Category Archives: Sales

16 Tips for Living a Happy Life Starting Right Now

 


By John Rampton @johnrampton

It doesn’t matter your age, how much money you have in your back account, your marital status or what you do for a living, we all want to be more successful in our lives. Of course, defining success is different for each us, but here are 16 proven ways that can make you more productive, happy and successful in life.

1. Be committed.

No matter what goals you have set for yourself in life, you have to be committed. It’s through commitment that you’ll continue to make the improvements needed to better yourself. Whether it’s taking a chance on launching a startup, getting a gym membership to improve your physical well-being, or taking a cooking class because you want to become a chef, commitment is what drives us all to become more successful.

2. People care about you, not your success.

Let’s be honest. People don’t care about the expensive clothes you wear, how big is the house you own or the car your drive. That’s not to say that they don’t respect your achievements or possessions. Instead, they care you as an individual and they’ll support you no matter what — because they love you. Believe it!

3. Be grateful every day.

According to researchers Martin Seligman, Robert Emmons, and Michael McCullough, being grateful can result in feeling better about your life, more enthusiastism and more willingness to help others. Being grateful may even reduce coronary artery disease. Take the time to write down what you’re grateful each and every day.

4. Take action.

In an article in The Atlantic, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman share studies on the confidence gap between men and women.  The researchers discovered that confidence is just as important as competence. It was concluded in the article that “[T]aking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed.”

5. Money can’t buy happiness.

As The Beatles famously proclaimed, (money), “can’t buy me love.” You know what else money can’t buy? Happiness. Just because you’re earning six figures doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily content. Sure, money is obviously needed, and it makes some things easier. But, you should be focusing on your passion and not how much your paycheck is.

6. Don’t take rejection personally.

At some point we all face rejection. Instead of taking it personally, use it as a learning experience. Why did a VC reject your proposal? Maybe there wasn’t a market for your product. Perhaps you didn’t have a convincing pitch. Maybe the VC’s partner just called and said he’d spent their extra cash. Accepting and learning from rejection is one way to guide you to success.

With my online invoicing startup I get rejected daily, literally. I talked to 100+ VC’s before I got one that believed in my product. Learn from rejection and use it as motivation to make things better!

7. Have a backup plan.

You never know when the unexpected is going to happen, but when it does happen, you’re surrounded by chaos. Being prepared for the worst case scenario can at least make things a whole lot less chaotic. When my last business crashed, had I not had some cash set aside (that my wife kept away from me), we would have been in financial ruin. Having a three-to-six month nest egg will make the difference. I’ve found that having 12-24 months of cash to pay all bills just sitting there has significantly helped my marriage be more positive as well!

8. Improve your social skill.

After analyzing data from between 1972 and 1992, University of California, Santa Barbara, economist Catherine Weinberger found that “The people who are both smart and socially adept earn more in today’s workforce than similarly endowed workers in 1980.”

9. Travel.

As Yii-Huei Phang states on The Huffington Post, traveling is a great way to “develop a person’s character” and become more open-minded. Additionally, while traveling is a great way to get away from the daily grind, it also helps you appreciate what you have back at home.

10. Don’t multitask.

If you’re feeling constantly burnt out it’s probably because you’re doing too much at one time. Research has found that “when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 percent.” You’re also burning your reservoir of energy. Both of these issues decrease your productivity and prevent you from accomplishing tasks and goal.

11. Embrace a growth mindset.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck argues that we have two-mindsets; “fixed” and “growth.” A fixed mindset “assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static.” A “growth mindset,” however, “thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

12. Balance work and life.

When work interferes with life, it can result in employees getting burned out and decreases base morale in the office. While this may not be an option for employees, it proves that everyone needs time away from the office. If you’re able to spend less time in the office by working remotely or having flexible hours, you should be able to be productive in both your personal and professional life.

13. Don’t hold grudges.

There is really no need to hold onto a grudge. It can mentally wear you out and makes you miserable. And, doesn’t life seem to go a whole lot smoother when you’re not angry?

14. Stick it out.

After years of studying both children and adults, psychologist Angela Duckworth found that one of the characteristics of successful individuals is having grit. During her TED talk Duckworth stated, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

15. Live in the moment

You can’t change the past and you have no control of the future. Live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you right here, right now. When you’re busy making too many plans, you’re causing stress that prevents you from enjoying the present.

