It’s September. School just started again, yet I won’t be going back this fall (gasp!!!). Instead, I’m taking a year off from school in order to take control of my own education, and will be documenting all of my experiences on a new blog I just launched called The Gap Year Experiment.
With no curriculum to follow, and a world full of opportunities now available at my fingertips, I had to decide what things were most important to learn. What are the skills, experiences, and habits I could create during my “gap year experiment” that would help me get the most out of the next 365 days of my life?
To answer that, I asked some of my mentors, friends, and role models to give me their 1-3 sentence responses to the following question:
Knowing what you do now, if you could have taught yourself and/or done one thing at
18 years old to create a better foundation for your future success, what would it have been and why? The responses have been incredible! Business celebrities like Tony Hsieh, the Founder of UGG Australia, and the Founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as a variety of professional athletes, New York Times bestselling authors, professors, entrepreneurs, and creative types, all chimed in with words of wisdom, and their collective insights will become my curriculum over the course of this next year as I take on various experiments designed to instill in me these same lessons I’ve been advised to learn.
These lessons, as I quickly came to realize, were too valuable for me to keep to myself, so without further adieu, here is what I learned.
SUCCESS IN BUSINESS
1) “When I was 18, I was full of dreams, energy and excitement. I couldn’t wait to graduate and start making money. I saw an Opportunity to go into business with my brothers and I seized it! I Worked hard and Never gave up. Years later, I started reading and filling my mind with ideas and Inspiration. It changed my life and my career took off! If you are just starting out don’t wait. Time is your most precious resource. Invest it. Use it well. Start now!” – Peter van Stralen, CEO of Sunshine Brands
2) “Be unapologetically true yourself, both in business and in life, and broadcast who you are to the world. The right people will eventually find you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
3) If I had been focused on my future, I may never have had this one. If I had been focused on foundations, I may never have built one. If I had been focused on success, I may never have achieved it. You have to do what you love because you love it and not for any other reason. And so I have nothing to teach my eighteen-year old self because it’s my eighteen-year-old self that my present-day self should be learning from.” – Neil Strauss, NYT Bestselling Author
4) “By eighteen, I had worked four summers on the construction crew of my dad’s company, held after school jobs in gas stations. I also cleaned a bakery, and after leaving high school worked on a road-building crew to make the streets for a new subdivision in my home town. Without a doubt it was the diversity of the people that I met during this time that expanded my view towards becoming an entrepreneur, versus following the typical University-to-life career path of my friends. I narrowly avoided joining a bank in a coastal town so I could surf every day, when the local grocery store owner took me aside and said, ‘You have so much you can do with your life, so get out and explore.’
So, looking back I would not wish to have changed anything. Traveling was the most critical step in me seeing opportunity, especially the fact that nobody in America owned sheepskin boots, while the product was everywhere in Australia, which ultimately led to UGGs.” – Brian Smith, Founder of UGG Australia, Author and Speaker
5) “To create a better foundation for success, I would have welcomed the advice of working with a mentor sooner. I was quite independent early in my career (few female mentors were available), thinking that dependence on others and asking questions were a sign of weakness, as was failure. Instead over time, I learned that I didn’t have to go it alone. The goal of a mentor is to shorten our learning curve. Failure wasn’t an option early on; now it is the only option. Fail Faster, Succeed
Sooner, is part of my philosophy. The power of relationships, particularly of a mentor and a mastermind, means that I can ask for the help and expertise of others to move forward more quickly.” – Dr. Cheryl Lentz, The Academic Entrepreneur
6) “The best foundation is built on someone else’s mistakes. Find a mentor about 10- 15 years older and grab onto their wisdom. Competition is too stiff to allow for many mistakes of your own!” – Bud Moeller, Former Partner at Accenture and Professional Race Car Driver
7) “Though it can be tough, force yourself to be in situations where you feel like the dumbest person in the room. Constantly surround yourself with people smarter than you, but don’t allow it to intimidate you; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn.” – Nick Arnett, Summit Community Development Manager for the Thiel Foundation
8) “If I could have done one thing at 18 to better my foundation for success, I would have become an apprentice. I would have spent a lot of time reflecting on areas that fired me up, and then I would have found those who were absolutely CRUSHING it in these fields. I would rank them sequentially, and then reach out to them individually describing in detail how I could ADD VALUE to their lives in exchange for learning from them. Would I get a lot of no’s? YES. Would I keep persevering until I found a mentor? YES. What you put out in the universe becomes a magnet…and this magnet would result in a powerful mentor to guide me through my late teens, early 20’s.” – John Lee Dumas, Founder of EntrepreneurOnFire
ON BUILDING SKILLS
