It is very common for clients walking in my office for the first time to say to me that they feel trapped and they just can’t seem to make the changes they know they want to make. They say they want things to be different but they just don’t see how it is possible. Perhaps, you have found yourself thinking this way as well.
The bottom line is, whether you are aware of it or not, everything you have at this moment required you to follow a series of steps. Getting what you really want is no different. So….
The real question is, on what level can you make a change now? Regardless of the goal, or even if you do not clearly know what the goal is, there is almost always a step that can be taken to start the energy moving in the desired direction. This movement of energy should not be underestimated. It is the beginning — the first steps. Below, there are five steps to get you moving when you are feeling stuck.
First Steps for Getting What You Want
Connect to what you want: Don’t worry about the specifics. Connect to the feeling of what you want, its essence, and how it will feel for you to have it be part of your life. Become as aware as possible of this feeling.
Look for a mismatch: Look for any part of your life that is not in line with this desire. Of course, the more closely related this part of your life is to what you want, the more powerful the action will be. But, anything, and everything, is helpful.
Do it: Take action. The more stuck you feel, the less you should worry about what the action is and the more you should concern yourself with making sure you do something.
Pay attention: Pay close attention while you do it. This is key. In order to make a positive shift in your life, you want to follow the clues. These clues are found in the action itself and the feelings and thoughts connected to it. In other words, the awareness you developed in the first step, when added to an action related to your goal, will result in insights. These insights are clues that will show you the reason the goal has eluded you for so long, as well as present opportunities for change.
Work with your insights to form your next steps. As you become more and more skillful at using this process, you will see more and more possibilities where you previously saw no way out.
I have watched lots of heart-centered people struggle to get their work with their message out there because they are unable to deal with the realities of the financial side of their work. It seems that, when we care a lot, we sometimes try to prove it by making statements about how it is our love, not our pocketbook, that prompts our actions. Somewhere along the line it was as if we were sneakily given the choice of either loving our work or making a profit from it. There are many different ways we can do this; however, each is problematic. And… each can be remedied.
In order to get our messages out into the world, we need resources and skills. These resources come in all shapes and sizes — and one of those is money. Suzanne Evans says it is not that money is the most important thing — it clearly is not — but it touches everything that is important.
In my opinion, those of us who care about making a difference are, in one way or another, trying to create healing in the world. At its most basic level, healing is just the natural flow of energy, in which money is just a medium of exchange. It is a statement of perceived value. There are, of course, other ways to communicate value, but money is one of them.
If our projects do not have money, we will be unable to get them out to as large of an audience — or, at the very worst, we will be unable to continue doing our work. This makes dealing with money a central issue of importance.
My tip for those of you who struggle with money — especially when you’re asking for money for yourself or your services — is to switch mindsets from selling to people to serving people. In other words, if you know you have something that can help others, why would you not let them know it is available to them? You might have heard this language before but have not really understood what it is about. I suggest you spend some time thinking about how you can better serve people by letting them know what you have to offer.
Someone recently sent me an email asking about what he needs to sacrifice to succeed.
“Success,” he wrote, “is said to come with great sacrifice. I’m personally trying to figure out what I can sacrifice, while identifying and pursuing specific goals. Are there identifiable sacrifices that you attribute to your success? Or, more broadly, is there a generic schema for personal sacrifice that is consistent among leaders?”
Though it is true that life is always balanced and if you attain one thing it often comes at the sacrifice of another, the trick is not to focus on the thing you have to give up, but rather the thing you gain. In my case, money was a sacrifice for a while – but I was happy to give up the money to be my own boss. These days it’s social life – I’m not in New York much because I’m on the road a lot. Though some may perceive that I am sacrificing a lot by being away, the balance is, I get to meet so many amazing people that I otherwise would never have met. Not to mention, the work I do is so rewarding.
In both cases, I focused on where I was going without concern to what I would have to give up. Success comes not by trying to find something you’re willing to sacrifice, but by being inspired by the thing you’re pursuing. When you are in pursuit, sacrifice doesn’t feel like sacrifice…it feels like balance.
