How to Deal with a Kick to the Nuts & What to Learn From It : Under30CEO How to Deal with a Kick to the Nuts & What to Learn From It : Under30CEO
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How to Deal with a Kick to the Nuts & What to Learn From It

| August 2, 2013 | 31 Comments

Most Interesting Man

Stay Humble My Friends.

Just when you think you are crushing it, just when you think that you have it all figured out, just when you think nobody can stop your confidence, someone serves you up a slice of humble pie…

I was pretty convinced that I have a lot of awesome stories that other entrepreneurs can learn from… Going from digging ditches in the global financial crisis, to building a full on movement of 500,000 young entrepreneurs reading Under30CEO every month, to starting a really cool travel company at Under30Experiences.

I wrote for Forbes this month. My grandma read about Under30Experiences in Sunday’s New York Times…

I even found time to do fun sh*t like drive the Oregon Trail after World Domination Summit in a bright red C-Class Benz and pickup hitchhikers.

But Is That Enough?

Mixergy‘s host Andrew Warner didn’t think it was.

So here I am, sitting in Timberline Lodge, ontop of Mount Hood with an epic backdrop, about to go on air for my Mixergy interview, ready to share my story with thousands of listeners..

This is of course after his Producer was practically drooling after a 90 minute call with me and booked me for this interview months in advance. I was ready to go.

But instead, it was a swift kick to the nuts.

Here’s what happens next…

Andrew goes on to tell me, that Under30Media isn’t quite ready for Mixergy yet.

I could have interpreted this as Andrew saying: “I exited a $30 million dollar business and have interviewed the founders of LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and Sun Microsystems… You only have a six figure business and a measly half a million monthly readers…”

Of course I wanted to think: f*ck me: Forbes and New York Times love us… screw this guy Warner.

But instead, I swallowed my pride and used the opportunity to learn…

It turns out Andrew is actually a really gracious dude.  I listened as he spoke candidly for the next 35 minutes and got tremendously humbling advice and insights from him.  He is one of only four people in my life who have ever shot me down…  All four people are multi-millionaires.

I told Andrew that our 35 minute conversation would prove to be worth far more to me than being on his show.  We all need people like this in our life.  A little chip on the shoulder builds character.

So what can we all takeaway?

Just because you have an awesome website, a life that far exceeds most people’s craziest dreams, and inspire thousands of others, doesn’t mean that you are above being served a reality check.  Screw your ego.  Use humbling experiences to make yourself better.

Do I think I deserve to be up there with the people who have been interviewed on Mixergy? F*ck yes. Tons of people whom I consider my peers have been on Mixergy, and next time I’m at some ego-fest cocktail hour, I’m sure someone will give me a hard time about it….

I put myself out there every single day and often times I am afraid.  I worry that by writing this Under30CEO readers won’t think we’re awesome anymore.  I worry that Warner will tweet this article and haters will flock to the site and tell me I suck.  It’s not easy being this vulnerable online.  But this isn’t about me.

What I really care about is making this community better.

Andrew Warner doesn’t think that the movement at Under30CEO is strong enough.

There are a sh*tload of 20somethings out there, who are stuck in their cubicle, hating their lives, who need to be reading Under30CEO.

If we going to lead, inspire, and educate the next generation of young professionals we are going to need your help. If you believe in our mission, help us build a stronger community that reaches millions of people, and has the best damn content on the web to make our generation successful.

Here’s what you can do today:

Drop a comment on Under30CEO.

Your voice needs to be heard. Love what you just read? Share with our community how this relates to your life. We need a community full of vibrant discussions. Every article should make you think enough to make a comment.

Become a contributor.

We’re not interested if you just want to write once or twice. We want people that want to inspire our generation several times each month, become a thought leader, and share amazing ideas. Email jared (at)

Sign up for our newsletter.

We just held events in New York, Portland, and Chicago. Why weren’t you there? Stay in the loop.

Under30CEO is hiring.

But we only hire from within our community. Make your name known on our site. Email your resume to jared (at) and get involved with writing / community management opportunities.

Travel with Under30Experiences.

We started a travel company because our generation needs to see the world. Get out from behind your computer and go somewhere awesome this winter.

Let’s go.

Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at Under30Experiences.

About the Author: Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO. After two years traveling and working from his laptop, Matt's official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media's travel company Under30Experiences. If Matt is around he will be easy to spot as his long luxurious hair is generally flowing freely in the breeze.

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Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Travel

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Great, great article Matt.

