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6 Common Traits That Hold Entrepreneurs Back

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6 Common Traits Of Entrepreneurs That Are Holding You Back

Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. While everyone else is content with playing it safe, we have an undying urge to forge our own path in life.

I’m a firm believer that the entrepreneurial calling is in our DNA. It’s something we’re born with.

That doesn’t mean that anyone can’t take the necessary steps to create a successful business. But it clearly comes more naturally to some of us than others.

However, life has a way of keeping things balanced.

Some of the most defining traits of entrepreneurs work for and against us.

The trick is figuring out how to leverage these traits when appropriate, and knowing when to ignore them when they are holding us back.

 

1. We’re dreamers

Entrepreneurs dare to dream bigger. The most powerful innovations known to man all started as a dream in someone’s mind.

I’ve always been an avid daydreamer myself. I spent more time creating imaginary businesses in my mind than I ever did listening to my teachers.

If you’re a fellow daydreamer (I have a feeling you are) then you know that feeling when the light bulb goes off and your mind starts racing. All of a sudden whatever you’re doing becomes irrelevant and you quickly grab a notepad to start frantically recording your notes.

We always have this fear that we’re going to miss out on our next big opportunity if we forget this current genius idea.

The problem with this trait is that dreams don’t come true without action. To be successful at anything you have to spend more time practicing and doing than you do thinking.

We enjoy dreaming. We feel comfortable dreaming. But when has success ever been prefaced by comfort?

You have always been a dreamer and you always will be; relax, you’re not going to run out of new ideas. Now is not the time for dreaming.

Now is the time to take action!

“I’m not much of a math and science guy. I spent most of my time in school daydreaming and managed to turn it into a living.” – George Lucas

2. We hate asking for help

It’s not that we don’t like asking for help, we just absolutely despise it. This desire to do things on our own is usually what drives us to start businesses in the first place.

Who needs a boss, receptionist, and accountant when we can do it all ourselves, right? Wrong.

Sure we develop a ton of great skills by not asking for help, but we are only human. As mere mortals we need help and lots of it.

Here are the three primary reasons that we need to ask for help:

  • Avoiding burnout
  • Ensuring things are handled properly
  • Scaling our business

As much as you hate it, asking for help is a necessary evil. The good news is that it grows on you with time.

Speaking of time, how much of yours would you have saved by asking for help sooner?

 

3. We’re stubborn

Entrepreneurs are notoriously stubborn. That’s how we’re able to overcome obstacles that make others give up.

It’s not that I think I’m always right, I just prefer to do things my way. Sound familiar? The problem is, my way isn’t always the best way and yours might not be either.

How do we know when we are on the verge of a breakthrough or when we are being stubborn about the wrong things? Most of the time, we don’t. (Refer to number two)

Never be afraid to pivot. Successful businesses do it all the time.

Did you know that Twitter was originally a company called Odeo, a network where people could discover and subscribe to podcasts?

My point exactly. No one will look down on you if you pivot, as long as you follow through with something valuable.

Never give up
 

4. We’re very particular

I’ve been accused of having OCD because of my attention to detail, but I prefer to call myself particular.

As entrepreneurs, we’re very particular about things. The details matter more to us than they do to others.

We want everything to be just right.

Steve Jobs was known for being extremely particular about the design of Apple products, often forcing his engineers to adhere to designs that weren’t even feasible at the time. Of course we all know how well that played out.

There’s a fine line between particular and nitpicky. You can come close to the line, you can even walk the line, but don’t ever cross that line. When entrepreneurs cross that line we turn into that micromanaging boss that we ourselves hate.

Even worse, this carries over into our personal lives. You know how many of my ex-girlfriends got annoyed with how particular I am? All of them.

Yes, the details matter, but don’t sweat the small stuff. It does more harm than good.

 

5. We are emotionally tied to our business

Our business isn’t just a company or a brand, it’s our baby. We gave it life, nurtured it, raised it, and we are incredibly proud to watch it grow. So naturally it’s difficult to not be emotionally attached to our business.

When I was building my first company in the oil industry, my mood was completely tied to my business. When profits were up, I had a kick in my step and a smile on my face. When a deal didn’t go through or I struggled to solve a problem, it felt like a cloud was lingering over me.

Being emotionally invested in our businesses is a good thing. It’s that passion that defines entrepreneurs. But you have to learn to keep it contained. Emotions cause us to make irrational decisions and they affect our productivity.

Once you can learn to keep those emotions in check, without putting out the flame, you’ll be in full control. If this is something you struggle with, look into the philosophy of Stoicism.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” –Richard Branson

6. We enjoy breaking the rules

If we followed all the rules we wouldn’t be good entrepreneurs. True visionaries know how to change the game by breaking the old rules and creating new ones.

There’s a special satisfaction that comes from breaking the rules and not only getting away with it, but being rewarded for it. But there’s a problem with indulging in this trait too much.

You either break too many rules or you break the wrong rules. Most people who get busted for white-collar crimes didn’t start out with criminal aspirations. I’d estimate that most of them once believed they’d never break the law, other than minor traffic offenses.