This is different from working long hours and sacrificing seeing your family or friends, for example, in hope of what will come as a result of the sacrifice. In this case, the hard work is in pursuit of a goal not yet realized. The work itself is not rewarding and the stress is high, but the rationalization is that it is all worth it for the promise (real or false) of what it will bring. What if the promise is never realized? Was it all worth it, then? This really is sacrifice. When you give up something for something that does not bring immediate joy.
There is no sacrifice when the pursuit, the journey, is as rewarding if not more rewarding than the end result. And when you can wake up in the morning and feel successful whether some end goal is realized or not…THAT is true success.
Everything in life starts and ends with relationships. Imagine trying to build wealth without others. Imagine trying to be happy without others. Imagine trying to learn without others.
Our very existence starting from the womb has relied on our relationships to others. But there are no rule books for relationship building. We grow up learning to read and write hoping our connection skills learned on the playground are good enough to get by.
If your wealth, education, love, and even happiness is contingent on others, imagine what would happen if you upgraded the way built and engaged your relationships? Your life would change right in front of your eyes.
I believe there are 7 principles for building meaningful relationships. I’ve noticed these principles show up no matter what. I believe they are universal rules. They apply no matter what culture you’re in, where in the world you may be, or what time in history it is. They’re fundamental for life, love, and business.
The 7 principles are:
#1: Our external relationships are a reflection of our internal relationship
Our experience of life on the outside is a reflection of the internal relationship we have with ourself.
If you operate from scarcity, believe people are out to screw you, and you’re not worthy of receiving, how will your relationships look?
But if you’re abundant, believe people want to help you, and you’re deserving, what will your relationships look like? Meaningful relationships are a reflection of the way we build relationships with ourselves.
This is also why I believe in bringing interpersonal work into business strategy. While the givegive methodology is a business methodology for growing sales through relationships with our clients and partners, the success of these relationships are based on our ability to develop a relationship with ourselves. The interpersonal work is as important, if not much more important than the strategy.
#2: Focus your mindset on giving unconditionally
Have you ever met someone that you felt an instant connection to? And have you ever met someone you disliked right away? What lets you know to like someone and what lets you know to dislike someone?
Every relationship happens in three layers. The first layer is what can be observed on the outside. The second is what is happening in the conscious minds of both people. And third is what is happening in the subconscious minds of both people. It’s in this mind where the subconscious is scanning 2 millions items of information every second for anything that lets them know its unsafe.
When we focus on giving unconditionally, we unconsciously align our body movements, posture, tone of voice, and the words we use with the best interests of the other person.
#3: Serve others how they want to be served
This is an upgrade from the golden rule- “do unto others as you want done unto you”. Instead, it should read, “do unto others as they want done unto them.” While serving others the way we want to be served in theory makes sense, it assumes that others experience what we want in the same way we do. This is in fact not true.
In order to build the life meaningful relationships, you have to commit to identifying what others want, and serve them how they want to be served.
#4: A relationship must be give and receive
Sometimes its really easy to focus on giving unconditionally and serving others the way they want to be served. But it can be really hard to receive.
A relationship is a two way street. With only one person giving and not receiving, it’s not a relationship. When we deny the ability for the other person to give, we deny them principle 2 and 3. Therefore, we have an obligation to receive just as much as we have an obligation to give.
#5: Get on peoples maps (empathize)
It’s easy to assume we understand what others mean when the use the same words that we do. But what their words mean might be completely different that what those same words mean to you.
For example, if someone said, “I’m going to make $150,000 this year.” You might interpret that as being a lot of money, but they may be worrying about how they’re going to pay their bills.
Each person has their own map for how they experience the world and until you can empathize with others from their viewpoint, you are not truly building a relationship (the root word “relate” being a key point).
We don’t know until we focus on learning how the other person experiences the world. This is their map. When you can learn how the other person sees the world through their beliefs about it, you can start to connect in a whole new way.
Everything in life starts and ends with relationships.
#6: Always make others feel safe
So many interactions are unsafe for others. Without safety, the other person can never truly open up and be vulnerable. Imagine trying to hang out with someone that’s afraid they’re in danger. Will they be focused on connecting? Will they present? Will they talk about things that are meaningful? Of course not, they’ll be focused on not dying.
