Atkins. Paleo. Keto. The South Beach Diet. The Scarsdale Diet. Trends in healthy eating come and go, each with their own foibles and particulars. But the one constant they share is their disdain of carbohydrates. A big bowl of pasta? Bad. A ham sandwich on two thick slices of white bread? Evil. A doughnut? Certain doom! This has, of course, led to some to adopt extreme, very low-carb diets. Unfortunately, new research has explored the long-term effects of those kinds of eating habits, and guess what? A very low-carb diet isn’t so good for you, either.
For many entrepreneurs, launching a single successful startup is enough. But for Jim McKelvey, his success involves six different startups that he still owns. Though best known as the Square founder, along with Jack Dorsey, Jim McKelvey has created an array of innovative businesses. In addition to founding Square, he is also involved in companies related to glass-blowing, venture capital, employee training, and digital publishing. Indeed, Jim McKelvey appears to have the Midas touch when it comes to entrepreneurship and Bold Leadership.
Tremendous success does not come without a great deal of hard work and powerful leadership. Though Bold Leader Jim McKelvey admittedly appreciates the importance of luck, he thought it unlikely that Lady Luck would shower him with favor so many times. Instead, Jim McKelvey applies his unique and bold style of leadership in an array of different areas. By taking an in-depth look inside the Square founder’s leadership philosophy, entrepreneurs and leaders everywhere can benefit.
Jim McKelvey’s Bold Leadership Foundation—Perseverance and Diligence
In each of Jim McKelvey’s businesses, he identifies a specific problem that needs a solution. As the Square founder, his inability to sell his own glass-blown art pinpointed a need for an accessible payment platform for small business owners. Another of his businesses, LaunchCode, fills the lack of technologically skilled workers through employee training and apprenticeships. And, Invisibly is now striving to fix the broken digital ad ecosystem that plagues the digital publishing world—thus, allowing content creators to sustainably monetize their content. In each instance, Jim McKelvey succeeded, because he started with the problem.
While recognizing a need is great, creating a solution is not easy. As Jim McKelvey describes, great leaders need to expect failure and rejection. Perseverance is an important secret to leadership success and often is the difference between bold leadership and startup failure.
Mentor, Educator, and a True Believer in the Team
Bold leadership has been defined in part as fostering success in others while having the ability to delegate effectively. These characteristics certainly apply to Jim McKelvey. The Square founder recognized talent in Jack Dorsey during his previous interactions with him. This insight along with his keen problem-solving skillset and bold leadership allowed Square, a $30 billion-plus market cap public company, to become a reality. In nearly all of Jim McKelvey’s pursuits, he has collaborated with others to co-create a vision. His capacity to encourage others to utilize their talents and work together are among his boldest leadership traits.
A key part of fostering talent also involves serving as a mentor and educator to others. Jim McKelvey is a published author of three internationally recognized textbooks that seek to enhance others’ understanding. His first book, a computer science textbook—which he wrote when he was in college—was written in an effort to improve upon the professor’s inadequate course book. He also wrote the primary resource today for beginner glass-blowers. Similarly, at LaunchCode, he is developing programmers through training and education to enhance the local talent market. These leadership pursuits exemplify Jim McKelvey’s belief in people.
A Bold Leader who Strives to Make a Difference in the World
As the Square founder, Jim McKelvey provides a solution to help artists and small businesses excel. At LaunchCode, he aims to reduce poverty and unemployment by developing technology skills in the community. And at Invisibly, Jim McKelvey wants to enhance the published content society enjoys by ensuring content creators are appropriately rewarded. Underlying each of Jim McKelvey’s pursuits is a social agenda.
The drive to make the world a better place has always been a core piece of Jim McKelvey’s leadership. His father, a chemical engineering pioneer, and professor instilled these motivations within Jim McKelvey. His friends at Washington University in St. Louis also helped him appreciate humility, integrity and a down-to-earth perspective. This combination of influences is what molded Jim McKelvey’s passion for helping others. And it remains a key part of his bold leadership today.
Advice for Bold Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow
McKelvey is a great example of a modern-day bold leader who serves as a role model for countless others. With this in mind, the Square founder encourages others to be real and authentic and to follow their passions. In addition, he emphasizes that cultivating relationships and investing in self-education is critical. But above all else, he heartens people to lead with integrity and to expect failure before certain success. As I wrote in a recent article featured in ProjectBoldLife, the path to success is rarely linear and requires course correction along the way. McKelvey is a master at understanding this is and persevering against the odds.
“Failure with a startup is really a question of the entrepreneur giving up. Now you can say. ‘Well if we don’t have funding, we have to let everybody go.’ But many times, I’ve had my company reduced to me. It doesn’t die until you quit, and I just never quit,” Jim McKelvey Founder of Invisibly, LaunchCode and Square.
Being bold requires courage, and bold leadership demands this and much more. But as Jim McKelvey demonstrates, this combination of pursuits can drive tremendous success and cultivate strong leadership potential along the way.
To learn more about Jim McKelvey’s newest venture, visit our exclusive story, video, and infographic on Invisibly.
As recent studies have shown, the science behind low-carb diets highlights the body’s need for carbs in some form. And for those who want to live long, it’s a need that shouldn’t be ignored.
According to the science behind low-carb diets, eliminating carbs is not the key to a healthier, longer life. Recent studies show that a very low-carb diet is detrimental to long-term health. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study analyzed mortality rates based on data from more than 15,000 middle-aged women and men over 25 years. It showed that adults who received less than 40% of their daily caloric intake died an average of four years earlier than those who received between 40% to 70% of their caloric intake from carbs.
Dr. Sara Siedelmann, the lead researcher of the study, said, “our data suggest that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged.”
But what about all the diets that have swept the world, such as Atkins, Keto, South Beach, and Paleo? Are they more dangerous than they are helpful? Not necessarily. These very low-carb diet plans are effective for short-term weight loss, but not always sustainable as long-term plans.
The truth about very low-carb diets is that they are never a wise decision. Carbohydrates are fundamental to our diet, as they provide our bodies with energy and preserve muscle. Cutting out a major food group results in deficiencies because the body doesn’t get the nutrition it needs. A very low-carb diet does not provide enough fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, and phytochemicals like folate, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Over time people increase the likelihood of getting heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Furthermore, other organs are damaged. As people cut carbs, they rely on meat, eggs, and dairy to feel energized or satiated. This takes a toll on the heart, liver, pancreas, and other organs.
That’s the truth about very low-carb diets.
The Alternative – The Science Behind Low-carb Diets
While not revolutionary, the tried and tested approach to weight loss and long-term health has always been mindful moderation. Carefully choosing what to consume instead of cutting whole food groups out is best.
So is choosing to eat unprocessed foods over chemically-processed foods. Processed foods are low in nutrients and fiber, and high in preservatives, salt, sugar, artificial ingredients, and trans fats. They are also designed for over-consumption.
Alternatively, choosing carbohydrates that are whole foods such as quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, apples, kidney beans, chickpeas, and nuts is a safe bet. Choosing plant-derived proteins and fats over animal-derived ones can help prolong lifespans. Eating these foods will provide the right amount of fiber, protein, good fats, nutrients, and energy.
The Truth about very Low-Carb Diets
It’s undeniable that low-carb diets can be effective in losing weight, improving glucose control, and lowering blood pressure. But when taken to the extreme, those very low-carb diets do not provide all the components needed to make the human engine run smoothly. The skill to learn now is discerning which foods you can replace unhealthy carbs with to enjoy a balanced diet.
The truth about very low-carb diets is that there is a multitude of eating options to achieve whatever health goal you may have.
The trick is to choose the healthiest one.