If you’re really pumped up on success, you probably call the company you’re building (or planning to build) “Your Empire.” But do you really know what it takes to build an empire? Do you know how to dominate your world and climb to the top rank of entrepreneurship?
If there ever was a man who knew, it was Julius Caesar. The Julius Caesar: the man who built ancient Rome into the seat of the great Roman Empire practically single-handedly. And although times have changed quite a bit since Julius Caesar was around, there are still five important lessons on building your brand to imperial status and achieving true success that every modern entrepreneur should learn from the man who built Rome.
1. Don’t simply claim your value. Prove it.
When Caesar was a young man (and still a nobody), he was captured by pirates. Twice. When his second captors said they would ask 25 talents as ransom, Caesar laughed in their face. That was the price his first captors had asked and it was time to up the ante. As crazy as it sounds, Caesar convinced the pirates to ask for 50 talents for his release! Which today would be equivalent to the price of 3,550 pounds of silver. Not a small sum by any means.
But Caesar proved he was worth his salt. After mobilizing all his connections to contribute money for his ransom, Caesar built a small fleet and attacked the pirates, taking back every single penny his friends had paid to the pirates. Not only that, he also killed the pirates, and did the whole of Rome a favor by eliminated a real danger from the seas. If you think about it, that’s a steal for just 50 (refunded) talents!
Hopefully, you won’t have to kill any pirates to prove your entrepreneurial worth. But the question of value comes up just as often today as it did in the ancient world. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their value depends on how much clients are willing to pay them for their products or services.
But the truth is that you’re responsible for showing the world where your real value stands. And the trick to that? Is having the confidence to over-deliver on your promises. Don’t just claim you’re worth 50 talents (or 50 million dollars). And don’t just throw a price on your website hoping, praying, and wishing, people will take the bait and believe you. Go out there and kill it.
Show everybody that those 50 talents they’re paying for you? They’re really a steal for someone of your talent and skills.
2. Don’t wait for permission. Get it done.
When Caesar was still studying law—and keeping out of politics—Mithridates of Pontus attacked the Roman frontier in Asia Minor. This frontier was quite a way from Rome, but young Julius Caesar understood the impending threat.
Instead of turning a blind eye and pretending that it wasn’t his problem, he raised a private army and marched to the defense of the attacked towns. By the time the official Roman army got to the scene, the enemy had practically been defeated and Caesar was hailed as a war hero in Rome.
Now, you may not have to fight any real wars, but if you’re ambitious entrepreneur with a dream to conquer the world, you will inevitably come up against some tough situations. And the same two choices that faced Caesar still face you: You can either shrug it off and say it’s not your job, or you can stop waiting for permission and go do it now.
Success doesn’t come from permission. Success comes when you take action and show the world what you’re capable of.
3. Manage your time (and everybody else’s)
Back in Caesar’s time, the yearly calendar was all out of whack. With only 355 days in the year, the months kept falling out of pace with the seasons and no one knew what festival they were supposed to be celebrating. (Imagine having New Year’s fall on Halloween. Total chaos.)
Everybody in Rome complained about the calendar, but no one really did anything to fix it. No one but Caesar, that is. Seeing that the Egyptians had a solar calendar that worked much better than the Roman lunar calendar, Caesar changed the entire time system in Rome, creating the Julian calendar of 365 days (plus a leap day every fourth February) that we still use all over the world today. Radical, no?
Time is the most precious thing we have in life, and what we do with our time defines who we ultimately become in life. Don’t let time slip out of your hands without taking full advantage of it. You may not be able to manage everybody’s schedules (and you probably don’t want to, anyway), but you can manage your time for maximum efficiency. Instead of complaining about how busy you are, develop a time management system that works for you.
Chunk out your day, eliminate distractions, stay on track with your to-do list and you’re good to conquer the world.
4. No way across? Build a bridge. And make it sturdy.
While conquering Gaul (modern-day France), Caesar had to deal with some Germanic tribes across the river Rhine that were harassing his army. The problem? Caesar didn’t have boats to cross the river. The solution? Build a bridge. And not just any ol’, made-to-last-two-days bridge. Caesar built two bridges (in two different years of the war) that not only proved strategically successful, but that are still considered masterpieces of military engineering today.
