You've probably heard the following phrase:
"Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."
When you think about that - isn't it sad?
The fact that so many people's natural tendency is to run from failure and to distance themselves from it is one of the reasons so many people don't reach their true potential.
You hear all the time that you need to embrace failure and that it is a good thing - and that you should learn from it and use it to fuel your success into the future.
Let's get real for a second. Failure sucks. It's hard. It's painful. It doesn't feel good when you are going through it. And it especially can take a toll on people emotionally. It is true that you will learn the most from failure, but that doesn't mean you will automatically turn into a success.
You will have to learn from it and learn well. But, then you will have to go to work. Serious work. You will have push yourself more than before the point of failure. You have to go at it day in and day out. You will have to sacrifice. You will have to overcome your mental limitations and negative self talk. You will have to separate yourself and not let the failure define you. And you will have to get smarter, more innovative, and never give in to that which you can control. Oh yeah, and you have to take responsibility for things as well.
These are the reasons why "failure is an orphan." Most people are not strong enough or willing to go through everything listed above - or step up and take responsibility. What they don't realize is that responsibility goes both ways. You are responsible when you fail, but you are equally responsible when you succeed. This is why I will take failure every day of the week, because if you have the will, the work ethic, and the humility to learn and innovate, you can rise like a phoenix from the ashes and rise to entirely new heights.
The lesson? Failure sucks. It's worth it to take responsibility, learn, and overcome it. You'll work you ass off, maybe more than you ever have, in doing so, and you have the opportunity to reach all new levels that you may never even thought were possible. And I'll take that any day of the week.
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." -Andrew Carnegie
No matter where you are in business, you will only be as good as the team you surround yourself with. Even if you are a solopreneur, you have a team. It comes in the form of your vendors, partnerships, etc. And that means that whatever stage you are in your business or in building a team, you need to make sure first and foremost that you have the RIGHT people. This is most critical. It is not enough to have people on your team...To really make things go, you have to have the RIGHT people doing the Right things Right!
With that said, once you have your team in place, it is your job to inspire and motivate them to greatness.
First, you must be able to create a vivid picture and vision of where you are all going for everyone. Then, you must make sure that everyone sees it and understands it.
Next, you must believe in it with more conviction than anyone and show that to your team. You must show that by believing in them and helping them realize where they fit into making the vision a reality. Help them realize what you believe they are truly capable of and how it contributes in a large way to manifesting the vision.
Third, in order the belief in the vision and your belief in your team's ability to make it happen, you have to get in the trenches with them. You have to get down in the dirt and work with them and help them overcome challenges and obstacles - especially in the beginning. This does not mean that you do the work for them, but it does mean when they don't think something can done, you help show them the way, or work with them to help them figure it out. When they see you working with them side by side and see progress happening, it will ignite their passion even further and accelerate your pace toward your goal.
Fourth, listen to your team. They are the ones in the trenches all day. They are in the field and at ground zero with clients. Some of the best insight comes from their day to day interactions. Listen to what they have to say, analyze it's impact, and take action if appropriate. Your ability to listen and synthesize the acres of diamonds they unearth will help you even further in getting to your goal and reaching greatness as a team.
Lastly, ask for help and tell them to do the same of each other. People support what they help to create and you must foster an environment that collaborates and makes things happen. The only way you can do this well is by encouraging people to ask for help where they need it and help others when they need it. It should be a badge of honor to ask for you help because that means you are striving and getting closer to your goal.
If you take these principles and use the with your "teams," you will be amazed at what they (and you and your business) can accomplish. Here's to your success!
One of the best ways to grow yourself and your business is to create lasting partnerships that are mutually beneficial to both parties. If you look throughout the business world, you will see example after example of partnerships that created massive successes such as Microsoft and IBM, Credit Card Companies and Banks, Uber and Spotify, Apple and Cell Service Providers - the list goes on and on.
I'm been fortunate to help create and be a part of very successful and lasting partnerships. Here's what I've learned over the years.
Some of the Best Partnerships Are Ones You Are Not Looking For
As an entrepreneur or business leader, you should always be open to opportunity and on the look out. You never know where the next big success is going to come from. Over the years, I have found opportunity with partners in the most unlikely of places. For example, the Grow Thrive Revive bi-annual retreat was created when after interviewing a guest on Misfit, global entrepreneur Evan Money, we had a some time left over and got to chatting about the business and personal growth event landscape.
We found that we had very similar thoughts on the state of things and how we could create an event that would not only deliver much more, but create an experience around unlike any other. I was was not looking for a partner to do an event, but I was open to receiving opportunity, and when Evan's passion showed through at the same level as mine, I knew we had to bring the event to life.