As silly as this might sound, when we feel unsafe, we remain it fight or flight until it the perceived danger is gone. Just like keeping the engine of the car running permanently incase you need to drive away in a hot second. It’s our jobs to focus on ensuring others feel safe, so we can bring them into a place where they will open up and share the most meaningful parts of them. This is where real bonds are formed.
#7: Honor all behavior because it always has an intended positive outcome, no exceptions
This is perhaps the hardest principle to accept but is also the most important. Every single behavior, from the most joyful to the most horrendous, has an intended positive outcome.
There are two main drivers of behavior- pain and pleasure. We humans always make the best available choice at any given time between these two choices. Often, the choices are both painful so we will always take the less painful choice.
For example, why did so many men run out into walls of machine gun fire during D-day in WWII? Because while that was an extremely painful option, not running out and letting down their country or potentially being shot by their commander in the boat was far more painful. While this principle doesn’t excuse hurtful behavior, it allows for you to empathize with others. If they had a better more pleasurable option, they would be making it. But when people do things that are not seen favorably, just remember it’s the best available option to them. If they had a better one, they would have taken it.
This is by far the hardest principle to accept but it’s one that is also the most empowering one of them all. If you can own this and allow it to guide your interactions, you can free yourself from outcomes due to the behavior of others.
Keep these principles top of mind as you interact with others. Your success relies on relationships with your clients, partners, associates, and community. The more you can build and strengthen these relationships, the more abundance you will create both in dollars to your business but also in your experience of life.
reblogged from thegivegive.com
Sounds pretty harsh, right? It would be nice to believe that everyone out there is interested in us like an ideal parent but they really just want to know –in this information laden world—whether they should pay attention.
However, lets turn the tables around and think about how we are to others. Are we only interested in others for what they can give us? Do we show them care and attention just because they are human or do we think of them as tools to fulfill our needs?
I am not just taking about strangers, I am talking about friends and family. If you are like most people you think more about how they can fulfill your needs or give up on your own needs to fulfill theirs. Neither of these is a good option.
Believe it or not teaching this is a foundational element of therapy. Learning to be in real relationship rather than an egocentric one is paramount to our fulfillment. Why? Because we are destined to be disappointed if we really think that the people in our lives are there to meet our needs.
Now you might be saying: This is not me. I don’t do that. But, I bet you do. All of us do sometimes. So what does this behavior look like? Here are some examples:
You can probably see where I am headed. The problem with this way of being is that because our expectations are unreasonable, we end up unhappy. Always being focused on getting our needs met from outside and not figuring out how to be more stable on the inside results in a loss of fulfillment as well as broken relationships.
What can you do about it? This one is not as easily solved as some problems. You really need to commit to doing some deep inner work. The kind of work I do in my LifeWork Retreats where you have the opportunity to dig deep and get guidance on how you can grow.
Challenging ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to increase our quality of life. By doing so, we not only improve as individuals but also enhance the lives of those around us and our communities, as well. You can challenge yourself to:
#1 Grow as an Individual
It all starts with you. The below challenges will all help you grow as a person but there’s even more than that. Engage in self-searching, learn who you are by writing, work on being more genuine, kind, honest, considerate, spontaneous, spiritual, etc. Much of growing as an individual will be related to the Behavior Needs categories.
#2 Attain Awareness, Knowledge and Education
Not expanding your mind is a waste of life. A complacent, inactive mind is a sad thing. Make your mantra “I must seek awareness” and your universe will grow and grow. The more we know the more we realize how little we actually understand. It’s inherently challenging and exciting! With the Internet, the all-time greatest library of knowledge is at your fingertips. Be curious and seek the truth about whatever interests you.
#3 Challenge Yourself to Become Healthier Physically and Mentally
Without health we have nothing. We can challenge ourselves to lose weight, eat better, exercise, get health care and educate ourselves on how to do so. A healthy body yields a healthy spirit.
