Tag Archives: jobs

Self-Leadership Secrets of an Extreme Athlete

By Michael Hyatt

What could the sport of running teach us about the secrets of self-leadership and reaching our business finish lines?

I’ve been a fan of Dean Karnazes ever since I read his book Ultramarathon Man several years ago, so I eagerly devoured his newest, The Road to Sparta, which tells the story of history’s first-ever marathon.

Some of us know the popular version of the story, where after the Athenians defeated Persian invaders at the battle of Marathon 490 B.C., a messenger ran 26 miles to share the exciting news.

But Karnazes shares the real story, where the runner, whose name was Pheidippides, actually ran more than 150 miles all the way from Athens to Sparta, then back again, before the battle.

That’s 300 miles.

Why would a person willingly go through something like that?

“Western culture has things a little backwards right now,” Karnazes said. “We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives.”

That observation doesn’t just apply to running. That applies to all of life, including leading our organizations. When it comes to work, comfort equals boredom.

Engagement and even happiness come when we’re gunning toward major goals. I’m talking about the kind of achievements that push us outside our comfort zone.

Maybe it’s launching a new product line, starting a new career, or growing a sales channel by double digits. If staring down the goal makes you feel uneasy, you’re on the right track.

This ‘Discomfort Advantage’ is only one of the lessons running can teach us. Here are three leadership takeaways I discovered when I read The Road to Sparta:

1. Leverage your unique abilities.

When Karnazes was a child, he went to a basketball camp coached by the legendary John Wooden. A small kid, Karnazes struggled to get rebounds like the bigger children. But Wooden could see his spirit and gave him some advice: “Do what you can.” Instead of going for rebounds, he started playing the backcourt. And he dominated.

When we compete head-to-head as if our abilities are the same as others, we sometimes miss playing to our strengths. It’s like we tilt the playing field against ourselves. Instead, we need to focus on what makes us unique. Steve Jobs is one of the best examples of this in recent years. Apple played its own game and rose to dominance.

*****************SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT*********************
The 5-Minute Practice That Creates Calm And Focus

Craig Ballantyne, Editor of Early to Rise and Author of The Perfect Day Formula, still remembers the day he first discovered the secret to changing his stress-filled life into one with clarity and joy.

… it all came down to journaling.

Write your first entry here.
**************************************************************************

2. Let passion outrun balance.

We have to be careful that our jobs don’t dominate our lives, but there’s a natural tension in play if we really love what we do. “People speak of finding balance,” says Karnazes. “To me, that’s a misplaced ambition. If you have balance, you do everything okay. … Balance doesn’t lead to happiness—impassioned dedication to one’s life purpose does.”

What else could lead a person to run 153 miles through Greece? What else could lead an entrepreneur to do what the market believes is impossible? Balance is desirable, but it’s not the endgame. Finding and achieving your life’s purpose is.

3. Celebrate your wins.

When we reach our goals, we need to take the appropriate time to celebrate. That’s a critical way to honor our work. But it’s also a key component of living a full life.

Hosting another run in Greece called the Navarino Challenge, Karnazes was surprised at how the townspeople came out to celebrate the winners. “These people were all willing to put aside what they were doing and join together,” he remembered, “rejoicing in the moment.”

“If we always made decisions with our heads instead of our hearts, we’d probably live much more orderly lives,” he says, “but they would much less joyous. … How many people spend their entire lives striving for something with their nose to the grindstone, only to wake up one day and realize they haven’t really lived at all?”

Trade on your unique abilities, stay fueled by passion for your work, and take time to celebrate your accomplishments.

Those three takeaways might serve an athlete. But I’m confident they’ll serve leaders even more.

Originally published by Michael Hyatt on December 16, 2016

About the Author: Michael Hyatt is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, which is also a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and now writes, speaks, and coaches full-time.

What every small business owner needs to know about Buyer Personas

What every small business owner needs to know about Buyer Personas

by Joe DeMicco @demicco

Successful small businesses (well all businesses I guess) know that happy customers are key to their growth and future. The best way to keep customers happy is to know them as well as possible and serve them in ways that are meaningful to them specifically. Whether you market B2B or B2C, your target audience groups consist of real people, with real lives, wants, pains, goals, responsibilities, challenges, and jobs, with bosses they have to answer to. The goal is to get to know them on a personal level so that you can start to deliver useful business content and messaging that will resonate with them and get them to take action.

 For most of us, getting to know each one of our potential and existing customers is an impossible task. Luckily, many of them have shared traits and commonalities. By gathering these shared traits and commonalities into a single persona profile, we can create a prototype of our ideal customer. We call this a Buyer Persona.

You likely have more than one Buyer Persona type that you sell to. The idea is focus on your ideal Buyer Personas – those who represent the strongest, most rewarding business opportunities. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may end up with a minimum of two and potentially three to five for each business division you have. It is best to keep them to a minimum, remember, you are considering those who are your ideal customers because of what you are going to do next.

The next step is to use what you know about each one of your Buyer Personas in all future business considerations, including: developing content such as website copy, case studies, white papers, technical documentation, videos, social media posts, advertising copy, promotional materials, and pre- and post-sale communications; developing new products, services, events, training, and customer support channels; and even expanding your physical presence to new geographic areas.

Whether its delivering a specific type of content – at a certain time – to the right person via the right channel, or opening a new store in a new city, Buyer Personas give you much of the valuable insight you need to do the right things at the right time. Buyer Personas are the key that unlocks the opportunities to attract new business, make sales, and develop customer loyalty that not only sustains your business but helps it to continue to grow.