Always be open to opportunity and give it a chance.
Most Partnerships Go Nowhere Because They Lack Commitment and Action!
You see this in the corporate world all of the time. Two companies come out, announce a "game-changing" partnership, do a press release, get some headlines, and then you never hear about it again. This happens because once the excitement and spotlight is over, the work has to begin. And for most, they never do the work and take the action needed to make the partnership a success.
Good partnerships are work. Hard work. They are like starting a new business. You will have to get two groups/cultures to work together and overcome challenges. You will have disagreements, setbacks, and even feel like quitting. But to make it work, you will have to be disciplined, consistent, and persevere.
In order to succeed in any partnership, you will need to commit to it and take the action you know it will require to succeed.
Great Partnerships are Ones in Which Everyone Wins
This may seen like common sense, but it is not. To create a partnership in which everyone truly wins is not easy. It takes compromise and sacrifice. It means having to get past the business side of things and realize that you truly care about the people in the partnership as individuals and want to see them succeed as much as you want your own success. It means thinking about them and not yourself (which is becoming harder for people to do in today's world). But, if you can accomplish a true win-win - not only will the partnership be a success, but the results from it will be even better.
Great partnerships are like family. You are devoted to them and willing to be by their side through whatever comes up, but they also challenge you, sometimes aggravate you, and give you both great joy and grief. But, at the end of the day, you truly care for them and for their well-being and want to see them succeed. If you approach partnerships in this way and find and create the win-win, you'll be amazed the success you will have.
Some books are timeless and offer wisdom and insight that everyone can and should use in their lives. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is one of those books. The book is about Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psycho-therapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. It was this understanding that kept him alive and kept him going in the darkest of times. Here are my 8 favorite quotes from the book to inspire and motivate you to something better and greater.
There are a number of other very thought-provoking realizations and quotes from Viktor and if you are interested to read more of them, you can view them here.
You win in your mind first before anywhere else. Your mindset, attitude, and way of approaching everything has the biggest impact on your success. But, even if you understand this, sometimes it is easy to get stuck in a rut or pattern where you are comfortable and don't challenge yourself to up your game and reach higher levels of thinking.
Here are 22 ways to up your mental game and breakthrough to new levels of success in your life.
Visionary. Genius. Innovator. Disruptor.
These are all words used to describe Elon Musk. And they are all true. Elon is an amazing individual, with an almost cult following. A sort of Tony Stark of our time.
While he embodies all of the descriptions above, if you look at the fundamentals of his companies, they are broke and supported by massive debt. Over the last 4 years, Tesla has lost $9 billion in free cash flow and has made up for its losses with huge amounts of debt. In fact, Tesla's interest payments doubled in 4th quarter 2017 from the year prior at 15% of gross profit to 33% - which of course contributed to it's massive losses in net income.
Now, I'm not here to bash Elon or Tesla. That't not the point and the facts and data are the facts and data - look them up.
What I do want to share are the things, as an entrepreneur, that you should take away from what Elon has done and some lessons you can use to run a more successful business.
First, businesses can go on for a long time funded by debt (Just ask Amazon), as long as people and markets believe in them. This is one thing that Elon has done very well. He has created the belief in his vision and the future of what Tesla can mean for the world. And this will last until it doesn't, unless the company produces tangible results. But that can be a while.
As an entrepreneur, you must be able to present your vision in a way that just about anyone can understand it and you must do it with such conviction that they have no doubt about your commitment to making it a reality.
If you can do that, you have a good start. Of course, that means wholeheartedly believing in your vision and if you don't, you better come up with one that you do believe in pretty fast. Crafting and presenting a vision with conviction is a big lesson you can learn from Elon.
Next, run your business with the same commitment to excellence as you have conviction in your vision. Cash is king and if you can delay gratification and build your business out of cashflow without taking on large debt, you will be much better off. But, if you do take on debt, do it with skepticism and have a serious plan on how you are going to turn that debt into profits. How will you take the debt and create a machine that will pay for that debt 5x over (within a few years) and continue to pay you? If you don't have a reasonably good idea of how you can use the debt to create a 5x return or better, it is probably not a good idea to take it on - because it always takes more to pay off debt that you think it does.
And the worst place that you can get yourself into is a compounding debt scenario where you have to take on debt to pay off debt, and so on. This is where Musk is with Tesla and will need a truly big breakthrough soon to get the return on debt needed to turn around this current track.
