ONE of the time-honoured tropes of writing on business is the detailed description of the life of a corporate titan. Readers are expected to marvel at the stamina of Tim Cook, for example. Apple’s chief executive rises at 3.45am to deal with emails. Spare a thought for his underlings, whose iPhones buzz at 4am every morning.
Some subordinates may have the fortitude to sleep through it all; many will be guilt-tripped into answering the boss. Highly effective people often inflict all their idiosyncrasies upon their hapless juniors. Perhaps the aim of admiring biographies and articles is to prompt their readers to emulate the work ethic of such leaders. But they will not reach the top of an S&P 500 firm if they do. All this columnist would achieve if he rose at 3.45am every morning is a divorce from Mrs Bartleby.
A particular danger for executives is that their supposedly inspiring examples make them look out of touch. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, recently told a conference that he likes to “putter” in the morning, read a newspaper, drink a coffee and have breakfast with his kids. He schedules his first meeting for 10am. It all sounds very relaxed. But that option isn’t available to workers at many of his warehouses.
At Amazon’s British ones the two possible shifts are 7.00am-5.30pm or 5.45pm-4.15am, according to the GMB union, both of which make it hard to breakfast with the children. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, also put his foot in it recently by declaring that “there’s very little that annoys me in life, but people turning up late really does irritate me.”
Frazzled passengers on Virgin’s train service swiftly took to social media to note that they too liked to be on time, but that one in five trains had been late over the past 12 months. It is also easier to avoid being late if you don’t have to worry about dropping the kids at school or the vicissitudes of public transport. Top executives, both male and female, are surrounded by people whose job it is to help them, from executive assistants and personal drivers at work through to cleaners and cooks at home.
Bosses also vie with each other on early-morning gym routines. Again, a hard-working parent with children to look after may not have the time, or the money, to do the same. A well-paid middle manager might be able to join a gym, only to find that every time they get on the StairMaster they get a call or an email from someone up the hierarchy.
It is easy to confuse correlation with causation. Tim Cook would probably be just as effective if he rose at 6.45am. He will have some qualities other than hard work and an unusual circadian rhythm to explain his rise. If long hours were the key to success, after all, people who hold down two jobs, or nurses on the night shift in emergency rooms, would be rolling in wealth. Ronald Reagan became president despite quipping that “I’ve heard that hard work never killed anyone, but I say why take the chance?”
Homilies about successful executives involve lots of virtue-signalling. No boss is going to admit that on Friday nights they consume pizza and watch box sets of “Game of Thrones”. Instead they claim to meditate or read improving books. Many business profiles resemble medieval “lives of the saints”, with the subjects of the hagiographies receiving share options instead of canonisation.
Some executive habits may be harmless, such as the preference of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to wear the same outfit every day. But the danger is that a leader’s eccentricities and views become so embedded in the culture that they damage the business in the long run. Henry Ford achieved great success with the Model T , but he failed to change it when it became old-fashioned; his dislike of credit also held back Ford when other producers allowed consumers to buy in instalments.
Gerald Ratner’s fondness for outspokenness (after childhood sales lessons at London’s Petticoat Lane Market) turned sour when he described his jewellery chain’s products as “crap”. Hobbies can be destructive, too. When Bear Stearns, an investment bank, was in danger of going bust in 2008, Jimmy Cayne, its chief executive, was indulging his passion for bridge in Nashville, and was out of reach by email or phone.
The danger of copying chief executives is that what makes their habits fashionable is usually strong profit growth and share price performance, and those can be ephemeral. Quirks that look daring and groundbreaking in good times seem more of a liability in testing times. Just ask shareholders in Tesla.
According to Jeff Bezos, living a life filled with meaning comes down to how you answer this short list of questions. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is widely respected for a number of qualities. Patiently building a company with a juggernaut of a flywheel.
According to Bezos, cleverness is a gift. “You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful,” Bezos said to Princeton graduates in 2010, “and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”
Research shows we more often regret things we didn’t do than the things we did, even if things we did turned out badly. Makes sense: With time and effort, you can fix almost any mistake. But you can’t go back and do the things you dreamed of doing, but didn’t.
In fact, this study takes that idea even further, probing the kinds of regrets we have about the people we don’t become — which is a natural extension of the actions we didn’t take.
As Bezos said, “When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices.”
What choices will make the biggest impact on your life story — and whether you look back on that story with regrets?