#4 Build Wealth
Money, money, money. We all want more but without challenging ourselves we are likely to not earn it. Money can’t buy happiness but it can help us rest easier and enjoy life more! Set goals and challenge yourself to make more, save more and have more money, money, money.
#5 Become self sufficient
With the world economy struggling, more and more people depend on others to get by. Let’s face it, it sucks to not be in control of your life. Challenge yourself to take the needed steps to put yourself in a position in which you can be the master of your own domain.
#6 Advance in Your Career
Are you satisfied with your career position? If you answered yes, then good for you! Unfortunately, most of us are not completely happy with our career and would like to make advancements within it. A conscious, well thought out set of goals can challenge us and help us improve our station in life.
#7 Become a Better Friend or Partner
Conventional wisdom says friends, family and health are the most important things in life (I would add ‘awareness’). Having good, real friends is mandatory for being happy, but are we being the best friend we can be? Do we listen enough? Do we reach out to our friends to show them we care? Being a good friend is real work and requires conscious, consistent effort. Challenging ourselves to become a better friend will unquestionably make your life (and your friends lives) more fulfilling.
#8 Seek Inspiration and Be More Creative
All great artists eventually learn one golden rule: you must SEEK inspiration. If Vincent van Gogh waited around for inspiration to strike, we wouldn’t have his incredible body of work to appreciate and he would have been even more unfulfilled. No matter what you do in life, you’re in need of being creative and seeking inspiration is a never ending quest that requires real diligence. Challenging yourself to find ways to become inspired is a must.
#9 Gain New Experiences and Have More Fun
The alarm clock goes off, we get up and go through our daily routines, then return home to finish off our day. Routines are effective but can bog us down into a mundane lifestyle. BORING! The truth is, it’s easy to do the same old thing ~ it can even make us feel safe (a good thing). Why not challenge ourselves to try new things? By dong so we’ll meet new people, learn new things, have more fun and grow as an individual. Heck, we may even be rewarded with new opportunities that may lead to a more fruitful career.
#10 Achieve Happiness and Peace
Happiness and peace are usually the end results of successful challenges, but they can be challenges all on their own. Why not challenge yourself to be more happy and find more peace? This will help you better understand exactly what it is you need to attain these two prized life goals.
Many of us spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy — not to mention money — taking care of our bodies, and trying to keep ourselves looking and feeling our best. But when it comes to the mind, less attention (literally) is paid. Taking care of the mind can come as an afterthought, and often we think of the mind as something outside of our own control.
“Our life is the creation of our mind,” according to Buddhist scripture. Buddhist philosophy developed an entire science of training the unruly mind to help anyone overcome its constant fluctuations to achieve stillness, and eventually, enlightenment.
But even if it’s not enlightenment you’re after, developing a good relationship with your mind is critical to building a life that is successful on your own terms. Here are eight habits of mind to start cultivating right now for less stress, more creativity, less distraction and more enjoyment in life.
Make time for stillness.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and it’s perhaps the single most powerful tool out there for gaining mastery over your mind. The mental health benefits of meditation are virtually endless, from addiction recovery to reduced anxiety and depression to enhanced creativity and improved cognitive function. Meditation can actually increase neuroplasticity, making it possible to literally rewire the brain.
“Meditation research, particularly in the last 10 years or so, has shown to be very promising because it points to an ability of the brain to change and optimize in a way we didn’t know previously was possible,” neuroscience researcher Zoran Josipovic, who has conducted brain-imaging studies on Buddhist monks, told the BBC in 2011.
Pursue meaning over pleasure.
Not all happiness is created equal, and in your own pursuit of joy and bliss, keep in mind that the type of happiness you’re after can make all the difference. A recent UCLA study found that eudaimonic happiness — that which was linked to having a larger purpose or sense of meaning in life — was linked with healthy gene activity, whereas hedonic, or pleasure-seeking, happiness was not. Those who were happy because they had a sense of purpose in life had lower inflammatory gene expression and higher antiviral and antibody gene expression than others.
“Eudaimonic happiness is something you build up over a lifetime,” Shimon Edelman, cognitive psychologist and author of “The Happiness Of Pursuit,” told The Huffington Post. “In a sense, it’s a great consolation for older people — it’s nice to know that on that component, people can get more and more happy as they age if they led good lives.”