In the world of Silicon Valley hype and unicorn stories of people becoming billionaires in their 20's off an idea; it's hard for entrepreneurs just not to follow what they think the herd is doing: Come up with an idea, go get a bunch of investment, take on more debt/investment, sell out. The reality is that the chances of that happening are very slim to none, so if you are going to start a business or have one, you have to approach it from a long term view. Build it so that it can be sold (if the opportunity presents itself) but run it like you will have it forever. If you think of things in those terms, you will be able show great vision, but have better financial responsibility - and could prove to run a business better than Elon Musk!
I recently read the article linked to below from the CEO of Foundr magazine, Nathan Chan, about the many lessons he learned in creating Foundr over the last 5 years.
From Novice to CEO of a Multi-Million Dollar Media Company: 37 Lessons from 5 Year of Building Foundr
I urge you to read the article as all of the lessons are good, but here are the Top 5 that I think are most important and why you should embrace them in your life and entrepreneurial journey.
#7: Your best ideas are the ones that keep coming back to you.
You’re not going to come up with a genius idea on the spot. It has to keep coming back to you, and you have to mull over it like a good glass of red wine and let it sit with you before you execute on it.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. It is the ideas that keep burning a hole in your mind and that you can't get rid of that end up being the best, no matter how crazy they sometimes sound.
#12: It takes 7-10 years to build anything of true worth and significance.
Any company that you truly admire took over a decade to build. I’m prepared to play the long game with Foundr.
As I've written about and spoken about many times, it comes down to the DCP formula. Discipline. Consistency. Persistence. If you have those day in and out for years, you will win. You will outlast. And you will flourish.
#14: Never rely on one single customer acquisition channel.
At Foundr, I’m always extremely cautious of dominating one channel, and always work to layer in more over time. For us, first it was Instagram, then it was email, then it was podcasts, then it was organic SEO and blog, now it’s PPC (pay-per-click advertising) and soon YouTube. The more channels we can use to generate a significant amount of traffic, the less risk we face.
The more comfortable you get and more reliant you get on one thing that works is great, until it doesn't work anymore. In today's world, that can change in an instant. Whole businesses can be decimated seemingly overnight (Remember, Kodak?). You must always be on the hunt for and willing trying to new channels to grow your reach and customer base.
#18: Your business lives and dies by cash flow.
It’s the oxygen of your startup, especially if you’re bootstrapping and not using someone else’s money to survive. You always need to make this a focus in order to build a sustainable business.
I confess that I have had trouble getting along with the CFOs/Accountants we have had in our businesses over the years because of exactly this. Cash is king and is what matters. No matter how good your business looks on paper or from an "accrual" accounting standpoint, you cannot stay in business without cash paying the bills. Therefore, much to the dismay and frustration of my CFOs and Accountants over the years, I have always focused on cash and challenged the health of our businesses (and thus by default challenged the analysis of the CFO and/or Accountant) when things look good on paper, but I can see cashflow challenges not being focused on. It has served me and the business well and kept us alive in the hard times. Cash is king.
#26: The smartest entrepreneurs reduce risk and maximize upside however they can.
One thing my mentor Mitch Harper taught me is to always reduce risk however you can. This is something I obsess over now when it comes to making critical business decisions. How can I stack the deck in our favor on both sides of the table?
Contrary to belief, the best entrepreneurs are not huge risk takers. They take calculated, asymmetrical risks. That means that for the little bit of risk they do take, the reward is exponentially higher. They also look at all the angles and look for how they can still succeed, even if the risk doesn't pan out or fails. You should always be looking at the whole picture and for how you can get massive upside for a small amount of risk.
BONUS! #37: To build a successful business, it has to be an obsession.
You have to want it so badly and you have to be prepared to do the work.
Kids are some of the best teachers. Seemingly out of nowhere, they will do or say something that is such a great lesson for life, without even realizing it. The innocence of it all makes it that much better.
Take my 5-year old daughter, Hannah, for instance. The other day, we were driving down the road and we got onto a topic of one of the kids in her Tae Kwon Do class that dropped out of the class. She was peppering me with questions as to why this kid had left and wasn't coming back.
We went back and forth for a while (if you are a parent, you know this routine), to where I finally said, "Sometimes people just give up."
Hannah sat in silence for a while as I continued driving. I could see her in the rear view mirror and could tell she was thinking and pondering on the subject. It was total silence for 3-5 mins.
Then, she spoke up. She said, "Daddy, people need to give up on giving up!"
Immediately I smiled in only the way a proud dad can and said, "Honey, you are right. Yes, they do."