    Over the last few years, I’ve actually come to ENJOY the taste of humble pie – strange as it seems. I think this is because eating it usually always results in me learning something – and the more I learn, the better I do at life. Those who constantly avoid confrontation, the possibility of failure or genuine discomfort are also avoiding growth.

    I think it’s absolutely crucial that we look to growth in every form – even if that means occasionally (or frequently) getting shot down.

    Fantastic article.

  • Mike Darche

    Matt, I can definitely see why putting this up for us might have been nerve-wracking. But I’m so happy you posted–it’s a lesson in adversity but more importantly an important wake up call for all our readers.

    This is a community. And it’s up to the people involved in the community to make this a place worth exploring and sharing. It’s the same concept as a rising tide that lifts all boats: if we take on more active roles, we will have a stronger, more supportive network to inspire all.

    I’m glad you offer those action steps, they are all great ways to get involved. I also think the word of mouth factor is simple yet huge. If you are a 20 something who reads this site, you most definitely have 20 something friends who can benefit from this great content too. The personal recommendations have a much more lasting impact on a person than a mere visible “Like” or tweet. Readers: tell your friends about all of the great knowledge shared on Under30CEO and follow up by emailing or messaging them a link to the site!

    Matt, excellent article man– We grow as a community every single day!

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Daniel, thanks for chiming in here. You’ve been at the forefront of the movement we are leading and we really appreciate the support.

    Your article the other day really confirmed that it’s okay to be outside of your comfort zone, put yourself out there, and embrace the discomfort that comes with it. Of course, the true measure of a man is how he bounces back from a humbling experience.

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Mike– thanks for recognizing. Crafting the message and the lesson were the hardest part. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I took a long time thinking about how this should be presented to the audience. But again– it’s not about me….

    Under30CEO is a platform for people who want to take the lessons that they are going through in their life / business and share them with the world. This is exactly the type of example I wanted to put up here. If this humbling experience can help others, then I’m more than happy to put myself out there.

    Thanks for being part of what we’re doing Mike.

  • Michael Luchies

    Although I’ve been writing for five years and reached over 2+Million uniques, I still find myself easily offended by humble pie and after I get over it, I am very happy that someone told me what I need to hear. That person was you Matt! After my first interview post on Under30CEO you told me what I needed to hear when most people would’ve skated around it.

    Let us all be humble pie chefs. (I think I just came up with a t-shirt idea).

    Good post Matt, very interesting and it tells it like it is, just like a humble pie chef should.

  • Melissa Krivachek


    First off let me preface this with this is the best article you have ever written!!! I absolutely without a shadow of a doubt love that Andrew humbled you for several reasons 1. you will walk away knowing that you have to set your ego aside (even though we all like to let it get in the way from time to time) 2. you listened instead of argued even though you didn’t get what you wanted and 3. you taught your self and the community a great lesson just because you have more than most doesn’t mean you have enough.

    I can relate to your situation, I think it’s something everyone should experience at some point in their life. It’s like going to the gym you can do the same repetitions/sets/exercises over and over and when you get tired say that’s all I can do and walk away BUT until you push yourself to do one or two more that’s when the break-thru occurs, that’s when growth is made, that’s when the learning curve increases. Vulnerability builds trust and credibility and while it is scary the payoff makes it worth it. Think about all of the amazing people including Andrew himself who have been humbled, it’s made their companies even greater then they were, and they were presented opportunities, knowledge, and resources they would have otherwise not had access to and Under30 will be no exception to that with some massive action of course :)

    To many more successes as you finish off 2013.


  • Liz Flores

    Great article Matt! I had my taste of humble pie at work, and trust me I needed it. Those little desserts are learning opportunities as well as reminders that no one is ever done learning and growing. My piece of pie came to me when I was an intern and to this day, when I start to feel cocky at work or think I am without flaws I remember that pie. Thanks for reminding our readers that the journey to grow is never ending, even for the most successful people.

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Liz thanks for chiming in, and thanks for taking ownership in the community. To me the goal is to learn and grow as much as possible on the journey– it’s not about the end destination anyway. It’ll be a sad day when that comes to an end!

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Melissa– really glad you enjoyed the article. I’m glad it resonated with you.

    To your point about working out– yesterday I was in the gym and I failed. I knew I was strong enough to get the weight over my head, but I just couldn’t get it up.

    The old me would have tried to force it, and muscle it, but instead I actually reduced the weight and worked on my technique (which always sucks because I knew I could be lifting more.) It turned out by adjusting my form a little bit, I ended up learning more about myself and how my body works, and was able to figure out how to do the exercise in the most optimal fashion.