Read, read, read.
Consider reading your mind’s daily greens. Simply reading a book can lower stress levels, help you sleep better, keep your brain sharp, and also stave off Alzheimer’s.
But before you turn to your Kindle, take note: Reading on screens may drain more mental resources and make it harder to remember what we’ve read after we’re done, as compared to reading on paper, according to Scientific American.
“Whether they realize it or not, people often approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper,” according to the article.
Let it be.
Sweating the small stuff is one of the most toxic things you can do to your mind — not only can it take over your thoughts, but dwelling on what’s beyond your control has been shown to be a contributing factor in the development of depression.
You know that unfinished project that’s been nagging at you? Try just letting it go. According to Arianna Huffington, a great way to complete a project is by dropping it. Huffington recently explained at a Women in Business event in Toronto: “One of my favorite sayings is ‘100 per cent is a breeze, 99 per cent is a bitch’… That doesn’t mean ignoring my other needs, but it means when I’m in it, I’m really in it. And that means often saying no to good things, to things that you might want to do, but get in the way of sleep, or get in the way of being with your children, or whatever it is that’s also very important to you. Just have a conversation with yourself and say these projects are done, over, and then you have energy for the things you’re really going to commit yourself to.”
Flex your memory muscle.
Thanks to technology, we’re taking in more information than ever before, but we’re also losing our ability to retain that information. A recent poll found that millennials are even more forgetful than seniors, due, at least in part, to their reliance on technology.
Keeping your memory sharp requires some time and attention — but your brain will thank you for it. Certain cognitive tricks and exercises can significantly boost your powers of memory, and make sure that you hold on to those things you never want to forget.
Unplug and recharge.
Constant digital distractions can take a toll on the mind — over-reliance on technology has been linked with increased stress levels, reduced focus and productivity, stunted creativity and poor sleep quality. And Internet addiction is increasingly being recognized as a very real psychological problem.
Many of us never take a break from our devices, even when we’re supposed to be relaxing (nearly 60 percent of Americans stay plugged in to work while they’re on vacation). But allotting yourself some tech-free time could make you more focused, less stressed, and happier. “[A digital detox] is almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul,” Cisco executive Padmasree Warrior told the New York Times. “It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to e-mails later.”
Let your mind wander.
In addition to boosting creativity (and being a generally enjoyable activity), daydreaming can actually make you smarter. According to NYU psychologist Scott Kaufman’s theory of personal intelligence, mind-wandering is an adaptive trait that helps us to achieve personally meaningful goals, and it helps us to access spontaneous forms of cognition like insight, intuition and the triggering of memories and stored information.
Kaufman recently wrote in Scientific American that mind-wandering can offer significant personal rewards: These rewards include self- awareness, creative incubation, improvisation and evaluation, memory consolidation, autobiographical planning, goal driven thought, future planning, retrieval of deeply personal memories, reflective consideration of the meaning of events and experiences, simulating the perspective of another person, evaluating the implications of self and others’ emotional reactions, moral reasoning, and reflective compassion… From this personal perspective, it is much easier to understand why people are drawn to mind wandering and willing to invest nearly 50 percent of their waking hours engaged in it.
Linger on the positive.
Want to wire your brain for happiness? You can start by savoring those tiny moments of joy in your day, whether it’s the smell of fresh coffee or a smile from a loved one. Lingering on these positive moments can help to overcome the brain’s “negativity bias,” which causes us to store negative memories in our brains more easily (and strongly) than positive memories.
“[Lingering on the positive] improves the encoding of passing mental states into lasting neural traits,” “Hardwiring Happiness” author Rick Hanson recently told the Huffington Post. “That’s the key here: we’re trying to get the good stuff into us. And that means turning our passing positive experiences into lasting emotional memories.”
Build daily rituals.
Habit is one of the most effective ways to make any positive change in your life. By developing habits, good behaviors that may have once required a feat of willpower to put into action become automatic — which is why they can also be so difficult to break.
