We live in a time where truth is increasingly hard to find. Whether it is the latest headline or post on social media or a newsbyte - most of these are not true and many of them will take kernel of truth and use it to make a point that is not true.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurship?
We as entrepreneurs need to be truth tellers. We are critical thinkers, seekers, and drivers of society and life. We help to shape the world and its future. Should that future be built on lies or half-truths? I don't think so and I certainly hope you don't think so.
So, with that in mind, what should we do to ensure we are acting from and on truth in our businesses and lives? First, we must develop or solidify our principles and convictions. We must draw our lines that we will not cross for anything. A great example of a set of principles and convictions is the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. This document clearly defines rights and principles - truths that must not be violated by anyone, not an individual, government, or any other entity. As entrepreneurs, we should develop our own "Bill of Rights" of sorts that defines the principles we will live by and govern our lives and business by.
Next, we must take the time to seek and find the truth when communicating and putting things out in the world. For example, you may see a headline or post online that you believe confirms something you thought was true and use that as a way to solidify your position - but how do you know it is true? Do you do the diligence to find the source or author and see what their agenda is? Can you get to the root of where it comes from to make sure it is indeed true? We must.
If you commit to follow a set of solid principles and convictions and do the work to seek the actual truth putting the full picture together prior to sharing it, you will make a much bigger difference in the world. And you will be able to better sleep at night, knowing that you are doing what is right.
Seek the truth and live from principle and conviction.
There are some things you can do for your success that have a big impact and make a big difference for you and those around you. One of those things is to understand you personality type and the way you think and how that relates to others.
And you cannot do this just once. A lot of people will take a personality test once and then think everything will stay the same 10 years later. That is not the case. We are constantly adapting and evolving ourselves and learning new things.
For example, many years ago when I first took a personality test, it gave me a lot of confirmations on things I knew about myself, but it also showed I had low empathy. I then began to learn about how to increase my empathy outwardly and use it in my life and business. So over many years, the results of the test changed for me because I was teaching myself to get better in areas I needed to work on.
My favorite and most widely used test for understanding self is the DISC test. This test has been around for 100 years or so and is easy to understand. It will show you where you rank on the 4 personality types, D-I-S-C. It will also show you how to interact with the other personality types and pitfalls to look out for.
But, as stated above, you should not take this test just once. You should schedule yourself to take it every year as part of your personal growth and development. You will be surprised at how many things stay the same, but also surprised at how some big things change over time.
There are a lot of different DISC tests out there and it's worth it to use a paid version, $50-70 or so. But there are free ones you can use to get your started. Here is a link to one I've used before:
Take the test and see where you come out and then use the results to better yourself and improve the relationships with those around you. It will make a big difference in your success and your life!
David Goggins is a beast. If you haven't heard of him, you need to check him out. He's a former Navy SEAL turned endurance racer and world record holder of the most pullups in 24 hours. He's the author of the best-selling book, "Can't Hurt Me." He went from weighing over 300lbs to being one of the baddest dudes out there. And he knows it too - he's not overly cocky, but he knows how to win in his mind and conquer any challenge or opponent in front of him.
I've chosen a few of his best messages below for you to watch and learn from him. Warning - he does not hold back on language.
My 9-year old daughter is almost a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Hard to believe, but she is within a couple months of earning it. And one of the things students have to do as they get down the final stretch is really up their training and practice of their forms and other aspects of the martial art. For a 9-year old, this is an additional 4-5 hours a week of training.
The other day my daughter came to me and asked if she could skip a day of training. She promised, promised, promised she would make it up at some other point in the week. I explained to her that with our family schedule, that was not possible and she would need to go. She persisted.
After a little more back and forth, I knew it was time to teach her an important lesson about success and one I want to share with you.
I asked if she knew how the people that are great at something, became great. She gave me a few answers along the lines of they work hard, etc. I told her that yes, they work hard, but like her and many others, they have times when they just don't want to do it. They don't want to put in the work or do what needs to be done that day. And the lesson that I shared is that, it is in those moments that the greats separate themselves, because they push through and do the work. As much as they don't want to, they find the will to do it. And it is in those times that they gain the most and become better.