    Yeah, it was humbling and annoying that I couldn’t lift the weight the first time, but the lesson learned was far more valuable.

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Mike– really glad you got good use out of my feedback on your first Under30CEO article. Your stuff has really improved a lot and it’s because you aren’t afraid to check your ego, and really try to improve. Keep up the good work my man.

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    This was so inspiring and encouraging. And as someone who was so accustomed to getting everything easily, growing my business has been extremely humbling. Wait, I’m a human being? Damn. I love knowing that im learning and growing through the process. The vulnerability you’ve shared gives other people permission to be their whole selves and that is huge! Thank you!

  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Carrie– really liked what you said about vulnerability here… we want to be an open community of authentic people, sharing authentic lessons to better ourselves and each other. If you ever want to contribute some of your lessons, please let us know!

  • Melissa Krivachek

    It’s the minor semantics that make major differences. Even though you could do it, changing techniques and focusing on form taught you a much more valuable lesson :)

  • Krystina Martinez

    I really enjoyed this. I think especially for young adults fresh out of college, they get served humble pie on the daily, especially with this economic climate and they don’t know how to deal with it. You don’t stop learning once you get the degree.

  • Carrie Leigh Sandoval

    It’s so true. I love this community and it would be a huge honor to contribute!

  • Darren Magarro

    Fantastic piece Matt. Started a marketing agency from scratch back in 2007 and reading brings me back to all those doubters or folks who “brought me back to Earth” regularly. Always felt it was way more important to listen than speak sometimes (especially to those who have more experience than you do). To be humbled is to learn and to learn is to grow. Putting oneself out there to even take chances has allowed my company and myself to grow beyond anything I could have imagined 6+ years ago. Keep killing it dude, enjoy reading your pieces.

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Hey man – just trying to keep up.

    I’d add that not only is it OK to be outside of your comfort zone….it’s ESSENTIAL. I can’t think of one comfortable thing in my recent memory that has had a big impact on my trajectory.

    I think this also applies to relationships. Not to go all emo on you here – but sometimes it’s also uncomfortable to love. So we run away from it, but deep down, we’re saddened by the choice – and that makes us bitter. Emotions causing emotions.

    Ok I think I need to go to the gym now to work the pansy out!

  • Joan

    For what its worth, I am a 20something and have been subscribed to your news letter since 2012. I read the articles,followed the advice but dint comment I guess it shows that we too as mentees need to be more active.

    As someone who has recently been served humble pie too, it reminded me to refocus my priorities and not lose sight of what I want, the road gets tough and sometimes we are afraid of the consequences of the choices we have to make to get what we want, but heck that’s life.

    Thank you for the great work. :)

  • makirita

    Thank you for your great and inspiring article. Although i am from East Africa, Tanzania, i have earned a lot from Under30. I subscribed in your newsletter about two month ago, and i have seen changes in my online career. Please keep posting good and inspiring stuffs. I know one day i will work with Under30 from Tanzania, i am determined for that.
    Thanks and regards.

  • cesar romero

    @MattWilsontv:disqus April 17. 2013 12:05 p.m. Managua, Nicaragua. After a 3 hour flight from Miami, landing in Managua airport, and going through security, I’m standing just outside airport gates with my beloved family and I’m looking around to see if there are any signs from Under30CEO, but to my surprise, there were non. I couldn’t help thinking to myself “Solo en Nicaragua” (Only in Nicaragua). About 10 minutes later, I’m getting concerned that the bus already left without me and I was going to have to take matters into my own hands taking a taxi all the way to Mango Rosa. As I’m standing there, happy to hug my family and concerned I might have missed the bus, I see someone walking towards me with a very distinct and particular curly hair, a list in his hands and a heavy duty backpack on his back, and I say to myself: This is Matt Wilson!!! He comes to me and he goes: Tu eres Cesar (you are Cesar) and I said: Yes I am and you must be Matt Wilson. I introduce him to my family and he begins to interact in Spanish, absolutely making an impression that my family will never forget.

    I wanted to start with this piece because I wanted to share with all of you the first time I met Matt in person. I knew deep inside of me that it was the beginning of a friendship that will turn into a very important part of my journey, Cesar’s Journey. During the 5 days we stayed in Nicaragua with Under30Experiences crew, I got to know more about Matt, what he stands for, his vision, and let me tell you he’s the real deal. A very honest, hard-working Under30CEO who really really cares about each and every member of Under30 community; genuine, down-to-earth, and not afraid to step outside comfort zone in order to better himself and the community.

