Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat wondering what you’re going to do with your life? Desperately wishing you could just abandon your problems and fulfill your life’s ultimate dream?
“Oh, if only life were as simple as it is on TV. I’d be sipping on banana daiquiris in the Bahamas by now!” If only. Banana daiquiris are delicious, but they’re sweeter if well-earned.
Life isn’t cruel or full of contempt. It isn’t this angry, malevolent force. It isn’t on a mission to destroy you before you’ve achieved your dreams. No, life is neutral to our struggles. There are those who proclaim that, “Life is too hard,” or that, “It’s unfair,” or that, “I’m better than them, they’re just…” Which is really just code for, “I don’t know how to win yet, so I’m going to blame it on something.” Excuses.
You aren’t born to make excuses. You’re born to make your dreams come true. That’s what your parents intended for you. That’s what you should intend for yourself.
In the next 11 points, I’m going to show you the most defeating lies, mistakes and excuses that we all make and how you can avoid them. Grab a drink and let’s continue.
Here are the 11 career mistakes you didn’t know you were making:
Mistake #1: Always focusing on the plans and never on the people
This is almost the “anti-roadmap” for self-proclaimed introverts. Being an introvert myself and knowing scores of this type, I promise that you love being around people. All humans (yes, all) have a deep craving for emotional connection, each one of us.
Matt Pocius, my friend and the youngest, highest paid Internet marketing consultant in the world, says to make sales he would be on the phone every single day. That’s the fastest way to make $1,000/day, according to him. If you’re not speaking to people, you’re not selling.
I’ll tell you a secret… If you’re going to make it anywhere, you need friends. Nobody has ever become successful on their own. They always have friends and a team who helped them. That’s a million times better than having “connections.” If all you do is practice, you’ll never make any friends.
“There is zero correlation between IQ and emotional intelligence… They’re controlled by different parts of the brain.” – Daniel Goleman
Mistake #2: Assuming that all debt is bad debt
I stole this secret from Robert Kiyosaki. He talks about it in real estate. There is good debt and bad debt. good debt gives to you and bad debt takes from you. In real estate a good property will make you money. That’s good debt. But a nasty credit card will lose you money, or at best, leave you at neutral. That’s bad debt.
I’m not expecting you to buy a house, I’m expecting you to buy yourself more time. Everything you do should save you time or give you more. You do this by giving to people. Give until it hurts.
Take a fraction of that value back by just asking for something in return. Borrow from people when you know it’ll help you progress. Stop borrowing just trying to survive.
Mistake #3: Dipping your toes in to see if it’s “right” for you
I’ve never understood why people “try” to do things. I’ve always been a very driven, intense individual. I’ve had moments doing this, for sure, but I’ve always had an “all-in” mentality. Instead of “trying” to win, just win.
Winners are OBSESSED with their goals – they don’t sleep, they don’t eat, they barely even blink or else they might miss something. And if something inside you says, “I’m not that motivated,” then let me tell you that you just haven’t found something to be motivated about yet. Everybody is motivated. People just don’t see value in their passions ie. skateboarding, dancing, baking pies.
I promise if you view it even slightly entrepreneurially, you’ll find a way to make money. You just have to own it. Make it your beautiful obsession instead of wasting precious time.
Mistake #4: Proactively avoiding the important work
STOP THINKING. Overthinking is death. It’s like hot lava. If you touch the lava, you die. What other ways do you cleverly avoid work? Do you take hour-long breaks? Check email 10x a day? Facebook? Watch viral videos? Stop it and just do the important stuff. That’s the secret to productivity.
“Emotional intelligence is a much stronger predictor of who will be the most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” – Daniel Goleman
Mistake #5: Neglecting your health, integrity and relationships
I sleep for 4 hours a night sometimes. When income wasn’t great, I’d eat ramen noodles and survive off of $1/day. I wouldn’t shower so that I could focus more on getting clients (online). And sometimes, I wouldn’t keep my word to others. I broke my integrity.
But listen… If you’re always a day late and a dollar short, get angry and frustrated when bad things happen, if you think family gets in the way, you start to create a host of negative beliefs that I can’t even begin to list. That’s an entire blog post on its own. My aunt, a famous jazz singer, was like this and gave herself cancer. She sat me down and told me how she cured it: she became happy.
She knows that I’m a loving, open person, but I’d become angry and negative. Shortly after I became sick. It scared the crap out of me, so I decided to perk up and drink more water. It wasn’t 100% the cause of my sickness, but it didn’t help. And in the end, I’d rather be happy and successful instead of a miserable success.
Mistake #6: Numbing yourself to problems
I’m good at turning off my emotions. Some people eat their problems away. Some people drink, smoke, do drugs, watch TV, whatever. I implore you to experience your emotions.