What happens is they get away with something small, so they decide to take it a little further. As long as they get away with it and they are rewarded for it, they keep pushing the limit even further. Before long it feels normal and they forget they’re even doing something wrong.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in that cycle. White-collar thieves, sleazy scammers, and frauds usually start out as well-meaning entrepreneurs.

Break the rules, yes, but don’t break the law and don’t ever compromise your principles.

In his first year out of college, KW Stout built a six-figure freelance business working with oil and gas companies. Now as a copywriter and consultant he leverages his passion for marketing to help businesses grow their audience and profits. You can connect with him on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. Onyi

    May 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Excellent article, very profound thought leadership. In regards entrepreneurship, I once wrote; An entrepreneur is a leader of excellence, trailblazer and pioneer who constantly brings change to their generation. ~ Onyi Anyado.

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Where Will You Be in 3 Years? How to Strategically Transform Your Life

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Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Which is more important? What you know or who you know? Well, as it turns out, it’s a trick question. The answer: Both.

Progressing in your career or in growing a business is never easy without the right relationships. But, when you finally do get to meet the kind of people who have the power to put you on the fast track to success, you’d better have something to contribute.

By the time we finish college, we’ve spent years and years developing what we know. This knowledge and competence is added upon as we gain on-the-job experience. But, there’s a good chance that you haven’t given nearly as much thought to developing the other side of the equation. Many of us don’t invest sufficient effort to expand who we know. Often, this pattern of behavior persists throughout a person’s entire career.

Don’t Be Random, Be Strategic

We have a tendency to view education very methodically. We plan it out years in advance. Seeing as how that’s only half the battle, shouldn’t we also create a plan to methodically build our network?

Throughout his impressive career, networking expert Keith Ferrazzi has created a method that could change the way you think about developing and nurturing business relationships.

In his bestselling book, Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi writes: ”The tool I use is something I call the Relationship Action Plan. The most simple version of the plan is separated into three distinct parts: The first part is devoted to the development of the goals that will help you fulfill your mission. The second part is devoted to connecting those goals to the people, places, and things that will help you get the job done. And the third part helps you determine the best way to reach out to the people who will help you to accomplish your goals. This means choosing a medium to connect, but, more important, it means finding a way to lead with generosity.”

For many of us, networking refers to an activity during which we:

  • Congregate in large groups of people (many of whom may be unemployed)
  • Spend a few hours engaging in friendly small talk with strangers
  • Exchanging business cards, followed by never speaking to each other again

There are multiple flaws in this method, not the least of which being that it’s far too random. For the most part, you likely have no idea who’s going to be at the next networking event that you plan to attend. You don’t know if the people that you talk to will be in a position to help you achieve your goals.

“Personal relationships are always the key to good business. You can buy networking; you can’t buy friendships.” – Lindsay Fox

Is Research Creepy?

Take time to plan ahead. Do your best to determine which people have the greatest potential to assist you in accomplishing your professional objectives. Research these people and try to learn how you can meet, connect and build ongoing relationships with them.

As you do so, be sure to keep in mind what Ferrazzi says about “finding a way to lead with generosity”. When reaching out to these people, your first concern should be how to add meaningful value to their lives so that you can establish a positive relationship.

There are those who would probably consider this type of behavior to be borderline stalking. After all, the plan is to diligently study a group of people, some of whom are probably strangers. You want to learn about their likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, family, friends, etc.

When you think about it this way, it is admittedly a little bit weird. That said, keep in mind that your goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship by leading with generosity and value. In other words, you’re studying these people in order to learn how to best help them.

Obviously, there are boundaries that you don’t want to cross. Be tactful and respect privacy. Luckily, these days, you can often learn plenty with things like Google, social media and company websites. For the most part, this is information that the person has chosen to publicly share with the world.

In the end, this type of planning may still make you a little uncomfortable. But, honestly, those who refuse to leave their comfort zones tend to have a low propensity for success. If it makes you feel any better, think of yourself as a spy gathering vital intel that will help you accomplish your mission to do good and fight for justice.

What Do You Want Out Of Life?

In your efforts to create and execute your own “Relationship Action Plan” (RAP), remember that this is about achieving your goals… which means you need to have goals. Those goals need to be specific, well thought out and realistic. They also need to have deadlines. (Otherwise they’re just dreams.) 

“I list what I’d like to accomplish three years from today. I then work backward in both one-year and three-month increments to develop mid-and short-term goals that will help me reach my mission.” – Keith Ferrazzi

Where Do You See Yourself In 3 Years?

Imagine what you could accomplish after three years of executing a well thought out Relationship Action Plan!

You probably spent somewhere between one and two decades in school developing and increasing what you know. Now you can add to that knowledge by expanding who you know, so you can achieve the kind of success that we all want.

What do you think is most important: what you know or who you know? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Ugly Truth About Success and Why You’re Not Achieving It

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As human beings, most of us have this tendency to overcomplicate things. Maybe you’ve had this experience of trying to find success, but for some reason, it keeps eluding you.  In our pursuit to win, hardly anyone tells us the ugly truth about why most of our dreams seem to evade us.

Today, I’m going to share with you why so many people are held back from fully realizing their dreams as well as how to overcome those obstacles.   

