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.
Now, go out and earn yourself a good life filled with lots of money, friends and banana daiquiris. You deserve it!
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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