Emotional intelligence is the #1 underrated tool in business, and nobody knows how to use it. You use it by screaming, crying, being joyful, angry. Fully experience your emotions. Feel it without holding back and it doesn’t get trapped. Your body remembers emotional trauma. Don’t let your body become your cage.
You’re kidding yourself if you think, “I don’t feel emotions” You’re not a robot. I was the robot. Robots feel more deeply than anybody, we just hide it. When you look into people’s eyes, people should see into your heart, not your mind. Empathy creates breakthroughs with people, and that means career success.
Mistake #7: Only setting work goals, not life goals
I got this feedback when I was interviewing Guillermo Ulysses (an actor from Grey’s Anatomy) for my podcast. He has 12 degrees from universities, he’s been on TV, in movies, commercials, PSA’s, theatre, and did it in record time. It took him 3 weeks to get an agent. He’s a very smart guy.
He said to me that I couldn’t just focus on being Young Money’s choreographer by June 3, 2016 (I’m a dancer/choreographer by the way) or hitting 1 million views for my dance videos by June 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm. That’s not enough. I need to have other goals. Something with more substance. In his words, “you need to ride an elephant” or “pet a tiger.”
You put these things on a list, you make copies of it, and constantly cross things out. It’ll be in your hallways, doorways, bedroom, mirrors, notebooks, screensaver, on your hands. Literally everywhere you go.
Set goals for every area of your life: health, wealth, love and happiness. When you only have work goals, you get wound too tightly. You know you’re in trouble when you don’t have 5 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a weekend to spend with your wife and kids. And when appropriate, relax and go to the beach. Forget the list and just enjoy the day.
Mistake #8: Spending too much time in your brain and your body
You might’ve guessed by now, but I’m a big advocate of emotional intelligence. It helps you stop kidding yourself, be genuine towards others, and be a strong leader.
Sense things in others; pause, reflect, acknowledge what they said, and respond appropriately. I’ve seen people yell and push agendas. They don’t last very long. People hate them.
You’ll actually know when you want to do something. The person who makes frequent decisions and takes too long to make them ends up losing.
Mistake #9: Using willpower in unnecessary situations
When people use their willpower, it’s to resist chocolate instead of eating a carrot. They waste their limited willpower on what to wear, what to eat, which watch they should buy, or whether they should rearrange the luggage in the trunk before going to the airport.
Yes, they’re important, but they aren’t life-changing decisions. Replace any daily tasks like what to wear or what to eat with habits.
Learn to prioritize larger goals and create habits. You only have a couple drops of willpower every day. Use willpower like spice, not steak. Steak is action. Spice is direction.
Mistake #10: Believing you’re unworthy of success
You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m pretty sure 99.999% of the planet has self-esteem issues. It’s just a human tendency. They fear failure, rejection or success. They don’t speak up when they see a child getting hit by their parent because it’s “none of their business.” They don’t take charge in an argument because they don’t believe in themselves as a leader.
They don’t jump off a zipline because they think they’re afraid of heights. Many people won’t even eat healthy because they don’t believe they’ll get skinny. It’s a LIE. You’ve been telling yourself lies for decades. I told myself I wasn’t capable of becoming a dancer. “It’s an impractical career, dancers make no money, I’m not a good enough dancer, there are no dance agents in my city, I have no money for lessons, I don’t have a good enough camera, I have to buy editing software.” Blah blah blah. Full of excuses.
Now I’m sponsored by Cadillac, I’ve been in music videos, toured all over Canada and living in Los Angeles. It took me one month. Now I get to build my brand. Listen… If you’re not successful, it’s not because you don’t want success, it’s because you’re telling yourself lies. If you’re unhappy with your career, it’s because you abandoned your dreams.
Your “long shot”, your destiny, your dreams… Suppressed by lies. If you’re suffering, then rescue yourself. You deserve it. Hiding will do you no good. You are the one person you can’t hide from; at the end of the day, you know if you did the right thing.
Mistake #11: Being glued to your smartphone
I know, I know, you’re hustling. Or playing games. Or Instagramming. Maybe it’s advancing your career, maybe it’s not, but the larger point I’m trying to make is that you’re disconnecting and numbing yourself. Being in front of screens gradually robs you of your humanity if you aren’t careful.
Most people don’t talk to anybody. They just sit in their chairs, hide behind their laptops, and eat with their phones in one hand while sloppily eating their spinach steak salad. When I’ve been the most successful in life it’s been when I was out every single day for 30 minutes just trying to talk to people.
Do I do this because I’m an extrovert and love to be around people? Well, that helps, but it’s not the point I’m trying to make. What I’m talking about is bigger, I’m surprised that nobody talks about it. When you aren’t glued to your phone, you aren’t hiding from anybody. You’re forced to be in the present and to look people in the eyes. People feel you.
You wanna make an impact? You wanna make a million dollars? Start with looking people in the eyes. Look at yourself in the eyes. Smile when you talk. No crossed arms or blank stares. Just pure joy. Presence.