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Why Dating An Entrepreneur Is Very Different To The Norm

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Dating An Entrepreneur Advice

We entrepreneurs are a very different breed. Some might say we are almost like aliens with the way we think and the way we act. Maybe we are, who knows. Entrepreneurs like me are not so much driven by material possessions or the “what” and “how” behind every idea.

Entrepreneurs are obsessed with the “why” and turning it into a vision that gives themselves and everyone around them goosebumps. There’s no sense of ego behind this way of thinking; it’s more about creating positive change when it’s so easy to get lost in this negative world.

Dating an entrepreneur can be a bumpy ride if you haven’t read the map beforehand. My job is to help you understand us crazy entrepreneurs so that you can date one if you so choose. It’s a wild ride, but it’s one you will never forget. It’s a journey of giving, contribution, gratitude, and respect.

Entrepreneurs can teach you so much about life and help you discover things inside yourself that you were never aware of. They can help you find your why and get you following your same passion with a bizarre sense of momentum and energy. It’s time to fall in love.

Below are 12 reasons why dating an entrepreneur is very different:

 

1. Everyone’s talking about what they had for lunch – we’re thinking about changing the world

In a normal society, it’s common to talk about the simple things in life, like what we had for lunch, and describing it in tremendous detail like it’s a shiny crystal that you’ve never seen before. If an entrepreneur is present in a conversation like this, you might find them looking distracted or not paying attention to the conversation.

sorry-for-the-inconvenience-we-are-trying-to-change-the-worldEntrepreneurs are distracted because while everyone is thinking about everyday things, we entrepreneurs are thinking about changing the world. Instead of having a chip on our shoulder about the traffic coming to work in the morning, our mind is off thinking about how we can contribute something unforgettable to humankind.

While everyone’s chasing Friday afternoon at the local pub, we’re thinking about what we can do over the weekend to ultimately inspire us further towards our purpose. We want to take a journey into nature to find something within ourselves that may unlock the next big idea or the next problem to be solved.

“Entrepreneurship is an obsession, but it comes from a beautiful place”

 

2. We’re looking for purpose not looks

It may seem strange, but we entrepreneurs are not solely focused on looks like the rest of our Instagram culture. We’re focused on a sense of purpose in our prospective partner. We’re looking for a gorgeous somebody who not only lights us up with their smile but makes us connect to a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

Purpose is better than any chest or abs, and it makes us go wild. It makes our inner world crumble and helps us let our guard down. It makes us feel like we are not the only wild person living on this planet. A sense of purpose aligns to our entrepreneurial nature.

Looks come and looks go with age, but a sense of purpose is everlasting. A sense of purpose overpowers any other physical form that could tempt us away from our true entrepreneurial mindset.

 

3. We’re 100% focused on mindset

Growth Mindset SuccessIt can feel like a math test when you date an entrepreneur. This is because every question we ask a prospective partner is designed to help us uncover the other person’s mindset. We want them to believe, as we do, that anything is possible.

We’re secretly hoping that they don’t waste their precious energy on fretting the small stuff, such as how the supermarket sold out of their favorite bread this morning and it ruined their day.

For entrepreneurs, mindset is such a sticking point because our one true love can deeply affect our own mindset. We guard our mindset like buried treasure, and we’re not willing to allow it to be overcome by negativity at any cost.

We’re stubborn in some ways but it’s all for a good cause: our purpose.

 

4. We won’t settle for second best

While it’s the norm to settle for comfortable and mediocre, you’ll very rarely meet an entrepreneur that will be happy to settle for this way of living. Entrepreneurs want the best and they demand high standards. We believe we can influence any outcome, and convince anyone to give us what we want.

We believe that we’ve spent years of our life grinding and hustling away at our craft, and we’re not about to give up all that hard work to take second place. It’s not so much about perfection, but more about maintaining high standards that give us the rewards we need to stay motivated.

It’s a philosophy of always pushing the boundaries, and not accepting what we’re told just because everyone else accepted the same answer. It’s our rebel nature coming alive for the greater good. Deep down we’re lions ready to pounce on our prey.

