It's easy to follow the herd. That's why most people do it. And because most people follow the herd, they get the results that most people get. And if that is what you aspire to in life, then my best to you. I don't. My goal is not to "just be at the same level as everyone else." My goal is to be more, do more, and give more than most. My goal is to show people that there is more than what the herd gives them. To show them that their potential is wildly more than they thought was possible - Because it is!
But, in order to do that; in order to be more, do more, and give more, you have to think independently of the herd. You have to seek your own wisdom and question the conventions of which everyone else subscribes to. You have to question your own assumptions and dig deeper into what you believe. You have to 'think and grow rich," as the title of the books states.
When was the last time you questioned the common logic of the herd? When was the last time you spoke up and did so, with the knowledge, it might create controversy or go in the face of what others you care about believe? The reason most people don't think independently for themselves is that it is hard. It is hard to be different or know you might potentially have disagreements with people - but in order for us to grow and attain new levels in our wisdom, knowledge, and capability - it is necessary.
Let's take a current example of extreme herd mentality happening in our lives right now - the Wuhan Coronavirus. You will notice that I called it "Wuhan" not Covid -19 or any other name. Why? Because that is where it originated and where it is from. And historically, we name viruses by where they originate. Examples include The Spanish Flu, Hong Kong Flu, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), Lyme Disease (Lyme, Connecticut) and so on. And, in fact the media called it Wuhan for quite some time until China decided they did not like it. It should be not lost on you that the media outlets make a lot of money from China and access to their market and since they lead political correctness, they flipped over fear of losing money/access because "China was offended." Now, China knows this game and played them well to get the focus off their mishandling of the virus which has now ravaged the world. In fact, it is now being stated by governments around the world that the virus did escape the Wuhan disease lab where they studied the virus.
But, none of this is what the herd has been told. These important facts have been wiped clean and replaced by a new set of talking points spoon fed to the herd because the media know the majority are not going to think independently and go research the facts (even though it takes about 10 minutes).
Truth is power and knowing the truth can help you to truly understand the picture, small and large, and be able to make better decisions. But, sadly, to find the truth most of the time in this world, you have to think differently than the herd and seek it out. Knowing the origin of the Wuhan virus, may not make you more money or change your life at this time, but it will help you better understand the relationships between governments in the future and any potential conflict. It may also lead you to question what the Chinese Communist government puts out as "fact" in the future.
Now, before you go thinking this is a China bashing article, remember a couple things. First, I have an adopted daughter from China and have spent a lot of time on the ground in the country considering doing business there (I elected not to). Second, I have great respect for the Chinese people for their culture and everything they have accomplished over centuries. Many of the innovations that have led to the lives we lead today have come from Chinese innovation throughout time.
I do see the sobering reality of what a Communist regime can do and be to it's people and the world and I don't shy away from it. In order to think independently, you must be willing to face the reality of the world before you.
Don't follow the herd. Ask questions. Seek truth. Separate emotion from logic. Think for yourself. It will lead you to your true potential and capability.
I was recently reminded of what a great team can accomplish and what it takes to truly have a great team. I little while ago, I one of the best product launches I have had in a very long time in one of businesses. It broke records and set new bars to shoot for and achieve in the future.
But the reason it was so successful, wasn't due to me or the solution I was sharing with people, it was due to the team behind it (OK, I had a little to do with it as a member of the team!). It was amazing how to group worked together, put together all the assets needed, nailed the outreach and marketing in both messaging and scaling to thousands all over the world. They drilled the presentation and process with me until we knew like it was second nature, and everyone executed their duties at the highest level I've seen.
As we celebrated the launch and the impact we had on the lives of those we served with our product/service, it really got me thinking back to the elements that make a great team and how all of them were present with this team.
There are 5 Elements tat make a great team.
If you look for and foster these 5 Elements in your teams, you can and will achieve great things and have wonderful successes. Here's to making it happen!