These are the questions Bezos says to ask yourself:
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
Like most great lists, it’s also a hard list. Take ignoring criticism and following your convictions. That’s far from easy. Plus, most of the time we should worry about what other people think.
But not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.
If you really want to start a business — which you can do in just a few hours — some people might say you’re crazy, especially now. If you really want to go back to school, some people might think you’re crazy, especially now. If you really want to open a new restaurant, some people will definitely think you’re crazy.
Especially now. But if you let the naysayers deter you, you’re much more likely to look back someday and wonder what might have been. Research shows you’re most likely to regret thinking you didn’t reach our full potential. You’ll most regret not becoming the person you feel you could have become, if only you had tried.
Because that’s one mistake you can never go back and fix. But if you ask yourself the Bezos questions, that might be one mistake you can stop making. Starting today.
Regardless of what you’re going for (what your target is), these steps have proven themselves to me and my clients. When we use them, no matter what kind of success we seek, we speed up our process of getting there.
1. Define your core values
A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not be being true to yourself.” Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
When you take the time to define your values, you create a foundation to build your life. But many people fail to clarify their values and take a longer route to meaningful success as a result. Without clear values, you can take costly detours, achieving empty successes or feeling conflicted.
When you feel yourself constantly comparing your life to other people or just unsure of what you want, that’s when you need to check in with your values. I suggest creating a list of values and beliefs, choosing a few of the most important factors that will guide you in choosing meaningful goals. Your list may include things like family, security, and wealth. Or, perhaps you put greater value on freedom, adventure, and creativity.
Try and get your list down to about three of the most important priorities. When you do, you’ll find it much easier to choose a direction, make confident decisions, and succeed on your terms.
2. Get clear on your goals
What do you want to achieve—really? Often people don’t take the time to ask themselves what they want.
Some people chase after shiny objects, never committing enough to a single goal to find success. Others invest too much committed to the wrong goal, afraid of quitting or letting others down. Achieving long-term goals takes planning, effort, and focus sustained over time. Choose wisely, and make sure those goals are in line with your values.
The recipe for success is different for everyone. One person might feel their best living as a digital nomad, traveling to a different country every month. Another person might thrive on time with family and living in their dream home. What will make you shine is completely unique to you. So get clear on what you want to achieve and what steps you will take to achieve it.
3. Be a learner, not a winner
Often people approach success with an all or nothing mindset, in which you either win or lose. You’re either good or bad, right or wrong, smart or stupid. This mindset leaves little room for error, and too much room to give up when things aren’t perfect. To move forward in overcoming perfectionism, you’ll need to replace this “all or nothing” approach with “all or something.”
Mistakes move you forward!
Making mistakes is far better than not trying at all. The process of trial and error helps you to learn. You gain wisdom and get better over time. My progress in the sport of fencing increased ten times the day I decided to use every practice, lesson, event, and bout as a learning experience instead of a winning opportunity.
Winning comes faster when you take the focus off of it, and instead, focus on becoming a sponge, absorbing every experience as knowledge to help you improve. This doesn’t mean we don’t want to win.
It means that if we step over learning in order to reach for winning, we place a huge barrier in front of ourselves — trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way. In figuring out how to be successful in life, learning as much as you can leads to bigger wins.
4. Set up a support system
Big goals don’t happen overnight. Building a successful business, writing a book, getting a degree—it takes hard work and commitment to see those dreams through. But you don’t have to go through it alone, and you shouldn’t!
Get a coach, mentor, or accountability group to keep you going. If we rely on just ourselves, it’s like having a single jetpack, putting along towards a goal. With the support of a team, we have rocket power, achieving our goals much faster – vroom!
Creating this type of support system will help you stay motivated through the challenges, get help when you need it, and learn from others’ experiences.
5. Put in the time
You may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s New York Times bestseller, Outliers. Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to gain mastery. (that’s about 90 minutes per day for 20 years).
It’s an idea based on a 1993 paper from Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University. But many people have pushed back at this “10,000 hours requirement”, including Ericsson himself.
Commitment and consistency
If you want to get good at something, you have to put in the time. Spending just 10 to 20 minutes a day on a new skill, your brain will retain almost all of what you learned, according to neuroscience.
If you don’t have 10,000 hours to learn something new, start with 20 minutes a day. Commit to it.
If you need to practice, study, experiment, and apply in order to succeed, then do that. Put in the time wherever it is required. No effort is wasted if we have our eye on our target, even if one or two or three attempts feels like we’re getting nowhere.
