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7 Fatal Habits Slowing Your Entrepreneurial Success

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7 Fatal Habits Slowing Your Entrepreneurial Success

You work hard. You buy the courses, read the books, go to the seminars, but your business is still growing small or maybe even non-existent.

You just KNOW that the secret to your success is in there somewhere. If you could just copy their talent, or their skills or even some daily habit you know you will see your productivity increase and your results skyrocket. But is that really the case?

So many times when we see successful people we wonder what can we do to copy them, or what are we not doing that we could be to follow in their footsteps and see those same results. But the reality is that it is not necessarily about learning a new skill or talent, or even adding something new at all. Sometimes the biggest gains we get are from stopping or altering your current habits.

 

Fatal Habit #1: Letting others control your morning

If you are having trouble getting a lot of things done, first look at your morning routine. You probably wake up groggy almost every morning, hit the snooze button once or twice before dragging yourself out of bed, and what is the first thing you are likely to do? Probably check your phone.

That’s the problem. Right away you are putting other people’s agendas ahead of your own. Their texts, their emails, their Facebook posts. Why not make yourself the first priority in the morning? What could you do instead that puts your goals and your life as the main priority?

Here are a few options:

  • Read a book, just a chapter, heck just a few pages would be better for you than checking email. It will give you some new ideas just to start your day. It might trigger a new idea for a blog post, or someone you should be reaching out to. Either way, your business improves right from the start of the day. Your mind actually has all day to work on developing solutions for whatever ideas you got from your early morning reading.
  • Meditate, either on your own or with one of many awesome guided meditations out there (I personally love guided meditations because I struggle to sit there myself…my mind tends to wander).
  • Listen to an audio book (same benefits as reading a book without even needing to open your eyes).
  • Listen to a podcast. This might take a little bit longer than the other options, but again it will teach you some interesting things that can foster creativity and inspire new ideas for your business.

All of these are fine. They will wake up your mind and get you ready to attack your day far better than the useless junk that is probably in your inbox or on your newsfeed. In fact, try turning email off on your phone and see how much better your morning is.

The best part of this change in your morning routine is that it takes up less than 10 minutes of your morning. If you say you don’t have 10 minutes in the morning, try getting up 10 minutes earlier to get this done. The result will be huge for you.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing that you can do first thing in the morning, is to work on your biggest, most pressing challenge for at least 25 minutes before you ever think about looking at your phone or checking your email. I would recommend giving yourself a full hour. By working on your biggest challenge first thing in morning you will ensure that you are putting in enough time to eventually blow past it and move on to other tasks to continue growing your business.

 

Fatal Habit #2: Losing focus from your current project

This is one of the more common habits we face as entrepreneurs today, as there are just so many distractions: television, social media, netflix etc. And then there’s all the things going on in your social life, the text messages from your significant other, kids running around the house. Sometimes it is just hard to stay focused and it gets us knocked off track, costing us valuable work time trying to restart after each interruption.

Additionally, sometimes even when our phones aren’t going crazy and the kids are not running around the house, we still are not as productive as we could be because we are not entirely sure what we should be doing. We have all seen tons of people who recommend creating huge “to-do” lists with like 8-10 tasks on them, but this is not ideal.

Why? Because it is incredibly difficult to get 8-10 things done each day, especially if the business is not your only focus. Instead of motivating you, it ends up demoralizing you because everyday you feel incomplete because you are never completing your entire list. Try creating a list of just the three most important tasks for you to get done that day. This gives you an achievable number of tasks each day. You actually look forward to getting them all done because then you can enjoy some time with your family, your friends or a hobby guilt free.

But here’s the trick to really make sure you get things done. So many times we will write down that we need to get this done, but will stop completely when we hit any kind of resistance. So how do we ensure that we know exactly what to do to complete our three daily tasks? The night before, write them down before you go to bed.

