I recently got to spend some time with Shark Tank's Kevin Harrington at a private event. First, I have to admit, I did not know that much about him or even how he became so successful, but after talking to him 1:1 and seeing him present, I was intrigued by his journey to success and impressed with his incredible transparency of his failures and what he did to overcome them.
First, Kevin, is a mid-west guy from Ohio like me. His dad owned a bar and he basically grew up working there. He was an early entrepreneur in high school and started the first A-Z business brokerage and outsourcing firm. But, what he is really known for is being the wizard behind "As Seen on TV" and the infomercial scene. Kevin is responsible for everything from Ginsu to Tony Little and beyond.
But, as things changed in the digital world and TV became less and less in our lives as things switched to digital, Kevin's business, which had been doing over half a billion dollars per year, started to have trouble and sales started to plummet. Eventually, the business got a point where it was losing money and Kevin had to change things around...FAST. He managed to secure a 1:1 mastermind session with Richard Branson on Necker Island and came out with 3 important lessons that changed his business and re-ignited its success.
1.) Constantly Evaluate Your Dream Team
Kevin was made aware the team he had built that had done so well with TV and print advertising was not a team for the digital age. He had to re-evaluate the team, train them, and/or add or remove people to get the right team to succeed. You should always be working on your "Dream Team," but make sure to be thinking ahead to the future for what you will need.
2.) Embrace Digital Disruption - When you're on fire, rewire
No matter what business you are in, you must be prepared for disruption - in today's age more than ever. An entrepreneur, you should develop what I call a "healthy paranoia" in which you are always hungry and a little on edge. If you get complacent, you will get past up quickly. You constantly have to be ready to re-wire as Kevin said.
3.) Become a key person of influence by raising you profile and building your personal brand
In order to raise your profile, you must have a personal brand. You should treat it as importantly as you do your business. Be strategic. Make sure that what you are doing with your brand helps to lead back to your business and grows you in the areas where you need to focus.
If you practices these 3 things, it will make a big difference in your success. Kevin is a great example!
I am a huge of the Deadliest Catch. It encompasses everything about entrepreneurship, business, and life, and into one show. It awesome to see what these guys go through to make it happen and make their quota numbers and ultimately succeed in their business, but it also shows the toll that it can take on them giving you great perspective.
Recently, after an episode, I noticed a new show come on about a guy named Dusty Crum, a wildman out of south Florida who is one of the few registered people that go into Everglades and help catch and control the evasive python population that is threatening the area.
The show started out with Dusty (who looks like a member of the Duck Dynasty family), running barefoot through the Everglades and jumping on 12 foot python wrestling it and capturing it. Needless to say, I was in intrigued and continued watching. Who wouldn't love that action, right?
As the show progressed, it got into more of how Dusty has created a business around python hunting, including not only how he gets paid by the state, but how he uses every part of the snake that he catches to create additional revenue streams. In fact, each python ultimately is worth well over a thousand dollars to him and his crew when all is said and done. Talk about entrepreneurship. I never knew there was so much opportunity in every that a snake can be to people!
As you would probably guess from my description, Dusty is a pretty simple guy, but smart in the ways of the world. He and his trusty dog along with a few others get in their trucks and go out to the Everglades and make it happen each day. At one point in the show, Dusty's best truck breaks down and the crew is duscussing pressing on without it to which Dusty says, " No. You can't go python hunting without a python hunting truck!" In fact, there was a whole debate on it to where they actually called another python hunter and borrowed his "python hunting truck."
As funny as this was, it go me thinking. Dusty is right. If you are going to succeed, you have to make sure you have the right tools in place to do the job at the highest level. When was the last time you took inventory of the tool-sets you use or things you need to be successful in your business? Are you maximizing everything you can do? Do you need to put anything in place to help you reach your next level? It's good to do this at minimum quarterly.
Always remember, "You can't go python hunting without a python hunting truck!"
It's a very exciting time of year. It's time for all the hard work and effort for college students over the years to culminate in graduation. It can also be a scary time for a lot of graduates. For many, they have known school and working toward grades, etc. their whole life and now its all over. They are asking, "Now what?" or "What am I going to do?" or "I have a job, but I'm still nervous, etc."
There is nothing odd about this. In fact, it's almost a right of passage in life. I've had the chance to speak to and advise a lot of grads over the years and we talk about a number of things, but I also make sure to tell them the following 3 tips to succeed.
