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Success Advice

6 Reasons You Should Share Your Story Of Struggle With The World‏

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The topic I wanted to share with you today is all about sharing your story of struggle and why you should consider doing it. A leader that I know very well recently shared his story of struggle with his team. He is the kind of person that you wouldn’t expect to share the most interment details of his life with anyone.

The process of sharing his story of how he was raised and what it was like to not have a father around brought him to tears several times throughout him delivering this speech to a room full of his closest colleagues. What triggered his sudden urge to share his story was a case of cancer within his family.

It’s amazing how when we go through an experience that shows us we only have limited time on this earth, we start doing things that we wouldn’t normally do, and we start acting completely different with a new perspective on life.

Through this experience I had recently, below are the six reasons I believe that you should share your story of struggle with the world.

1. It makes you a leader

If you ever have a desire to be a leader, then you must be able to be vulnerable, put yourself in difficult situations and be willing to teach your followers all the wisdom that you possess. Sharing your story of struggle is a great way to do this, and it shows everyone that your willing to take a risk and do whatever it takes to inspire those around you.

Being a leader is a difficult job, and most people are capable of being a leader yet they never take the risk or decide to better themselves so that they can fulfill a leadership role. To be a leader you need to be able to lead by example and this is one way to do that.

Sharing a story of struggle for some people can actually bring out leadership qualities that they never thought they had. This is because the feeling that you get from inspiring others is very powerful, and when you get your first follower, you can easily be lead on a path of leadership that you will never turn back from.

2. It’s the blueprint for all success

I might be sounding a little over the top, but I believe that one the major factors in anyone’s success is when they share their story of struggle. If you look at any success story of our time, it’s the one common ingredient in every single example.

Whether it’s a business that came from nothing, or an athlete that achieved the impossible, it all started with them sharing their story of struggle with the world and using it to motivate them to achieve what most would consider to be impossible.

3. It’s the most courageous thing you can do

Courage is often described in many ways but to put yourself on the line and to risk the way that people perceive you is real courage. Humans are motivated by their emotions and sharing your story of struggle is all about emotion. Public speaking is one of the most feared activities that most of us do everything to avoid.

The most beneficial way to share your story is in the form of a speech and it also takes the greatest courage. If you don’t want to move straight to the hardest step, then try sharing your story of struggle online in a safe environment first.

Once you have built the muscle then maybe you could try sharing it in person with one or two people. From there you can keep building, and who knows, maybe one day you will share your story with a stadium of people like Les Brown did for many decades.

4. You’re proving that we are all equal

Many of us make the mistake of thinking that people who achieve massive success are somehow super human, or they were lucky. The reality, as we all know on Addicted2Success, is that this is not true and what really creates successful people are a number of traits and habits practiced daily, that create the slight edge in small steps, which compound over time into massive success.

By sharing your story of struggle, you are proving that we are all equal because each of us have our own story. If I was to ask everyone on Addicted2Success to tell me their story of struggle, I am sure that each of you would have at least one.

The reason we all have stories of struggle is because that’s what life is all about. We were put on this earth to overcome challenges through our own struggles and then share them with the world to help others overcome similar challenges. The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is quite small.

The successful have reframed their story of struggle into motivation, and the unsuccessful are using that same story as the excuse for why their life isn’t working out the way they want it.

5. You’re allowing people to see another side of you

Building rapport with other people is one of the most important traits that we all need no matter what we do for a living. To influence any outcome, you must always be coming from a position of rapport, which is actually quite hard.

The fastest way to build rapport is to show people another side of you that they wouldn’t normally expect to hear. Through hearing your story of struggle it helps them to relate to their own story and allows them to see another side of you.

Many of us reframe from showing different sides of ourselves on a daily basis. If you look at your Facebook newsfeed how many of you can see people that are showing only one side of themselves? How many people in the newsfeed are always showing how perfect their lives are and how everything goes their way?

If you look at Instagram, you might find a similar phenomenon. A lot of the photos that are on there are taken using professional cameras, perfect lighting and lots of Photoshop. You probably won’t find too many photos on their of people who haven’t brushed their hair or who have a really bad sunburn.

All of this is because we only want to show our good side, and we are scared of what showing our weaker side might do to the way people perceive us. I say forget about these rules and show all sides of yourself. It’s what the ultra successful do and your much more likely to attract good people in your life who like you for who you are.

6. The world can learn something from you

Every story of struggle has a lesson in there that the rest of the world can learn from. If you ever practice studying success like I have, you will find that a lot of what you will be doing is reading people’s stories of struggle. This is because all learning involves understanding some form of lesson and the most powerful way to do this is through real human stories.

This is why reality television has been so popular because it much easier to relate to real stories and events than it is to with fictional stories.

Just remember that someone else may be going through the exact same struggle that you have been through and by you sharing your story with the world, you could be giving someone the skills and inspiration they need to learn the lesson from their struggle. You might be the one small change that someone else needs to get their life back on track or change their ways and move towards success.

If you would like to share your own story of struggle, then feel free to in the comments section below or message it to me on my Facebook Page.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Alex

    Jan 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Awesome article! Sharing your story of struggle is totally the fastest way gain trust with people because they see that you are just like them and are on their side. Of course, sharing your successes afterward is even more powerful as it helps influence people in a positive way.

  2. Peter

    Aug 13, 2015 at 7:55 am

    A wonderful article! It was one of, if not, the best article I’ve read on addicted2success.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Glad you liked it Peter and got something out of it Thank you for your very kind comment.

  3. Alex Bender

    Jul 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Absolutely love this. One of my mentors has made most of his online income just from telling his story of struggle & overcoming his struggle, now he has his own course showing people how to tell their story powerfully.
    Everyone loves a story and everyone loves a story of struggle and overcoming a struggle.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks for your comment Alex. I would love a link to your friends story if you could share it on here.

  4. Sammy

    Jul 15, 2015 at 6:27 am

    I think its a great idea, but it has to have a positive message and it can’t be constant as it loses it’s impact and can come across as focusing on the negative.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Sammy, your spot on, there must be a positive lesson from your story of struggle otherwise people won’t be attracted to it. Who wants to hear a story where the moral is, the world is going to end?

  5. Jax

    Jul 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Great article! I just recently started a new blog that is sharing the struggles I’m going through to do a live rags-to-riches (hopefully!) story. I appreciate the extra motivation this post provides. Thanks!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Good luck Jax I hope your blog goes well

  6. Ethan

    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Nice article, Tim!

    I feel like I’m still “in the making” of my own story of struggle, which I can’t really share as of this moment yet. 🙂

    But you’re absolutely right–one must share at least one story. There was a time when I remembered the names of the people I did and still do admire simply because of their stories of struggle. There’s just priceless value in there. It’s true that you’d want to hear another person talk about a struggle that’s very similar to yours, but it’s also quite true that all struggles are the same–a struggle is a struggle–it only comes in many, many forms.

    Inspiration makes the world go round! I bet there are lots of others who are also “in the making” of their own story.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Thanks so much Ethan. I agree that most stories of the struggle are similar, but sometimes you have to hear something lots of different ways before you have a bank of references that you can draw upon in times of fear.

      Thanks for reading Ethan!

  7. Meenakshi

    Jul 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Florence Scovel Shinn says “Be undisturbed by a situation, and it will fall away of its own weight. “

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

      A very powerful quote. Thanks Meenakshi!

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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productivity tips
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“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!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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how to be happy and successful
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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!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

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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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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high achievers
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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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