Jason Grill shares a short list of the most important lessons for any successful entrepreneur, businessperson or aspiring leader.
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is how many interesting people you meet and learn from on a daily basis. Recently, I interviewed Roshann Parris on my radio show, who shared her list of “Ten Things I Know For Sure.” The list is amazing, simple and applicable, and I felt it needed to be shared. When it comes to success in business, sometimes it isn’t the technical skills that matter most, but the lessons learned that help drive a strong work ethic and build relationships. Here is Roshann Parris’ list, along with my own personal spin relating to entrepreneurship, life, business and building relationships:
- “All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten.” Remember in kindergarten when your teacher told you to share everything and play nice? They told us to clean up our messes, wash our hands and not touch everything. Well, these are lessons we can use in business too. At the end of the day, it’s always best to hold hands, work together and treat others like you would want to be treated. Don’t burn bridges, be fair and respectful in the workplace, and if you do something wrong, make it right. Going forward with collaboration and as a strong team always leads to more success.
- Never give up (you’re only four questions away from getting the answer you want). If you’re feeling defeated and not getting what you want in business or in personal relationships, it can sometimes be due to lack of communication. Persistence is the essence of business and entrepreneurship. When you come to a roadblock, don’t give up. Find a way around it, or a way to better communicate your thoughts to make things work.
- Surround yourself with people who give you energy. How much better is life when you have upbeat and positive people surrounding you? A lot. In business, we want to present ourselves in a way that is our best. No one wants to show a lesser version of what they’re capable of day to day. If you surround yourself with people who give you energy and are driven and passionate, less mediocrity will happen. It will rub off on you and your colleagues or employees.
- If you lose your cool, you also lose your leverage. There is a tipping point or an edge-of-a-cliff moment in working relationships. If you lose your cool, it will hurt. Find the best ways to not let certain things get to you. If more of us took a step back, I think we would behave differently in tough situations.
- If you have to draw a line in the sand, make it count. This is hard for me. I’ve always been a meet-in-the-middle kind of guy. I like to compromise and find solutions to problems. However, sometimes the “other side” won’t budge in business. If you believe in doing things your way versus their way, you sometimes have to draw a line in the sand. Sometimes you have to say you’re committed and stand your ground.
- Surprise people by giving them more than what they asked for. Go above and beyond every day in business if you can. If we all tried to live life by giving more, good things would happen more often. You would be happier. Everyone would be happier. Make people want to continue working with you because they can’t afford to go elsewhere. Do more than what is asked of you.
- People don’t forget feelings. Maya Angelou was spot on. You might have the right product, the best idea or the highest skills, but if you don’t have a strong relationship or the attention of the person you’re working with or pitching to, you’re in trouble. You want someone at the table with you who says, “I like you and I want to buy what you’re selling.” They might not know how they can use it or what it is it exactly you’re doing, but that doesn’t matter if they want to work with you. Relationships are all about how you make someone feel. They have so much to do with the nature of business and long-term success.
- Be prepared to climb out on a limb. This is about risk-taking. Ask yourself if you are ready to roll the dice today. Entrepreneurs and business leaders do it every day. You’re capable of doing something good with them no matter where they fall. We have to be willing to climb out on a limb sometimes to see where new business opportunities lie. Challenging yourself to take risks will make you a more well-rounded individual.
- “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” These well-said words are by John Wooden. Every day, we should get out of bed thinking about what we can do to help someone who can never repay us. It’s a hard thing to do. But if you keep this notion in mind, good things will happen. Go live a perfect day.
- Dorothy was right. There is no place like home. America is a great place to do business. We are privileged to live and work in this country. Collaborate with your community and continue to grow great businesses that will change generations to come.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image credit: CC by Michael Pollack