#1: Your Education Doesn't Stop at Graduation
The real world is different than school, especially in business or entrepreneurship. There are so many opportunities and potential avenues out there for you. Keep learning. In fact, some of the best education you will get is self-education. One of the best ways to succeed early on is to become a voracious self-developer. Read books, listen to podcasts, go to sites like Skillshare or Udemy and learn from those doing it every day in the trenches. Most importantly act on what you learn - don't just consume, try things out. Don't worry if it fails...and that brings me to my next piece of advice to succeed.
#2: Take Chances, Fail, and Enjoy the Ride (Learn about Asymmetric Risk)
Now, is not the time to be conservative. For the next 3-5 years, you can really take chances and some risks, have some failures, and still be fine. But, don't go out without common sense. Learn to take "Asymetric Risk." Asymmetric risks are risks that if taken, have small downsides, but have major upside potential. If you can take a risk that if you fail, might hurt a little, but not wipe you out, but at the same time, if you succeed, have much more upside that even if you are half-right, it is major success - then you have an asymmetric Risk.
For example, for someone who wants to invest in real estate, an asymmetric risk might be to buy a duplex and live in one side, while you rent the other out. The rent from the other side may not cover all of the costs, but maybe you pay much less than you would if you just bought a place or rented one yourself. And you are building equity in an asset that you can eventually move on from and keep for cashflow, sell, etc. The upside is tremendous, and the downside is that you have to pay the full payment for your place to live if you don't have a renter for a little while.
#3: Develop Your Financial Acumen
Personal finance and financial education in general, is not something that is taught as mandatory is most curriculum. This has always puzzled me and the reasons for not doing so that I speculate, I will save for another blog post. But, if you want to get off to a successful start, it literally pays, to get financially educated. Understanding the language of money, debt, compound interest, and investing is critical to succeed throughout your life, so why not get started as soon as possible? You can make it part of your new self-education routine. Whatever you do, recognize the importance of increasing your financial IQ and commit to doing so.
If you implement these 3 tips in your life as a new grad, you will be light years ahead of your peers on the path to success. Here's to a great start!
One of the biggest reasons I've had success over the years is because I've been fortunate to have great business partners committed to great partnerships. I was recently reflecting on some of these relationships and analyzing what has made them work so well and what I found was very interesting.
There are so many reasons that these partnerships have worked so well and produced, but after review, five of them really stood out. I have labeled these the 5 Secrets of Great Business Partnerships.
#1: All Parties Are Aligned for the Long-Term
One of the most important secrets of a great business partnership is alignment on timing. It is very hard to succeed if one partner wants to get in, make some money, and get out quickly while the other is taking an entirely different view. Additionally, I have seen many times that if the whole point of the partnership is to "make a quick buck" then it usually doesn't work out. Great partnerships blossom over time and usually the biggest successes come later down the road after the partners have worked together for awhile. If you are looking to partner with someone or another company, make sure that you both have a long-term view in mind.
#2: Treat it Like the Marriage That It Is
A great partnership is very much like a marriage. In fact, you may spend more time with your business partner than you do with your significant other at times. And like a marriage, not everything is going to be sunshine and lollipops all the time. There will be times where you aggravate each other beyond belief. There will be very hard times and hurdles that you have to maintain your commitment to each other through. There will also be amazing times and lasting memories. But, it is very important that you go into things committed to it like a marriage, realizing that you will grow closer together over time and have to learn each other ways, accept them, and learn to love each other for it - even when those things potentially drive you nuts.
#3: Be Open About Your Strengths and Weaknesses with Each Other Before Partnering
One important secret of great partners is that they are fully transparent about their strengths and weaknesses going into the relationship. They don't see weaknesses as a detriment or a bad thing. They see them as an opportunity for the partner to fill the gap. If you don't lay these things out on the table prior to starting the relationship; you may get into it and find that you have the same weaknesses or strengths and that the partnership is not as strong as it should have been. Great partnerships always share some of the same strengths and weaknesses, but they compliment each other in their bigger deficiencies. Make sure to use this secret to your advantage.
#4: Your Spouse or Significant Other Approves
If you are going to essentially be married to someone else alongside your spouse or significant other, they better like each other or it will create massive headaches for everyone. A huge secret of great partnerships is that their spouse or significant other approves of who they are partnering with. After all, they are, by default, partnering as well. Make sure that your spouse or significant other and potential partner meet beforehand and spend time together with you. If they can't get along and if your spouse or significant other has serious reservations about them, you're better off not going into business with them. Keep looking for a partner that checks this box in addition to the others.