By creating a resolve to not make these three mistakes and falling prey to these common weaknesses – we can shift our success and assure that our goals are attained. Getting to the finish line isn’t as hard as you think – that is, if you don’t let yourself fall into these three traps.

1. You Don’t Follow A Plan Long Enough

In today’s society, we’re used to microwave results – we are accustomed to zapping our results. Push a button and voila your food is ready. Watch a movie and just like that in two hours the hero has experienced pain, sadness, and triumph. Sadly though, success doesn’t happen with a push of a button or in a two-hour window.

An example of where I fell prey to this ‘fast results mentality’ was when I wanted to create my ideal body. I hired trainers, tried systems, diets, and fads, yet none of it worked…or so I told myself. But the reality was this: I gave up too soon. It was never the plan, the diet, or the trainer. It wasn’t my lack of expertise or lack of potential. The only thing that stopped me was my inability to stick to a plan long enough.

In my conversations with Jack Canfield, Elliott Hulse, Robert Kiyosaki and numerous highly-successful individuals, I’ve learned they all made a plan and stuck to it for years. If you want to achieve greatness, you must make the plan and then work that plan every single day. Be consistent and be willing to let the results blossom with time.

“Plan your work and work your plan.” – Napolean Hill

2. We Don’t Hold Our Belief Long Enough

Einstein was once asked if he was a genius, to which he gave a simple response:  “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I love his response.

To live out and embody is one that has taken me a long time to understand. You see, for a long time I’ve had this terrible habit, it’s a habit I don’t want to admit to anyone I ever had. For decades, I’ve been a quitter. Not just outwardly, but in faith, I’ve tended to quit.

If you’re struggling to achieve some great result, it’s likely you’ve also come across this stumbling block. Losing faith too soon can make us quit when in reality a few more steps could mean reaching Graceland.

After working hard at attaining my ideal body, I finally achieved it. The plan was simple when I stuck to it because I ate specific food and worked out. I repeated this process every day for several years. It wasn’t instantaneous or easy, but it was simple. The same goes for writing, creating wealth, and creating just about anything – create a plan and work that system day-after-day.

It’s not sexy, but it’s the truth. Big wins are a bunch of small actions taken on a regular basis. A home is built one nail, one board, one screw at a time. Create a plan and work that plan.

In the world of Hollywood and marketing, we often dress up success in a fancy costume, fancy perfume, and an elegant story. But at the end of the day, every dress is stitched the same with threads of hope, intense hours of sewing, and focused labor.

3. We Don’t Seek Roads That Have Been Paved For Us

One of my favorite coaches of all time is Anthony Robbins. One of my favorite quotes from him is this: “Success leaves traces.” In my desire to achieve greatness, I’ve made one fatal mistake time after time. That mistake was always seeking to get there on my own, in my own way, without the help of anyone.

If I had listened to Anthony, I would have looked for those traces and followed them to the finish line. For those of us who are strong, capable, and want to achieve greatness, the desire to ‘do it our way’ can be our greatest strength or hindrance.

In my case, it made my work a lot harder. When I first tried to sell high-end consulting, I thought I could just figure it out. I didn’t want to listen to anyone, hire anyone, or study. I had achieved so much in business I thought I could do it my way. In doing so, I delayed my success.

Once I admitted to myself and others that I didn’t know how to pave the road to success in this area I opened up new roads to success. I was introduced to people who had already paved a way and thus made my work much easier. Instead of whacking my way through the weeds and wild growth of my own ignorance, I was shown the highway to success, and instead of weed-whacking, it was like driving a Ferrari down I-90.

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

If you’re having a tough time achieving some results, I want you to have a finely tuned mind and heart which will take perseverance, follow-through, and faith. Lastly, it’s going to help you immensely if you can find a pre-paved path. If you want the highway to success, it does exist, it just takes looking for pre-paved paths and then working the plan to get there.

How are you making sure you become successful in life? Please share your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Always Choose Love, Not Fear

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A few weeks ago, I met a woman that seriously changed my perspective. It was one of those chance encounters that I believe was meant to happen for a reason.

This woman had been involved in the same tragedy that I had been caught up in. As I shared my story, I quickly realized that hers was much more challenging. Her sister had lost her young baby to a man on drugs. Once she told me this, I was lost for words.

How does one even comprehend that situation? How do you not choose fear? How do you choose not to hate? These were the questions I pondered afterward.

Here’s why you should choose love:

 

1. Love conquers fear

As humans, the easiest decision we can make is to choose love. Love destroys our fear and helps us see a deeper meaning in everything that happens in life. Love is the ever-conquering force in our life that will happen if we let it.

When you’re surrounded by love, it’s impossible to be conquered by the crippling disease that is fear. Love restarts the heart like a defibrillator. Fear causes a heart attack that can kill you if you let it.

Always choose love over fear.

 

2. Everything happens for a reason

When this young girls sister lost her baby, she chose to believe that it was meant to happen for a reason. She chose to believe that the loss of life would mean something far greater than death itself. This opinion was the result of love being the only answer she could comprehend.

After the tragedy, her community got around her and showed her more love than she had ever known. The death of her nephew started her entire family on a different path.

