Take the Steak. Be fearless. Insight from Social Triggers.


I was listening to an interview this morning with Adam Braun, the author of “The Promise of a Pencil.”

Braun is a philanthropist who left Bain Capital to start Pencils of Promise, a not for profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world.

In the course of four years, Pencils of Promise has broken ground on over 200 schools and provided educational opportunities for more than 20,000 children.

A friend of mine put me up on this podcast, Social Triggers, and this interview is one of the episodes.

If you’re not up on Social Triggers, let me school you.

Social Triggers is a blog founded by Derek Halpern, an online and web traffic expert.

It’s also the title of his podcast series which provides advice on building and growing your brand online.

Halpern publishes a blog with over 100,000 subscribers and produces one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.

So the interview with Adam Braun was one of the many he offers to his listeners to help them be more successful.

Anywho, as I’m listening to the podcast, I’m struck by one story that Braun shares from his book.

Apparently, when he was being courted by Bain Capital, they took he (or is it “him”?), and the other Bain prospects, to an expensive dinner, where they were treated to Kobe steaks.

Having backpacked through the third world two months prior, subsisting on communal meals and charity, having a 2 pound steak all to himself was heaven.

He was seated next to a female partner who barely touched her steak, and she asked the waiter to take it away when she was done.

Rather than wait for the plate and steak to be bussed away (and after two months of “waste not want not”), he surreptitiously spirited the steak off of her plate onto his.

Needless to say he was not quite that surreptitious.

The partner noticed – as did the rest of the table.

And he became known as the guy who would “take your steak.”

At first glance, this incident seems embarrassing.

I mean, who takes a partially eaten steak off another’s plate?

A savage clearly.

But there is another way to see this.

And my rather long retelling is really meant to emphasize your one takeaway for today: Be fearless.

If you want something, go after it.


Take the steak off the plate.

Adam Braun wasn’t concerned about what people thought of him when he took the steak.

The partner was done with it and was going to send it back to the kitchen, where it was invariably going to be thrown away.

He wanted the steak.

Two months backpacking through developing nations, eating crickets and grass will do that to ya.

And so he took it.

No harm. No foul.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Well it’s true.

You’ll never get anywhere sitting on your ass waiting for opportunity to find you.

You’ve got to create opportunities for yourself.

My friend D says that you should never couch things in terms of fear.

It’s a negative emotion.

But being fearless means that you are devoid of that negative emotion which holds many of us back.

Being fearless means that you make opportunities for yourself.

Being fearless means that you dive into the abyss.

Being fearless means that you start where conventional wisdom stops.

You take the steak.

If you’re about self-improvement, or simply want to learn more about Adam Braun’s experiences I’d definitely recommend his book “The Promise of a Pencil.”

And the next time you find yourself confronted with a situation and you’re unsure of what to do, think of Adam and take the steak.

Note: For my vegetarian readership, please replace “steak” with “eggplant.”


Filed under advocacy, books, branding

4 responses to “Take the Steak. Be fearless. Insight from Social Triggers.

  1. Nice post.
    A valuable information here.
    Thanks for sharing with us.


  2. Carla DeRasmo

    I absolutely loved reading this article. It’s brilliant storytelling!


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