“For the things that you decide matter… the only way to ensure that things that aren’t urgent but are important happen is to build rituals,” The Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz told the Huffington Post. “Build highly specific behaviors that you do at precise times over and over again until you don’t have to use energy to get yourself to do it anymore — until it becomes as automatic as brushing your teeth at night.”
reblogged from the Huffington Post
Caring requires the willingness to feel pain. I am not being morose or dramatic. It is a plain fact that we do not like to talk about and a big reason why we try to care less. The more we care the more we risk our comfort –that is if we call denial comfortable.
The willingness to persist in the face of the this healthy pain that will occur inevitably in the course of our caring and continually figure out how to care more is a signpost of true adulthood. And really becoming less apathetic is about becoming a healthy whole adult.
Unfortunately, most of us have not been clued in to this important truth. We learn to withdraw when we feel the pain rather than open and move forward.
Our lives get smaller.
Our fulfillment wanes.
Before we know it we are sleep walking through our life. Then what happens? Maybe nothing, just the tragedy of wasted life. Or maybe something something big shakes us awake. Like the death of someone close to us or a serious illness and all of a sudden we realize what’s truly important. We start really caring because of the recognition that we don’t have very much time or might not have very much time. And now, it’s in our face that if we don’t start leaning into life we might never have a chance to do it.
There is only one solution to this predicament. We need to stop numbly staying our comfort zone and figure out what is important to us. We need to be willing to care about what is important to us and let nothing get in the way of our caring.
Without any further ado and in their own words, here are some of the biggest mistakes and lessons learned from 13 successful entrepreneurs.
1. “We wasted $1,000,000 on a company that never launched”
Hiten Shah, Co-Founder at KISSmetrics
My co-founder and I spent $1,000,000 on a web hosting company that never launched. We were perfectionist so we built the best thing we could without even understanding what our customers cared about. We have now learned to spend smart, optimize for learning and focus on customer delight.
Hiten has since co-founded two wildly successful analytics companies with KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg
2. “We built the website first and asked our customers about it later”
Robin Chase, Co-Founder of Zipcar
Get to your customers as fast as possible & learn from them to build your product. With my second company, GoLoco – social online ridesharing – we spent too much money on the website and software before engaging with our first customers. This meant that part of our learning was undoing our first guesses.
Robin is the Founder and CEO of Buzzcar and also the founder and former CEO of Zipcar
3. “One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made at Moz was to build “big bang” projects”
Rand Fishkin – CEO of Moz and Co-Founder of Inbound.org
One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made at Moz was to repeatedly build “big bang” projects that required many months of development time without much visibility into progress. It’s sad because it actually worked a number of times, before we fell flat on our faces with a recent project that started in Q4 of 2011, was initially supposed to roll out in July of 2012, and has now been delayed until (fingers crossed) September of 2013. Missing something you budget and plan for by more than a year is really bad news in the startup world.
Don’t be like us – use agile development, have lots of visibility into progress, and keep your team accountable to each other.
Rand Fishkin is the CEO of Moz and co-founder of Inbound.org
4. “I started too late. I toiled in a job I hated for a long time.”
Leo Babauta – Best-selling author
I started too late – because of fear of failure or a lack of belief in myself. I toiled in a job I hated for a long time, instead of starting a blog or building a business I loved.
Knowing what I know now, I’d have started a decade earlier. Not starting is the worst-case scenario.
Leo Babauta is a best-selling author and an entrepreneur
5. “I tried to do it all by myself”
Leo Laporte – Founder of the TWiT network
My biggest mistake was trying to do it all myself. As a founder I felt like I knew everything I needed to know about media, content, even the technology involved to reach my audience. And I did. I just didn’t know anything at all about making a viable business: finance, marketing, advertising, and human resources.
After a few years of rapid growth my company had stalled out, and I was spending more time fighting fires than I was doing the stuff I loved (and that made us money).
Hiring a business partner then giving her full scope to do her job felt a little like giving up my company but it was a vital step toward success.
