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Success Advice

How I Changed My Environment So That I Could Reach Success

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Change Your Environment To Reach Success and achieve success

Editors note: I received this great and inspiring story from Sheldon Scipio earlier today, and found that it embodies the truths of how most people become successful in their life.

Successful people are aware that at some point, if they wish to reach success then they needed to shake things up a little and change their environment to take it to the next level. They adjust the sails, follow their compass or take the better lane as they are approaching “that fork stuck in the road”. Sheldon shares the crucial moments and the decisions that he made while he was chasing his dreams of a better life, and how important it is to position yourself in a better environment for success.

Enjoy! – Joel Brown | CEO & Founder of Addicted2Success

 

 

Changing Your Environment To Reach Success

 

“I wanted to grow, not that I did not have a good job, I was now a member of Senior staff, I travelled, I had a small staff report to me, a car, benefits. I represented the company at International Conferences, where I learned lots. But during these Conferences my mind was opened from meeting all these former and present entrepreneurs and leaders, they fuelled my hunger with their stories:

A mind once expanded with knowledge cannot return to its former way of thinking

I found myself seeking new opportunities within the company, and getting cut short at each turn, but I didn’t give up, I expanded within my limits till I was stuck, nowhere to go.

Then, one day I got a casual call for a problem one of my junior staff couldn’t fix, but, it was after hours. I did the usual and started sorting the customer out. Suddenly the customer complained of the time, and asked could we continue tomorrow, I said no problem (tomorrow would take us into the weekend). He agreed to call me when he was set.

The next day at about noon the call came, we had a friendly chat until I solved the problem, It lasted the lunch hour or so. We spoke about my Family, Me, what I had done in life etc. When I solved his problem, he told me his business partner was experiencing a similar issue, could he let him call me this weekend also. I agreed.

Sunday at around 1PM his partner called, the call was similar, relaxing chit-chat etc, problem solved, by that time the call had gone to first name basis. and he invited, or rather demanded that I meet them for a drink after working hours on Tuesday. I agreed that we would confirm at noon Tuesday.

Tuesday, We all met at a popular hangout spot for the more affluent. I was introduced to a few businessmen that I knew from seeing them in the news. We sat had a few drinks, then these men explained the weekend to me. They had been looking to recruit someone to become and Executive, who works beyond the call, had the right attitude, understood the importance of building relationships and conversation, and had a burning ambition, they chose me. If I said “Yes” they would teach me to be an Executive, a Businessman, If I chose “No’ I could now choose from 2 options, get up and leave, or stay around them spend some time and learn, maybe I would change my mind. (I could not afford to hangout with these guys, this place is too pricey even for my salary). I chose to seize the opportunity after I was fully explained the risk.

The risk was “leave your job and help us build this opportunity”, and if it works you will be at the top of the game, if it fails, you will lose everything, except the experience and our friendship. It failed and I lost exactly almost everything, I did gain an insatiable hunger, and invaluable experience, I felt like I completed a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship, Thinking Big, Leadership and Execution.

The old job was there, I turned it down, I started building my own Company, I wanted to be an enhanced version of these same guys. I kept rubbing shoulders with them 3 times weekly.

One day I looked back and realized that everything changed, my perspective, goals, desires, speech, decisions, friends. My optimism was now permanent, my dress (I bought less party clothing), I ate better food, and less food, I stopped going to many parties, and chose carefully what events I attended, I read more books, I began to think, act and behave like one of them, a CEO/Business Owner. Life felt enriched. My older friends treated me a different respect. Most importantly I became more humble, respectful, open-minded and charged to go every single morning, while attracting International business opportunities and friends.

It came full circle when my first venture needed the services of one of these impeccable gentlemen, and over a drink, we arranged for me to meet his CEO. When I arrived that morning, the way I was greeted was my first instalment into my new world, I led the discussion and terms were accepted and agreed upon. We went out for a drink to celebrate the partnership. My friends were there, I secretly asked if they engineered the deal behind the scene, the answer was “No”. They said it was all me, and they saw no need to help, since they admire how I handle myself, and that they consider me as “One of the Boys”. We don’t hangout every week anymore, but once monthly we connect, sometimes laugh at my growth, and praise and encourage each other along our separate ventures, share trade secrets and tips.

The change was natural, and such an important part of the process to my Success. I now own or partly own 2 International Companies, and lead all group negotiations. My hunger, passion, goals grow with the more I learn. I slipped a couple of times, I look around and see that like in the story of Peter walking on water, I took my eyes off the prize, and strayed mentally into the wrong environment, and quickly adjust my GPS.