“While they couldn’t control the circumstances of the young baby’s death, what they could control was love”

They allowed the love that everybody showed them to take them to an entirely different level. Some days were good and other days were a nightmare.

Through it all, they chose to believe in love. Love is nothing more than a belief. It can only enter your life when you believe it exists. You must be accepting and you have to give love at the same time. They are the rules of the love game.

 

3. Think love not hate

When this tragic event occurred, it would have been so easy to hate the man hooked on drugs who caused this young baby to die. This girl taught me that hate has no place in the healing process. As a matter of fact, hate has no place in our lives.

Feelings of hate can cause us to go into a downward spiral. This spiral involves us becoming very selfish and only focusing on our own needs. From this place, we can’t do the inner work required to come back from adversity. Train your brain to always assume love as the default reason for everything.

“Spending our precious energy and time on this planet hating others for things we can’t control, will block us from our dreams”

Hate will transport us to a land far far away that resembles hell. Hell is where your nightmares come true, your fears are born and the person you become is something you despise for eternity.

 

4. Love is the best feeling in the world

There are lots of types of love but no matter what; love is the best feeling in the world. When you choose love your life seems extraordinary. You feel like you are on cloud nine and nothing can stop you. Love helps you to connect with your fellow human beings on an entirely different level.

Your success in life compounds because love attracts everything you could ever want in your life. You can’t be pissed off at the world when love is your default choice.

Love is what brings us closer together. Love is what creates human life through the coming together of a man and women. Love is what lights us up and fuels our intuition. Seek out love and you’ll know what it feels like to be invincible. If the worst happens, and a young baby close to you is killed, you’ll have all the answers.

 

5. Choose love by giving love

The best gift you can give while you’re alive is love. It costs nothing, but it takes every part of you to give. If a tragedy like the one described above occurs, you have the opportunity to give love.

When you do so, and you go through a difficult time, love finds its way back into your life. Choosing love is the beginner level: giving love is the expert level.

There are so many ways to give love. You could:

– Hug someone
– Do something nice for someone
– Write something beautiful to someone
– Be there for someone who is going through a tough time
– Smile at someone who looks down

The list is endless. Love is endless. Your capacity to give love is endless. What comes into your life can also be endless when you choose love. Think about that for a minute.

 

6. Love can cause a deranged man or women to see the light

 

If you talked to a terrorist and told them that you loved them, what would happen? While I don’t know for sure, what I do know is that there is a possibility you could interrupt their pattern. Part of the reason they do what they do is that they haven’t felt love.

Because they lack love in their life, they have adopted a set of false beliefs in the hope that this will fill the void they feel, due to the lack of love they’ve experienced.

 

“Terrorists, criminals and people on drugs, all have one thing in common: they need to be shown what love is so they can conquer the fear that’s been controlling their life – the fear that’s driven them to madness and to harm people”

 

***Final thought***

It’s time to wake up and stand for love. It’s what we were born to do. It takes no effort when we try it. Love can save us from just about anything. Love is about understanding that we are all on the same mission and that ultimately we are all part of the same cause and the same existence.

When you understand the idea of love, your consciousness goes to another level. People may begin to think that you’ve transcended their reality and that you have loads of wisdom. What’s really happened is that you’ve discovered the most powerful force on Earth: LOVE.

RIP to the young mothers baby. Love will transcend everything and bring you happiness again. I hope you can find it in your hearts to one day forgive the mean that caused you so much pain. Show him the love that he’s been lacking so desperately.

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5 Unusual Productivity Tips From Famous Procrastinators

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Do you often procrastinate? Are you doing it now by reading this article? If yes – awesome, continue reading.

Most of us consider procrastination the biggest troublemaker and productivity killer. You see it as a vice, consequently, you try to overcome its effects, kill the procrastination beast and cheat with all the possible means.

But what if it’s not quite so? What if procrastination can virtually lead to productivity? Have you ever thought about this aspect? Many outstanding productive people, in fact, were chronic procrastinators. How did they manage to achieve success? What tips did successful people use to beat procrastination?

Here are five unusual tips from hard-core procrastinators that will help you boost your productivity level:

1. Victor Hugo: Lock away your clothes

The author of Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and many more tremendously famous novels was beating procrastination with the most extraordinary and radical means. One episode from his life is the most illustrative here.

Hugo started writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame quite close to the deadline – in the fall of 1830. While the deadline was in February 1831. His preparation was thorough, but he did not feel like writing. Thus, he did something that didn’t leave a choice – he got naked and locked away his clothes.

The aim of all that was to avoid temptations of going outside. Hugo had nothing to wear but a shawl. And for many months, this rag (as his wife claimed) was his daily uniform. Did it work? Absolutely. He finished the book weeks before the actual deadline.

2. Gerhard Richter: Create a crisis

Gerhard Richter, world known German artist and procrastinator, got millions with his paintings. For example, Abstrakis Bild was sold for $20,802,500 at Sotheby’s.  How did he manage to procrastinate and, at the same time, complete paintings of photos, abstracts, “blur” photo paintings, and many more works of art?