That is the lesson. To find the will or fortitude to push forward and do what needs to be done to get better when everything in you doesn't want to do it. You not only grow in your skill at the work you are doing, but you grow your mind's capacity for what you are capable of.
I can speak to this from personal experience with my own entrepreneur journey and racing Ironman. Entrepreneurship brings challenges every day that you need to push through and if you do, your business grows and becomes more successful. If you shrink from things, then it doesn't.
When it comes to Ironman racing, I am competing at high levels and have gotten myself to within the Top 10-15% in the world in the sport. I have a long way to go to compete with the best, but each race I get better. I have to train a lot. Most days at least 2 hours and on weekends I may have 4-6 or more hours of training at one time. And of course, I have my businesses to run. I cannot count how many times, I get up at 4:30 or 5am in the morning to knock out my training before the day starts and just don't want to do it. But, when I push through and do the work I know it is making me better and after I am done, I am actually more productive and successful in my day.
Develop the habit of pushing through and doing the things you know you need to do when you don't want to do them and you will separate yourself in success.
I've always been a huge fan of Walt Disney and his ability to dream larger than life - and then make it a reality. His story is a incredible story of entrepreneurship and what it takes to succeed at the highest levels.
I recently came across a great article from Goalcast recounting the story of Disney and how he went from an obscure mid-west paperboy to overcoming enormous setbacks to fulfill his dream.
You can read the life story of Walt Disney here...
This past weekend was the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. As I reflected back on the event and all the years since, I was reminded of all the heroic efforts from so many on that day and the days since. I've compiled several examples to inspire you.
7 Incredible Stories of Heroism on September 11th
Your whole life, you've been told to be confident in yourself and develop self-confidence. I've been guilty of promoting this and sharing thoughts on how to develop yourself and your mind to create more success through believe in yourself and abilities. But, one thing I've never really mentioned is where this comes from. Maybe I've taken it for granted that people just know and understand that the underpinning of success and confidence in your ability to reach it comes from faith - not in yourself, but in God, the higher power to guide you.
One of my favorite passages from the bible is from Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." For me, I can be confident in myself because I believe I have the backing of Christ to strengthen me and I just assume that others know this. But, many don't and it is their confidence only in themselves without understanding that it comes from a higher power that is their downfall.
I was reminded of this in a good way last week from a daily devotional I get. Here is the message:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
— Psalm 20:7
Self-confidence is not the virtue that modern man has made it into. In fact, there have been no doubt hundreds, if not thousands, of books written on self-confidence and how to obtain it. Do you have self-confidence? The Bible has little to say about it other than the fact that it is a curse, not a virtue.
The word “confidence” is a combination of two Latin words: con (with), and fides (faith), so “Self-confidence” means “with faith in yourself,” and that is misplaced faith. Our faith should be in Christ. What we need is not self-confidence, but Christ-confidence. If you have self-confidence, you are always going to run into somebody bigger than you are, stronger than you are. You are going to run into a problem that is bigger than you can handle; your self is going to give way and the result of that is often despair and despondency.
But if you succeed, that’s even worse. What do you get then? You get pride. The Bible tells us “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). It can be deadly for the spiritual life. Sadly, in America today, we have hundreds of books teaching people how to have self-confidence, and thousands of parents are teaching their children to “Be proud.” (James Kennedy Ministries)
Be careful that you don't have blind self-confidence that leads to pride and destruction.
There are a lot of people out there that I would consider "Lost." They don't know what they want and therefore, don't get what they want. The tend to go through life like a rudderless ship, drifting listlessly.
In many ways, they are just "there." And they know it. They know they are not reaching their true potential. They know there is more to life than what it is currently is for them. In short, they are "lost." But, they don't know what to do about it - or more importantly, lack the will to do what needs to be done to pull themselves out of this zombie-like state.
I have felt this before and had times in my life like this. You question yourself. You question almost every aspect of life. And if you are not careful, this can become your normal state and how you live if you do not break out from it. It sucks. No one wants this for themselves. But they don't know what to do and they desperately, even if they don't show it, are looking for the answer.
