Celebrate every win, big or small


Hey friends,

It’s been an interesting week here at Ali Abdaal Ltd… you know, I’ve long thought “Ali Abdaal Ltd” is a bit of a lame name for a company… I sort-of set it up that way in 2019 on a whim without thinking too hard about it, way before I ever thought I’d have people working for me. If anyone has any ideas about what we could rename the business, please hit reply to this email and let me know 😊

Anyway, after that totally pointless tangent, it’s been an interesting week. Yesterday I hosted my Quarterly Alignment Workshop, where me and ~2,400 lovely people from all around the world spent two hours reflecting on our first 4 months of the year, aligning to our life vision and annual goals, and setting out our plan for the next quarter (or rather, our next 9 weeks) until the next Quarterly Alignment Workshop on Sunday 30th June (2pm UK time, feel free to block this in your calendar if you’d like to attend, it’s totally free. We’ll open official registration closer to the time).

People found the workshop pretty useful, and after the webinar, we officially opened the doors to Productivity Lab. As I write this, we’ve sold 477 of the 500 spots available for the Founding Cohort, so depending on when you read this, it may have all sold out…

The launch of Productivity Lab was pretty exhilarating – it felt like late 2020 when we launched the first cohort of the Part-Time YouTuber Academy, which was at the time, the first “proper” product I’d sold online. We expected like 12 people to sign up, but 350+ people ended up signing up, and the YouTuber Academy then became a staple of our business (and is still running, as a self-serve course, to this day).

In fact, here’s a screenshot I took in November 2020 after we closed enrolment for the first cohort of the YouTuber Academy.

Seeing that number, $259k… I could hardly believe it at the time, and looking back on it 4 years later, it’s still a pretty mental number. For context, I was earning approx $50k per year working 40-60 hours a week as a doctor, and within a week, I’d made what it would’ve taken me 5 years to earn working full-time. It isn’t hyperbole to say that launching the YouTuber Academy as an online course literally changed the course of my life, and made me realise “ohhh damnn there’s really something here”.

But I’m digressing again – I mention the YouTuber Academy not because we made a decent chunk of money from it, but because of the intense excitement and energy we (my team and I) felt launching it. At the time, I was a few months into taking a (what I thought was going to be temporary) break from Medicine. Angus (who’s now our General Manager) was working with me full-time as a sort-of Right Hand Man (after starting earlier that year as a blog post writer). And I’d recently hired Elizabeth as a part-time personal assistant… she ended up playing a huge role in the YouTuber Academy, and even started her own YouTube channel during that first cohort, which is now nearly on 1M subscribers 🤯

Anyway, on the day of launch, the three of us were on Zoom all day finalising stuff for the website, making sure payments were working, testing the student experience. And then when we pressed the “publish” button, we were on a Zoom call together losing our minds, frantically refreshing the page, as $50k of revenue came in within minutes.

It was a pretty exciting moment, that completely changed my business and my life.

And we had another one of those moments yesterday as we geared up for the webinar and for the Productivity Lab launch.

Here’s how it went down –

Saturday morning, 9am – a bunch of us login to Zoom to do some coworking as we scramble to sort things out at the last minute before the 2pm webinar and the 4pm launch. We’ve got me, Angus (General Manager), Bhav (Head of Ops), Alison (Head of Customer Success), Gareth (Head of Product), Jakub (Head of Marketing), Kaelyn (Community Manager). We all have our serious faces on as we’re making last-minute changes to the website, the emails. I’m rushing to make my slides for the Quarterly Alignment Webinar, which as I often do, I’ve left until the morning of the event to make.

A couple of hours in, Adi, our amazing video editor in India, hops on to show us the trailer for the Lab that he pulled an all-nighter to edit in time (I’d only filmed it the day before 😬). We watch the trailer together, with everyone giving Adi a round of applause and showering him with praise and thanks at the incredible job he did on such a tight turnaround.

When they wake up (in Canada), Gio and Eamonn (two of our new Productivity Coaches) join the call, as does MJ (on our Customer Success team). At 13:58 I say to the team: “Okay guys my slides and workbook are good to go”, and with a “thank goodness for that” all round, we hit “Go Live” on the Zoom webinar, as hundreds of people from around the world join.

By the end of the day, we’ve run the webinar for 2,400 people. And we’ve sold 400 spots for Productivity Lab.

When I think of the most meaningful, exhilarating and exciting times in my life, the “achievements” don’t come to mind. I don’t bask in the glow of how much money I’ve made, or what grade I got in exams. Those things are just numbers – sometimes they’re up, sometimes they’re down. In many ways, they’re pretty meaningless beyond a certain baseline.

The best moments, the ones I look back on with the fondest memories, are moments where I’m working with a team of talented people, and we’re working together to create something cool.

In medical school, it was when I performed in (and in one year, directed) the hospital pantomime. Over 100 of us would come together to write, produce, direct, arrange and perform a parody musical – in my clinical years, they were “The Wizard of Obs”, “The Clinical Trials of Hercules”, and “The Prion King”… those are some of my favourite memories (and photos) from university. In fact, here’s a vlog from 2017 if you’re interested in seeing young-me audition for the Prion King 😛

During my two years working as a doctor, my favourite moments were the weekend shifts, where it would be me, another junior and a registrar who I vibed with. We’d have the dynamic of “we’re a small but powerful squad of ninjas going through the hospital and saving lives”. At least, that’s how I saw it 😂

And in my life as an entrepreneur, my favourite moments are like the one yesterday – where I’m working with a team of super talented people, and we’re working together to create something cool. It’s sometimes a mad scramble at the last minute, but we pull through.

So what’s the takeaway from these stories? Well, given that this weekly email is basically my public journal, I’ll share some lessons I’m personally taking away.

  1. Remember to enjoy the journey. It’s not about the treasure on the other end, it’s about the fun you have and the friends you make along the way.
  2. Embrace the scrambles and the last-minute rushes. They’re often where the most learning and bonding happen. These moments, while stressful, are also where you see what you and your team are truly capable of.
  3. Celebrate every win, big or small. Remember this one – you don’t celebrate things nearly as often as you should. This is likely to be one of your biggest regrets in life, that you didn’t celebrate things along the way.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

🎬 My New Videos

🚀 How to Do More in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months – in this video I go through 3 of my favourite takeaways from the book The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 I Helped My Subscribers Fix Their Productivity – in this video I run a fun experiment and talk to you guys directly about your goals and productivity.

✍️ Quote of the Week

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

From Deep Work by Cal Newport. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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Lemar Griffin
Lemar Griffin
26 days ago

Appreciate the article! Definitely really good to hear the last one. It’s hard sometimes when your grinding to stop and enjoy or celebrate the small wins, but it’s really important. 👊🏾🫡

Last edited 26 days ago by Lemar Griffin