9) I would have taught myself more programming languages. At 18, I had dabbled in computer science a little bit and could build a blog, but that was about it. If I could go back and teach myself anything, it’d be more programming languages. There’s something incredibly powerful about being able to sit down at a computer and prototype an idea in a weekend without having to call upon your “techie” friends to help you.” – Stacey Ferreira, CEO of AdMoar, Co-Founder of 2 Billion Under 20
10) “If I could have taught myself one thing, it would have been how to get over my early fear of cold calling and cold approaching individuals I don’t know. So many of The Muse’s biggest successes are due to cold outreach, and I wish I’d forced myself to get comfortable with this a lot sooner!” – Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse
11) “I would have started writing sooner than I did. Oh, sure, I wrote the occasional article. Today I write weekly, if not even more often. I focus on customer service and experience, and as a result have written hundreds of articles, with minimal repetition. My ideas are generated from the books I read (about one every two weeks) and the dozens of articles I read, or at least look at, weekly. This keeps my mind sharp, at the top of my game, and on the cutting edge of new information, and the amount of writing I do now positions me as an expert and thought leader in my area of expertise.” – Shep Hyken, customer service expert and NYT bestselling business author
12) “When I was 18 I wish I would have known and understood the power of email marketing. Yeah, that sounds drab and boring, but the email algorithm doesn’t change. If people opt-in to your email list, they want your content and they’ll get it in their (sacred) inboxes. Social media is great, but when you have zero control over when things change on those platforms, being able to reach followers and Likes can become impossible.” – Jason Surfrapp, Author of Creativity for Sale, Founder of IWearYourShirt.com
13) “Genius Networking and Marketing. Those are the two capabilities that create a foundation of future success better than anything I’ve learned about. Marketing is the way to positively impact millions (even billions) of people, and Genius Networking is the way to get in front of those people.” – Joe Polish, Founder of the Genius Network
14) “I would have studied how to be better at sales because it is one of the most important skills for business and life. I would have also written down short term and long term goals for myself both personal and professional so that I could have had better direction and focus.” – Nick Friedman, President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk
15) “It comes down to the work. If you want to do something and someone is outworking you…if you fail, then it is pretty much your fault…If you’re working harder than everyone else, than your chances of succeeding are so high!” – Com Mirza, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, and Author
16) “The difference between successful people and everyone else is what they do daily. Developing productive habits and working them every day, over time will always lead to success. At 18, I would have asked myself, ‘What are 3 things you can do daily that will bring you closer to your goals?'” – Kyle Fogg, Professional Basketball Player and Former Guard for the University of Arizona
17) “Well, I am not 18 yet, so I don’t know. So I will go back to 14 year old Jacob. I would tell 14 year old Jacob not to focus on achieving a grade in a class but rather to focus on understanding the concepts behind the grade. It is not the end result, but the process that matters.” – Jacob Barnett, World’s Youngest Astrophysicist
18) “There is a difference between wanting something and it being non-negotiable. When shit hits the fan, you’ll find excuses for the former, but the latter will get done. Choose your non-negotiable consciously, for they will be rooted in pleasure and pain avoidance if you don’t.” – Connor Grooms, Founder of One Month Master
19) “I always had a thirst for knowledge. If I knew at age 18 what I know now, I would have listened more carefully.” – Ron Klein, Inventor of the Magnetic Strip Credit Card Validity Checking System
20) “I would have taken the time to learn how to listen earlier. Learning about non-
violent communication and how to take feedback has been integral to both my personal happiness and professional success.” – Dale J. Stephens, Founder of UnCollege
21) A commitment to lifelong physical health. It’s something that everybody talks about all the time (not just pro athletes), but so few of us give consistent effort to maintaining it. I remember the moment it hit home for me was when I came across a quote from the Dalai Lama on humanity: he said that what puzzled him most about mankind is that ‘we sacrifice so much of our health in the pursuit of money, only to later spend so much of our money to try and recuperate our health.’ So true.” – Collete Davis, Professional Race Car Driver and Co-Founder of TechDrive
22) “When I was 18, I was a pretty angry kid. If I knew about meditation back then as I do now, I would have been able to train the mind to stay in the present moment and not let the outside environment cause me any difficulty. Meditation has taught me how to bring an intense level of concentration, focus, and passion to my work, while at the same time being able appreciate all the beauty in the world.” – Jeffrey Zlotnik, Founder of The Meditation Initiative
23) “I wish I’d focused more on creating habits and processes that made *the moment* better, rather than working for future outcomes. There were so many times when I punished my body — all-nighters, drugs, sitting and staring at screens all day — in the name of “tomorrow.” If I’d pulled my head up and actually worked in the moment, I would have preserved my body and sanity (and still achieved all those goals). I also would have been more bold. No apologies, no holding back.” – Charlie Hoehn, Keynote Speaker, Author of Play It Away, and Marketing Expert