Many lessons were learned, many more to learn, success is a journey, I am enjoying mine. I did learn that most important to my success was the people I spent time with, I started reading, speaking, thinking like them, and they were all Successful International Businessmen, I learned that if you focus on your goals and commit to them, the Universe will bring you the right people to help you manifest your vision!”

 

And remember this:

Positive Change Picture Quote

 

Sheldon Scipio is Chairman and CEO of Mercuri Caribbean Ltd, and COO of the Kizuna Group. He has been a speaker on mobile banking throughout the Caribbean. He is now in the process of expanding Mercuri Caribbean Ltd through a partnership with the BWEDC forming the brand “Pro To Go” in the NFL, NBA and MLB becoming the first Caribbean company to have contracts in professional sports in the US as well as having exclusive rights with the NFL players association and the Spanish company named Naturae.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Career Sidekick

    Nov 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Truly inspiring. “success is a journey” pretty much sums it up. You don’t know where each decision will take you, but by following your ambitions you can find success and passion in your work and life.

  2. R

    Sep 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Sir, thank you for sharing this encouraging story. Many years ago, I met a wise man who conveyed to me that the key to success is to surround yourself with good people. This story is a testament to this truism and to that “good” man I met 36 years ago–1SG JL Crisp.

  3. Courtney

    Sep 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    This was awesome!! Really motivated me to continue to push my business to the next level

  4. Jonathan Brantley

    Sep 6, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Oh man! Thanks for this inspirational story. Not only do I learn so much from stories like this one, but my passion & desire to achieve my goals is magnified a million times over!

    Mr. Sheldon Scipio, your testimony makes it easier for me to take that initial step towards making necessary changes in my life. Not “easy”, but “easier”. Thanks again!

    • mcaribbean

      Sep 8, 2013 at 12:30 am

      You are Welcome Sir

      • goal

        Sep 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        Overwhelming story!well done

  5. kiki

    Aug 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    This really inspired me

  6. Zanyar Sharifi

    Aug 23, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Wow what a great story! He worked hard (even at the weekend), took risks, spend time with the right people to become as they are, failed but learned a lot of it, didn’t go back to the old job and most important he enjoyed the journey. These are so-called “secrets” to success!

  7. Bonnie Hayslett

    Aug 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

    I love your quote,” a mind expanded by knowledge cannot return to it’s former way of thinking.” I had that happen to me this past year when I took an online course in nutrition. I can’t go back to my former ways, my only choice is forward.

  8. Boris

    Aug 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Fantastic article… Great story, thx for sharing it with us.

  9. Nasrullah

    Aug 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    its a great story, and thank you for sharing this!!

  10. Nicolas

    Aug 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    It’s a very inspirational story, thanks for sharing this!

    • sedikia

      Aug 10, 2013 at 12:18 am

      il est difficile pour moi.

  11. Chloé

    Aug 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Great read and very inspirational! I am at the start of my entrepreneur journey and your artical is encouraging. Thank you!

  12. MpumiNtombela

    Aug 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Great article and I agree wholeheartedly! What I’ve observed is that while we are in our ‘comfort’ zone with secure jobs, benefits etc, there’s a side of life we do not get to experience. But once you decide to leave the your comfort zone and start living your dreams and following your passions a whole new world unfolds.
    I identify completely with losing everything, when I decided to leave my job in pursuit of my dream in the beginning of last year I also lost everything. But I guess that is the price we have to pay in order to realise our dreams.
    I haven’t broken through yet, but slowly but surely I’m getting there. And although things are tough at the moment, going back is not an option!
    Stay blessed!

  13. Kevin

    Aug 7, 2013 at 5:56 am

    This is really inspirational, the best read so far. Thank you for this Sheldon, a story that captures a lot of ingredients of success.

  14. sedikia

    Aug 7, 2013 at 2:41 am

    tout les jours c,est pareille et pas de chance pour toute ma vie

  15. sedikia

    Aug 7, 2013 at 2:36 am

    un succée en quoi tout est sombre

  16. Ndyebo Grootboom

    Aug 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Inspirational Sheldon,trust you pass it on and share that Doctorate in Entrepreneurship with others.

    • mcaribbean

      Sep 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

      My goal with my writing is to inspire others, I am happy you found it inspiring. Have a Blessed journey in this Life.

  17. Patrice

    Aug 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    LOVE THIS!!! I recently located from Detroit to Chicago to reach the level of success I see for myself. I don’t recommend everyone to relocate tomorrow. But I will say that I agree with this author that in order to have success, you must surround yourself with those who are successful. Thanks for sharing your experience! Extremely motivational!

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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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