It’s striking that he actually wastes time on garden and not on his paintings. In one of the interviews, Richter described his daily routines:  “I could spend my life arranging things. Weeks go by, and I don’t paint until finally I can’t stand it any longer. I get fed up. I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to become self-conscious about it, but perhaps I create these little crises as a kind of a secret strategy to push myself.

It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.” Thus, his secret strategy to become more productive is a simple crisis.

“Chance determines our lives in important ways.” – Gerhard Richter

3. Bill Clinton: Take criticism seriously, not personally

The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, was described as a “chronic procrastinator” by Time magazine. Could you believe that a two-time Grammy winner may be addicted to postponing? Clinton had weeks or sometimes months to make comments on the drafts of his speeches, but, eventfully, it all ended with cut-and-paste in the end.

Even his Vice President Al Gore called Clinton “punctually challenged”. However, despite all the criticism, he managed to never give up. The key secret to productivity is the way you perceive criticism, according to Bill Clinton. If you take it too personally, you won’t be able to resist the feeling of deficiency that finally leads to the inferiority complex. Therefore, keep your cool when you are criticized. Then, you have more chances to stay productive.

4. Franz Kafka: Try to wake up the night productivity

The Czech writer worked as an insurance clerk and it was the time to existential thinking. The novelist though didn’t put his ideas into action. After Kafka had been promoted, he had more time and procrastination infected him for good.

His routine day after work, as he mentioned it on one of his letters, looked like this: “Lunch till 3:30 … sleep until 7:30 … ten minutes of exercises, naked at the open window … an hour’s walk … then dinner with my family.” There is nothing about writing though. When did he actually write? Beginning from approximately 11 p.m. and continuing up to 6 a.m. Not the perfect system, for sure, but that’s was the most productive time for Kafka. It appears that he spent most of the daytime napping.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

5. Leonardo Da Vinci: Start several things at a time and make notes

An artist, mathematician, sculptor, writer, inventor, military engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci, is an outstanding figure in history. But despite the success he achieved, he was never focused on one thing at a time.

During his lifetime, he managed to complete only 20 paintings. The Virgin of the Rocks took him 13 years to put the final changes.  While his most illustrious work The Mona Lisa – as many as 16 years. The reason for that was his multi-tasking capacity. He was an incredibly broad-minded and all-round personality with so many genius plans. To improve a willpower, he had a rule book where he had more than 7,000 pages of notes.

His procrastination wasn’t already a secret for his benefactors. And some of them threatened him with bankruptcy in order to have his work done at last.

What if procrastination can be a way to extreme productivity and perfectionism? And still, you have structured procrastination as an option and a solution.

Would you use any of these tips to boost productivity flows? Comment below!
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Where Will You Be in 3 Years? How to Strategically Transform Your Life

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Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Which is more important? What you know or who you know? Well, as it turns out, it’s a trick question. The answer: Both. (more…)

Seth Coyne is a copywriter and branding consultant. He prefers to be addressed as Jedi Master Seth. Click here to download his Innovation Cheat Sheet with 9 hacks to creating an endless stream of brilliant ideas for entrepreneurship, business growth and career advancement.

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1 Comment

  1. Onyi

    May 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Excellent article, very profound thought leadership. In regards entrepreneurship, I once wrote; An entrepreneur is a leader of excellence, trailblazer and pioneer who constantly brings change to their generation. ~ Onyi Anyado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

Where Will You Be in 3 Years? How to Strategically Transform Your Life

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transform your life

Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Which is more important? What you know or who you know? Well, as it turns out, it’s a trick question. The answer: Both.

Progressing in your career or in growing a business is never easy without the right relationships. But, when you finally do get to meet the kind of people who have the power to put you on the fast track to success, you’d better have something to contribute.

By the time we finish college, we’ve spent years and years developing what we know. This knowledge and competence is added upon as we gain on-the-job experience. But, there’s a good chance that you haven’t given nearly as much thought to developing the other side of the equation. Many of us don’t invest sufficient effort to expand who we know. Often, this pattern of behavior persists throughout a person’s entire career.

Don’t Be Random, Be Strategic

We have a tendency to view education very methodically. We plan it out years in advance. Seeing as how that’s only half the battle, shouldn’t we also create a plan to methodically build our network?

Throughout his impressive career, networking expert Keith Ferrazzi has created a method that could change the way you think about developing and nurturing business relationships.

In his bestselling book, Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi writes: ”The tool I use is something I call the Relationship Action Plan. The most simple version of the plan is separated into three distinct parts: The first part is devoted to the development of the goals that will help you fulfill your mission. The second part is devoted to connecting those goals to the people, places, and things that will help you get the job done. And the third part helps you determine the best way to reach out to the people who will help you to accomplish your goals. This means choosing a medium to connect, but, more important, it means finding a way to lead with generosity.”

For many of us, networking refers to an activity during which we:

  • Congregate in large groups of people (many of whom may be unemployed)
  • Spend a few hours engaging in friendly small talk with strangers
  • Exchanging business cards, followed by never speaking to each other again

There are multiple flaws in this method, not the least of which being that it’s far too random. For the most part, you likely have no idea who’s going to be at the next networking event that you plan to attend. You don’t know if the people that you talk to will be in a position to help you achieve your goals.