Leo Laporte is the founder of the TWiT network and host of The Tech Guy and This Week in Tech
6. “If you’re not 100% excited, say no”
Tim Ferriss – NYT Best-selling author of 3 books
Committing to too many ‘cool’ opportunities and projects. I think it’s important, as Derek Sivers (founder of CDBaby) would say, to either say ‘Hell, yes!’ or a flat ‘no’ to things. They should be definitive and binary.
If you’re not 100% excited, it should be a decline. ‘Kinda cool’ will fill up your calendar and leave you wondering where the last year – or 10 – went.
Tim Ferriss is the best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek and an entrepreneur
7. “I’ve let growth exceed my own ability to fund my business”
Michael Hyatt – NYT best-selling author
In 1992, I made the mistake of borrowing money to fund my growing company. Unfortunately, I did not understand the difference between rapid growth (like cancer) and healthy growth (normal cellular reproduction).
Eventually, our growth consumed our capital and the business failed. I learned an important lesson: Never let growth exceed my own ability to fund it. If I am tempted to seek outside funding, it is a sign of a flawed business model.
Michael Hyatt is the New York Times Best-selling author of Platform and also a serial entrepreneur
8. “Spreading myself too thinly over too many projects”
Neil Patel – Co-Founder of KISSmetrics
One of the biggest lessons I learned was not to spread myself too thin. Like other entrepreneurs I love trying to do multiple things at once.
But once I learned to focus all of my time and energy into one business, I was able to make it grow faster than all of my previous businesses.
Neil Patel co-founded KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg
9. “I built a product without understanding the market or the users”
Sandi MacPherson – Editor-in-Chief, Quibb
Last year, I spent 6 months building a product I wouldn’t use very often, in a market I wasn’t familiar with, for users I didn’t understand – big mistake.
It made it extremely difficult to figure out why things were or weren’t working, and I ended up creating a product that no one wanted. I could never become the product expert, which is what every founder/CEO needs to be.
Sandi MacPherson is the Editor-in-Chief of Quibb
10. “I made the big mistake of being a ‘parallel entrepreneur’”
Dharmesh Shah – Co-Founder and CTO of HubSpot
Here’s my biggest mistake: After having bootstrapped a reasonably successful software company ($10M+ in revenue) I mistakenly thought—Hey, I’ve got a team in place, the company doesn’t really need me, and I’m sort of bored and want to do something new. So, I made the big mistake of being a “parallel entrepreneur”. Trying to head up two different startups at the same time.
This was a huge mistake at many different levels. Turns out, startups are an all-consuming thing. You can’t be all-consumed by two companies at the same time – it just doesn’t work. My original startup team (the team I had recruited personally) felt abandoned. My new startup (the one I angel-funded) didn’t feel enough pressure to find product market fit and get revenues.
So, my advice: Don’t do what I did. Don’t ever, ever, ever try to ride two horses at the same time. It does’t work, and you’re going both a disservice. Even with complete, total focus, most startups fail – to divide interests across them basically guarantees failure.
Dharmesh Shah is a Co-Founder and CTO at HubSpot
11. “Protect your company culture”
Derek Sivers – Founder of CD Baby
Protect your internal culture, no matter what. Once it turns nasty, it never goes back. Fire a rotten apple immediately. Note from Belle: Derek wrote a great blog post about this which expands on how he felt after having issues with his company’s culture. Here’s a little snippet: I cut two chapters out of my book because they were too nasty. They vented all the awful details about how my terrible employees staged a mutiny to try to get rid of me, and corrupted the culture of the company into a festering pool of entitlement, focused only on their benefits instead of our clients.
Afterwards, I spent a few years still mad at those evil brats for what they did. So, like anyone feeling victimized and wronged, I needed to vent – to tell my side of the story. Or so I thought. So do you want to know the real reason I cut those chapters? I realized it was all my fault. I let the culture of the company get corrupted. I ignored problems instead of nipping them in the bud.
Derek Sivers is a best-selling author and entrepreneur
12. “I put myself before Facebook, it cost me $100,000,000″
Noah Kagan – Chief Sumo, AppSumo
When I got fired from Facebook, it was my entire life. My social circle, my validation, my identity and everything was tied to this company. As the company grew, I wasn’t able to adapt. One of the reasons why was that I was selfish.I wanted attention, I put myself before Facebook. I hosted events at the office, published things on this blog to get attention and used the brand more than I added to it.