16. Take care of yourself, then help others.

According to Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness.”

Additionally, helping others is beneficial for our health. But, how can you help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself first? Take care of your needs first and then begin to help others.

10%Better To Win

Influencive

 


Be 10 Percent Better to Win

By Betty Liu @BettyWLiu

 

You’ve read about being 10 percent happier, but what about being 10 percent better?

One entrepreneur, the highly successful and driven Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider, Gilt Groupe, MongoDB, and many others, says in order to succeed, you only need to be 10 percent better.

If you doubt his opinion, Ryan told me you need to look no further than Google.

In the latest episode of our Radiate podcast, Ryan notes: “I think one of the mistakes that people make [is] they think their idea is not groundbreaking. And by the way, most ideas are not groundbreaking. Google was a terrible idea when you think about it. It was just a search engine; there already were seven. Theirs was a little bit better. That’s it.

“They had the idea, and the way of doing the search engine was a better way of doing it. And so the results probably 10 percent of the time were fundamentally better. Ninety percent didn’t change, but 10 percent was [better]. And that was enough.”

Hearing this is a relief. You mean I don’t need to build a whole new type of rocket like Elon Musk to become a billionaire? Or invent a whole new electronic device like Steve Jobs?

The more I thought about what Kevin said, the more I realized how absolutely right he was. Most of us think we need to create the next big thing to succeed, and we become frustrated when every single idea seems so inadequate. When I first had my twin boys, my sister and I–ever the budding sister entrepreneurs–thought of a baby gifting business, since both of us were awash in baby drool and diapers all day long.

But when we scanned the internet, there were already dozens of gifting sites just like ours. And they were pretty damn good. Motivation sapped, we hung up the idea after a few sketches and late-night brainstorming sessions. Besides, did we really think we were the only ones with this great idea?

When I think back on it, we were just too inexperienced to understand that precisely because there were so many companies with the same idea out there, ours was actually a good one. And in fact, thinking about it some more, many of the smashing success stories you read about are companies that simply improved on what others were doing:

  • Facebook: Remember Friendster or MySpace? Mark Z just made social networks better.
  • Microsoft: There were half a dozen operating systems already from IBM, Atari, and others. Bill Gates just made his better.
  • Starbucks: Coffee shops were everywhere (that’s why venture capitalist Alan Patricof declined to invest. Oops). Howard Schultz made his spot a little more comfy.
  • Apple: BlackBerry was already making a pretty good phone. Steve Jobs made his iPhone better.

Now that I’m starting a company of my own for real–no diaper ideas this time–I’m taking Kevin’s observation to heart. How do we make our site and network for professionals 10 percent better than what’s already out there? If people are already going to other sites for help with their careers, what can we do that’s different?

That’s exactly what our small team is focused on right now. However, trying to figure that out is not 10 percent harder, it’s 100 percent harder. It seems like an unfair mathematical equation–put in 100 percent of the effort for a 10 percent improvement, but when you’re trying to be the Kevin’s of this world, that’s the kind of math that adds up.

How To Increase Your Brand

 


Why Entrepreneurs Should Turn Their Expertise into a Book

By Assuanta Howard @astapubl

Entrepreneurs who have published books are able to extend their brand, become public speakers, gain more customers, and more. Being a published author will open many doors to you and grant you with opportunities to increase your income and add to your credibility.

Writing a book is an opportunity to reach out to an audience that never would have found you. It’s a chance for you to expand your audience and demonstrate your expertise, philosophy, and best practices. According to an article written by Laura Cross, “Writing and publishing a book related to your expertise will have a significant impact on your credibility and can substantially increase your bottom line. In a survey conducted for the Business Impact of Writing a Book:

  • 96% of authors reported that publishing a book positively influenced their businesses
  • 94% said it improved their brands
  • 95% generated more speaking engagements
  • 96% generated more clients
  • 94% generated more leads
  • 87% said it allowed them to charge higher fees
  • 87% reported that it allowed them to generate a more desirable client base
  • 76% said it allowed them to close more deals`1

What those figures reveal is that if you’re serious about your business, becoming a published author is no longer an option, it’s a necessity for market advantage.