 

5. We want to do the impossible

It’s rare that you will find an entrepreneur who is not talking big things. That’s because we want to achieve the impossible. We don’t want to “sort of” fix the world with software, we want to transform it and make everyone’s life better.

Impossible MindsetWe want to help those who are less fortunate realize their own entrepreneurial dream so that they can do what we have done, and what we’re about to do. It’s a sense of belonging to the same human cause, and knowing that nothing in life worth achieving is going to be easy.

Small goals with minimal impact don’t get us entrepreneurs excited. We want more and we demand more. Not because we’re schmucks – we want more because it’s possible. The moment we meet someone who lets all the small problems overcome them is generally the moment that we run in the opposite direction.

They don’t need to be at the same level us as when it comes to believing in the impossible, but they do need to share this way of thinking to some degree.

 

6. Everything has to be simpler than it is

There is a lot of money to be made in consulting and in business by making problems seem way more complex than they are. If a problem were easy to solve, then everyone would do it and I couldn’t charge you hundreds of thousands of dollars to solve it for you.

Nobody would solve the issue because it would be perceived to be impossible, thus blocking out any potential competition and allowing me to charge an exorbitant amount of money for the solution. Dating an entrepreneur will teach you that we believe things are simple.

We believe that while everyone is describing a problem as hard, it’s actually straight forward when you chunk it down and remove all the associated myths. We want things to be simple because we know that the only way to get mass adoption in any business is through simplicity.

If consumers can’t understand your solution in a 60-second Facebook video, then you’ve probably lost them for life.

 

7. We’d rather be inspired than stuff our face

As soon as the weekend rolls around, it’s tempting for non-entrepreneurs to want to stuff their faces and drown out their depressing week of nothingness and lack of purpose. The difference with entrepreneurs is that we would rather seek inspiration than a food coma.

We want to find meaning in everything that we do, and we don’t like to waste our time on something that doesn’t give us momentum towards our vision.

“We’re not trying to block out the world, we are trying to understand it. We’re not trying to numb the pain; we’re trying to use it to motivate us forward and understand the cause”

We’re like life scientists always looking for what’s holding us back, and always trying to take the game up a notch.

 

8. We are prepared to work harder than everyone else

While our friends are often enjoying themselves after work, we’re locked in our office prepared to work harder than anybody else. We’re up early (some of us at 4am), and we’re ready to get a head start on our dream.

Our lives are somewhat dominated by our calendar because we know that we have to put in the hours and do the work to achieve the impossible. We know that we want unreasonable results, so we have to put in an unreasonable amount of time towards our life’s work.

When pain sets in from exhaustion, we find something deep down that helps us go beyond our pain threshold. Even when we don’t feel inspired, we find a way to draw inspiration from an external source. It’s a relentless, unstoppable hunger, to just get on with the job and keep moving forward at all costs, that fuels our day.

 

9. We don’t care what anyone thinks

Most of the time our vision seems totally off the charts. To the average person, we seem like mad scientists trying to invent teleportation. Our ideas only seem mad until we have a breakthrough and we start generating revenue. Then we look less mad but still a bit nuts.

As our revenue grows further and we raise some VC money, all of a sudden perception shifts. This whole process happens and we know that it’s how business works. While everyone’s hating we just ignore them because we know they don’t think like us. We know that some people create the vision and other people follow our vision.

 

10. Reading equals TV to us

Books Vs TVDecompressing after you get home for an entrepreneur is all about reading. Instead of TV that serves no real purpose, reading allows us to unwind and still learn at the same time. We entrepreneurs know that we need to model the greats, and understand the strategies that others have used to win.

So yes, we read a lot, and that’s our way of relaxing while still getting meaningful work done. We struggle as an entrepreneurial species to waste a single moment on something that doesn’t serve our vision, with the exception of time with our family and loved ones.

 

11. We ask quality questions a lot

Dating an entrepreneur is like dating Larry King; we’re always asking questions. We’ll often ask the same question multiple times in different ways. This is because we believe that questions are our secret weapon. The way you ask a question can determine the answers you will have at hand.

