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7 Not-So-Typical Success Tips That Challenge The Status Quo

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7 Not-So-Typical Success Tips That Challenge The Status Quo

With the internet, it’s easy to get any kind of advice on success out there. Bloggers are sharing their life stories. Successful people are dishing out lessons and heck, newbies all around are eager to churn out anything to supposedly help others.But it begs to be asked, “Does it really work?” To put it straight, no it doesn’t work as easily as they read. It then begs to be asked too, “If it’s so easy, why aren’t all of us successful?

There are many nuances when it comes to success. These may be quotes and structured advice too, but I’ve morphed them realistically to hopefully inspire you more.

Here are 7 not so typical tips for your success:

 

1. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

The quote is by Chuck Close and I love how it easily trumps all ideas surrounding inspiration.

I personally think that people rely too much on inspiration. We think that we need inspiration to get started on something, to overcome obstacles or even learn something about ourselves.

Inspiration is all good, but at the end of the day, it’s doing the work itself that makes you accomplish something!

So stop trying so hard to seek inspiration. Stop waiting around for some grand feeling that you think you need to do work.  Just, do the work already.

“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life”. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

2. Passion is not the golden ticket to solve all your problems.

Everybody is talking about the importance of passion today. Apparently, if you want success, you need to love what you do, follow your heart or however you want to call it.

Passion definitely helps to make sense out of your work. It can even make you feel happy more than usual, but it’s not going to solve all your problems.

You’re still going to feel tired. You’re going to worry from time to time. You’re also going to fail and fall hard.

Why? Because that’s just life. The world doesn’t deliver everything to you on a silver platter just because you have passion. If it was so easy, then everybody with passion would be in a thriving, successful business and leading a happy life everyday.

Yes, get passion, but remember that you need to go through the grind too. Everybody does. Toughen up and prepare yourself for the work, especially when things don’t go your way.

 

3. Don’t ask for help. Give it a try yourself because someone out there did it first.

With the internet today, finding the answer is so easy. Everything is a Google search away. If you want to ask for help, you can connect with anybody via social media. If you want a coach or mentor, there’s an entire field to it waiting to bestow its services on you.

But have you stopped to think that you can do it yourself first? Must we all really be held by the hand? Must we always go through some tutorial first?

Think about this, for every invention out there, somebody went out of his or her way to get it done first. They thought of it themselves. They held on to their vision even though nobody knew or cared about it. They literally couldn’t get help on it.

What is stopping you then? Give it a try yourself first. Go in blind. That is being resourceful and independent. You’ll grow from it as you realize how capable you truly are.

 

4. You absolutely must feel fearful, anxious and downright scared to get out of your comfort zone.

We all know we need to get out of our comfort zone. That’s where the magic happens apparently.

But there is a clash of ideas here because of passion. Think about it, we think we need to feel on top of the world in order to know that we can make the right decision. We want to feel inspired, feel like our heart is talking to us or feel like we’re aligned with the universe.

Are you really getting out of your comfort zone that way? Or are you just making excuses?

Popular blogger James Altucher says he only hits publish when he’s scared. He wrote before about how he chooses to be vulnerable in his posts and even wants to BLEED in them. I try to do the same myself, and I noticed I get a bigger reaction when I do.

If you want magic to happen, then start to embrace the fear. Feel scared. Get anxious. Be unsure too. Don’t cower from them. Break through them and just do it. You’ll be surprised what not-so-positive feelings can bring you.

 

5. Stop working. Drop it all and take a break.

Sometimes, you just need to take a break and spare some time for yourself. That is how you get the answers you’re looking for.

It may sound paradoxical, but it’s true. Working too hard and too much may make you feel too disillusioned from the bigger picture. Gordon Ramsay even recommended this in his AMA.

So be willing to take a break. Don’t be scared to go travel, meet people and start asking yourself the some honest questions. The answer will come to you then.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective”. – Doe Zantamata

6. It’s okay to quit.

And hence that overrides the idea of never giving up in whatever it is you do in life. Sometimes, you just have to quit. You have to give up.

The key is to know when you have to stop. Seth Godin calls it “The Dip”.

This will save you a lot of time and effort. It can even save your entire future as you choose to opt out of a field and go into another.

Indeed, when everything is not going right, go left.

 

7. How you do anything is how you do everything.

Would you believe me if I said that the amount of effort you put in to getting a six-pack would also result in financial abundance in your business? Or how about clearing your inbox everyday would ensure less confusion in your relationships with others?

It may sound pretty out there… but it works that way. It’s a positive effect that snowballs all over your life.

It all starts in the mind though. If you would just put in that tiny little effort to give a crap about the tiny little things in all areas of your life, you’ll start to see a change and get the results you want. And it won’t stop as you gain more pride in the things you do.

That is how you create good habits in your life. So you want results? Start small. Take pride in yourself by taking care of every little thing in your life. Soon enough, you’d eventually create many amazing things.

 

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

6 Comments

  1. Rosemarie

    Sep 24, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I like the part when you said that sometimes
    it’s ok to quit. Not really totally giving up but taking chances to take to another options and possibilities. Thank you for sharing your thougts.

  2. Andres

    Aug 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    This is one of the best articles I´ve ever read so far, it really goes to the out of the box way of thinking and in the same time it really takes the hole thing of inspiration and success to the bases: JUST DO IT, what ever it may be, and by doing this you will get all the inspiration that you will need in your daily life. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jim Borek

    Jul 19, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Wow, counterpoints to conventional wisdom………..Thinking out of the box is for winners, leaders and prophets. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jack Luyt

    Jul 13, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Wonderful article, thank you, Alden.

  5. Timo Fischer

    Jul 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Great article as always! And I totally agree with all of them especially 1 and 2 Inspiration is often an excuse for lazy people.

    I think people mistake passion with some magical formular that solves all their problems but it won’t solve anything the grind is still there and you’re not going to love every day just because you like what you are doing sometimes you just get sick of it and don’t want to do anything and that’s when I take my breaks.

    Anyway as I said good article I really enjoyed it.

  6. Marquita Herald

    Jul 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Enjoyed your article and I can especially relate to the point about doing it yourself. I worked as a life and small business coach for a decade and the reality is there are a lot of people who are really hoping that if they ask enough questions and stall long enough you’ll do it for them.

    The one point I do take issue with though is “Inspiration is for amateurs.” Inspiration is the basis for all creativity and innovation. It’s the stuff that provides the spark to new ideas and get’s us going! It provides encouragement and helps to remind us others have experienced the same hardships and challenges – especially for those who are reaching for a goal or dream that others tell them is foolish.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is no question it’s not the whole answer. Action is required to transform inspiration into something meaningful, just as we must take responsibility for the consequences of our actions. My point is that inspiration can serve as a catalyst to tell a new story, to hang on one more day, or to take that next step. More importantly, on the deepest level it serves to connect us to our purpose in this life and even if one isn’t prepared to make that leap from an emotional standpoint, there’s tons of research that indicates this is the stuff that fuels resilience and get’s us up and going. Action alone won’t do that – at least not for very long.

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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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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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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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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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