There are many reasons why a business owner should write and publish a book and the top four are listed below:

  1. Enhances Your Visibility-Writing a book positions you as an expert within your industry.  Differentiating yourself in the marketplace is more important now than ever before. What makes you unique? Why should someone hire you over your competitor? Having a book to your credit helps you answer those questions.
  2. Be Seen as Credible– You will gain instant credibility and people will be more inclined to trust and believe you. Being an expert author helps you cement your credibility and deliver your expertise to a wider audience.
  3. Elevate yourselfabove your competition by being known as “the expert” people go to for the type of service you provide.
  4. Opens Doors-Establishing your brand creates a multitude of opportunities to increase your revenues and profitability as a business owner. You can command higher fees, receive high-level speaking invitations, attract high-value clients, and sell more products and services.

It has never been easier for an author to write and publish a book. Writing it is a challenge, but is should not be seen as a deterrent. A published book will provide you with an avalanche of unforeseeable opportunities to increase your brand, increase your credibility, and increase your profitability.

Assuanta Howard, CEO, Asta Publications has helped many authors write and publish their books. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner it’s time to turn your expertise into a book. Visit: http://www.astapublication.com or e-mail: ahoward@astapublidations.com to learn how.

Apps to Help Your Business

5 Ways Mobile Apps Helps You Improve Business Revenue

By Urvish Shangvis

1) Acquire More Customers:

A Mobile App is an effective and efficient medium to connect with customers. Asking desktop users to download a mobile app, helps acquire new customers. Offering a 10-30% discount to new mobile app users on their first order, will make them repeat customers. Research indicates that users prefer mobile apps to a mobile or desktop website, as mobile apps can be accessed offline too. Users spend more time on a mobile app than a mobile or desktop site. Mobile apps can help you gain new customers, by running various offers and discounts.

Read the rest of the ways mobile apps can add value.

Follow This Hair Salon Owner

 


This Hair Salon Owner Knows Something Most Entrepreneurs Have Backwards

By Benjamin P. Hardy @BenjaminPHardy

 

What if you looked at your employees like a Hair Salon owner does? How would you treat your employees differently?

James and Astrid Rawlinson are the owners of Salon 21 in Orem, Utah. Last week, I happened to be in Utah and needed a haircut. I was lucky enough to have James cut my hair.

When I found out he was the owner, I wanted to learn more. He openly shared his business model and philosophy with me. As an organizational psychologist, what James taught me resonated deeply; and I felt it was important for any high level leader or founder to know.

1. Your Clients Are Less Important Than Your Employee

“If an employee at Wal-Mart quits, that probably won’t affect Wal-Mart’s business,”James explained. “However, if one of my employees leaves, there goes a large percentage of my clientele.”

When it comes to having a hair-stylist, many people find one they like and stick to that stylist. As a result, business suffers when someone quits at a hair salon.

This reality has forced James to take a serious look at his company culture. He’s come to grips with the fact that his employees are far more important than his customers. Without his employees, he would have no customers. Furthermore, if his employees aren’t happy, they won’t have recurring customers.

So James and Astrid have worked hard to create a culture where their employees love being there. In an industry where few stylists stick around at one salon for long, at Salon 21, the stylists choose to stay.

James and Astrid have found that being supportive and generous with their employees has directly influenced their success in the market place.

“Although not every industry gets impacted as heavily when an employee leaves as in the hair industry, every leader should recognize the fundamental importance of their employees,” James told me.

Salon 21 is thriving in a saturated market, and is continuing to grow. James believes a primary reason for this success is that his employees are literally his number one priority.

2. Professionalism & Technique

“Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation.”–Josh Waitzkin

The hair industry has become like the food industry. The focus is on quantity over quality. As cheap and fast as possible. You can easily find $10, $5, and even $3 haircuts if you look for it.

Hair schools are trying to get as many people in-and-out as fast as they can. The problem is, new graduates end up at jobs without much skill or technique.

James told me he has to extensively train almost every new employee he gets, regardless of how many salons they’ve worked at. Quality matters at Salon 21. They want people’s hair to look amazing when they leave.

I myself was surprised by the care and technique James put into my own hair cut. He did things to my hair I’ve never seen someone do, and when I got home, my wife was stoked.

You can’t deny a good product. As Cal Newport explains in his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, when you focus on your craft, the work speaks for itself. The goal should be to produce work that is so good it can’t be ignored. With a focus on quality and craft, Salon 21 continues to succeed while other salons in the area fail.