“Personal relationships are always the key to good business. You can buy networking; you can’t buy friendships.” – Lindsay Fox

Is Research Creepy?

Take time to plan ahead. Do your best to determine which people have the greatest potential to assist you in accomplishing your professional objectives. Research these people and try to learn how you can meet, connect and build ongoing relationships with them.

As you do so, be sure to keep in mind what Ferrazzi says about “finding a way to lead with generosity”. When reaching out to these people, your first concern should be how to add meaningful value to their lives so that you can establish a positive relationship.

There are those who would probably consider this type of behavior to be borderline stalking. After all, the plan is to diligently study a group of people, some of whom are probably strangers. You want to learn about their likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, family, friends, etc.

When you think about it this way, it is admittedly a little bit weird. That said, keep in mind that your goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship by leading with generosity and value. In other words, you’re studying these people in order to learn how to best help them.

Obviously, there are boundaries that you don’t want to cross. Be tactful and respect privacy. Luckily, these days, you can often learn plenty with things like Google, social media and company websites. For the most part, this is information that the person has chosen to publicly share with the world.

In the end, this type of planning may still make you a little uncomfortable. But, honestly, those who refuse to leave their comfort zones tend to have a low propensity for success. If it makes you feel any better, think of yourself as a spy gathering vital intel that will help you accomplish your mission to do good and fight for justice.

What Do You Want Out Of Life?

In your efforts to create and execute your own “Relationship Action Plan” (RAP), remember that this is about achieving your goals… which means you need to have goals. Those goals need to be specific, well thought out and realistic. They also need to have deadlines. (Otherwise they’re just dreams.) 

“I list what I’d like to accomplish three years from today. I then work backward in both one-year and three-month increments to develop mid-and short-term goals that will help me reach my mission.” – Keith Ferrazzi

Where Do You See Yourself In 3 Years?

Imagine what you could accomplish after three years of executing a well thought out Relationship Action Plan!

You probably spent somewhere between one and two decades in school developing and increasing what you know. Now you can add to that knowledge by expanding who you know, so you can achieve the kind of success that we all want.

What do you think is most important: what you know or who you know? Let us know by commenting below!

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The Ugly Truth About Success and Why You’re Not Achieving It

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As human beings, most of us have this tendency to overcomplicate things. Maybe you’ve had this experience of trying to find success, but for some reason, it keeps eluding you.  In our pursuit to win, hardly anyone tells us the ugly truth about why most of our dreams seem to evade us.

Today, I’m going to share with you why so many people are held back from fully realizing their dreams as well as how to overcome those obstacles.   

By creating a resolve to not make these three mistakes and falling prey to these common weaknesses – we can shift our success and assure that our goals are attained. Getting to the finish line isn’t as hard as you think – that is, if you don’t let yourself fall into these three traps.

1. You Don’t Follow A Plan Long Enough

In today’s society, we’re used to microwave results – we are accustomed to zapping our results. Push a button and voila your food is ready. Watch a movie and just like that in two hours the hero has experienced pain, sadness, and triumph. Sadly though, success doesn’t happen with a push of a button or in a two-hour window.

An example of where I fell prey to this ‘fast results mentality’ was when I wanted to create my ideal body. I hired trainers, tried systems, diets, and fads, yet none of it worked…or so I told myself. But the reality was this: I gave up too soon. It was never the plan, the diet, or the trainer. It wasn’t my lack of expertise or lack of potential. The only thing that stopped me was my inability to stick to a plan long enough.

In my conversations with Jack Canfield, Elliott Hulse, Robert Kiyosaki and numerous highly-successful individuals, I’ve learned they all made a plan and stuck to it for years. If you want to achieve greatness, you must make the plan and then work that plan every single day. Be consistent and be willing to let the results blossom with time.

“Plan your work and work your plan.” – Napolean Hill

2. We Don’t Hold Our Belief Long Enough

Einstein was once asked if he was a genius, to which he gave a simple response:  “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I love his response.

To live out and embody is one that has taken me a long time to understand. You see, for a long time I’ve had this terrible habit, it’s a habit I don’t want to admit to anyone I ever had. For decades, I’ve been a quitter. Not just outwardly, but in faith, I’ve tended to quit.

If you’re struggling to achieve some great result, it’s likely you’ve also come across this stumbling block. Losing faith too soon can make us quit when in reality a few more steps could mean reaching Graceland.

After working hard at attaining my ideal body, I finally achieved it. The plan was simple when I stuck to it because I ate specific food and worked out. I repeated this process every day for several years. It wasn’t instantaneous or easy, but it was simple. The same goes for writing, creating wealth, and creating just about anything – create a plan and work that system day-after-day.

It’s not sexy, but it’s the truth. Big wins are a bunch of small actions taken on a regular basis. A home is built one nail, one board, one screw at a time. Create a plan and work that plan.

In the world of Hollywood and marketing, we often dress up success in a fancy costume, fancy perfume, and an elegant story. But at the end of the day, every dress is stitched the same with threads of hope, intense hours of sewing, and focused labor.