The other day I saw an incredible stat. There has been over 2 BILLION media mentions of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the last few months. The next closest outbreak had only 60 million media mentions during its entire time.
This got me thinking about how much this can impact people and create fear for them - with this much media bombardment, how it could it not.
As I was thinking on this, something awesome happened. My daughter had a breakthrough. She had been trying to learn how to ride her bike for some time without training wheels and we had worked on it together - she was getting close, but just hadn't been able keep her balance for a long period.
On her own, she went out and started practicing in the driveway and after 10-15 mins, she can running to tell me she did it. So, I went out to watch her and sure enough, she had figured it out and had a breakthrough. It was amazing to see the sense of freedom that came over her as she realized the capability she now had.
As I stood there, proud of her accomplishment, it made me think of all the other awesome things that were happening right now in our lives and businesses - even in the midst of a pandemic.
So, I decided to sit down and write out 20 Awesome things happening in my life right now. It was a great exercise. And I was energized as I got to 20 and could continue to name more. It also gave me perspective and a new insight into everything that is good in my life right now, because there is a lot.
Try this exercise for yourself. Shut off the TV and social media and tune out the billions of pandemic media mentions and focus for a little while on the awesome things happening in your life. Write them down. It will open your eyes and show you new opportunities available to you. Write your 20 Awesome Things today!
I read a story the other day about Vice Admiral James Stockdale. He was Navy fighter pilot who was show down in Vietnam, captured, and spent almost 8 years as a Prisoner of War in the brutal "Hanoi Hilton." James never broke. In fact, he would do everything to sabotage his captors plans so he would not be used as a propaganda tool including things like beating his own face to sheer bloodiness to keep from being paraded around by the enemy.
It truly is an amazing story of determination, survival, and grit.
Year later, Jim Collins interviewed Stockdale and he shared what I believe to be some of the greatest advice for success and reality that I think is very relevant for our times.
Collins asked Stockdale, "How did you deal with such harsh circumstances and uncertainty?" Stockdale's answer was succinct and the very epitome of what it takes to survive. He said, "I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
What he said next was even more important. Collins asked him, "Who were the type of people that didn't make it out of the POW camp?"
Stockdale answered, “Oh that’s easy. The optimists. They were the ones who said, ‘we’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And then Christmas would come, and Christmas would go.
And then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And then Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving. And then it would be Christmas again.
And they died of a broken heart.
“This is a very important lesson,” Stockdale added, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose-- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
At a time of global pandemic and crisis, it is important balance your faith and optimism and confront the brutal facts of reality. Beware being an optimist thinking everything is going to be back to normal in a month or two. That's not reality. We will get through this pandemic, deep global economic downturn and we will be prosperous in the future, but the reality is that the road be tough, rough, go on longer than expected, and have lasting effects for years to come. The sooner we face that, the clearer things will be and the easier it will be to find the opportunity during this time. Make no mistake, there is opportunity. The key is to have yourself in position to see it, act on it, and see it through during tough times.
That is what Vice Admiral Stockdale did. He saw things for what they were, held deep faith, and acted daily to get to his freedom (his opportunity). Most of us will never endure the hell that Stockdale did, but we do have our own challenges we will go through during these times.
Keep your faith that you will prevail and you will.
With everything going on in the world right now and a global recession in it's infancy, it is easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom and lose sight of the opportunities around us. No matter how dark it gets, you can still succeed. There have been much darker times and much harder times in our history.
If you lived in Europe during WWII, you not only had to deal with bombs being dropped day and night on your cities and homes and country, but the constant fear of death, alongside disease, medical shortages, etc. Millions died during a few year span. While the current crisis is a major challenge that will have lasting effects for the next few years, it does not compare to what our fellow man had to endure during that time.
With that said, here are 10 articles to help you succeed in 2020 and beyond!
Life-Changing Wisdom from a 7-Year Old
Entrepreneurs are unique breed. We spend our lives working through challenges, pushing ourselves through barriers, and figuring out how to succeed. During these uncertain times in dealing with the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I feel entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever to help the world.