6. Commit to a goal that you’re willing to grind for
It takes a lot of hard work and grit to achieve long-term goals. People who found a successful company, wrote a novel without a book deal, or made it big in show business had to put in the work to get from nothing to something.
They didn’t know that they would make it, but they persisted anyway. “Success develops from your willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough — to sweat all the way down until the salt of your soul spills out on the floor.”
Before you commit to your goal, make sure you really want it. What means so much to you that you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make it come true?
7. Get inspired
You may already have a clear vision of your dreams, but not everyone does. If you feel unclear about the path forward, get out there and explore.
Inspiration is everywhere
Go to camps, clinics, conferences and retreats. Get private lessons and read books. When you get out there and try new things, you’re more likely to find inspiration for how to be successful in life.
Approach success with a sense of curiosity and playfulness to find a vision of success that excites you.
8. Take (calculated) risks
The quest beyond where you stand today to where you want to go means stepping outside of your comfort zone. That means you’re going to have to stick your neck out there sometimes and take risks.
I’m not saying you should quit your job this second. When you assess your situation fully, you can take calculated risks that will ultimately lead to success.
A few tips to keep in mind:
How much savings would it take to carry you through this shift?
Would downsizing your lifestyle provide flexibility to explore a new direction?
Do you have other people to consider when making this decision?
Assess your opportunities: Are companies actively hiring in your new field?
Do you need training or education to make this dream happen?
Sometimes taking risks can mean a night class once a week to train for that new career path. Or, you might start a side hustle to see if your business idea will actually work. Maybe you just need to meet new people and network to get more information about that new direction.
Eventually, you need to take a leap of faith to move forward. Just make sure you have the resources and information available before you take that step.
9. Learn from experts
If you want to illuminate the path to success, look for people who have already done it. Who are the captains in the industry that you admire? Find out how they turned their dreams into reality.
Observe, study, and follow others who are succeeding along the same path you want to go. Spend time learning from them. Find at least one thing to avoid or one thing to adopt each time you watch others making progress toward your same target (or from those who have hit the target).
Why limit yourself to just one role model? You can draw inspiration from any number of people who inspire you. When we only learn from one master, we only know what that one person knows. When we learn from more than one expert, we have ages of knowledge and wisdom to lean into.
10. Ask a ton of questions
Many people resist asking questions because they don’t want to sound incompetent or annoying. But actually, asking questions does the opposite! “By asking someone to share his or her personal wisdom, advice seekers stroke the adviser’s ego and can gain valuable insights. People do not think less of you — they actually think you’re smarter.” Francesca Gino, Professor at Harvard Business School
Unless you ask, you never know what you might find, learn, or achieve. Ask, ask, and ask again. You’ll show experts and mentors that you value their opinion. You open up opportunities for conversations that could inspire your next idea.
Just make sure to avoid naysayers who shut you down. People who negate your questions or chastise you for being a Curious George will only hold you back from learning and growth.
11. Get feedback
You need feedback to learn and get better. You’ll gain a fuller perspective on your strengths and habits that might be holding you back.
Asking for feedback will also make you happier and more productive, says Sheila Heen, author of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well: “People who go out and solicit negative feedback — meaning they aren’t just fishing for compliments — report higher satisfaction. They adapt more quickly to new roles, get higher performance reviews, and show others they are committed to doing their jobs.”
Use trusted folks who know their stuff to give you feedback. We could be getting in our own way. We could be headed down a rabbit hole. We could get our minds in a dark place, or be forming a bad habit. You get the notion.
12. Break down goals into small steps
Dreaming big starts with having a clear vision of what you want, whether you want to discover how to be successful in career, relationships, in the arts, philanthropy, and so on. Close your eyes and envision the life of your dreams. Then write down those goals.
When you look at all those grand ideas, it can feel overwhelming. But anyone who has accomplished something big started with one small step forward.
So, what will it take to get there?
Determine the small steps to getting to that point of success. When you break down big goals into small steps, you’ll see what it takes to turn those dreams into a reality.
13. Take breaks
In a 2004 study published in Nature, researchers at the University of Lübeck in Germany trained participants to solve a long difficult math problem. After a good night’s rest, when participants returned for retesting, those who had slept eight hours were more than twice as likely to solve the problem in a simpler way than those who had not slept.
You need to take breaks and get plenty of rest.
So, what will it take to get there?