24) “I wish I would have focused more on developing self-awareness in all areas of my life ranging from the activities that excited me to what worked and what didn’t. One of the things I realized over the years, is that the first step to improvement is awareness, which requires listening! Only then can we find a better path.” – Scott Britton, Founder of Life-Long Learner and The Competitive Edge Podcast
25) “I really believe that knowing one’s self can help you with everything in life, from how to achieve your own personal goals to working and communicating with others. I’ve found that understanding my Enneagram Type and also my Personal Insight Inventory from InColor Insight has helped me develop a foundation for improving my relationships and achieving my goals.” – Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of KISSMetrics
26) “What I would tell my younger self is that everything always works out. No matter what decision you make, everything always works out. No matter what direction you take, everything always works out. You may not know it at the time, but each and every time you look back, you will know in your heart that it’s true.” – Kym McNicholas, Emmy Award-Winning TV Personality and Executive Director, Extreme Tech Challenge
27) “I would have taken a one-year deferral on going to Columbia University, and asked my uncles whether I could go live with them and work in one of their new companies in New York or California. I had extended family doing really interesting things in venture capital and artificial intelligence, but I just never thought about capitalizing on those family connections and learning what I could about business and real life. If I’d have done that, I could have entered college with more maturity, ambition, and perspective.” – Dr. Geoffrey Miller, Associate Professor at The University of New Mexico
28) “I would have taken statistics in college, had more sex, and married rich. (In that order.)” – Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org
29) “I would tell myself to embrace learning as the gateway to your possibilities. Mindfully pursue all forms of learning – both formal and informal – as a life-long journey and document your insights along the way. Take time to reflect on your life’s vision and purpose and pivot and reinvent yourself as needed to realize your aspirations.” – Sophie Vlessing, Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation at Kaplan
30) “Base your life on integrity, character and accountability. Your destiny is what YOU make it. Live each day with courage. Take pride in your work. Always finish what you start. Do what has to be done. Be tough when you have to, but be fair. When you make a promise, keep it. Remember that some things aren’t for sale. Learn from your mistakes. When you’re wrong, admit it and move on.” – Frank Shankwitz, Founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and RippleEffect.org
31) “The teaching most beautifully taught to me by my friend and mentor Annie Lalla-Pagan is that falling in love and doing whatever it takes to stay there is the surest path to self actualization/enlightenment. If I were to teach my 18 yr old self anything, it would be specifically to take the path of gratitude and intimacy.” – Anthony David Adams, Co-Founder of PRMatch.com
32) “Much of my success has been the result of surrounding myself with good people-many of whom I met simply by asking if they’d get a cup of coffee with me. I wish I’d started asking at 18 rather than 22!” – Megan Gebhart, Author of 52 Cups of Coffee
33) “As Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones has shared…’We are the same today as we will be in five years except for the people we meet and the books we read.’ Surround yourself with winners and you’ll become one too. Place positive and encouraging information in our minds and again, we absorb that wisdom.” – Greg S. Reid, NYT Bestselling Author and World-Renowned Speaker
34) “At 55 years of age, having spent most of my working life in the spotlight, whether in front of a camera, on film sets, or on stage, most people find it hard to believe that I was once very shy. It was hard for me to connect with others and it didn’t really seem to matter at the time. After I started working as a entrepreneur in my late 30’s, I realized just how important the creation of relationships (whether with family, friends or in a working environment) would be. I would let me 18 year old self know just how important healthy, close-knit, and sharing relationships are for your mental and emotional well-being.” – Clarissa Burt, Clarissa Burt International
35) “If I could have taught myself one thing at eighteen years old to create a better foundation for my future success, it would have been to put myself out there and make as many connections to people as possible. The more connections and good impressions made, the more job offers and opportunities you receive. I would have also taught myself not to just make these connections, but to attempt to sustain them as well.” – Mariah Spears, Top 20 Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Season 10
36) “Personally, I would have loved to learn the art of psychic income (when you do things for other people as a gift with no thought of return) and relationship-building before 18 so I could leverage relationships with mentors who would have changed my life earlier. I would have loved to have read Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich and all of Earl Nightingale’s trainings as well.” – Patrick Carney, The Artiste
