The 10 Most-Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned After 5 years of Intense Personal Growth
Over the past several years, I've had conversations with thousands of entrepreneurs at all points along the spectrum of success. From people with just a hint of an idea to successful multi-millionaires.
During this time, I have learned so much about dedication, perseverance, surrounding yourself with the right people, and staying focused on the goal. Some of the lessons I've learned were about making money. Other lessons were about following your passion and having fun. and across multiple conversations
But over the past few years and across multiple conversations, there have been certain themes that have come up time and time again. These principles have woven themselves through relationships, projects, successes and failures, and the keep coming up.
Luckily I've written about some of them. Others have come in the form of a podcast interview or a coaching or mastermind call.
So, I wanted to put all of my favorite lessons into one resource so that you can learn, as I have, about what it takes to make it. Though I'm a long way from achieving my goals, I've come a long way toward achieving them. As the saying goes,
I didn't come this far to only go this far!
So if you've got a way to go on your own journey, I hope you'll check out some of my favorite lessons learned.
The Most-Valuable Lessons I've Learned After 5 years of Intense Personal Growth
Guard Your Network
Successful people surround themselves with the right kinds of people. They also eliminate the wrong kinds of people from their circles so those people don't have a negative influence.
Building a strong network is much about subtraction as it is addition. Protect your mind and be aware of who has influence over it. Guard your network and learn the 7 Types of People Successful People Avoid.
Be a Self-Motivator
No one will tell you to get started. The people who are already successful are off doing the things that made (and continue to make) them successful, and everyone else is too paralyzed by fear to offer motivating advice.
In Are You Driving Through Life With Your Foot on the Brake?, I share a dream I had about sitting on the side of the road, waiting for someone to tell me to take my foot off of what was holding me back. You have to motivate yourself if you're ever going to get anything done.
Know Your Audience
One of the reasons companies fail is that they try to reach too broad of an audience and end up diluting their message to the point of inefficacy. Don't try to reach everyone. Know your audience, talk to them, serve them, and forget everyone else. When you know your audience you can make a powerful impact and make a difference.
In Finding Your Avatar: 4 Steps to Identify Your Ideal Audience, I share what I think might be my best downloadable resource to date. Download it and use it every time you create something new or launch a new product.
Make a Real, Lasting Impact
When I launched my 30 Day Blog Transformation Course (It's totally FREE by the way), I didn't quite realize how many people would say they wanted to “motivate” people. I get it, no one wants to be the glass-half-full, “Debby Downer” of the group, but being a motivator and an encourager doesn't really make much of a real, lasting difference.
Stop Saying You Want to “Motivate” People and Help Them. Help your clients solve problems, today. Teach your followers how to improve their situation, today. Don't wait around for something that might not happen, make a difference today.
Motivation is cheap. Results are the name of the game.
You've Got to Play If You Want to Win
In the last chapter of my book, Exit Strategy, I talk about taking a punch. So many people are too afraid to step into the ring because they're worried about getting hit. However, you can't win if you don't play!
When you fight you will get hit. You will take punishment, rejection, heartache, and headache. Here's an excerpt from Exit Strategy,
But one thing every fighter must face when they step into the ring is the fact that they’re going to have to take a punch. No matter how good or well prepared they are, they know they’re going to get hit.
As you start, build and grow your business, you too will get hit. Maybe your punch will come from a friend or a loved one who is unwilling to support you. Maybe it will come from a bank that denies a loan at a critical juncture. And maybe your hardest hit will come from the self-doubt that accompanies doing anything difficult and worth doing.
You will get hit. You will have to take a punch.
Remember, if you're not willing to risk getting knocked down and roughed up, you can't win.
Real Pros Show Up, Every Day
There's a wonderful book out there by Steven Pressfield called, The War of Art. If you have yet to read it, you must. I promise you won't be let down.
One of the key messages of Pressfield's book is that real professionals show up every day. Every freakin' day.
If you wait around until you “feel like it,” or, if you don't act because “it's just not the right time,” then you're not really serious about your success. Or about getting things done for that matter.
Don’t Wait for Your Muse. Don't wait for inspiration or motivation. Show up. Put in the work. And the results will follow.
It's funny (sad, not ha ha) how many people believe they can think or plan their way to success. Like backseat drivers or armchair quarterbacks, they sit there and judge and plan and predict and say stupid things like, “oh, that won't be a problem” or “that'll be easy.”
Let me share two quotes that have changed my viewpoint when it comes to getting started:
You can't steal second with your foot on first.
You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Don't be one of those people I see who talks about doing something but, in reality, does nothing. Real Pros Do the Work. Stop Waiting; Show up; Start Doing.
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I make excuses all the time. I'll convince myself that path A is “easier” than path B, but in reality it's me making an excuse to be lazy. I tell myself, “Oh, I'll do it later” knowing, at least in part, that I won't.
We tell ourselves we're not ready. We need better equipment. We're not good enough. We need to learn a little bit more. We don't have the right connections. We haven't made enough money. The political climate is up in the air so I'll wait.
All lies and excuses that are keeping us from doing what we were born to do. Stop Making Excuses.
You don't have to be a writer to start a blog. But blogs are a great way to share information, establish your expertise on a given topic, and share a behind the scenes look into your business.
Tell stories. Solve problems. And teach what you know.
My business wouldn't exist if I hadn't started a blog back in 2012. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't started my podcast in 2013. So many great things have come from giving things away for free.
Whats more, I've been on the receiving end of so many wonderful things given for free. One of my favorite quotes from Exit Strategy is from John Lee Dumas who said,
Get better at the basics and teach them. If you're not going to teach someone for free, someone else will.
We all learn from someone, and we tend to know, like and trust the people who teach us. If you want to be successful, give freely. If you want to build a business, blogging is a great way to give, and here are 3 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Blog.
The Best Advice is the Advice You Use
Experts, sages, teachers and successful people can talk til they're blue in the face, but if their words don't change us, their advice has fallen on deaf ears.
The odds are you know all of this already. You know you need to be self-motivating, that you need to get rid of that friend who's holding you back, and you know you've got to play if you want to win.
The real question is: What are you going to do with what you know?
Over to you: What the most valuable lesson you've learned, or the best advice you've ever received?