Burnout will only diminish your health and prevent you from thinking clearly. And when you find yourself hitting a wall, sleep on it. You’re more likely to come up with the solution after taking a break.
14. Keep creative juices flowing
Make a habit of including creative activities into your routine. The American Psychological Association points out that routine creativity expands the mind, improves problem-solving, and increases productivity.
Here’s how to include routine creativity in your life:
Keep track of new ideas when they come up
Take on new challenges that require problem solving and new approaches
Expand your knowledge, through classes or reading outside of what your bubble
Surround yourself with interesting people who can broaden your perspective
Try interesting things that stimulate the brain, like a new hobby or a trip to a museum
15. Take care of your health
“A sick man only wants one thing; a healthy man wants a thousand things.” Confucius
Often the pursuit of success can put health concerns on the backburner. You put in the extra hours to turn your dream into reality. And that’s okay, but you should never sacrifice your health.
Think in terms of the long game
You want to live a long, successful life, not burnout. That means checking in with your body every day and incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine.
So what should you do? When it comes to health, most of the best healthy habits are fairly simple: Eat Well, Sleep Well, Exercise Well.
Exercise daily (30 minutes of moderate exercise will do)
Maintain a healthy body weight
Avoid excessive drinking
Rest and get enough sleep
Success starts with defining what that means to you, then tirelessly working toward that dream. When you commit to making it happen, and surround yourself with supportive people, you’ll find that path to success rolls out before you.
Entrepreneurship is a challenging endeavor that requires a lot of effort and dedication. Entrepreneurship is full of times when stress and pressure come into play, but most entrepreneurs will only show the sales and hundreds of orders. Nobody shows the slow months, disputes, rude customers and difficult vendors, lost packages, delayed shipments and long work days. In reality, entrepreneurs are forced to overwork, experience doubt and worry about getting consistent sales.
Keeping up with the demands of running a business is difficult, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. A correct approach can make it easier for you to run a “small” business and make it happen! This article will discuss a few solutions that can help you to manage pressure and stress in running your business. Let’s dive in!
1. Have a positive attitude
A positive attitude is one of the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur. A positive attitude towards work, customers and business partners is essential to achieving goals and building a successful business. Stress and pressure are inevitable in any business, but a positive attitude can help you deal with them and stay focused on your goals. A positive attitude can also help you to see challenges as opportunities, and it can also help you to stay motivated and focused on your goals. A positive attitude is not always easy, but it is worth it.
2. Find a support system
Support systems can be a helpful way of managing stress and pressure as an entrepreneur. Many people find them helpful in relieving the pressure and helping to stay organized. Many different support systems are available, so it is important to find the one most comfortable for you. Some of the most common support systems include joining an entrepreneurial community and finding a mentor.
A properly functioning support system can help entrepreneurs deal with issues without worrying about them. This can help them to focus on their business and not have to worry about the personal aspects of their life. An effective support system translates to increased individual and business productivity.
3. Maintain a work-life balance
A work-life balance is something that is often talked about but not always practiced. Many people consider work-life balance a luxury, but it’s not. With the ever-growing levels of pressure and stress in today’s society, finding a way to balance your work and personal life is more important than ever. Working too much and neglecting our personal lives can lead to much pressure and stress.
Lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, and too much caffeine can all add up over the long run and hurt our mental and physical health. Without mental and physical fitness, we may feel like we can’t succeed without putting in the extra hours, and we may start to feel overwhelmed by our work. While there are many ways to maintain a work-life balance, some of the most common methods are setting reasonable expectations, exercising, resting and maintaining a healthy diet.
4. Find a hobby
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of being an entrepreneur, consider finding a hobby to help take your mind off things. Hobbies offer a sense of relaxation, a diversion from the hectic tasks of running a business and the opportunity to share one’s creativity with others. Choosing something you’re passionate about can help reignite your enthusiasm and help you stay focused.
Many options are available when choosing a hobby, and you don’t have to be an expert to start. Just be sure to choose something you’ll enjoy, and you’ll be able to stay focused while you work. Hobbies can provide a sense of accomplishment and contribute to a sense of well-being.
5. Hire staff to help or delegate duties
Delegating duties as a way of dealing with pressure and stress can be difficult, but with the help of the right people, it can be done. When faced with high-stress levels, many entrepreneurs turn to hiring staff or delegating some of the work to other team members. This helps them take some of the load off and enables them to create time for themselves. For example, hiring an administrative assistant can help to alleviate some of the pressure and stress associated with running a business.