Lesson learned: The BEST way to get famous is make amazing stuff. That’s it. Not blogging, networking, etc.
Noah Kagan is Chief Sumo of AppSumo
13. “People really are everything in business”
Jesse Jacobs – Founder, Samovar Tea Lounge
One thing I’ve learned over 12 years running Samovar Tea Lounge is the importance of having the right people on your team.
It’s worth the extra effort to find the right investors, employees, and vendors who believe in your company’s mission and passionately desire to contribute to it – not just those who want to punch the clock or get their share of profits. People really are everything in business, and the people you align yourself with will either buoy you up or weigh you down.
Jesse founded Samovar Tea Lounges with the mission to enrich people’s lives
reblogged from The Buffer Blog a blog about: productivity, life hacks, writing, user experience, customer happiness and business.
When Steve Blank appeared on the cover of Wired magazine 19 years ago, his company then, Rocket Science Games, was expected to revolutionize the videogame industry. At the time, Blank didn’t let the skepticism of critics faze him.
“I thought I was a genius,” he says. Three months later, when he called his mother to let her know he was about to lose $35 million in investor funding, he wasn’t feeling quite so genius anymore.
“I had lots of choices, including that I could have quit,” he says. “Learning from that failure for me was one of the best experiences of my life.” And learn he did. In 1996, Blank founded the startup E.piphany, which went on to earn $1 billion for each of its investors.
In the past 10 years, says Blank, the culture around entrepreneurship has become increasingly failure-friendly. Serial entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley hop from one failed business to the next and billionaire entrepreneurs like Richard Branson wax on publicly about their failures almost as much as their successes. Still, “no one likes to fail,” says Blank. “We are hardwired for success.”
But what if you could actually use failure to help you succeed? Here are five keys to start failing your way to success:
1. Call failure something else.
When was the last time anyone got hired for a senior-level position without any experience? For serial entrepreneurs, “experience” is simply another word for “failure,” says Blank. By labeling a failed effort an opportunity to expand your knowledge base, you’re framing it in a more positive light, allowing yourself to add to your credibility as a more seasoned entrepreneur.
2. Use failure as a stepping stone.
With every failure, identify what you know you did wrong and be conscious not to repeat your mistakes. This will bring you one step closer to success, says Steve Siebold, a Palm Beach, Fla.-based consultant who works with corporations and entrepreneurs on mental toughness and critical thinking.
“I’ve never heard [a millionaire entrepreneur] say they hit it right the first time out,” says Siebold, whose book How Rich People Think (London House Press, 2010) is a culmination of nearly three decades of interviews. “The bigger they are, the more they’ve typically failed.”
3. Never fail alone.
Entrepreneurs like to be trailblazers. But make a mistake on your own and you might have a hard time determining what went wrong. Having a partner you trust and respect can turn every failure into an opportunity for collaboration. “A good partner can help you determine what not to do again,” says Karl Baehr, director of business and entrepreneurial studies at Emerson College, a private four-year college in Boston focused on communication and the arts.
4. Don’t hide your failures.
Be proud that you were brave enough to take a risk in the first place. By being forthright about your mistakes, you open yourself up to learning from others.
Baehr’s mentor, Walter Hailey, whose insurance company Lone Star Life Insurance went on to become a Kmart insurance company, used to take an hour-long walk at 5 a.m. every morning with a group of close friends to talk about ideas, successes and failures. “By the time they got back to the house, they had solutions,” says Baehr. “They had a plan for the day.”
5. Redefine what you want.
Revisit and refocus why you got into business in the first place. “Look for your emotional motivators. We are emotional creatures. Logic doesn’t motivate us,” says Siebold, who launched five consecutive unsuccessful businesses before he started his current consulting company. For Siebold, that motivator was one day becoming a millionaire, a goal he achieved at age 31. “Most people only half-heartedly decide they want a lot of things. You have to get really clear on what you want,” he says. “The question is: How badly do [you] want it?”