You may not have to cross the Rhine any day soon, but if you’re doing innovative work, sooner or later you’ll have to push the envelope to places it has never been before. And in those moments you have to remember that exceptional success requires exceptional steps.
No solution in sight? Take it as your opportunity to shine and build something new. Existing solution doesn’t match up to your standards? Build something better. Forge a new path. And not just for yourself, but for everyone who’ll come after you, too.
5. Blog about your experiences and what you’ve learned.
Would you believe me if I told you that Caesar used to blog? Not on the internet of course. But Caesar used to keep a traditional “log” of all his expeditions, written with a feather pen on papyrus. (Weren’t those the days!) While fighting the Gallic and the Civil Wars, Caesar wrote about his army, his strategy, his tactics, his decisions, his successes and setbacks, and generally everything he faced every day.
And he didn’t just write in a “dear diary” format. He wrote some of the best prose any Roman author ever did and published his work in Rome so people could follow his expeditions and stay informed on his progress.
And if Caesar could write while fighting wars on the frontiers, then you have no reason not to be blogging about your entrepreneurial trials and successes from the comfort of your couch. Regular contact and communication with a supportive audience is important for success, especially in today’s ultra-connected online world. You can’t just stay hidden from the world behind your screen until you find success. You’ll never find it.
You have to get out there and put your story out into the world now, as it happens. Because if you don’t share, no one will care. So don’t sit around debating whether a blog is a good idea, get out there and start writing about your adventures and see how true success will come find you along the way.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re fighting pirates or your inner demons, whether you’re managing the world’s calendar or managing your daily schedule, or whether you’re blogging from the campfire or from the coffee shop around the corner.
The essential steps for finding true success remain the same, even if their form has changed. So take a cue (or five) from Caesar’s playbook and go out there to conquer the world today!
It’s What You Do On A ‘Bad Day’ That Matters.
Last Friday was a bad day for me. I woke up late, missed the gym and didn’t meditate.
None of this was intentional.
I then turned my computer on to do what I do every day: blog. I was not prepared for the whirlwind that followed.
As I opened up my social media channels, there were a lot more than usual, direct messages. I started reading each one and they were from colleagues and friends who wanted to warn me that I had a large amount of hate-fuelled comments on social media. I’m usually pretty good at dealing with hate comments. Not on that day, though — I was having a ‘bad day.’
I turned off the computer and didn’t respond to anybody. In the same week, I’d been told I was now a LinkedIn Top Voice for 2018.
I should have been celebrating and I didn’t because I didn’t feel worthy. If anything, I wanted to give up there and then. Luckily I didn’t follow through with any of these ideas. I knew it was just noise in my awful day.
I went away to sit on the couch and think about what I’d just read. Without really thinking about what I was going to do for the rest of the day, I began thinking about my team at work. There were several leadership challenges that I had to solve.
One was from a customer that was being abusive to female staff. Another was a rejection I had to deliver to someone that wanted to work with us. The hardest part about delivering the rejection was that I’d already said yes.
Despite the day being bad, I made a fundamental decision — to keep doing what I do and not stop. I said to myself “How can I inspire people while simultaneously solving both these challenges?”
I’m a big believer that it’s not what you say that matters; it’s what you do. Talk is cheap. I came up with a bold plan to address both challenges.
I was going to do something that made me see the good in the people involved.
Even if the people in both situations had let me down, I was going to assume they were still good.
I concocted a plan to help both people and try and show them a more positive way to move forward. If I break down the plan, it was about being an inspiration in both situations.
I didn’t feel like being inspiring.
It was not the day to be inspiring.
But it was the only way I could motivate myself to finish off this bad day and wake up the next morning fresh. It’s funny how a good nights sleep takes away all the pain and negativity from the day before.
So, by the end of the day, I enabled both plans. I set out to release inspiration in both scenarios and that was my only focus. I didn’t look at anymore hate fuelled comments or go near social media.
