Are you finding it hard to get support for your crazy dreams from those around you? Welcome to the club of entrepreneurs dealing with that every day.
Before we figure out how to turn that negativity into support we must first learn why the disapproval exists.
We often hear entrepreneurs say, “It is just jealousy” or “They are just mad because I am taking chances they are scared to take”. While this may be true for a small amount of acquaintances, for the most part the issue is completely different.
Who are the people you tell your goals and dreams too? I would take a guess and say family and close friends and people you look up to. Well, your family, friends, and mentors are likely not jealous of you but are more concerned about you. People have their own busy lives to deal with and they are certainly not thinking about yours. They may see your ability to take chances they are scared to make but that is only a reason for them to want to see you succeed and celebrate it.
So then why does this negativity exist when we decide to start a business and go after our big goals? Through many years of being an entrepreneur, a couple different businesses, and making an effort to learn why people think the way they do, I have learned why the negativity exists and how to turn it into support.
Who do you think you are?
I mean really, who do you think you are? Do you expect the moment you decide to take a chance and start a business with no prior experience that everyone around you will drop everything to help you? Up until you decided you wanted to become the next Richard Branson or Mark Cuban your friends and family saw you as a student, employee or unemployed. When you tell them you’re starting a business they will initially want to protect you because they are concerned for your well-being.
Getting an education, working a job and moving up the ladder, has been ingrained into our society as the safest route. I would disagree with that because anytime you’re giving your future into someone else’s hands to decide whether they want to keep you or fire you, it is never a safe route. That is a topic for another article, but my point is that is where the negativity comes from. They just want what they think is best for you, so it is up to you to show them that being an entrepreneur is best for business.
Below are 4 tips I have learned and used effectively to turn negativity into support:
1. Stay consistent
Staying consistent is the most effective tip. If there is one tip that you decide to implement, definitely choose to stay on track and keep working towards your goals. As I mentioned above when you first start out, nobody see’s you as an entrepreneur because you weren’t one previously. Just like learning to ride a bike you need to learn how to be an entrepreneur and how to grow a business in the industry you have chosen.
People will start to respect your dreams when they see how much hard work and dedication you’re putting into it. If you start a business and quit in 1 month you cannot expect the people around you to take you serious. That is not to say you must choose a business and no matter what stick to it. Sometimes businesses do not work out for different reasons and you must move on to other opportunities. After interviewing 60+ millionaires, the majority of them have had several businesses before the one that made them millions. The point is they never gave up on being a successful entrepreneur and eventually found the business they knew was the one.
Once they found that business, they focused all their attention on becoming a master at it. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything so be prepared to put that much time in if you want to be the best. The people around will see you as a master way before your 10,000th hour due to perception. After a year or two of consistent growth and skill development people will start to see you as a master and no one can put down a master of their craft. Stay committed and it will be noticed.
“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.” – Arsene Wenger
2. Protect your dreams
Your goals and dreams should be protected like a map to a treasure chest. Stop letting everyone in on your deepest thoughts because most people won’t be able to understand them and you will not have enough time to explain. This was a mistake I made early on when people would ask me what I do. Quickly, I would find myself telling everyone my insane goals and people looking at me like I was immature and crazy.
A conversation focused around your dreams should be saved for the right time and right person. Find a mentor or close friend or family member that is a good listener and can provide valuable feedback. The more you protect your dreams, the more curious people will get and the more they will start to support you. It is a funny thing but it comes down to showing people your dreams instead of just talking about them.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
3. Support others
Whether you believe in karma or not, supporting others is a great way to gain support. You must learn what others around you are up to. That takes being interested and asking questions. Instead of waiting for someone to ask you what you’re up to, ask them what’s going on in their lives. This is your opportunity to be supportive and add as much value to their lives as you can.
As entrepreneurs we need to get laser focused on our businesses and it is easy to lose awareness of the people around us and want to always talk about what we’re up to. When you’re around people, change this mindset and start being more interested than interesting. The more you help people the more they will begin to support you and that help you gave will be reciprocated tenfold.
4. Be vulnerable *Expert Tip*
This tip is not for everyone but if used properly, it can create powerful relationships and will give you enough support and encouragement that will help propel your dedication.
Above I mentioned to protect your dreams and save this important conversation for a select few. When you find the people that you trust enough to talk about your biggest goals and dreams with, put everything on the table. Focus on WHY you want to achieve these goals.
I remember awhile back someone I knew quit his job to start a business. He told me how negative his wife was being about his decision. I told him to put himself in her shoes. She is likely concerned considering you have never owned a business, scared for her own wellbeing and unsure about the whole situation. I told him he needs to stop talking about his business because she is not going to understand but instead start talking about why you started the business. After she heard his reasoning it started a whole new conversation on a much deeper level. When we become vulnerable we allow people to come into our minds and they can begin to support our why’s because why’s are powerful.
I have done this with a few people and my relationships with them have become very important to me and my business. These people are my biggest supporters and have helped me through many tough times and celebrate with me through the good times. They have also become vulnerable with me and let me into their world and I make sure I return the support. This is also a great way to grow a relationship with someone you look up to and grow the relationship into a mentorship opportunity.
Another great tip to become more vulnerable that you can use with anyone is to just ask for help. When you ask someone to help, likely they will be honoured and proud that they are useful. You’re now allowing someone to come into your world and add value and when that happens naturally they will want you to succeed.
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” – Madeleine L’Engle
I have learned these tips from experience, interviewing many successful entrepreneurs, and reading many books. A book that has influenced every tip I just gave is “Influence” by Robert Caldini. It is a must read for any entrepreneur.
Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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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