Questions are how we model people who have done things similar to what we want to achieve. The art of the question helps us see beyond the answers that everyone else chooses to accept.

 

12. We care about people more than you will ever understand

You’ll notice that we entrepreneurs care about people almost more than anything else. This is no coincidence. The reason we care about people is because we understand that to have a massive vision with wild, audacious goals, we need people to help us win.

We know that we can’t do anything by ourselves, and we have to bring people along the journey with us. This relationship with people is somewhat of a passion that we have, and it never stops. We learn to love and respect people.

We know that to get what we want (achieve our vision), we have to help the people that follow us get what they want. As entrepreneurs, we are primarily nothing more than leaders that attract people to our ideas, and are prepared to think that the world can be so much more.

We want to use our love for the planet that we all share to do the impossible. We want to unite nations rather than tear them down. We want to do what nature tells us and grow as a movement.

What do you think about dating an entrepreneur? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dan

    May 3, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Awesome article, I felt a connection with each piece and could not help but feel more inspired. You sir are a genious. In time I hope to be able to write as equally powerful words. I have now just bookmarked you page.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Nandini

    Feb 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I love it!..It is easy to say , people give up on such entrepreneur dates just because they seem to be too much to handle. Simply put, not everyone can deal with such people, but once understood they are the most simplest one living to make this world a better place.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 19, 2017 at 5:21 am

      Nandini thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much respect!

  3. Mourad Tellab

    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Tim, this is an outstanding article. It feels good to know that I’m not the only one to feel this way… I suggest you read “The Way of The Superior Man” by David Deida if you haven’t already. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 19, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Cheers Mourad. Ill suss out the book.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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personal brand experts

Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurs

The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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How To Make The Next Big Decision In Your Life.

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At regular intervals in your life, you have to make that challenging next big decision.

Life goes along just fine until one day you instinctively know that you have to make a giant change. This change comes about because we need to keep growing. Otherwise we die inside.

Making that next big decision has been something I’ve had to become an expert in over the last 12 months. I had to make the following big decisions:

– Am I always going to be a salesperson or can I go back to being a leader again?
– Is it possible to overcome my fear of public speaking so I can inspire people?
– Is traveling the world something I’m always going to be stopped from doing?
– Where is my love life going? Will I always be single or with someone who’s not right?

These have been very tough decisions to make.

I’ve had some epic failures trying to answer these questions. Here are some examples:

– I tried becoming more technical in my career. I hated it. I only enjoy high-level technical info.
– I gave a few speeches and sucked big time. My face was as red as a tomato.
– I went on a few overseas trips and fear nearly got the best of me.
– I made a bold move to go on lots of dates and find a girl that was right for me. Most of my attempts failed – except one.

Right now, the reason I’m writing this blog post is because I need to change my career. I’ve stopped learning. I’m starting to think I know everything in my field of expertise. I’ve become comfortable. I’m experiencing frustration because I’m surrounded by the wrong people.

These are all warning signs that it’s time to make the next big decision in your life.

 

Making the next big decision is playing on the offense.

Playing on the offense means that you are being proactive. It means you are skating to where the puck in Ice Hockey is going, not where it is right at this point in time.

The moment you start playing defense and protecting your position, you stop growing.

“Standing still is like being in the middle of a battlefield with no gun and no ammo and hoping not to get shot”

To stay on the offense, you have to recognize the signs I mentioned above and then make that big decision. When you’re forced to make that next big decision, that’s when you’re screwed. Being forced to make the decision means that you no longer have time on your side.

You end up settling for second best because you are in a hurry to make that big decision and you can’t proactively figure out what’s right for you. You don’t get the chance to speak with your network or your mentors and sense check what your next move is going to be.

 

Become comfortable with not having all the answers.

Making the next big decision will require you to be okay with not having all the answers. While you can do your research and speak to people who you trust about the decision, you won’t know the outcome until you try.