3. Employee Freedom

Lastly, James explained that many hair salons use fear-tactics to keep their employees. Most salons require their employees to sign “non-compete” agreements.

James and Astrid genuinely want their employees to succeed. If a particular employee would be better-suited somewhere else, they aren’t forced to stay.

At Salon 21, employees feel safe. There is no fear. There’s no compulsion. They can leave whenever they want. At that’s the very reason they choose to stay. They want to be there. They are valued.

“We have complete confidence in our culture and craft here,” James told me. “There’s no need to require non-competes. We know when we hire someone that they will have a unique experience here. They will want to stay. And they will thrive financially here as a result.”

Conclusion

What if you looked at your employees like a Hair Salon owner does?

How would you treat your employees differently?

How would your culture change?

Genius

William Beaty
William Beaty, 35yrs Elect Eng, Tesla fanatic since 1973, built devices from Tesla patents

334.3k ViewsMost Viewed Writer in Nikola Tesla with 30+ answers

Wealthy

WEALTHY

The 5% Rule

By Bedros Keuilian

Get a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the center. Write “95%” at the top of the left side and write “5%” at the top of the right side. In the right-hand column list all the things that make you money and move your business forward. Selling is one of them. Marketing is another. Delegating to your staff is another. Inspiring your team to be on the same vision, to be on the same page as you. In the left-hand column, list all the things that someone else should be doing, like bookkeeping, writing payroll checks, taking out the garbage, cleaning the office, paying the office rent, changing out the light bulbs and cleaning the carpets, etc.

Following this 5% rule is what separates very successful people from ordinary or struggling people. For example, if you and I both have eight hours a day to work and we have the same knowledge base, but you’re doing 100% of these activities every day and I’m only focusing on my 5%, I’m going to be miles ahead of you. I’m focusing only on the actions that grow my business, make me more money, get more clients, and make a big impact while you’re too busy focusing on the trivial matters that should be done by someone else.

Selling

People will do anything for those who encourage dreams, justify failures, allay fears, confirm suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” – Blair Warren

How to Leverage Human Nature to Sell More

By Jonathan Fields

We’ve hit that time of year where rumors about the next iPhone are starting to bubble about.

There’s one particular one that’s got people scratching their heads. Leaked cases show a design that looks largely indistinguishable from the iPhone 6 or 6s.

Why is it this interesting, even if you have no interest in the iPhone?

Because it’s about the dance between seduction, status, value and human nature. And, how you might explore leveraging this relationship both for well and for good.

Here’s the thing…

On a purely rational level, when we look to buy something we are looking for value. We want to either solve a problem or experience delight and we want to feel like our money is being well spent.

So far, so good. Except for one little problem.

We are not purely rational beings. In fact, we may well be more irrational than rational.

We want value. But our brains are also wired for status and seduction.

We’re led around by an unconscious bias toward status and seduction.

On the seduction side, we want desperately to be lulled and lured, teased and tantalized. We buy something not just because it’s the best solution to a problem, but because the lines, colors, sweep, aroma or even sound touches some emotion. Because it provokes a reaction. It makes you feel. It triggers a primal call and, often, a memory and a story. An association. And that deeper yearning fuels a compulsion to seek, to want, to need, to have. You don’t need a behavioral background or market research to prove this, just open your eyes. The people and things in your life very likely make the case.

Bundled on top of the near-ancestral pull of seduction, there’s another seemingly irrational compulsion that directs our actions. A wiring that leads us to measure our own success not by some inner, objective metric, but in comparison to the perceived success of others. We are status-seeking beasts.

As Alina Tugend recently wrote in The New York Times, summarizing findings or researcher, Erzo Luttmer:

“…most of us feel better if we make, say, $100,000 if the majority of our neighbors make $75,000 than if we earn $150,000 when most of our friends bring in $200,000.”

This is why living in a place like New York City, where I call home, can be, on the one hand, quite magical, and on the other, maniacally futile and demoralizing. Because, no matter how much you earn or have, you will always be able to surround yourself with those whose relative wealth, power and access dwarfs yours. And, because while a part of this unfortunate wiring is simply “knowing” you’ve got a respectable seat at the status table, the other part is a merciless yearning to “let others know” you’re “of their caliber, too.” You’re worthy. It is a compulsion that is very likely compounded, if not outright driven by another primal impulse, the need to belong.