On that bad day last Friday, my actions helped me keep moving forward and not give up.
It’s not about necessarily seeing the good in your bad day.
I’ve read this sort of advice heaps, but it requires a lot of willpower.
“Using your actions to make the day better rather than trying to think your way out of your bad day seems to be a lot easier to implement”
It’s not about the bad day.
Bad days will happen.
It’s what you do on a bad day that determines if you’ll feel the full effect of all the negativity that can potentially knock you out like a Tsunami that comes your way when all you wanted to do was lay on the beach and soak up some sun.
I’ve learned to find situations during a day that’s not working out well for me, to do something good, and often that’s not something that benefits me. If I was to look at it another way it would be “How do I not focus on my own bad day?”
Trying to make someone else’s day good distracts you from your own bad day.
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This Is How An Ordinary Person Can Make Their Country Better.
Someone asked on the internet how they can make their country better.
They considered themselves ordinary and felt that they had to be someone special to make a difference in their country, India.
Their question made me feel a bit emotional because I can relate. I too have also dreamt of making my country better.
The most common answer to this question is to get involved in politics.
Many of you reading this find politics really boring including me. I’ve learned through my own experience that politics is not the only way you can make your country better.
Here’s how you can make your country better:
Use your voice
When I was faced with the question “How do I make my country better?” I decided to use my voice.
It was this decision that changed everything. I spent every day using my voice to stand for something. I wanted to inspire the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.
So, I started using my voice by posting on LinkedIn. I used my voice and transcribed it into words to tell the citizens of my country what I think they needed to hear.
Using your voice is incredibly scary at first. As soon as you start sharing your thoughts, many people will say nothing. You’ll get almost no feedback. As your voice starts to get louder over time (probably years) the opposite will happen and you’ll attract trolls and critics.
The hardest part about using your voice is having the courage every day to use it and not being obsessed with the outcome.
By using my voice online through blogging and LinkedIn, I managed to get a 35,000 person bank to start talking about my ideas with staff and customers, and I was voted LinkedIn Australia’s Top Voice that year.
Using the power of your voice is the number one way you can change your country.
It’s in your experiences, ideas and thoughts that you can find what it is that can help your country.
In my country, Australia, we are quite well off, but we still lack a positive mindset. Some of us work jobs we hate and we like things that only money can buy. There’s a competition to get the biggest house or the most expensive car.
It’s not a problem everyone in Australia suffers from, but it’s widespread. I believe by using my own voice to inspire people to seek alternatives, I can change my country.
The results thus far suggest I’m well on the way to changing my country.
Changing your country seems like a huge task. It sounds like something only a Nelson Mandela sort of fella can achieve. That’s not true.
A simple understanding of the power of kindness can change your country.
There was this guy I read about online that changed his country by giving out free hugs because he couldn’t run in the local marathon. He embraced his kind nature and ended up impacting millions of people in his country.
Being kind is infectious because we’re wired to do it. When we see one person be kind, we want to do the same.
The problem in my country (and many others) is that we’ve sacrificed kindness for greed.
We’ve let our country’s economy become the most important factor instead of measuring the way we treat people and the ability of a country’s nation to overcome adversity together.
Kindness is so important because every one of our countries will face adversity, and kindness is the solution to that inevitable problem.
Pick up the trash
This one seems even smaller in impact. It’s not.
I found that by picking up the rubbish I saw in places like my apartment lobby, I was able to show myself that I care about my country.
When we care about our country, we choose to make it look beautiful so others can enjoy it. Something simple like picking up the trash can take you a long way towards helping your country.
Every country has an environmental problem and picking up rubbish can help solve it. If we all picked up one piece of trash, then each of our country’s would be a hell of a lot cleaner.
Don’t think you can’t make your country better
A lot of what I’ve learned, by trying to make my own country better, has come from the belief that I can have an impact.
There are so many people who want to do nothing more than complain which wastes time and energy and doesn’t make anyone’s country better.
The way you make your country better is by believing you can and taking one or two small actions to start the process.
The people that change their country believe they can.
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