38) “When it comes to relationship-building…1) Love yourself. 2) Forgive yourself (and others). 3) Focus on what you want out of your partner, not what you don’t want, and frame it as though you have it NOW. Everything is energy, and you get what you focus on. 4) If you have a relationship that ends or one that you were hopeful about that ended up not lasting, don’t let your disappointment get the best of you. 5) Learn about trust, commitment, and surrender. 6) Give all you have. 7) Receive all that is given. 8) Have lots of great sex! If you don’t yet know how, figure it out!!!” – Ben Rode, Co-Founder of Explosive Sexual Healing
39) “Early in adult life, many of us expect to find “the one” life partner that will instinctively address our desires and comfort our sorrows..Such soul mates are like unicorns, almost real, difficult to encounter, impossible to capture. Sometimes brief moments in a loving relationship can be most impactful among our lifetime of experiences. The quality of a relationship can’t be measured by how long it lasts; relationship quality is measured by loving intensity in melding of souls, if even for a touch, glance, or a moment. That moment can impact our whole lifetime. After 17, I learned a truth: love, life, and relationships are moments.” – Reese Jones, Venture Strategist, Associate Founder at Singularity University
40) “When I was 18, I was a poor kid from Pittsburgh heading to Yale, not feeling I fit in even before I arrived. I was ashamed of my background and felt others wouldn’t accept me for who I was. I would have coached me in the following ways: 1) Take a couple people into your confidence who you feel you can trust and share deeply with and let them ‘have your back.’ 2) Put a relationship action plan together and don’t forget your peers…spend more time earning the respect and building the long term relationships with the exceptional people who will grow up with you to change the world. 3) Learn how to love. You spent your young life looking for sex and trophies who you thought helped you feel good about yourself. Make intimacy a priority and if that means preserving yourself, your time, and your sexuality for those you love and waiting till you figure that out, that’s OK. 4) Spend more time getting to know your dad and being open with him. You are not going to have him much longer.” – Keith Ferrazzi, NYT Bestselling Author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back?, and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight
41) “My only regrets in life, both professionally and personally, is when I was not loyal or truthful to the people who helped me along the way. If I had done what was taught to me as a child throughout my life, things would have gone much easier.” – Bill Allen, Author of My Rad Career and Hollywood Actor
42) “All things considered, I couldn’t ask for a better experience in my 36 years. But we are living in a globalized era, despite the fact that many people never see beyond their corner of the world. At 18 again, I would travel and immerse myself in as many cultures as possible so that I could understand people and economies more fully later in life” – Ted Alling, Partner at Lamp Post Group
43) “I would have asked my 18-year-old self about lessons to teach my 13-year-old self, and then followed them. One would have been that it’s more important to be respected than liked. Another would be to do fewer magic tricks, because some people think magicians are creepy.” – Adam M. Grant, Ph.D. Wharton Professor and author of Give and Take
44) “When I was 18, I was busy learning a variety of skills, some of which ended up being helpful while others ended up being useless. This is fairly normal, I think. But in addition to learning skills, I also felt pretty unconfident and insecure about a lot of things. So if I could have go back and teach myself something, I don’t think it would be a specific skill; it would be more of a pep talk. I’d say, ‘Hey, 18-year-old self, keep working on stuff. Someday you’ll make something that matters to people. It’s okay if you get frustrated, but don’t hate yourself and don’t be unkind to others just because you don’t always see the path that lies ahead.’ Oh, I might also bring myself back a fake ID from the future. It would have made a few other things easier.” – Chris Guillebeau, NYT Bestselling Author and Founder of The Art of Non-Conformity
45) “I would have told myself to embrace fear. Fear isn’t always a sign of danger; sometimes it’s an internal reminder that you’re lacking a skill or knowledge that you need. The most powerful, inspirational people learn to use it as fuel rather than letting it restrain them or cause them to want to limit the success of others. I’m inspired by people who seize the alarm that fear provides and refuse to let it stop them from growing, learning, and standing for the things in which they believe.” – Seth Rogin, Chief Revenue Officer of Mashable
46) “Having made a wealth of mistakes in my life, it is interesting that you ask about what I would tell myself at 18 because what I did at 18 was the smartest thing I ever did and would unequivocally recommend it to any 18-year old. I spent two years living in Argentina as a volunteer for my church. While not everyone feels a connection to a faith, I would encourage everyone to spend a year or two at that age volunteering for a cause you believe in. Nothing will build a stronger foundation for your future than the growth you’ll make devoting yourself to serving others.” – Devin Thorpe, Champion of Social Good
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I feel so fortunate to have shared these amazing individuals’ words of advice with you, and, as previously mentioned, this collective modern-day “foundation for success” will become my curriculum as I embark on The Gap Year Experiment. Head on over to the newly launched site to receive more words of advice and follow the ultimate learning journey I am undergoing in order to help you take control of your own education.