By writing down the necessary steps to complete each task you will be able to plan out the exact steps you will be taking to complete each task. This helps you from getting stuck or being unsure what your next move is. When you complete all the steps for each task, you are done, go enjoy yourself for a bit, write your three tasks for tomorrow and do it all over again the next day.

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paulo Coelho

Fatal Habit #3: Doing non-income producing activities first

Far too often we get bogged down in unimportant tasks that do not grow our business. But because we are doing something we think we are being busy and/or productive. The reality is that we are actually neither. The reality is that all tasks are not created equally and you need to know how to prioritize which tasks to do first, and which tasks can be put off until later, outsourced or scrapped entirely.

There are 4 different types of Business Activities:

1. Income Producing Activities

These are the activities that will immediately provide you with sales. This can include webinars, writing sales pages, writing email launches or creating sales videos (for a service based business this would be actually performing the service). The simple rule for this group is if it won’t make you money it doesn’t belong here, this will be your top priority tasks.

2. Asset Creation

These are the tasks that will create useful pieces of your income producing processes. This includes creating products, making website pages (for sales or products), building out new sales funnels and guest posting. These activities are generally related to either product creation or list building.

3. Active Asset Nurturing

Once you have an asset created this is when you are providing additional work/value to the asset. Tasks in this category include creating new bonus modules for courses or sending out a value adding email to your list (notice how I did not just say send out an email, a sales pitch email…whether your product or an affiliate product does NOT qualify here, that actually is higher up). Basically, these tasks are providing additional value to assets that are already up and running.

4. Everything Else

This is everything else. The basic rule here is that if it’s not one of the first three tasks you either delay it, delegate it (outsource it) or discard it. There’s nothing here that is an immediate priority and you should avoid spending as much time on these tasks as possible. Doing $10/hr work will not get you moving toward your goals.

Set up a spreadsheet with the 4 types of tasks, list all the tasks you do or need to do and put them in each category. List all the tasks that you do, whether daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly. For the category 4s, figure out what you will delay until you have free time, what you will outsource and what you will just delete from your list of tasks.

 

Fatal Flaw #4: Poor personal health habits

Many times we expect that we have to “grind” our way to success. Unfortunately that means we end up thinking we need to just work on business and ignore everything else: fun, family, friends, but the most important thing that we cannot ignore is our personal health.

Sir Richard Branson has said the number one “secret” to improved productivity is to work out. Because our body is the single most important investment in your life. Working out increases your energy, your sleep and your focus, all things that you need to do your best work. The good news is that you can work out fairly easily, because you don’t need to be the next Mr. Olympia to receive the benefits of regular exercise.

For me, I like to do some kind of quick workout right after getting out of bed to get the blood flowing, and also because getting in a light workout before eating a meal allows your body to burn more fat as it will pull from your reserves since you haven’t recently fed it anything for it to burn.

This can be a simple program consisting of stretching, pushups and body squats (or whatever types of bodyweight exercises you like to do). You can do a full workout later in the day, or after work if still at a 9 to 5 job. If you are a morning person feel free to go nuts and do your full workout first thing in the morning. Additionally you have to fuel your body properly in order to get peak performance. If you eat better your body will react better: better focus, more energy, happier.

Again, much like workout plans there are tons of options for nutrition plans online. I personally like the Tim Ferris Slow Carb Diet. It is simple, easy to follow and starts giving you immediate results (I lost 5 pounds the first week I did it, that made it easier to get past the adjustment period and keep going). This allows you to be healthy and still enjoy your cheat day (FREE TIP: Don’t drink away your calories…save that for your cheat days).

 

Fatal Flaw #5: Not taking action

It is great if you have the best morning routine, you eat the best foods, drink enough water and even find time to workout. But what about your business? It’s great that you have the entire Dan Kennedy library of products (Dan Kennedy ROCKS, by the way), but your business will not grow unless you take ACTION. The only way you will make money is by taking action.