Maybe you’ll hate your next career move.
Maybe starting a business is the worst idea for you.
Maybe marrying that person will end in divorce.

It’s impossible to know the answers beforehand so you have to understand that things could go your way or they could end in disaster. This is a positive.

“You either get what you want, or you get to learn one of those life lessons that will help you become more self-aware and make you more resilient”

 

Not making that big decision is far worse.

You’ll know when you’ve reached the crossroad. Deep down you’ll know when it’s time to make that next gigantic step. Ignoring the signs is far worse than making that big decision and then having it all blow up in your face.

Failing to make that big decision ends up in regret.

“Regret slowly eats away at your confidence and your ability to be courageous”

Your head becomes full of white noise that drowns out the good ideas and clear thinking that will make you successful.

Go and meet people who are seventy years of age and older at a retirement village. Listen to their regrets and the decisions they wish they made. This will give you perspective. Continually dreaming about where that next big decision could lead is a waste of your energy.

Try something new for three months and then if it doesn’t work out it’s cool. There are thousands of opportunities and there is no one thing, no one person, no one idea, no one business that will give you everything you want.

 

Prepare and execute.

Big decisions creep up on you like a snake ready to bite you in the ass for disrupting its sunbaking session with your loud ass walking. If you don’t prepare, then you’ll get taken by surprise. Get good at writing lists on your phone.

Be prepared for the possible outcomes of your big decision and work out if there are more positives than negatives.

Once you are prepared, face into the decision and execute. Take the island and burn the boats behind you. Rip up your Plan B and execute like your life depends on it (well it does actually).

 

Be prepared to be blindsided.

That’s right. Surprises are going to happen. You can plan and still have the whole decision blow up in your face. Be prepared for stuff to come out of nowhere and risk everything you’ve put on the line.

I’m about to make my next career move and there are going to be things I can’t see. People are always going to tell you that working with them in their business is going to be amazing. They sell you the dream work-life balance, how great the people are, how you’re going to change the world.

It’s near impossible to know if they’re full of the brown stuff, but that’s okay. Trust your gut. If it all falls apart, then you get to make the next big decision far quicker than you expected.

In my case, I’ve had so many big decisions go wrong that I’ve become an expert in making big decisions and preparing for the myriad of outcomes that could transpire.

 

When would now be a good time?

That’s what I tell myself when I’m faced with a big decision. The best time to decide is right now. It will never be the right time. You’ll never have enough knowledge, you’ll never be perfect, you’ll never be ready, the economy will never be right.

So if there’s never a good time, then the best time has to be now. You can’t predict the future so you may as well focus on right now and take the wild bull that is your life by the horns.

Act with courage and now will always be a good time. Keep jumping at pretend shadows and you’ll never make a decision.

 

Failing to make decisions is what’s stopping you from moving forward.

If you feel you’re not where you want to be or you’re unhappy with any part of your life, it’s because you haven’t made the big decisions.

You’re fat? Change your diet and go to the gym.
You’re broke? Learn to control your spending.
You’re unhappy? Decide to stop focusing on yourself and focus on others.
You’re poor? Go on the Internet and find ways to make extra money.

There’s always an answer to your problems. The answer is always to make the next big decision with courage. The answer is always to believe in yourself. Everything will work out for the best. Trust me.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dan

    May 3, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Awesome article, I felt a connection with each piece and could not help but feel more inspired. You sir are a genious. In time I hope to be able to write as equally powerful words. I have now just bookmarked you page.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Nandini

    Feb 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I love it!..It is easy to say , people give up on such entrepreneur dates just because they seem to be too much to handle. Simply put, not everyone can deal with such people, but once understood they are the most simplest one living to make this world a better place.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 19, 2017 at 5:21 am

      Nandini thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much respect!

  3. Mourad Tellab

    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Tim, this is an outstanding article. It feels good to know that I’m not the only one to feel this way… I suggest you read “The Way of The Superior Man” by David Deida if you haven’t already. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 19, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Cheers Mourad. Ill suss out the book.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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personal brand experts

Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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