. But, it can be done. When I was an analyst in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, I ran my coaching school on the side and expanded it globally while working weekends; if I could do it, I am sure you all can do something similar, actually, most likely better, than that. In today's video I talk about a few things you can do to balance your personal life with a hectic schedule in investment banking.

My Personal Mentor 🎙

Elizabeth Zhan - Journey to TPG Capital from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (listen here)

In today's episode I chat with Elizabeth Zhan, or as the homies call her, Bairu. Bairu started her career at Goldman Sachs in Singapore and then joined Morgan Stanley's tech group in Hong Kong. She then left the world of banking and joined TPG Capital and is now back in Singapore investing in late-stage companies. Tune in and listen to Bairu and her journey through the crazy world of finance.

Quote of the Week

You never start at the top of the hill.

Resources 📚

🚀Breaking into Investment Banking, Consulting, Accounting - Enroll Here
📄Build the Perfect Resume - Free Course - Enroll Here
🙋🏽‍♂️1-on-1 Coaching with me - Enroll Here

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