#5 Can You See Yourself Genuinely Caring for Them Like Family?
The fifth secret is that great partners genuinely care about each other and their families. They see each other almost as family - so it goes beyond business, and so does the bond between them. If you are evaluating a potential business partner and they are checking the boxes in the other secret reasons above, make sure that you can definitely answer the question, "Can I see myself genuinely caring for this person and their family and well-being - not just a way to help me in business?" If you can answer that in your head and your heart and act in accordance with it, you are ahead of many partnerships in your relationship.
After 16 weeks of grueling training, I was ready for race week for my latest Ironman. As I went into the week, I could not help but notice how things took on a new importance and how my attention to them was more focused than usual. As I thought about it, I asked myself, "What if every week was treated like race week, not just for an athletic pursuit, but in business?"
As I pondered the question I began to think of how it would affect my life if I treated every week like race week. Granted that I follow a pretty rigorous training routine and have a healthy focus and discipline on a weekly basis for my goals, but even with that, some things still stood out to me.
First off, race week has a special feeling to it. All of your senses are heightened as you get ready for the event. There is a sort of excitement in the back of your mind mixed with a little bit of nervousness for how things will ultimately turn out. An Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and then a full marathon, so a lot can transpire and you need to be prepared and ready for everything from being kicked in the face during your swim to a flat tire on your ride and fatigued muscles when you get to your run (and a host of other potential things). Your mental preparation is just as a important as your physical. On top of that, it is a race. It is a competition. The biggest thing you are competing against is yourself, but make no mistake a close second to that is you competing against the other racers. All of this really gets real in race week.
Additionally, during race week, you pay very close attention to your sleep making sure you are well rested throughout the week. You take extra care of your body through your eating during the week, prepping your body and muscles through stretching, massage, and light activity to keep yourself loose. You also become very focused in on your goal(s) for the race. You have to steady your emotions and not get "too high or too low" so you can manage your emotional energy alongside your physical. You also have to think through all of your transitions and your nutrition for the day during the various aspects of the race and make sure everything is prepared and ready. Lastly, you do a lot of visualizing of the courses, how you will feel at different points; really for me, I try to visualize every aspect of the race in my head and almost play it through ahead of time so my mind has a sort of plan or "experience" on the course.
Race week requires a very special focus and attention. Why shouldn't every week be like that? Especially in your business? Imagine if you approached every week with a big goal, a competition that you were going into, and you had to visualize and prepare for the challenges and outcome. Imagine what would happen if you were focused on your sleep, diet, exercise, and mental awareness needed to be your best. Imagine, if you were prepared to manage your energy through the week to make sure you were operating at the optimum levels.
What would happen to your results? Where could your business be in 12 months if you approached every week like a race week? I bet, you would be exponentially more successful than you are now. So, make a choice to take it up a level. Treat every week like race week. Pick a "race" for your business each week. Make it a big goal to achieve to move the business forward and the go about it reaching it in "race week" state of mind.
You'll be surprised at how much you can achieve!
If you want to be more successful, get more done, create more opportunity for yourself, and explode your potential, one of the best ways is to focus on making your daily routine as dialed in as possible.
What does this mean? It means making sure that you are regimented and follow DCP (Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence). DCP is the foundation for a good, solid routine. You must be disciplined to do the things you know you need to do, even when you don't want to do them - like not hitting the snooze button 3 times when the alarm goes off. You must be consistent in that you are disciplined each and every day in your life. And you must be persistent in that even if you are disciplined and consistent, you will run into large roadblocks or obstacles that you will have to persist through.
The best way to get a solid routine is to write it down and schedule it. For example, I have blocks in my calendar daily for my "productivity zones" as well as my focused fitness time and strategy time. By making this part of my calendar I accomplish a lot of things. First, it sets aside the time to actually do these important things and make them a routine. Second, it trains others when I am available and when I am not. And 3rd, it holds me accountable to doing them.
The benefits of dedicating yourself to a routine and committing to it in writing are many. The first, as you probably guessed, is improved performance across the board. I am more productive and more efficient when I follow my routine. The next benefit is less stress. When I have a plan to follow and things are mapped out, it makes getting things done much easier and takes a lot of the stress away. I simply follow the plan. The last benefit because of the other two is that I am happier and enjoy operating a higher state in life. It's hard to put a price on that.
If you have not committed to a routine, you should do so. Put it in writing, commit to it, and then watch the benefits roll in as follow it each and every day.