Thank you, and cheers to your success!
(BONUS POINTS: “Comment” below with your favorite lessons from above, and share your thoughts after hearing what Tony Hsieh, the Founder of UGGs, pro athletes, and others have to say about establishing a foundation for future success!)
3 Areas You Should Focus on to Become a Great Leader
Having listened to all of our stakeholders and being fully aware of the situation, spring is a good time to conduct a quarterly review to see exactly where we are in order. This helps us have a clear starting point to re-adjust our goals for the coming year.
One of the main problems tends to be that we look back at the things we haven’t done and where we didn’t get the results we intended. Because of this, we get ourselves in a state of anxiety which is hardly a resourceful state for setting positive goals.
A better approach is to be nice to ourselves. Have a look back over the last three months and check all the things you have achieved. Give yourself a treat for all of the things you planned to achieve and did. They may be something as simple as maintaining a to-do list or smiling more.
Afterwards, think of all the things you achieved which weren’t planned and congratulate yourself on your flexibility and creativity; for the person with the greatest flexibility of behaviour controls the outcomes.
For those results that weren’t as you intended, remind yourself that we all make the correct choice at the time we make it. We don’t deliberately make the wrong choices and whatever the outcome, there’s always a positive intention. There’s no failure, only feedback, and we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.
“Be good to yourself. Listen to your body, to your heart. We’re very hard on ourselves, and we’re always feeling like we’re not doing enough. It’s a terribly hard job.” – Marcia Wallace
Look to yourself
It is vital, especially for sole proprietors or owner/managers, to manage themselves in order to be fit, healthy, and relatively happy. Evidence points to a clear relationship between our moods and assorted aspects of job performance such as decision-making, creativity, teamwork, negotiation and leadership.
While success may put us in a good mood, an organisation that sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, stands a better chance in these difficult times.
Depressed individuals will always see the glass as half-empty and even rapidly emptying. This attitude saps energy and leaves those affected feeling worthless, helpless, and hopeless. In its worst case, depression can impair the ability to communicate and it’s not hard to see the organisational parallels.
Below are three elements within all of us that need to be taken care of:
1. Your mind
The key to a healthy mind is variety, so take an interest in other people, things, events and current affairs. Adopting an open and curious mindset allows us to see future possibilities and hence be more empowered.
2. Your body
A healthy body requires a solid routine. Ensure you eat and drink healthy products (especially water) and get plenty of rest and exercise. Knowing our own limitations and taking action to stay within them ensures we operate at our best.
3. Your spirit
Much has been written about feeding or maintaining the spirit but I believe there is one simple rule. Believe in something that is true to you and spend time each day with your true beliefs. Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm and is as needful to the imagination as friends are to our character.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton
Beyond individual performance, there are broader issues at stake. None of us are islands, happy in our own little depressed world. Moods, good or bad, are infectious and some people or positions can have a greater ripple effect than others. If a shy apprentice has a gloomy outlook, few may notice. But if people like the owner/manager are wandering around looking like the end of the world is coming, that can directly affect team spirit.
Water bearer or well poisoner
So what can the organisation do? Firstly, as individuals, we must show a positive and upbeat demeanor. That’s not easy and faking it will easily be spotted as the deception will be transparent. This isn’t unauthentic, but merely an attempt to empower ourselves.
Congruent leadership offers the means to put into words what it is you are experiencing with the person in order so your behaviour is consistent with your own values and beliefs such that you always appear to be what you desire to be.