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So, when a new iPhone is rumored to hit the streets, devotees don’t just line up for hours to be first to get a new device because of improved utility. Sure, functionality matters, that’s the theoretically more objective value side of the equation. That’s the rational brain at work. But deeper down, we’re buying status and seduction. We want something that’s cool and sexy, however we define it. We want something that satisfies that inner comparison Jones. We want to feel like we’ve got the Benjamins to afford it and, while we might not be winning the mobile-tech comparison game, at least we’re in it. And, we want those whose approval and acceptance we seek to know we’re one of them, too. We want the world to know we have the latest device money can buy. And, we telegraph that by whipping out a phone that is observably different than the old model.

At first blush, the notion that our happiness and fulfillment is tied to status and seduction is, well, pretty messed up. We’re not “supposed” to be this way. So, we try to deny it. That doesn’t work, so we try to change it, to train it out of our conscious process. Except, the script that runs these two impulses runs deeper than conscious thought. Changing wiring on that level is a near herculean task that requires extraordinary motivation that most people just don’t have. It’s not impossible, but it requires real work.

You can practice mindfulness, cultivate gratitude and exalt generosity as benchmarks of success. You can shift your lens on what matters and why. These are all a part of my daily practice. They help. A lot. Still…

It’s brutally hard to train the sex and comparison impulse entirely out of your brain.

Are there outliers, folks who’ve learned to live from a place where seduction and status are truly not drivers of behavior? Maybe. But, often it’s accompanied by fierce and enduring effort, along with a removal from the physical and social setting that reinforces these impulses on a level very few people are willing to embrace. On the whole, most of us remain and will remain keenly aware of and fueled, at least on some level, by status and seduction.

Manufacturers and marketers have known this for years, and leveraged these dual impulses to drive consumption, and not always with regard to genuine value or benefit.

And, that’s got me thinking. What might happen if instead of denying or trying to change this quirk of human nature, we embraced it?

What if we turned the primal yearning for status and seduction into an ally?

What if we tapped it to build products, solutions, stories and conversations that leveraged these impulses for individual and societal good? To improve the human condition? Starting with the one human who decides what to do and buy. You!

What if we took more of an Aikido approach to status and seduction?

What if, instead of labeling them as “bad,” we simply saw them as a form of energy that is not only capable of driving behavior, but of being harnessed? What if, rather than pushing against our seduction and status “opponent’s” energy or trying to destroy it, we worked with and redirected it to create better outcomes, not just for us, but for those we seek to serve?

In fact, a handful of change-makers in the cause-venture and non-profit world are beginning to do just that. They’re owning and harnessing status and seduction on a level rarely seen. And, in doing so, they’re making huge strides in fundraising and expanding the impact they can have on the lives of those they serve, and those who help them serve.

Take the now global philanthropic organization, charity: water. Before founding this fast-growth foundation, Scott Harrison lived about the most opposite life you could imagine. He was a club promoter. Status and seduction were his domain, and he wielded them expertly and largely for personal gain. Awakening to a call to re-orient his life, he talked his way onto a floating hospital ship off the coast of Liberia, where he eventually came face to face with the reality of a global drinking water crisis that he saw as solvable. He felt called to do something and, so, started charity: water as a vehicle to bring water to those in need.

He also realized, drawing upon his promoter days, that there was a tremendous untapped fundraising and contribution asset that was being largely ignored in the world of foundations and non-profits; status and seduction. Actually, it wasn’t so much being ignored as it was being targeted in a way that left Gen X and Millennials, the club audience he knew so well, anywhere from unmoved to repelled.

When he decided to start charity: water, Harrison understood the need to also pay almost maniacal attention to the visual brand, the mission, the messaging, the design, the website and the way he told the story both of the people and villages he hoped to serve and of the more subtle, yet powerful benefits of being associated with this next-generation engine of impact. He effectively engineered status and seduction into the brand on a level that hadn’t been seen before. The very same impulses that he’d leveraged on a more hedonistic level in a past life, Scott now tapped to move the seemingly unmovable to a life of deeper and more public service and contribution. As I write this, charity: water reports having funded more than 20,000 water projects, providing drinking water to more than 6,000,000 people in 24 countries.