We've all been there. That point in the course of an endeavor or time in our lives where we just don't know what to do. We are overwhelmed, unsure, and our brains feel stretched. A lot of people give up in these times or just put their head in the sand and don't deal with it.
But, here's the secret - these are some of the greatest times in your life to grow. If you can overcome the confusion, inertia, and propensity not to act; you'll be amazed at how it can help you get to your next level. Always remember that the bigger the problems you can handle, the bigger your business and you personally can grow.
So, what do you do when you don't know what to do?
First, Take Inventory. Step back, take 5-10 deep breaths and allow logic to help you get a handle on things. What is the problem? What do you feel overwhelmed or like you don't know what to do? Think of 2-3 actions that you know would start to help you go in the right direction.
Second, Focus on What You Can Control. As yourself, what you can control and affect in the situation and what you cannot. Then ask yourself, what you actually need to control. This will separate out a lot of the confusion because we usually are overwhelmed in thinking about all the things we cannot control. This does no good simply because you cannot control them. So, narrow your focus on what you can do and take the first action step.
Third, Ask Yourself Who Can Help and Why. Don't go it alone. Get help. Fast. Identify where you need help, who you need it from, and why you need it - then ask for it. It does you no good to procrastinate here. It just delays you from getting the result you need and will further complicate the situation. Ask for help.
Lastly, Create a Checklist. Write down your action steps and then systematically and methodically go about doing them, checking them off the list. While you do this, have a sense of urgency. Get it done, but do it right.
If you follow these 4 steps, you can overcome most times in your life where you feel lost or don't know what to do. The key, like in anything, is to follow the steps and take action. Remember, the bigger the problems you can handle, bigger your business and you can grow!
Fear can be paralyzing. It can stop us in our track. It can be on of the most powerful things to keep us from doing something. There are some fears that are actually good, such as our primal fight or flight reactions to real danger or something that can kill us.
But outside of that, most fears are made up in own minds and can hold us prisoners.
There is something, however that is worse than fear and that is missing an opportunity or chance to reach your true potential because of it. How many people have never stepped out of their comfort zone or took the chance on a great opportunity because of fear. You've probably had a moment in your life where you had an opportunity that came to you that your gut said "Go for it," but then your brain started working it's fear, what if scenarios, and giving you all the reasons not to move forward - so you didn't - and you kick yourself every time you think about it. And that leads to guilt and other feelings that further manipulate and make our success path harder.
What, if for just one time, you took the chance? You threw off the fear and just took the opportunity (whatever it is)? What could happen? Most importantly, what is the real worst case that could happen? First, you could fail...so, what failure happens all the time and it won't stop you from anything in the long run. Second, your worst case scenario could happen (the percentages say it won't), but even if it did, how bad is it really? Remove the emotion that fear creates and use your logic to see through it.
Missed opportunities are worse than fear and the sad thing is that most people miss a lot of great opportunities in their lives because they let fear win. Don't be one of these people. Take the opportunity and see where it goes because many times a failed opportunity ultimately leads to a great blessing.
I have written a lot of posts that pertain to leadership because it weaves through everything. Whether you lead a company, a division, team, 1 person, or just yourself, your growth as a leader will directly impact your success and the success of your organization.
While I have shared my 4 Pillar of Leadership before, I want to go more in depth on one of them in this post, because it is one of the most important and hardest to get right for leaders.
The pillar I am talking about is that "People live up to the expectations that are set for them." It's easy to set expectations. It's very hard as a leader to help them live up to them.
It's very important to have expectations for what you want people you lead to do and accomplish and it's very important to help them understand their unique genius and true capability. The latter is an expectation as well...an expectation for the potential of an individual.
And that is the hardest thing. How do you help someone understand their true potential, believe in, and then go about making it a reality?
The short answer? By caring about it as much as they do and getting in the trenches with them to help them reach it. To go through the ups and downs and bleed with them is the only and best way. Now, this doesn't mean that you do things for them or don't leave them on their own to find themselves. It does mean that you are there at the right times to pick them up and help them persist through and continue on the path to live up to their truth self and expectations.
Ask yourself, "If I set expectation and share the possibilities of who someone can become, do I really believe it? If so, I am willing to go the distance with them to make it reality? Am I prepared to put in the effort needed and be there when they need me?" Many "managers" set hollow expectations. They tell people what they expect and then leave them on an island. That's not leadership. Leadership is putting those you lead ahead of you and being as invested in their success and potential as you want them to be, and showing it in your actions.
Make sure you are setting expectations as a leader and not a manager and you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished.
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