6. Develop an action plan
Action plans are an essential component of any successful business. They can help you deal with pressure and stress and, ultimately, increase your chances of success. With a plan in place, you can anticipate challenges and make the necessary adjustments to keep your business on track.
An action plan can help you stay on track and set goals and progress. There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your plan. Make sure to consider your goals, the available resources, and the time commitment you’re willing to make.
7. Ask for help
Entrepreneurs are often lauded for their ability to go it alone. But many people don’t realize that even the most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people they can rely on for advice. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you’re willing to admit when you need help and are open to suggestions from others. Asking for help is a sign of maturity and wisdom.
There’s a psychological and physical price to entrepreneurship that simply needs to be acknowledged by every entrepreneur, both novice and experienced. Building and running a business is more stressful than you initially imagine or anticipate
There’s always the pressure of failing – as simple as that. Not every business goes well. You’re taking responsibility for a team of partners and employees. You make promises you’re not always entirely sure you can deliver. Even when you’re experiencing success, it’s not entirely a 100% sure thing. I almost shut down a business that was profitable because I didn’t count on it growing so fast.
It’s a great thing to see and experience but my cash flow deficit was nine times more than in the beginning. Once that ball starts rolling, it’s difficult to stop it. You scramble to find money and solve the problem (which is a bit absurd as the business isn’t going under) in real time, all the while taking care of your employees who are hanging by a thread of your actions.
The thing is – you can’t really shake off their pressure and incoming stress because they want to feel secure, and you project the image of that security. Even though entrepreneurs are a self-determined and intelligent bunch, many feel the profound and influencing pressure effects that the surroundings exert on them. Yet, they also feel they can’t be leaders and at the same time admit they’re struggling.
Whether as a group we are embarrassed to admit we’re vulnerable, see it as a weakness, or whatever the reason is, entrepreneurial pressure isn’t discussed nearly enough. That’s a mistake. Don’t be fooled by the successful image the leaders you look up to convey. It’s like social media – people only show the highlights. But I assure you – all entrepreneurs struggle with pressure and the sooner you address it, the faster and better you can manage it and become a better entrepreneur.
Too many times as entrepreneurs we get so focused on success that taking care of ourselves takes a backseat. Such MO takes a toll on the wellbeing of an entrepreneur. The very nature of this job is to juggle many roles while facing the constant risk of failure, various setbacks and ongoing voices in our heads and around us telling us we must succeed. And every single one of us, regardless of how experienced or inexperienced we are, face some version of these defeats along the way.
Being aware of the amount of pressure this line of work entails is an important first step in managing and mitigating the potential negative effects. For some, this is still a taboo topic despite recent efforts to popularize discussions about mental health. It shouldn’t be and we mustn’t let it be.
Dealing with pressure ultimately boils down to personal perspective and the importance you place on the task at hand. By being aware, you can prevent (or stop) sabotaging yourself and lead a healthier and more productive life and business. Will the world really end tomorrow if you don’t succeed 100% of the time? I don’t think so. And the paradox? The less stressed you’ll be, the higher your success rate.
Once you’re aware of what you’ll be likely facing down the road, it’s easier to be prepared to deal with it head-on. Learning to cope with and perform under pressure is crucial not only to be successful but also to be effective while doing it. Speaking from a competitive standpoint, you risk falling behind those who do master handling the scenarios where a major hurdle comes up. And in this often cutthroat environment, recovery will be extremely hard.
Many, and perhaps most, millionaires are frugal. If they spent their money, they would not have any to increase wealth. They spend on necessities and some luxuries, but they save and expect their entire families to do the same. Many millionaires keep a lot of their money in cash or highly liquid cash equivalents.
Millionaires also have zero-balance accounts with private banks. They leave their money in cash and cash equivalents and they write checks on their zero-balance account. At the end of the business day, the private bank, as custodian of their various accounts, sells off enough liquid assets to settle up for that day. Millionaires don’t worry about FDIC insurance. Their money is held in their name and not the name of the custodial private bank.
For more than 200 years, investing in real estate has been the most popular investment for millionaires to keep their money. During all these years, real estate investments have been the primary way millionaires have had of making and keeping their wealth. The trend started with buying a primary home and then other residences, usually for tenants. After buying some personal real estate, then they have started buying commercial real estate like office buildings, hotels, stadiums, bridges and more.