Point is this…

We spend so much time labeling the evolutionary armature of the human condition as bad, morally or socially repugnant, and trying to snuff it out. There are, no doubt, certain generations-old neural grooves or even outright pathologies that, to the extent possible, can and should be rewired or extinguished, if possible.

But, what of those quirks of consciousness that, while often expressed to the detriment of self and others, just might be capable of being channeled to serve a “higher purpose?”

What if, instead of rejecting the neural predisposition of the masses and working to rewire what most people have no interest in rewiring, we instead learned to harness this quirk of behavior as fuel for meaningful action, service, and contribution?

What if we dropped the labels and, instead, took up the quest to redirect, rather than annihilate the energy that flows through these impulses?

What if we harnessed status and seduction as a path to meaningful contribution?

Is it the best way to get there? Maybe, maybe not. But, as the Dalai Lama famously said when asked if it was okay to serve others with the knowledge that you’ll benefit as well, while the motive might not be as pure, the net effect is still the elevation of others, and that’s a good thing.

Something to ponder as we all explore how to build what we’re here to build, and tell the story in a way that taps our innate conditioning as fuel for positive action and impact.

About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, author, speaker, A-list blogger and serial wellness-industry entrepreneur. Fields writes about entrepreneurship and creativity at www.JonathanFields.com and interviews emerging world-shakers at www.GoodLifeProject.com. His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance, was named the #1 personal development book of 2011 by 800-CEO-Read.

Do You Surround Yourself with The Right People

 


Surround Yourself With People Who Challenge Your Thinking

By Kevin Daum @KevinJDaum

It’s nice to have people around who support you and are of like mind. Agreeable people boost your confidence and allow a certain level of relaxation. Most of us develop a stable of people with whom we like to work. We know their styles, and they know ours. It’s comfortable and expedient. It is easy to find a rhythm, and it works. Unfortunately, that level of comfort can stall the very learning and innovation that can expand your company and your career.

It’s nice to have people agree, but you need healthy conflict and differing perspectives to dig out the truth from a group-think and ideation. If everyone in the group has a similar point of view, your work will suffer from confirmation bias, rarely breaking boundaries and creating often unnecessary failure.

Take a look at your own network. Are your contacts the same ones you’ve had for years? Are they all in the same industry? Do they share your point of view on most subjects? It’s time to shake things up and get uncomfortable. As a leader, it can be challenging to create an environment in which people will freely dissent and argue, but as my good friend and colleague Amilya Antonetti says: “From confrontation comes brilliance.”

Here are five tips for engaging people who will expand your perspective and increase your success.

  1. Identify where you are stale. Actively seeking conflict is not an easy thing for most people. Many spend their lives trying to avoid arguments and heightened discourse. There’s no need to go out and find people you hate, but you need to do some self-assessment to determine where you have become stale in your thinking and approach. You may need to start by encouraging your current network to help you identify your blind spots. Additionally, make a list of the five people who have made you most uncomfortable in your life and list the reasons why. Then use the list to create a picture of the ideal opponent for your way of thinking.
  1. Go where the battles are. As people get more confident in their abilities, they often create habits that limit the way they source ideas and information. Fox News and MSNBC bank on this philosophy. Seek out social networks and groups that are outside your normal way of thinking.Use LinkedIn groups to find diverse perspectives. Pursue the writers of posts that make you react strongly. Find the people who make you uncomfortable and invite them into your conversation.
  1. Engage in friendly debate. Passionate, energetic debate does not require anger and hard feelings to be effective. But it does require strength and assertion. Once you have worthy opponents, set some ground rules so everyone understands responsibilities and boundaries. Establish structure to your discourse so people can feel safe. If people are worried about negative repercussions, they will hold back or, worse, disengage completely, and then you’ll be back to the same stale environment. Remember, the objective of this game of debate is not to win but to get to the truth that will allow you to move faster, farther, and better. When that happens, everyone wins.
  1. Check in regularly. Fierce debating can get emotionally brutal, particularly when strong personalities are involved. It doesn’t take insults and name calling to make people feel small and upset. Make sure you check in with your adversarial colleagues to make sure they are not carrying the emotion of the battles beyond the battlefield. Break the tension with smiles and humor to reinforce that this is friendly discourse and that all are working toward communal success. A good way to reinforce the objectivity is to actually switch sides in the debate. It’s hard to take it personally when you can argue on behalf of your opponent.
  1. Share rewards and gratitude. The purpose of all this hot and stressful discourse is to achieve success for everyone. Make sure that all that are involved in the debate are amply rewarded when the goals are reached. Let your sparring partners know how much you appreciate them for being fierce and vulnerable. The more appreciated you make them feel, the more they’ll be willing to get into the ring next time.