It is important that we also stick together and help each other as best as possible. Aside from doing the weekly Misfit Entrepreneur, I wanted to share 3 actions my partners and I are doing across our businesses as it may help you in yours and with those around you.
First, we are doing our best to take care of all employees and our customers. We are helping our employees with everything they need to work from home, give them timely resources to stay safe, and support their individual needs during this time. For our clients, we are doing all we can to help them both financially and with our products and solutions. We are evaluating everything we can do and give to them while making sure to keep ourselves viable and stable for them. And, anywhere we can give our resources to help them, we are doing so for minimal cost or free if possible.
Second, we are evaluating all plans and strategies and adjusting them as needed, but also positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities when this situation ends. Make no mistake, on the other side of this will be one of the best environments to gain market share and grow a business in our lifetimes and we need to be prepared. For example, while others are pulling back in all areas of their business, we are pushing forward with marketing and sales and making sure that we are the solution clients go to when they are ready. We will be uniquely positioned for when things turn around. Look for ways to have your business ready for when things get back to normal.
Lastly, I am doing my best to be a resource and voice of reason to those around me and help them through things as best as I can. Now is not a time for emotional decisions or to let emotions run our daily lives. There is a place for it, but it is most important to use logic and reason in your decision making and in your interactions with others. Make no mistake, this will be hard as things most likely will get worse before they get better, but it is the right way to approach it. Remember, the way you think directly impacts you actions and results. You must think clearly at this time.
This situation is "once in a lifetime" situation, but it will pass and entrepreneurs will be there to lead the world back and help in many ways. It is what we were made for and it is what we are called to do.
Books are plentiful. Everybody is writing one these days. But, every once in a while something comes along that really separates itself from the crowd and can make a real different in your life and success. If you are looking for a book that will not only educate, but also enlighten you and help you to truly think in new ways, I suggest reading one or all of these 5 books in 2020.
1.) Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence
James is also know as the Iron Cowboy because, well he is seemingly tougher than iron. James was the guy who came up with the crazy idea of doing 50 full Ironman Triathlons, in 50 states, in 50 days. And he did. As a frame of reference, a full Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon. Could you imagine doing 50 back to back and traveling every night across the country doing them on 5-6 hours sleep? James book tells the story, but more importantly shares deeply everything he went through internally and externally to reach this goal. It will make think much bigger about what is possible for you.
2.) The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather
What could be crazier than being a lone wolf fighter against the Nazi army at it's fiercest? Volunteering to go into Auschwitz death camp to try and bring it down from the inside. That is exactly what Witold Pilecki volunteered to do in 1940 years before the camp was liberated. He spent 2.5 years in the camp before his escape. This books shows us what the human spirit is capable of at it's best (and worst). It is painstakingly researched and real. This is true hero story. Warning: It does not sugarcoat what happened in Auschwitz, so be prepare to get a full view of the atrocities.
3.) Innovation on Tap by Eric B. Schultz
I had Eric on the show and really enjoyed my time with him. I enjoyed his book just as much as it explores and shares some of the greatest entrepreneur stories of U.S. history and brings them to life in the setting of the entrepreneurs sitting at a bar swapping their stories together. It is a great, inspirational read that will help you to think in more innovative ways.
4.) Everybody Always by Bob Goff
If you think you know what love is, I challenge you to read this book and learn from the adventures of Bob Goff. He truly is an amazing individual and has more in his life than most people can dream of - all in the name of goodness and love. This book will help you understand the true contribution that is possible for you to make in this world and after reading, you'll have no choice but to get started doing it.
5.) Augmented by Brett King
Brett was also a guest on the show and his work as a futurist and in the technology space, especially in the new age of banking is profiled all over the world. In Augmented, Brett shows what the future looks like with the technologies being created today. He also shows you how you can take advantage and set yourself and business up to prosper in the rapidly changing world over the next decade. You'll be amazed at what is possible and already being done in this world.