It is amazing how one little innocent sentence from a 5-year old can carry so much weight, wisdom, and importance. That one sentence is one that everyone in the world should hear. You need to hear it. You need to give up on giving up.
Is there something that you have given up on or considering giving up on? Why? Can you change your way of thinking and actions so that you can succeed with it? If you are committed to something, then be committed. Go after it with tenacity and tell yourself that giving up is not an option. Make "Give up on Giving Up" you daily mantra and go make it happen!
OK, first off, let me say that this show is disturbing on many, many levels. It is essentially about how far peer pressure, social compliance, and coercion can take an individual. And in the case of this show, which is basically a social experiment and reality show all in one, it is "pushing" someone off the roof of a building and murdering them.
As many of you know, I am a voracious student of the mind, the subconscious, and our conditioning; and as I watched this show to dissect it to truly understand how a normal human being can reach the level of actually considering killing someone - in 1 hour, a number of things dawned on me - some great lessons for both life and business.
First, is how easily we can be manipulated through social pressure to do things. In fact, the opening scene of the show is a tiny experiment to show how easy it is to manipulate someone just by impersonating an authority figure. A total stranger is persuaded to essentially kidnap a child in minutes because they think a well-rehearsed actor, playing a police officer, is real, so they follow the instructions of the "officer."
It was amazing to see how easily it was for someone to impersonate an authority figure under the guise of an emergency and get someone to comply. The lesson I took from this is how readily we can turn over control of our lives - especially in an instant age where things move so fast. We almost forget to stop and think because our minds are moving non-stop. For me, it highlighted the fact of how important it is to practice and work on our emotional intelligence and control over our emotions - being careful not to let them "just run us," but instead choosing whether we let them dictate our reactions and actions.
The next lesson I took from this tiny little experiment is that we must be healthy skeptics. We must, as Thomas Jefferson said even in his time, "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Now, my point is not so much about religion, but about the fact that we must not do things blindly or out of fear, and get back to using reason in our lives and business pursuits.
Now, granted the show is a total setup for the target person, with every psychological trigger choreographed ahead of time, it does highlight some very important issues with societal pressures. First, the size of social presence has a huge affect. The bigger the crowd doing something, the more likely most people will go along. For a great example on this (besides watching The Push), check out this video of the "Dancing Guy."
The second thing I took away is how much the need to "fit in" for people can blind us to doing the right thing. The thing we know we should do. There are so many times in the episode where you can see the target of the show agonizing over doing what he knows is right and sometimes even vocalizing it...only to cave and go along with crowd.
Lastly, is something we already all know, but maybe don't necessarily think about - when you proceed in a lie, the deeper you go into it leads to a terribly tangled web that is almost impossible to get out of, eats at you, and impairs your judgement. (Well, only if you have a conscience of any kind).
I urge you, if you watch the show, ask yourself at what point you would stop and not continue to follow the crowd.
My biggest takeaways and lessons for life and business were the following:
The biggest lesson? Stand up for yourself and make a stand to do what you know is right no matter which way the herd or lemmings are going.
When is the last time you believed in someone when they didn't believe in themselves? More importantly, when was the last time you told them?
Have you ever had anyone tell you that they truly believed in you and your potential or told you something about yourself that even you didn't believe? It probably made you feel pretty good. It probably made you feel a little more confident, while questioning if what they were saying was true. But, if someone you trust tells you they believe in you and your potential enough, you start to believe it. Then, you start to become it.
Growing up, my grandfather used to tell me I could be President of the United States some day. He would tell me this all the time. As a kid, I didn't think anything of it. But, as I have gotten older and started to understand life and learn all the amazing things that I have been lucky to do, I have found myself reflecting back on those conversations and asking myself, what if? What if I could be President? Of course, there is another side to this, which is do I really want to? But parking that to the side for a minute, as I think about it and think about what my grandfather used to say to me - yeah, it's definitely possible.
More importantly, what I take from remembering these conversations is the incredible abundance of possibilities that are all around us in our lives. To me, that is the real gift from my grandfather. By telling me I could be someone that most would think is not possible or crazy, his words opened up a new world of thinking for me. And it is that type of big, bold, and sometimes outlandish thinking that I feel has helped me to succeed and create huge opportunities in life.
I now use this lesson to believe in others and help them reach their true potential and see the possibilities around them.
How about you? Is there someone that you can show belief in and help to understand their true gifts? Tell them. Give them permission to own their power and become who they were truly meant to be. Who knows, with your encouragement, they may be President some day...