All those “think about the money and it will come” mantras are simply woo woo crap. It takes real work to build a business that makes money versus one that is just an expensive hobby. Why expensive? Think of all those courses that we buy, hoping that each one provides that ONE secret that explodes our business. So we just keep consuming course, after course after course, and yet the results never seem to come.

A good course is not designed to be consumed in full. It is designed for you to go through a module, and then take action on what you’ve learned, and then go to the next module. Rinse, wash and repeat.

A good rule of thumb is that for every one hour of training you should take 3 hours worth of action. Now some will take longer and some will be shorter, but that should be the goal (especially since you should end up having some ongoing tasks that you will have to keep doing over and over again, such as writing emails, making sales funnels or writing guest posts).

“Never confuse motion with action.” – Benjamin Franklin

Fatal Flaw #6: Allowing negative influences into your life

Honestly, I was tempted to make this #1, because one of the biggest flaws that we make is keeping negative influences in our life, this can include television, radio or even other people. To be successful we need to RUTHLESSLY keep those negative influences away from us. They can be poison to our mood, our minds, and our productivity.

Both television and radio have too many things you cannot control. Things like commercials or news stories that will not help you. Food commercials that give you unhealthy food cravings, medicine commercials about different diseases and side effects…it is all just really sad and depressing. And they both hurt you physically, mentally and emotionally.

But I’m also not going to tell you that you have to cut it out entirely (although that is obviously ideal), as I’d be a hypocrite because I love Shark Tank, The Profit, and Major League Baseball. As for the radio, that one is much easier to replace. You can listen to an audio book from a source like Audible or your local library, or use an app to listen to one of your favorite podcasts. By turning your car into a classroom you can get literally days worth of extra learning in during the down time of driving.

But use it as a welcome break from your hard work rather than something that you do out of habit. Treat it like a small reward for a good couple days of work rather than an everyday event.

The worst negative influences of all, can be our friends and family. While you cannot let them try to destroy your dreams (and they will if you let them). So you really have two options: Avoid spending time with them as much as possible (understanding that they are your family and friends so you will likely see some of them a bit even if they don’t support your business goals) or try to turn them into an ally by asking them for advice, put them in your shoes and then asking what they would do if they were you.

And finally there are those people who are just so negative that you may just need to cut them out of your life entirely. I had former teammates who I haven’t spoken with in years now because of how unsupportive they were about my entrepreneurial ventures.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey 

Fatal Flaw #7: Not measuring your progress & results

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” This is true with our businesses as well. We can do all this work to try and get results, but how do we know what is working and what isn’t? One word; metrics.

But not just any metrics, pick metrics that are based on your goals. For example, if you want to get to 1000 subscribers on your email list, you will likely care about metrics such as total subscribers each month, and your conversion rates from your opt-in page or other lead capture devices. If your goals are mostly based on income then our metrics will be based more along sales and expenses.

But the key is to give yourself specific numbers to shoot for: 1000 subscribers, 25% conversion rate, $100k in sales etc. Then give yourself specific time frames to measure (I personally like monthly, quarterly and yearly goals). This gives you a few short term goals to make changes on, as well as the full year goals that give you a full picture of your business.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

BJ Pivonka is the founder of Athletic Entrepreneurs (bjpivonka.com), where he helps former college and professional athletes successfully transition from their playing career into their own profitable entrepreneurial venture. At his website you can get hisFREE 5-day email course to get your first profitable idea and start earning money even if you do not have an idea yet.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Alexander

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Great article, it help everyone to be more focus
    benz service

  2. Matt Lancaster

    Jan 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back.
    Really Really nice article.
    Thanks

  3. MD Farhad Hussain

    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Great Article. I was suffering with #6. Even though I know what to do, this article clarifies all things again.

  4. Geraldo Angel

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    That was amazing! Sometimes one of those habits happened to me but with the time I get better and better

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Geraldo,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      And yes, as long as you know about the habits, you can work on fixing them and continuously getting better.