From Misfit's "Top 10 Lessons to Thrive and Succeed" Guidebook. Click here to get a FREE copy
Lesson #8: Learn to Be a Great Problem Solver
High performing Misfit Entrepreneurs are great problem solvers. This ability truly separates them. They also have figured out that the bigger the problems that they can solve, the bigger their business and success can grow. They seek out bigger challenges.
The take calculated, what I call asymmetric risks. Meaning that the risk they take have some downside, but very little compared to the massive payoff they will get in succeeding in taking the risk. Solving big problems requires taking risks and sometimes a leap of faith.
How about you? What problem or problems can you or should you be solving? Are there any problems that you have thought about and are passionate about solving? How can you go about doing so taking an asymmetric risk?
You will have to grow yourself to handle larger problems and that is why our earlier lessons on understanding how to condition yourself and live from your choice along with personal development and who you surround yourself with are so important – they help you continue to raise your game and your ability to take on larger challenges.
Think of it this way. If your mind is currently set to handle a level 4 problem and you get a level 7 problem – well, you’ve got a problem. But, if you have grown yourself to be able to handle level 10 problems and you get a level 7, it’s no big deal.
Make it part of your growth routine and goals to become a great problem solver and learn to love them. It will help you tremendously on your own journey.
Misfit 3 Action Items for #8
Get Excited About Problems!
Fears of the spread of the Coronavirus are taking hold and it is very important for entrepreneurs to keep up to date on what is happening, but not for the reasons you may think.
While the Coronavirus is slowly evolving from an epidemic to a pandemic, the real worry for entrepreneurs should not so much be the virus itself. In fact, to put things in perspective, the common flu in the just the U.S. this year will kill more people than the trend that the Coronvirus is currently on. While any loss of life or sickness is not to be taken lightly or discounted, it is important to understand the Coronavirus is not as deadly as the common flu - at least not yet.
The bigger worry for entrepreneurs is the impact the virus will have on commerce and the ability run a business. China is the world's factory and it is currently shut down. Companies are very quickly running of inventory and the ability to produce their products because of it. In fact, companies like Land Rover are a week away from shutting down and are forced to have to go to China and bring parts back in suit cases.
The longer the virus goes and grows in China, the bigger impact it will have on commerce. Companies will begin to sell less and/or have to shut down - not because there isn't any demand for their products, but simply because there are no products to sell.
This is why you see the stock market pulling back. Investors are positioning for lower earnings in the future for companies because companies are not going to be able to sell as much product and thus have lower earnings.
But, there is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. As the fear grips the world, level-headed entrepreneurs can grow. Now isn't the time to pull-back in your business, it is a time to push forward. If you manufacture everything in China, you are going to be hurt, but you can also learn from this experience and set up back-up manufacturing facilities in other areas of the world. This is NOT easy by any means, but for those willing to persevere and work through it, the benefits long-term will help them and make them stronger. During this period, it is also the time to double down on marketing and sales. While you competition may be pulling back, you can gain market share and grow. Many of the great companies that exist today, started during the Great Depression. Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, and Allstate, all started during the roughest economic time in U.S. history.
The Coronavirus, is going to impact business over the next year; there is no doubt - but this period of time offers great opportunity for entrepreneurs and for them to use their success to do good and maybe help people affected by the virus. Make the most of it!
Rejection is part of being an entrepreneur, but even the strongest entrepreneurs can reach the end of the rope after a long string of rejections. It's at that point that you need inspiration and perspective. So, in that spirit. Take a look at the notices below. These are all rejection notices from VC's when the founders of AirBNB were starting out. They were trying to raise just $150k on a valuation of $1.5 million meaning that $150k investment would have give the investor a 10% stake in the company. I bet these guys wished they had gotten their 10% now!
The next time you deal with a string of rejections, just remember what the founders of AirBNB went through over the course of almost a year before someone took a chance on them. Your time will come if you just keep pushing!
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