Ultra-rich investors may hold a controlling interest in one or more major companies. But, many millionaires hold a portfolio of only a few equity securities. Many may hold index funds since they earn decent returns and you don’t have to spend time managing them. They also have low management fees and excellent diversification.
Millionaires also like dividend-paying stocks for the passive income they provide. Of course, they are also interested in capital appreciation but, for some, that’s less of a concern than generating current income.
Investors of private equity funds have to be accredited investors with a certain net worth, usually at least $250,000. Accredited investors can be individuals as well as organizations, but they are defined by regulations. In other areas, private equity funds do not have to conform to as many regulations as public equity does. Some of the ultra-rich, if they are accredited investors, do invest in private equity.
Commodities, like gold, silver, mineral rights or cattle, to name a few, are also stores of value for millionaires. But they require storage and have a level of complexity that many millionaires simply don’t want to deal with.
Some millionaires, along with the ultra-rich, keep a portion of their money in other alternative investments like such tangible assets as fine art, expensive musical instruments or rare books. Also, there are millionaires and the ultra-rich that have investments in intellectual property rights such as the rights to songs or movies. These can be very lucrative investments.
It is estimated that there are around 100,000 cryptocurrency millionaires out there with the majority holding Bitcoin. To try to make your fortune in cryptocurrency, you have to be willing to take on some risk and many millionaires don’t have an appetite for risk.
You can take a small portion of a millionaire’s wealth and invest in one of the different cryptocurrencies. Plenty of people have become millionaires this way. Some have lost their money. More and more, cryptocurrency is becoming accepted as a legitimate investment that deserves a look when trying to accumulate wealth.
The Bottom Line
Millionaires have many different investment philosophies, so it’s difficult to generalize concerning where they keep their money. However, all of the above are legitimate investments for millionaires. They have a desire for a reduction of their risk, so many prefer diversified investment portfolios. More than one of these investments can be combined to try to enhance wealth.
Boris Jordan, the billionaire founder, chairman and largest individual shareholder of Curaleaf, one of the world’s largest cannabis companies, is fending off Internet rumors falsely suggesting his company has links to the Kremlin.
“This is not a first for me—I was exposed to this kind of behavior when I was a child growing up in the United States,” says the 55-year-old Jordan, who was born in New York and grew up in Long Island. “It was really tough to be a boy named Boris during the Cold War.”
Although all cannabis stocks have taken a beating over the last 12 months, Curaleaf’s price has been hit hard this week—dropping more than 20% in the last few days.
Simply put: Curaleaf is a U.S. company and not owned by Russia. But the success of a good rumor is that there’s a hint of truth which a conspiracy can attach itself to. Jordan has ancestral and business ties to Russia and Europe. His grandparents, who were born in Russia and Ukraine, fled in 1919 during the Russian Civil War and his parents were born in Serbia.
After graduating New York University, Jordan left the U.S. as a young financier and lead Credit Suisse’s investment banking division First Boston in Russia, which was transforming its economy after the fall of the Soviet Union.
He eventually started his own investment fund, Renaissance Group, and he’s now the chairman of both the Sputnik Group and Renaissance Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies in Russia, which he owns a more than 30% stake and brought the company public in October. Jordan’s biggest business venture abroad was Telecity, an outfit he used to consolidate data centers across Europe.
Curaleaf’s second largest investor, Andrey Blokh, is a Russian billionaire with dual U.S. citizenship. The U.S. government has not levied sanctions on Blokh. (See Forbes’ sanctions tracker here.) Blokh currently owns about 20% of Curaleaf’s stock. Curaleaf bought Blokh’s Nevada-based cannabis company House of Herbs in 2017 and Blokh then invested alongside Jordan before Curaleaf went public in Canada in 2018. The two “built the company together,” Jordan says.
Starting in 1998, Blokh served as the president of Russian oil company Sibneft, the company from which Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich derived a chunk of his $12.3 billion fortune. After his stint at Sibneft, Blokh and a partner consolidated Russia’s dairy industry under Unimilk and merged with Danone in 2010.
Blokh, who had a $1.9 billion fortune earlier this year, is officially not a billionaire with a net worth of $781 million, Forbes estimates. “We’re both U.S. citizens, in my case, born and raised United States, and in [Blokh’s] case, naturalized,” says Jordan.