  5. Mohinish Nirwal

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Great article. I had my tongue in teeth on 4th one… From past few years I am not able to do physical exercises the way I used to do in college and later… I’ll stick to it.
    Thanks BJ Pivonka.
    Mohinish Nirwal

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Mohinish!

      You don’t even need to go crazy and do some instanity type stuff, James Altucher just goes for walks everyday. I know guys who do sprints.

      And then there are sites about doing five minute workouts to do some high quality exercisein a short time.

      You have tons of options, just find something that works for you and keep doing it.

  6. Sija Mafu

    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Geez! I see a lot of my own flaws in this article. I’ll do what I need to in order to adhere to them. Thanks for sharing,

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Sija,

      Glad you enjoyed the article. It’s a matter of just taking small steps to keep getting better in each area. Once you keep that up you’ll starting disproportionate results.

  7. Ernie

    Jul 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Very wise advice my friend! Even correcting just one or two of these flaws is enough to build some solid momentum. Great article.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Thanks Ernie!

      glad you enjoyed the article.

      And I agree, you don’t need to fix all 7 right away. Fix one or 2 at a time and you’ll start seeing huge results.

  8. Janette

    Jul 9, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Oh wow! #1 is definitely talking to me! ” Right away you are putting other people’s agendas ahead of your own. Their texts, their emails, their Facebook posts” that’s exactly what I do…but not from tomorrow morning that’s for sure!

    Thank you! Mwah x

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:29 am

      That is what I’m talking about Janette!!

      Great start.

  9. Adrian

    Jul 9, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Yes, negativity is one of the worst thing ever if you want to start good life.

    I started making money online because my goal was that $$$ per day and I reached it in 12 months.

  10. Arnold Chitwa

    Jul 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I think i want to use this article as a daily guide, to make improvements on areas that i have been underachieving, its reaching out to me in practical and Big ways, i have to give a shot to every piece of advice i have received here.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Arnold. Glad you found this useful.

      Come back here and let us know how it went.

      or just shoot me an email with the results: bj@bjpivonka.com

  11. Muqadas

    Jul 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Woho, What an article. Agreed on each of it’s point.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Muqadas,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Each point is CRUCIAL.

      Let me know what kinds of results you get.

  12. Matimba Ngwenya

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    This article hit me hard. Fatal Flaw #5 speaks to me most. I know what to do, and how to do it. My follow through however is not consistent, and I have not been prioritizing my action. Thanks for the wake up call Pivonka

  13. ssenyonjo wilberforce

    Jul 9, 2015 at 9:49 am

    wow!!!!!,its a good information en it has given me courage.

  14. Stefanie

    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Great article! I totally agree, that habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back. Your article reminded me it’s important to continuously check my own habits. Thank you!

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Stefanie, glad you enjoyed it.

      I picked out these specific habits for a reason. They can not only set the tone for you day, but determine your energy level for the rest of the day when you should be doing income producing activities.

      Thanks for your support!

  15. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

    This is some great information and I completely agree with everyone of them. I think your morning routine is what will determine if you make it in business or not. The morning is the foundation for your day, so you should really take care of yourself and your mindset. I have read about alot of successful people and they all do something in the morning that get them started for the day, such as meditating, exercising, or just eating a great breakfast. Take care of yourself and your mind. Great post.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Lawrence, YES. That is exactly the case. The morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day and also determines what kind of energy you have left for the rest of the day. That’s why I made it #1 on the list.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  16. Heitem Ak

    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Nice one Pivonka!

    I completely agree on the metrics.

    Specific goals keeps you on track through hard times!

    Just like jogging, if you run without metrics, you are likely to stop running as soon as you start getting tired!

    Keep them up,

    Heitem Ak

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Heitem, absolutely. You need to know what direction you are headed so you know whether to change course or not.

      Otherwise you’ll just wander around aimlessly doing things that won’t get the results you want and never actually get there.

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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
Image Credit: Unsplash

“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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The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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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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