3. We Don’t Seek Roads That Have Been Paved For Us

One of my favorite coaches of all time is Anthony Robbins. One of my favorite quotes from him is this: “Success leaves traces.” In my desire to achieve greatness, I’ve made one fatal mistake time after time. That mistake was always seeking to get there on my own, in my own way, without the help of anyone.

If I had listened to Anthony, I would have looked for those traces and followed them to the finish line. For those of us who are strong, capable, and want to achieve greatness, the desire to ‘do it our way’ can be our greatest strength or hindrance.

In my case, it made my work a lot harder. When I first tried to sell high-end consulting, I thought I could just figure it out. I didn’t want to listen to anyone, hire anyone, or study. I had achieved so much in business I thought I could do it my way. In doing so, I delayed my success.

Once I admitted to myself and others that I didn’t know how to pave the road to success in this area I opened up new roads to success. I was introduced to people who had already paved a way and thus made my work much easier. Instead of whacking my way through the weeds and wild growth of my own ignorance, I was shown the highway to success, and instead of weed-whacking, it was like driving a Ferrari down I-90.

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

If you’re having a tough time achieving some results, I want you to have a finely tuned mind and heart which will take perseverance, follow-through, and faith. Lastly, it’s going to help you immensely if you can find a pre-paved path. If you want the highway to success, it does exist, it just takes looking for pre-paved paths and then working the plan to get there.

How are you making sure you become successful in life? Please share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

Always Choose Love, Not Fear

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A few weeks ago, I met a woman that seriously changed my perspective. It was one of those chance encounters that I believe was meant to happen for a reason.

This woman had been involved in the same tragedy that I had been caught up in. As I shared my story, I quickly realized that hers was much more challenging. Her sister had lost her young baby to a man on drugs. Once she told me this, I was lost for words.

How does one even comprehend that situation? How do you not choose fear? How do you choose not to hate? These were the questions I pondered afterward.

Here’s why you should choose love:

 

1. Love conquers fear

As humans, the easiest decision we can make is to choose love. Love destroys our fear and helps us see a deeper meaning in everything that happens in life. Love is the ever-conquering force in our life that will happen if we let it.

When you’re surrounded by love, it’s impossible to be conquered by the crippling disease that is fear. Love restarts the heart like a defibrillator. Fear causes a heart attack that can kill you if you let it.

Always choose love over fear.

 

2. Everything happens for a reason

When this young girls sister lost her baby, she chose to believe that it was meant to happen for a reason. She chose to believe that the loss of life would mean something far greater than death itself. This opinion was the result of love being the only answer she could comprehend.

After the tragedy, her community got around her and showed her more love than she had ever known. The death of her nephew started her entire family on a different path.

“While they couldn’t control the circumstances of the young baby’s death, what they could control was love”

They allowed the love that everybody showed them to take them to an entirely different level. Some days were good and other days were a nightmare.

Through it all, they chose to believe in love. Love is nothing more than a belief. It can only enter your life when you believe it exists. You must be accepting and you have to give love at the same time. They are the rules of the love game.

 

3. Think love not hate

When this tragic event occurred, it would have been so easy to hate the man hooked on drugs who caused this young baby to die. This girl taught me that hate has no place in the healing process. As a matter of fact, hate has no place in our lives.

Feelings of hate can cause us to go into a downward spiral. This spiral involves us becoming very selfish and only focusing on our own needs. From this place, we can’t do the inner work required to come back from adversity. Train your brain to always assume love as the default reason for everything.

“Spending our precious energy and time on this planet hating others for things we can’t control, will block us from our dreams”

Hate will transport us to a land far far away that resembles hell. Hell is where your nightmares come true, your fears are born and the person you become is something you despise for eternity.

 

4. Love is the best feeling in the world

There are lots of types of love but no matter what; love is the best feeling in the world. When you choose love your life seems extraordinary. You feel like you are on cloud nine and nothing can stop you. Love helps you to connect with your fellow human beings on an entirely different level.

Your success in life compounds because love attracts everything you could ever want in your life. You can’t be pissed off at the world when love is your default choice.

Love is what brings us closer together. Love is what creates human life through the coming together of a man and women. Love is what lights us up and fuels our intuition. Seek out love and you’ll know what it feels like to be invincible. If the worst happens, and a young baby close to you is killed, you’ll have all the answers.

 

5. Choose love by giving love

The best gift you can give while you’re alive is love. It costs nothing, but it takes every part of you to give. If a tragedy like the one described above occurs, you have the opportunity to give love.

When you do so, and you go through a difficult time, love finds its way back into your life. Choosing love is the beginner level: giving love is the expert level.

There are so many ways to give love. You could:

– Hug someone
– Do something nice for someone
– Write something beautiful to someone
– Be there for someone who is going through a tough time
– Smile at someone who looks down

The list is endless. Love is endless. Your capacity to give love is endless. What comes into your life can also be endless when you choose love. Think about that for a minute.

 

6. Love can cause a deranged man or women to see the light

 

If you talked to a terrorist and told them that you loved them, what would happen? While I don’t know for sure, what I do know is that there is a possibility you could interrupt their pattern. Part of the reason they do what they do is that they haven’t felt love.

Because they lack love in their life, they have adopted a set of false beliefs in the hope that this will fill the void they feel, due to the lack of love they’ve experienced.