Your mood as a leader then is highly contagious. Even though leaders or opinion formers aren’t always in leadership positions, they’re at the centre of informal networks. They have charisma and magnetism, possess strong opinions, and express them forcefully. Therefore, they have considerable social power and can have a direct effect on morale by being a water bearer or well poisoner. Which are you today?
What resonated most with you about this article and leadership? Share your thoughts below!
The 6 Step Process for Delivering Critical Feedback in a Constructive Way
We have all been in the position where we knew we needed to have a difficult conversation at work that involved delivering constructive feedback. Maybe a major deadline was missed, there was a clear decline in performance, or someone blatantly dropped the ball. Most of us avoid delivering the feedback, and the conversation can get pushed back again and again, wasting valuable time and money.
Delivering constructive feedback is challenging, and uncomfortable for most people, even highly trained leaders. Yet, delivering and accepting feedback is one of the most important keys for success. So why do we avoid these conversations? Because we never learned how to have them.
Open, honest, direct communication is not a skill we are taught in school. There is no “How to Have Tough Conversations” 101. As a clinical psychologist that specializes in couples work, I see just how important communication is in maintaining thriving relationships. I understand that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship; both intimate relationships and your work relationships.
Below is a 6-step guide to providing constructive feedback:
Step 1: Clarity on the Goal of the Conversation
The first step is to get clear on the goal of the feedback conversation. Are you planning to see a change in performance, simply communicate how you felt, or receive an apology? Get clear on what you are hoping to get out of the conversation. Be honest with yourself about what you need, what is most helpful to the relationship, and what is most helpful to the organization. Getting clear on the goal also ensures you are speaking with the right person.
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk
Step 2: Invitation
Set up a time to talk. Feedback conversations are not meant to be had in the hallway. It is important that both parties can set aside adequate time and have the space needed for dialogue. Additionally, there must be respect for both parties’ need for time to process information. For example, if you are delivering feedback, and the receiver needs time to process the feedback before responding, setting up a subsequent meeting will be most helpful.
Step 3: Ownership
Own the role you played in creating the situation. When you model ownership of blind spots, failures, or missteps, you set the stage for the receiver to do the same. For example, you may acknowledge that you were not aware of how to support your employee and not aware of the problem until x situation occurred. Equally important as owning your role, is owning your emotions. Own your emotions using “I” statements. For example, “I felt disappointed when I realized your sales performance had substantially declined”.
Step 4: Open, Honest, Direct Feedback
Feedback that dances around the problem does not do anyone any good. It only increases anxiety on behalf of the receiver, and potentially causes the feedback to get totally lost. The conversation needs to be open, honest, and direct. For example: “I felt concerned when you did not attend the last two strategy calls this month…It brought up questions for me about your commitment to the company.”
Step 5: Listen, Validate and Accept
When providing feedback, it is important both parties maintain an open mind, and respond in a way that communicates validation and acceptance. As soon as an individual gets defensive, feedback cannot be taken in, and the value of the conversation dramatically decreases. When providing feedback it is important to listen, validate, and accept your receiver’s viewpoint. Notice, I did not say agree. This looks something like saying: “I can see why X led you to commit Y , I understand you were under a great deal of stress/dealing with a personal situation/frustrated.”
Step 6: A Clear Plan for Moving Forward
In providing feedback, the magic is that now things can change! If feedback is never given, relationships end, things will stay the same, businesses will die, and money will be lost. If you have gotten to this step, that means you did the hard work, and now you get to put change into action. A clear plan includes an acknowledgement from both parties regarding what they will do differently to prevent the situation from occurring again, and how they will stay accountable in making the change happen.
The good news about delivering feedback is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, giving and receiving feedback is one of the most surefire ways to open yourself up to massive growth.
As a giver of feedback, it is your job to model openness and a desire for growth, so that the receiver may take in the feedback and make the necessary changes. Exceling at feedback delivery will help you set you apart from others and enable you to achieve extraordinary relationships, in both your personal and work lives.
Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show
Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.
What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.
1. Perceived Expertise
When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.
They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.
2. Global Acknowledgement
One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.
The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.
“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Backed By Numbers
One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.
The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?
4. Effective Communication
While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.
Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!
5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche
There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.
Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:
When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?
The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.
2. Listen to those around you
While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.
You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.
On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.
Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.
Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.
4. Creativity and imagination
If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.
Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
5. Continuous learning
If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.
Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.
The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.
No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.
What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!
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