Recently, I was invited to attend the Fireside Entrepreneur Conference in Canada and speak at the event. I have to be honest. I did not know what to expect and I wasn't sure if this conference was really going to impress me. But, I was willing to give it a shot. Man, was I surprised.
First, the conference is held at a camp about 4 hours north of Toronto. And it is exactly what you'd expect when you here the word "camp." It is a self-contained camp on a lake where you bunk up with total strangers in cabins with no cell service or even access to electricity. The event is what I would call "Summer Camp for Entrepreneurs."
And over the course of 3 days, I was reminded of why we as entrepreneur's do what we do and of the importance of focusing on yourself and helping others. Here is are 5 Takeaway's I took from the confernce.
1.) The Power of Connecting with People Face to Face
It is amazing what happens when entrepreneurs from all walks of life get together, don’t know each other, and bunk up. You meet people of all backgrounds and walks of life, doing incredible things, and full of life and hope for the future. You also learn to deal with their snoring habits as well :)
I met some wonderful entrepreneurs and just people in general. And, it was nice to spend time with a group of like-minded people face to face - not through social media or a web-meeting or anything. It is something we should all commit to do more often.
2.) Networking and Relationships are Still the Best form of ROI
When you can truly network and make real human connections with people, you can create great, lasting relationships. I was very humbled to be able to connect with and discover business opportunities with a number of entrepreneurs at the event. In fact, I was even able to connect with and spend time with Jeffrey Haslett of CSuite Network fame and we became fast friends. We even decided to do a live podcast together for the group and share some of best thoughts on how to succeed as entrepreneurs and took questions from the audience. It was a great time and we were able to really help some people.
3.) Being Unplugged for a Weekend is Sooo Worth It
As I crashed into the cold lake water from a zipline that started 400 yards back at over 50 ft. up in a tree, I said to myself, "How nice it is to be unplugged where I cannot be reached and get to just relax and take a break. Cold-water notwithstanding, I floated in the lake for a little while looking up at the sky and the beautiful serenity of the place I was in and understood why Fireside has become such a popular event - and why they have made it invite only. Everyone would want to come! But, it is very important to schedule time to truly unplug in your life. Force yourself to do so - it will give your perspective, allow some of your best thinking to arise, and you'll even notice things that you maybe would never have see before.
4.) Opportunity is Everywhere
And I mean, everywhere! I could not believe some of the businesses people had created that were doing 6 and 7 figures and more. I have seen a lot and met a lot of entrepreneurs in unique business niches in doing the Misfit Entrepreneur, but even I was surprised at some of the niches and unique business concepts people had created. One guy had left the C-level in the corporate world and created a total system for creating and telling your story as a person and your business. He has a waiting list of clients. Another created a company that works like AirBnb for finding student housing on campuses and universities. Oh and let's not forget the marijuana millionaires (it was Canada).
My point is that, there is opportunity everywhere around all the time. Everything starts as an idea and then needs execution....but listen to your ideas as they may not be a crazy as you think. We live in the age of long-tail where even the smallest of niches that never would have survived 10-20 years ago can be a thriving enterprise for someone willing to put the time and effort in.
5.) We are So Lucky to Be Entrepreneurs
No matter who you are, you are are entrepreneur. You may not own a business (yet), but you have entrepreneurial qualities. They are innate human qualities. The ability to come up with an idea, vision or a mission, passionately take steps to make it a reality, and overcome the barriers that get in the way are all things we as humans have innately in us. We should do well to embrace them more and celebrate them. We are very lucky to have these qualities - they are what make the journey of life so exciting, frightful, and rewarding. Embrace your inner entrepreneur and make it happen!
There are a lot of things that have to happen to win at something. Whether it is a race, a team sport, business, winning over self and negative self-talk; one thing matters more than all others.
This one thing is the toughest part about winning. In fact, it is so tough, that most never learn it, and those that do, still struggle with it.
What is it? It is the ability to outlast. Now that may sound simple and may sound like everything you've heard before about "never giving up, never quitting, and so on;" but outlasting takes more. You can finish a race when you wanted to quit...then never race again.
Those who truly reach the top of the packet, not only have an attitude that they won't quit, but also that they will outlast until they are the last one standing. They have the will and fortitude to keep going.
I was recently reading a book that reminded me of this. The book is Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence. Now, most people may not know his name, but instead may recognize him by his nickname, "The Iron Cowboy." James is the man who created and completed the 50-50-50 challenge to raise awareness for child obesity. 50 Ironman Triathlons in 50 States in 50 days. That is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and full 26.2 marathon every day for 50 days.
In reading the story, I can relate to a lot as an endurance athlete, but where James goes beyond anyone I have ever seen, is in his ability to outlast. There were so many instances where he could have thrown in the towel on this thing. Not because he was tired, but literally because he could not physically walk or his feat were bleeding through his shoes. But no, he chose to find a way to finish, even it meant walking the marathon until 3 AM to only get in the car and drive to next state to get up in 3-4 hours to do it all over again.
