Mistakes are meant to be made

People and companies will go to great lengths to avoid mistakes. Why? This is not possible. And only if they would stop wasting their time.

Mistakes are made and they just happen…to everyone. Whether you like it or not, people are going to make mistakes. The more you try to avoid them, the more they just seem to happen. Instead of living in fear of making mistakes – or trying to create an environment where they don’t happen, live where you embrace them seeking new insights and opportunities.

The next time you make a mistake, don’t quick move on acting like no one noticed, put it out there in the open for everyone to see, talk about it, explore it, ask tough questions  – why, what, how?

Mistakes are meant to be made and not hidden.

I’ve always found that the mistakes in my life have taken me to new places where I never thought possible.

People who have achieved great things in their life were able to take what some might have called mistakes, accidents, or obstacles and turn them into golden opportunities.

Successful people take what they have and they figure it out, they overcome, and they roll with it. For them, it is not about wasting time trying to avoid, but about achieving their goal and not letting anything stand in the way of that.

Now go make mistakes and be ok with it….it happens.

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What mistakes have you made?

 

Balancing fear and confidence to pursue big ass ideas

Do you have a big ass idea that scares the livin’ shit our of you? Good. That’s a start. If your idea doesn’t scare the shit out of you then it probably sucks or it’s not worth pursuing. The fear is normal.

Any entrepreneur that says he’s not afraid is a liar.

Now, if you have a passion for a big idea, it scares the shit out of you, and you’ve been impregnated with it, you should give yourself the permission to pursue it. That is, if you are ok with failure. If you’re not, then you should let someone else who’s ok with failure go after it. You, you should sit on the sideline and watch.

Pursuing big ideas is scary business. It’s terrifying. And it should be. That’s what makes it fun. Anything not terrifying is just a walk in the park. Anyone can walk in the park.

One of the keys to pursuing big ass ideas is balancing complete fear of jumping of a cliff with complete confidence that you will land safely. The fear allows you to be in touch with it, and the confidence allows you to take it on. You need both to succeed.

This was a big turning point for me as an entrepreneur. Once I found that balance – and I was able to admit my fear, it became much easier to go after big ideas over and over again.

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How about you? 

How are you doing with balancing fear and confidence?

 

Do work you love

The last few months of working on several startup projects with passionate entrepreneurs has caused me to think about this idea of work. And, how do you find work that you love to do so much that you would do it even if you didn’t get paid? Entrepreneurs, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

This whole process began when I started working on an old project that I quickly became super passionate about again. I was able to answer the question why am I doing this? The why that sometimes gets clouded with the what and how was clearer than ever before – I love building stuff and things: products, teams, companies, and anything that inspires me to take action.

Are you trying to figure out what kind of work you love to do? Does it feel like a struggle? If so, it should. However, don’t lose hope because what you love to do just might be right around the corner.

Finding work that you love is a struggle for…everyone. I’ve struggled with this, my friends have struggled with this, and pretty much everyone I know struggles with this at some point in their life. In fact, most people fail miserably at this.

Nevertheless, if you at least have a destination in sight, you’re more likely to arrive at a place in which work feels more like something you love than work.

Work has to start with a mindset of knowing that you can love work. If you’re able to do this, you are in the homestretch. And, if you can figure out what work you love, you’re more or less there.

 

Be a pig not a chicken

Every startup, project, party, meeting, they all involve pigs and chickens – people fully committed and willing to do whatever it takes, and people who just want to be involved.

Here’s a great fable that I read this week: 

A pig and a chicken are walking down the road. The chicken turns to the pig and says, “We should open a restaurant.”

“Good idea. What should we call it?” the pig replies.

“Ham and Eggs!” says the chicken.

The pig thinks for a second and replies, “In that case, never mind. It sounds like I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”

Here’s the deal, if you’re having a hard time distinguishing the pigs from the chickens, then you have no pigs. And, without any pigs, you’re done for.

Never get involved in anything without at least one pig. For me, I go for all pigs and until everyone is fully committed and on board, we don’t move forward.