Here is my answer based on my experience and it is a challenge to anyone who is stuck lost in this way: Get a mission and get it now. It doesn't have to be anything huge - just something that you will not stop until accomplished. This mission, whatever it may be, is your everything for now. It will be very hard to do this. First, starting will be extremely tough as you will have to break out from the malaise of your life and it may require starting a new habit or doing things differently. People hate change, but change is the only way. Once you start, then you have to commit and force yourself to keep going until the mission is completed. No excuses. Every day that you get closer to your mission's goal, you get further away from being lost. If you stop and go backward, you will default to the state you were in. The secret is that the act of accomplishing your mission is the key to breaking out from being "lost."
This happens because when you accomplish something, it fuels you. When you see that can reach a goal or do something you previously thought was too hard or maybe not possible, it activates you and activates your soul in new way. From there, you will find purpose and more missions and begin to become who you are possible of being.
Don't believe me? Try it. Create a mission that you can accomplish in one week. Don't make it super easy. Make it one that will stretch you to accomplish and that is just outside your comfort zone. Then pursue it with everything you have. Don't give in even a little. If you commit and go all in on this, you will see the power of this process and in one week, you begin to change for the better. And once you've done it, don't stop. Set your next mission and your next and so on. Tom Ziglar once told me that the fastest way to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit. Imagine all of the good habits you will have created and all the bad habits you will leave behind if you continue to set missions for an entire year. You will be in a completely different stratosphere. This your challenge. Get your mission and get going, NOW.
What are you feeding yourself? Really, what are you feeding yourself? Our future self stems from what we feed ourselves today. And by feeding ourselves, I don't mean food and bodily nourishment - although what you feed your body absolutely impacts its future was well - No, what I mean is "What are you feeding your mind?"
What are you putting into your mind right now? Today? This week?
Is it good, bad, positive, negative? Is it worthwhile? Is it wasteful? What are you reading? Who are you listening to? Why?
What you put into your mind will directly impact your future. If you are putting negativity into your mind, it will keep you down and hold you back. If you are not growing, learning, and stretching your mind, you will be passed up by those that are. If you are listening to those that hold you back or are not what you aspire to be, it will be detrimental to your growth.
Conversely, if you are filing your mind with positive, truthful wisdom and striving to learn from those that have succeeded and have done what you want to do; you will grow and reach those levels. If you are listening to those that are pushing you forward and themselves forward, it will be positive for your growth. If you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with, who are those people? What are they thinking about, discussing and focused on? Does it align with where you want to go?
It may be one of the greatest breakthroughs in human development that what we feed our minds directly impacts our future, our success, happiness, and all areas of our lives.
So, I will ask you again, "What are you feeding yourself?"
As we go through life, we will have a lot of conversations. Many of them meaningful and many of them meaningless in the grand scheme of things. And there will be times we must have hard conversations whether in business or our personal lives. A hard conversation is the one you don't want to have because you know it may challenge you or the other person(s). It may also be unpleasant or in some ways confrontational. No matter what, these conversations will happen one way or another and it is best to be ready for them. Here are 3 pieces of advice for when you must have a hard conversation.
1.) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Do not have a hard conversation on a whim. Take the time to prepare and make sure you understand both yours and the other person's point of view. Make sure to understand that emotions drive people and you must understand the potential emotional toll on both you and the other person the conversation can have. You must come from a place of solid ground and truth/fact and build from there. The only way to do this is to prepare.
2.) Check Your Emotions
Even with preparation, a hard conversation can give way to emotional responses, opinions, and perceptions that are not rooted in truth or fact. Feelings are not facts or truth, but they do matter and drive people's responses. You must make sure to control your emotions and stay grounded in the truth and fact, not getting into a battle over opinions or emotions because this leads to poor outcomes for both parties.
3.) Give a Little
No one is ever 100% right or wrong and no one is perfect. Resist the urge to have to win absolutely on your side and be mature enough cede own up to things you are responsible for in the relationship that you can do or be better at. Be willing to give a little to the other person as neither of you are 100% perfect. Admit it and own your side and ask them to own theirs. Then go to work together to make things better.
Hard conversations are am opportunity to learn and get better in the end - as long as you are willing to do so. And you should be willing to do so. Use them as such and don't be afraid of them, but don't take them lightly. Prepare, check your emotions, and be willing to give in and admit where you fall short. Then get better.
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