    This article represents the pure essence of what Under30CEO stands for: Building a community based on honesty, respect, helping each other, reaching to new heights and always striving to improve and become the very best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.

    Humble pie is a dessert that you can either enjoy or distaste. I’m happy Matt chose to enjoy it and take very important lessons from it that we can all learn from.

    The invitation is there, the question is: Will YOU take it? Will you get involved? Will YOU help build a stronger community? The choice is up to you, but just keep in mind that it will not be possible without each and everyone one of us giving our best and getting involved everyday; You already know how, it’s all matter of taking action.

    Let’s do this!!! Vamos Vamos!!!!

  • Kevin Diamond

    Awesome article Matt! I think the authenticity we see and feel here is what makes us all keep coming back.

    That “vulnerability” is what brings us closer as a community. Knowing that I got kicked in the gut the other day in the Big Apple fine-tuning my social network to a dev shop is easier to swallow when I hear about you facing your own roadblocks. Learning from how others bounce back helps a great deal.

    I think opening up in articles and these posts is a great way to get out of our comfort zone and is essential just like @danieldipiazza:disqus said! Hell, he went out and fixed a fan belt. That motivates me. This motivates me. Awesome stuff!

    “you have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was”
    –Abraham Lincoln

  • Tyson Hartnett

    Matt, I really really like this post. I don’t think he meant it as a kick in the nuts, but a learning experience. But I’m sure it felt like a kick in the nuts at the time. Failure breeds success, and I’ve had failure too many times during my basketball career, and other areas. It hurts, don’t get me wrong, but it also gives you a bigger perspective on things that you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
    I think as long as we don’t close down shop, and scrap everything, that we can learn from brutally honest feedback and situations, not matter how much they may hurt at the time.

  • MichaelEFear

    Great article as always Matt!

    Seriously takes a lot of guts to come on your own site and say someone said it wasn’t ready. I must say though, it’s not going to affect my opinion of Under30. It’s been a very big help to me, as have you and Jared. You have a lifetime supporter here!

    I’m just wondering if the next article is about the 35 minutes of insight from him? LOL

  • Andrew Arcangel

    It takes someone really strong to openly talk about their moments of weakness and failure. Writing articles like this makes Under30Media and the people behind it seem genuine and relatable and because of that, you’ll hit millions of readers in no time. I’m happy to be a part of the Under30CEO community!

  • Justin Tan

    Hey Matt this is great stuff and even though I don’t know you well, it’s obvious you have the drive that’s needed to succeed. I think that there is a key to getting Under30CEO to the next step, and that is for us collectively at Under30CEO to realize that what got us here won’t get us there. I don’t know what your ultimate goal is for Under30CEO but I’m sure it involves inspiring as many people as possible to reach their own potential. I think there has been a lot of focus on the “as many people as possible” part of the goal, but I think we could do more to help people “reach their own potential”. I’ve got a couple of ideas kicking around but I’m sure as a community we could brainstorm even more ideas to get Under30CEO to be the best it can possibly be.

  • Vannessa

    Great post Matt

  • Vannessa

    Completely true!

  • Josh Chandler


    As a college student heading into my final year I am willing to admit I love to hear honest, balanced critiques on a daily basis. I have always learnt from my mistakes.

    However I do think we need to be preparing young people earlier on in life for the harsh reality of the real world. We cannot afford to shelter them until they leave university/college.

  • Josh Chandler

    This is my first visit to the Under30CEO community in several years and I can see that Matt and the team are still delivering a ton of value in each blog post.

  • Heather Mess

    This article and it’s message is just proof that we all have to “fail” or be “put in our place” by reality to continue to stay motivated to continuously improve ourselves. These journeys aren’t supposed to always be fun and easy.

  • Maurice Brown

    Funny thing about ‘humble pie’… you need to know when it’s being served.

    There was a kid up for an internship and he was killing in the interview until he called everyone else in his peer group “Idiots who just don’t get it.”
    Like any seasoned interviewer I can instantly disqualify someone without a single blink but this was a different one.

    In our intern interviews, after they’re done, myself and all the other interviewers get into a room and cover it with Post-It Notes.

    This guy was the source of a huge argument.

    On one hand – bring him in and humble him by beating the ever living hell out of him (intellectually of course).
    Move on to someone else just as talented but didn’t NEED the helping of humble pie… and the time investment in serving it rather than mentoring and teaching.

    In the end it was decided that he wouldn’t get the internship but someone would quietly take him aside and allude as to why he didn’t get it.

    He still didn’t “get it”.