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These millionaires and advisors in The Oracles have had some super-smart mentors; so we asked them for the best advice they’ve ever received. Here’s what they told us — and how it led to their success.
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“You’ll never succeed without me”
The best (and worst) advice I ever received came in the form of an insult from my long-term boyfriend and business partner. He dumped me for my secretary, and said this to me as he was leaving. I knew I would rather die than let him see me fail! His sage advice made me more determined to become a big success, and I worked harder than ever to prove him wrong.
An insult is advice in reverse — and almost always proves to be the best advice you’ll ever hear.
“Become an expert at something”
Ever since my college professor gave me this advice, I’ve applied it to almost everything I do. Personally, I focus on being an expert at leadership, entrepreneurship, product innovation and parenting. Professionally, I created Bluemercury to be the experts at beauty advice.
To make that happen, we needed the most knowledgeable staff in the industry. When we started the business in 1999, most industry employees were only given part-time work — and none during the low season.
So we asked ourselves: What if we gave our staff full-time work, benefits, leadership and management training, and a career path? Industry veterans said this would never work, but we did it anyway.
As a result, we retained our employees’ expertise, customer relationships and loyalty. Our people are still the key to our success today.
“Would you rather be a 30-year-old Navy SEAL or a 30-year-old CPA?”
When I was 24, I was a CPA and MBA student who wanted to become a Navy SEAL. But I wondered: Could I throw it all away for a dangerous career?
The Navy required a six-year commitment even if I wasn’t accepted into the SEALs — which is notoriously difficult. When I shared those concerns with my mentor, Jeff Schafer, he asked how old I would be at the end of the commitment. Then he asked: “Would you rather be a 30-year-old Navy SEAL or a 30-year-old CPA? Because either way, you’ll still be 30 in six years.” With that perspective, I went for it and had a long career as a SEAL.
No matter how long it takes to reach your goal — or how scary and difficult it seems — that time will pass anyway.
Would you rather have regrets or know you gave it your best shot?
Related: 9 Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal the Biggest Startup Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
“All events in your life are neutral until you label them.”
During my recovery from a near-death cycling accident, I struggled with many “life isn’t fair” moments. Instead of feeling grateful to be alive, I was bitter and angry.
At 33 years old, I thought I was at the prime of my life and worried who I would become after I recovered. When I unloaded my frustrations on a mentor, he told me, “All events in your life are neutral until you label them. Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.”
This shifted my perspective and showed me the possibilities. Even though things looked dark and difficult, I had a choice. I could be a victim or use the opportunity to create a better version of myself and inspire others.
That advice helped me reach the corporate executive suite and now helps me inspire other corporate leaders to shift their perspectives and see the possibilities.
— Michael O’Brien, executive business coach, author of “Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows,” and founder of Peloton Coaching and Consulting and The Pace Line Leadership Academy; read Michael’s story and connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn.
“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.”
I was in my late 20s and had started a new role as a supervising producer at Getty Images when my friend and mentor, Dave Adelson, gave me this advice.
Up to that point, I often had difficulty sharing the workload and tackled most tasks by myself. It wasn’t that I enjoyed taking on so much, but I didn’t always trust others to perform tasks as well as I would. Dave taught me that while you may be able to accomplish success by yourself for a while, it’s essential to delegate to reliable team members if you’re in it for the long term.
To truly achieve personal and professional growth, you must share the responsibility with others you can trust, which is what we’ve done at Manly Bands.
“Do the best job you can at everything you do. The result is not your responsibility.”
The man who said these words founded the entrepreneurship school at my college, which is where I first heard this advice. But it took me a while to truly understand and appreciate it. First, I had to experience many successes — and, more importantly, failures.
All you can do is your best. It doesn’t matter if something in the world changes. Someone may take your job, a competitor may come out with a better product, or someone may wrong you. Beating yourself up because things didn’t turn out like you wanted won’t help.
Learn from the experience, focus on what you can control, do your best in everything you do, and don’t worry about the results. Eventually, you’ll create a great life.
“Be patient and persistent.”
My uncle taught me the importance of persistence and patience. My day trading career required both of these qualities. Everyone thinks they’re going to become a millionaire after a weekend course, but trading is a skill you have to develop. It took me several years to achieve consistency.
Similarly, it took time for my travel blog, WanderingTrader, to gain traction. When Google’s algorithm changed and its popularity took a nosedive, I asked my uncle if I should quit. He told me to stick with it, so I did. At its peak, it was one of the most popular travel blogs in the world. Too often we look for immediate results, but anything of value takes time.
As they say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“The best products and businesses exist to reduce friction.”
Serial entrepreneur Dave Perry gave me this simple advice, and it changed the way I look at business and technology. Modern life is increasingly complex, driven by much of the technology we engage with daily. Dave’s words remind me to look for ways to counteract that. Deliberately seek out what’s causing friction for your customers and improve it. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary.
Make their lives easier, and they’ll love you for it.
— Luke Freiler, CEO and co-founder of Centercode, a Customer Validation solutions provider that helps hundreds of enterprises and high-growth tech companies bring dynamic and delightful products to market; connect with Luke on LinkedIn.
“There is abundance for everyone. You just need to dive in and grab it.”
Several years ago, I felt lost about how to reach my goals. My boss at the time inspired me; while she was busy and successful, she was also carefree and had everything under control.
We were discussing climbing the corporate ladder as a woman, and she said something like, “There is abundance out there for everyone. They just need to dive in and grab it!” That made me realize that I could find abundance, too.
Today, as our company is becoming successful, I know that I don’t have to feel guilty about it — because there is opportunity for everyone.
“If you have time and energy for the work you’re meant to do, there’s no such thing as ‘too much.’”
When I was 29 years old, business was going really well. I was making more money than I ever dreamed, but my relationships and quality of life suffered, and I had stopped all my hobbies.
I knew something had to change; so I sought answers at an event called Mastermind Talks, where I befriended Dandapani, an entrepreneur, Hindu priest, and former monk. I asked him: “Things are going pretty well, but how do I know how much is too much?” He told me there is no single answer, and as long as I had time and energy to do the work I’m meant to do, there is no such thing as “too much” money or a company that’s “too big.”
But the minute this takes away from what energizes me, it’s too much. After that conversation, I taught myself when to say yes and how to say no confidently.
— Jonathan Goodman, founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center and the first-ever certification for online fitness training, the Online Trainer Academy; connect with Jonathan on Facebook and Instagram.
“Stay the course.”
My mentor, the bestselling author Dr. George C. Fraser, said these words to me when I had just decided to become an entrepreneur. Three words in three seconds and my understanding instantly expanded. Over the past 12 years, I’ve helped 7,500 students create $260 million in revenue, and this is the one consistent piece of wisdom that I pass down to them.
When you’re new to entrepreneurship, three things can quickly and easily knock you off your path: Doing business alone, without mentorship and coaching. Doing business alone, without mastermind partners and collaborations. And finally, doing business with shiny-object syndrome, where you let every new idea that blows through your market throw you off your goals. Stay the course. Stay on course.
Embrace an unwavering commitment to your North Star and your definition of purpose and success.
— Allyson Byrd, top sales trainer, who generated $13 million-plus in sales revenue for clients in 2018; Amazon bestselling author of “Leave Your Mark” and founder of The Church of Profit Acceleration; connect with Allyson on Instagram and Facebook.
Originally published on USAToday.com. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.
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