 

“Terrorists, criminals and people on drugs, all have one thing in common: they need to be shown what love is so they can conquer the fear that’s been controlling their life – the fear that’s driven them to madness and to harm people”

 

***Final thought***

It’s time to wake up and stand for love. It’s what we were born to do. It takes no effort when we try it. Love can save us from just about anything. Love is about understanding that we are all on the same mission and that ultimately we are all part of the same cause and the same existence.

When you understand the idea of love, your consciousness goes to another level. People may begin to think that you’ve transcended their reality and that you have loads of wisdom. What’s really happened is that you’ve discovered the most powerful force on Earth: LOVE.

RIP to the young mothers baby. Love will transcend everything and bring you happiness again. I hope you can find it in your hearts to one day forgive the mean that caused you so much pain. Show him the love that he’s been lacking so desperately.

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5 Unusual Productivity Tips From Famous Procrastinators

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Do you often procrastinate? Are you doing it now by reading this article? If yes – awesome, continue reading.

Most of us consider procrastination the biggest troublemaker and productivity killer. You see it as a vice, consequently, you try to overcome its effects, kill the procrastination beast and cheat with all the possible means.

But what if it’s not quite so? What if procrastination can virtually lead to productivity? Have you ever thought about this aspect? Many outstanding productive people, in fact, were chronic procrastinators. How did they manage to achieve success? What tips did successful people use to beat procrastination?

Here are five unusual tips from hard-core procrastinators that will help you boost your productivity level:

1. Victor Hugo: Lock away your clothes

The author of Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and many more tremendously famous novels was beating procrastination with the most extraordinary and radical means. One episode from his life is the most illustrative here.

Hugo started writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame quite close to the deadline – in the fall of 1830. While the deadline was in February 1831. His preparation was thorough, but he did not feel like writing. Thus, he did something that didn’t leave a choice – he got naked and locked away his clothes.

The aim of all that was to avoid temptations of going outside. Hugo had nothing to wear but a shawl. And for many months, this rag (as his wife claimed) was his daily uniform. Did it work? Absolutely. He finished the book weeks before the actual deadline.

2. Gerhard Richter: Create a crisis

Gerhard Richter, world known German artist and procrastinator, got millions with his paintings. For example, Abstrakis Bild was sold for $20,802,500 at Sotheby’s.  How did he manage to procrastinate and, at the same time, complete paintings of photos, abstracts, “blur” photo paintings, and many more works of art?

It’s striking that he actually wastes time on garden and not on his paintings. In one of the interviews, Richter described his daily routines:  “I could spend my life arranging things. Weeks go by, and I don’t paint until finally I can’t stand it any longer. I get fed up. I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to become self-conscious about it, but perhaps I create these little crises as a kind of a secret strategy to push myself.

It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.” Thus, his secret strategy to become more productive is a simple crisis.

“Chance determines our lives in important ways.” – Gerhard Richter

3. Bill Clinton: Take criticism seriously, not personally

The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, was described as a “chronic procrastinator” by Time magazine. Could you believe that a two-time Grammy winner may be addicted to postponing? Clinton had weeks or sometimes months to make comments on the drafts of his speeches, but, eventfully, it all ended with cut-and-paste in the end.

Even his Vice President Al Gore called Clinton “punctually challenged”. However, despite all the criticism, he managed to never give up. The key secret to productivity is the way you perceive criticism, according to Bill Clinton. If you take it too personally, you won’t be able to resist the feeling of deficiency that finally leads to the inferiority complex. Therefore, keep your cool when you are criticized. Then, you have more chances to stay productive.

4. Franz Kafka: Try to wake up the night productivity

The Czech writer worked as an insurance clerk and it was the time to existential thinking. The novelist though didn’t put his ideas into action. After Kafka had been promoted, he had more time and procrastination infected him for good.

His routine day after work, as he mentioned it on one of his letters, looked like this: “Lunch till 3:30 … sleep until 7:30 … ten minutes of exercises, naked at the open window … an hour’s walk … then dinner with my family.” There is nothing about writing though. When did he actually write? Beginning from approximately 11 p.m. and continuing up to 6 a.m. Not the perfect system, for sure, but that’s was the most productive time for Kafka. It appears that he spent most of the daytime napping.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

5. Leonardo Da Vinci: Start several things at a time and make notes

An artist, mathematician, sculptor, writer, inventor, military engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci, is an outstanding figure in history. But despite the success he achieved, he was never focused on one thing at a time.

During his lifetime, he managed to complete only 20 paintings. The Virgin of the Rocks took him 13 years to put the final changes.  While his most illustrious work The Mona Lisa – as many as 16 years. The reason for that was his multi-tasking capacity. He was an incredibly broad-minded and all-round personality with so many genius plans. To improve a willpower, he had a rule book where he had more than 7,000 pages of notes.

His procrastination wasn’t already a secret for his benefactors. And some of them threatened him with bankruptcy in order to have his work done at last.

What if procrastination can be a way to extreme productivity and perfectionism? And still, you have structured procrastination as an option and a solution.

Would you use any of these tips to boost productivity flows? Comment below!
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