Mistake

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

My #1 Mistake in Life

By Craig Ballantyne

“The first thing I tell anybody who’s going to be doing interviews is homework,” said Barbara Walters about conducting a great interview. “I do so much homework, I know more about the person than he or she does about himself.”

This year I’ve been interviewed on over 50 podcasts. The best interviews, not surprisingly, have followed Barbara’s formula. The best interviewers did their homework, asking personal questions specific to their audience.

Doing homework on me is not hard. I’ve shared many personal stories here at Early To Rise, and in my book, The Perfect Day Formula. It’s easy for an interviewer to draw out my struggles of battling anxiety or my goose-bump-evoking journey of how I came to be the owner of Early To Rise.

Many interviewers have also taken Barbara’s advice of saving the toughest question to the end. That’s when I’m often asked, “Craig, what’s the biggest mistake you have made in your career?”

It’s a question that I can answer quickly and without fail.

My biggest mistake was not hiring a coach earlier in my career.

I made this foolish mistake because I was cheap, stubborn, and thought I was smarter than everyone else. My hubris nearly led to me losing everything. It contributed to my anxiety attacks, caused me a lot of frustration, and fed my jealousy as I watched others in my industry come out of nowhere and surpass me. And they did so because they were not too proud to do what I should have done.

By late 2003, I was making more than enough money from my online business side venture that I could have invested in hiring a mentor. But it wasn’t until 2006 that I finally set aside my ego and hired my first coach. When I did that, his advice helped me make more money and help more people than I had in the entire six years that I was trying to do things all by myself.

I regret going it alone for so long, figuring things out the hard way, and ignoring the easier path to success that had already been blazed before me by potential mentors. As a result, I was not nearly as successful as my friends and colleagues believed. They all thought I was making more money than I was, and I felt ashamed knowing the truth.

Once I smartened up, I quickly added many mentors to my life and my success continued to grow rapidly as a result. These mentors included paid coaches such as Yanik Silver, Dan Kennedy, Tom Venuto, Matt Smith, and Bedros Keuilian.

Having Professional Accountability from a coach is one of my Five Pillars of Success. It is different than just having friends giving you positive social support.

A coach brings you three gifts that a friend or colleague cannot.

  1. Expert Advice

  2. Experience from someone that has been there and done that

  3. A level of accountability that accepts NO excuses

Your coach should come highly recommended based on these three traits. They should be able to prove their success through client testimonials. They should have years of experience, and a ‘stern-but-loving-parent’ approach to accountability. If they become more of a buddy and stop holding you accountable, you’ll never get the full benefits of their experience and expert advice.

Seth Godin agrees.

“Mentorship works for two reasons,” Godin said. “Certainly, the person being mentored gains from advice and counsel and access to others via introductions, etc. But mostly, it works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.

“Interesting to note, then, that the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.”

When I hired my first mentor, Tom Venuto, I was in the midst of struggling with my crippling anxiety attacks. Before each of our weekly phone calls, I had to do a few minutes of slow deep breathing and said a little prayer hoping to make it through the entire call without having a full blown panic attack.

I often wanted to skip the calls, but as Seth said, I had the obligation of showing up. Thankfully I did, because with Tom’s expert advice my business rapidly became more successful than I ever expected. Tom’s coaching was also a big reason I was able to overcome my issues with anxiety. Without his help, I don’t know where I’d be today, and frankly I don’t even want to think about it.

So if you’re struggling, the best advice I can give you is to stop being so stubborn and go get a mentor. Hire a coach today. Find one that has achieved what you want to achieve in life, and that shares your morals and ethics, and find a way to work with them. This changed my life and it will change yours for the better, too.

It’s been 10 years since I hired my first coach. And since that time I’ve come to believe this old saying is true:

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

You are ready. And I am here.

Don’t wait any longer.