If your life, you may not be doing a 50-50-50, but you are probably trying to succeed at something and may not be getting the results you want or any results at all. And after a while, that little voice starts saying that "this isn't worth it" "You given this X amount of time and seen no results, cut your losses, etc." If you truly believe in what you are doing and believe that it can make a difference, choose to outlast. Even if it takes years, I promise you, it will be worth it.
This can work for anything. Stick with a prospect in sales long enough to outlast the competition and you will get it. Stick with a podcast long enough and it will grow an audience - even it doesn't have hardly anyone listening for the first 6-12 months (I speak from personal experience). Don't succumb the pressure of a larger competitor trying to threaten your business and intimidate you when you know what you are doing is perfectly right. Outlast them. (I speak from experience here as well!)
Put the secret of an attitude of outlasting to work for you and like James, you will be amazed at what happens in your life.
This won't be a long post, but the message may be one of the most important you ever hear.
What makes a great leader? What do some leaders stand out from the pack? Why do people follow someone?
The answer is simple, yet so powerful. Great leaders understand that they must lead themselves before they can lead others. What does this mean? It means that you must develop the discipline to be best you can be before you can ask others to do the same.
This means leading in all areas of your life. Personal, health, wealth, business, spiritual, and so on. You must develop the consistent discipline to be the best you can possibly be in each area, then you must take it a step further. You must show the ability to execute.
You cannot ask others to do something that you have not taken the time to learn, understand, or do. It will show immediately and people will not follow you.
You must be able to show people what you are asking them to do and then help empower them to execute. In other words, you must be willing to get in the trenches.
Are you leading yourself and have created the discipline you know is needed to succeed and lead in all areas of your life? If not, pick one and be obsessed with being the best you can be. Master it. Then move on to the next, and so on.
This one thing matters most when it comes to becoming a great leader!
I read a great quote the other day that said "No one can copy your relationship with your customer. They can have all the competitive intelligence that is available, but no one can copy that relationship." I would further expand this to cover your partnerships and other business relationships.
I was reminded of this first hand at a recent event we hosted for our clients, partners, and friends of Grasp. Every year, there is a very large global conference that we participate in. But instead of doing what everyone else does, in just getting a booth at the trade show, we actually invest heavily into creating the most unique experience and enjoyable time that we can give to everyone. We have become known for it over the years to where people reach out to be "the first" on the list to attend each year.
At this particular event, we rented out a 1920's hidden speakeasy that only seats 40 people at a time for the evening. We had done this once before at the same venue years ago and it was a big hit. But, this time it felt different - in a good way. I was truly amazed at all of the prominent people in the industry that sought us out and made us a priority. One major executive, a long time friend, actually left the party his company was hosting with him being one of the main hosts, and made it a point to stop by because "Grasp always throws the best events and has the most iconic atmospheres." I was flattered that he chose to take the time out for us.
You cannot buy these types of relationships - they have to be built over time by being consistently genuine to who you are and how you foster those relationships.
As I thought about it further and watched the crowd that gathered with so much joy, it really dawned on me how important and powerful great relationships are...and the ROI that they mean to you as a person and your business.
It doesn't take money to create a great relationship. It takes courage. What do I mean? Well, it means that you have to have the courage to be your true self at all times. It means that you have to have the courage to truly care for people beyond business and invest in them. It takes courage to see the long game and play it as most great relationships are built over years, not days. And lastly, you have to have the courage to be honest in the relationship - even if the truth sometimes hurts. This is tough for people to do, and be, in business, as they feel they have to come off a certain way or put on a certain persona to succeed.
The truth is that you cannot build a great relationship with everyone because by nature some people are just not going to get along - no matter what they do or how much they try to fake things or kiss someone's ass. You are much better off being honest and true to who you are and investing in the relationships that you do have and continue growing them.
We had about 150 or so attend our event and as I looked around the room, those 150 people were the ones most responsible for our success at Grasp over 20+ years. Think about that, 150 people in 20 years, have made the biggest impact on the success of a multi-million dollar company. It truly is amazing what the power of a relationship can accomplish and the ROI it can bring over the years. Ask yourself, how can you better invest in your relationships because at the end of the day, they are most important asset you have.
I saw a list of books the other day that someone put out and every one of them was what I would consider a life-changing or must-read book. I liked it so much I wanted to share them with you. If you read all 15 of these books, you will have a changed life and be on an even better path for having done so. Enjoy!
15 Books That Can Change Your Life
If you've accomplished a big goal or bucket list item, you know how it feels. It is a big achievement. And probably like me, you feel once you've done it, that you can go to even higher levels or push yourself further. Even more important are the lessons you learn in gong through the experience. I recently competed my first Half Ironman and am already am planning my second one as well as preparing to do a full. For those that don't know, a Half Ironman is a 1.25 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a half marathon (13.1 miles) - 70.3 miles in total. A full Ironman is 140.6.
As I reflected on the experience, some really great lessons for life and business stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you.
Lessons Learned from My Ironman:
So there you have it. 7 very important and useful lessons for anyone on their journey to success. They work across all areas of your life, so put them to use for you!
Ok, so this post in just about the fact that if you shut your mouth and listen you will learn more, get more business, and create better relationships. All of those things will happen if you spend more time listening and park your ego (and your need to talk) aside.