Earlier this week, Curaleaf responded to the online attacks with a press release explaining how both Blockh and Jordan are U.S. citizens and that they are not subject to sanctions.
Matt McGinley, an analyst who covers the cannabis industry at Needham & Co., says he is not worried and doesn’t think much of the misconception.
“Both Boris Jordan and Andrey Blokh are U.S. citizens, so I disagree with the notion that Western sanctions on Russia would have a direct impact on Curaleaf’s business,” says McGinley. “If Curaleaf had the ability to raise capital from U.S. citizens who happened to become very wealthy from investing in Russia in the 1990s and 2000s, then so be it.”
American citizens can, in fact, be sanctioned by the U.S. government, says Saskia Rietbroek, the executive director of the Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists. “It wouldn’t be the first time,” she says, explaining there are a few citizens on the government’s Specially Designated Nationals list.
Jordan says there is no risk of Curaleaf being sanctioned. “There’s just a PR risk because of our heritage,” he says. “And I think that that’s a travesty.”
When asked about the invasion of Ukraine, Jordan referred to it as a “catastrophe” and “disaster” and something “which none of us can believe is happening.” Jordan’s ancestors are half-Ukrainian and half-Russian. (His great-grandfather was the last governor of Kyiv before the Russian Revolution.) “This is a major travesty for my family,” he says.
While retail investors bought into the conspiracy, Jason Spatafora, the co-founder of MarijuanaStocks.com who is known online by his alter ego “The Wolf of Weed Street,” says the Curaleaf-sanctions rumors is “a silly storyline.”
“Cannabis Twitter is already in a fragile state given the pullback in stocks that is unrelated to core business success,” Spatafora says. “People are trying to conflate what’s going on with Curaleaf as part of some Russian oligarch nonsense.”
Noah Hamman, the CEO of AdvisorShares, an actively managed ETF firm that has a $90 million position in Curaleaf, says he doesn’t see the issue or the controversy around Curaleaf.
“We are not selling Curaleaf based on the Russian war, or any internet speculation,” Hamman says. “This position remains a high conviction position and anyone that suggests we would sell based on that speculation is incorrect.”
The specter of “Russian money” has been floating around the cannabis industry for years. Like many other sectors—from tech to crypto to real estate—Russians have invested in the marijuana space.
Jordan says the recent attacks are motivated by money. “We—American patriots, who are very, very pro-American—are being attacked for financial gain,” he says.
Morgan Paxhia, who cofounded cannabis investment firm Poseidon Asset Management, also dismissed the Russian connection as xenophobic. “People were quick to jump on anti-Russian sentiment without asking if it were true and the stock suffered for it,” Paxhia says. “It was debunked but the damage was done. Social media is a very powerful tool and can be a very powerful weapon.”
Right before the close of the market on Thursday, Curaleaf released its fourth quarter and full-year earnings, reporting 2021 revenue of $1.2 billion, a 93% increase over 2020, and $298 million in adjusted EBITDA, a 107% increase. The company recorded a net loss for 2021 of $102 million, compared with a net loss of $57 million in 2020. Curaleaf’s stock was up nearly 1% for the day at the close of the market.
“The stock price will always recover,” says Jordan. “The key thing is the business doing well, and I’m confident this has created a buying opportunity.”
I am a staff writer on the vices beat, covering cannabis, gambling and more. I believe in the many virtues of vices. Previously at Forbes, I covered the world’s richest people as a member of the wealth team. I have been a staff writer at Inc. magazine where I wrote about entrepreneurs doing business in the legal fringes of society. Before that, I reported stories that took me to the West Bank, Moscow and Brooklyn.
Curaleaf Holdings is taking steps to head off speculation on social media that the marijuana multistate operator will be subject to U.S. economic sanctions because of its ties to Russia.
“Rumors and misinformation spread during turbulent times,” the Massachusetts-based company said in a statement posted on its website, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The speculation on social media that the Company and its major shareholders and executives will somehow be subject to any U.S. government economic sanctions now or in the future is incorrect.”
Curaleaf noted that Boris Jordan, its executive chair and largest shareholder, “is an American citizen, born and raised on Long Island, New York. He is not, and has never been, a citizen of any other country.”
The company also acknowledged Jordan’s links to Russia, saying he “spent several years working in Europe and Russia and currently has several businesses in the U.S. (Curaleaf among them), Europe and Russia.”
MarketWatch reported that Jordan owns 22% of Curaleaf’s stock. Jordan has in the past praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.