This is article is about another result of shutting your mouth and listening - an even bigger more powerful secret. That secret is the incredible amount you can learn about others not just from what they say, but from their body language. People like Frank Luntz have made a whole living off of analyzing the body language of people and what it means. You can use this for all areas of your life.
Body language will give you a lot of what you need to know about how a conversation is going. What is the other person's posture? Are they leaning forward into the conversation showing interest or sitting back with their arms cross showing reservation? Are they using their hands a lot? Are they animated? This gives insight into the type of personality they have -which is you understand personalities, you will be able to relate better to them and how their mind works.
There are so many things, that if you just be quiet and observe, you will find out about others - and about yourself. It is hard not to interject and talk about yourself and your ideas, but if you can practice restraint and allow others to reveal more about who they are; you will find that you can use what you learn to have more meaningful conversations, create better relationships, and ultimately find more success.
From Misfit's "Top 10 Lessons to Thrive and Succeed" Guidebook. Click here to get a FREE copy
Another lesson that I have found most important is that it is typically not one thing that sets the highly successful apart; it is a lot of little things done just a little bit better or differently that add up to a huge advantage. And this comes back to being disciplined and consistent. Let me give you a few examples.
How can you find your "Little things?" Try these steps...
Perhaps the only limits to the human mind are those we believe in...
No matter who you are or how successful you are, you will have to deal with self-limitations. Many times they seem to come out of nowhere and cause us to doubt ourselves. Things can be going just fine or great and all of the sudden - Wham! - a negative or self-limiting thought comes into your mind.
Where do these things come from? I took me a while to figure this out, but the answer is actually straightforward. They come from your beliefs. In fact, as I went on my journey of figuring this out,
I created a formula that encapsulates it all:
Beliefs -> Emotions/Feelings -> Thoughts -> Actions -> Results
If you take out every word, but the first and the last one, you get "Beliefs = Results."
It is not our thoughts that are self-limiting, but the beliefs behind them that cause our negative thoughts that are the source of problem.
So, how do we overcome self-limiting beliefs? The answer is simple, we change our beliefs. But, as we all know, that is easier said than done.
The first step is awareness, which I hope you are experiencing now. You cannot change something unless you are aware of it.
Next, take inventory of your beliefs. Have you ever really stopped and thought about what you truly believe? What are you principles? What are your core values? Where did they come from? Did you choose them or are they just there? You'll be surprised at how many things you thought you believed, that when you think about them, you really don't. You can then start to formulate the beliefs that YOU want to have.
Lastly, we have institute a process to catch ourselves and re-direct to what we want to have. For me, I found that following a simple process of "Stop, Ask, and Choose" works best. Stop yourself when you have negative or self-limiting thought. Ask yourself what "belief" is causing it. Choose whether to keep that belief or replace it with the one you want to have.
At first, this is very awkward and you will have to stop for a minute or two to go through the exercise, but after doing it for a little while, it will start to become easier and eventually a habit.
Self-limiting beliefs are housed in the deepest recesses of our mind and are not easy to change -- but they CAN be changed. Learning to change them will change your whole life and take your potential to entirely new levels. Now get out there and Stop, Ask, and Choose!
Everywhere you go in the personal growth space these days, you hear about the importance of clarity. Just about every "guru" has their talk on this subject and how incredibly important it is.
In fact, the common theme is that you "must be crystal clear" on what you want, where you are going, and how you are going to get there - or you won't get it.
I used to subscribe to this theory as well. I used to speak about how important it is to be crystal clear in everything - until I realized it wasn't.
One day, I was retooling one of my talks which included a section on clarity. As I started to think more about the concept of being "crystal clear," I realized that on a lot of things I wasn't clear, let alone crystal clear.
I began to examine the different areas of my life and where I had had massive success and asked myself, "Was I crystal clear before I began down the road that led to that success?" It turned out, I really wasn't.
I realized one thing was consistent; a good sense of direction. I wasn't crystal clear on how I was going to get the result I desired, but I did have a direction to go, and I took the first step and took action.
As I thought about this a little more, I realized something profound. A dirty little secret that most of the so-called gurus aren't going to tell you. The truth is that no one is ever really crystal clear on things. When you start down the path to success, you may think you are, but whatever journey you are on will not go smoothly and be wrought with twists and turns. It will make you question yourself and what you thought you were clear on. And you will change things along the way. But, above all, you would still have a direction to go and that is the key element.
A lot of people get caught up in trap of the "clarity curse" where they spend of all this time looking for that crystal clarity so they can begin. And of course, they never really find it, so they don't begin.
My advice to you is to pick a direction. One in which you are confident and truly believe in with conviction, and then get started. You will figure things out along the way and things will become more clear the further along you go. In fact, if you have ever seen the Lord of the Rings or read the books, it is a perfect example of what it means to have a good direction and then find clarity along the way. Frodo didn't really have clarity on what he needed to do until very late in the journey.
Stop worrying so much about clarity because it is an illusion, especially in the beginning. Find your direction and go. You'll be amazed at how you end up succeeding in your quest.
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