A project needs everyone to be all in or it’s just not worth pursing.

When the going gets tough, the pigs keep on going. And, the chickens, they turn around like “chickens” and run the other way.

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What are you? A pig or a chicken?

 

 

Becoming a better entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are insane, they take huge risks, put everything on the line – all for the sake of doing what they love – starting and building companies. To be an entrepreneur you have to be confident and know what it takes to make it happen – I love saying that! You can’t let anything stand in your way of getting things done…nothing.

And, these same traits that are necessary to be a great entrepreneur might also be holding you back from becoming even more than you thought you could be.

Let’s take a look at what might be holding you back and see what we can do to push you to be better.

You

You need to wake up each morning and look seriously in the mirror. The one who is going to hold you back is you. The first person you need to learn to lead is yourself. And, if you can’t lead yourself, how do you expect to cast vision and lead a team. You can’t. Look in the mirror every morning and get yourself in check.

A level entrepreneurs attract an A level team

If you think you are the shining star and you don’t need anyone else, then you suck. You deserve to have you ass beat and thrown out into the streets. Great entrepreneurs know that they need to surround themselves with the best and brightest team. The better the team the better the outcome.

Over the years I’ve built both A level teams and B and C level teams. Let’s just say the B and C level teams taught me a very valuable lesson: take the time to hire the best and don’t settle for anything less.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

A mentor use to tell me to always keep a high level of communication. He use to ream my ass everyday about communication to the point I finally learned. He beat it into me and I am so thankful he did.

If you want to piss people off, fail to communicate with them. This is no different at home with your wife or your kids. You need to communicate. Let your people know what’s going on, both good and bad – I’ve learned this lesson too.

Invest in creating a culture that communicates well and rewards for it too.

Built a family not just a team

Stop looking at your team as people who just make you money. Look at your team as if they were family. Care for them, love on them – not physically, and do what you can to always be there for them – that is what family does.

Always be understanding, put yourself in their shoes, and do what you can to help them pursue their goals and dreams. It’s not just a team that you should be building, you should be building a family.

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How about you? 

What can you do to be a better entrepreneur?

 

Winning requires failure

I know that I’ve talked allot about failure lately, but it is just so real and awesome! People who are afraid to fail don’t end up doing much with their lives. God built us to fail. And God built is to fall. We just have to keep getting back up and thriving everyday to win.

If you think failure isn’t part of winning in life then you are more than a failure, you are an idiot.

Wait a minute, who is this guy saying that failure is awesome. How can failure be seen as awesome? If you honestly have to ask that question, you are not fit for what it takes to win. Winning requires failure.

If I offended you, I’m not sorry. You need to keep your job, play it safe, and do what you do best…working for someone else. There is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is built to push the envelope to the point of literally breaking bones – back in my racing days, if you hadn’t broken a bone you got weird looks like, “You are a racer, no way, shut up!”.

If you’ve decided to keep reading this and you’re not totally pissed off, let’s be honest about something. Failure is brutal and more often than not, it hurts like hell. Some of the worst pain you’ve ever felt. Sometimes it’s even so bad that it takes you to your knees crying and weeping like a little baby – I’ve been there. Not because of physical pain, but more because of mental and emotional pain. It’s cool to man up and cry….I won’t judge you.

In my racing days we used to have a saying, “If you’re not falling down, you’re not going fast”. It’s true. This meant that if you were playing it safe and not pushing the envelope then you probably weren’t winning races. You were losing races. See, the guys and girls who gave it all they had and took changes won the races. And, the races they didn’t win, they went down hard, got back up, and kept riding.

Winning is hard, failing is hard, but it’s just what has to happen if you want to win. You can’t be afraid to push the envelope and get a little nuts. Yeah, you will fail and it will hurt like hell. Just get back up, learn from it, and move on.

In my racing days, I took some bad crashes where I broke bones, messed up organs, and busted up my face. But, it never stopped me from getting right back on the bike and having a good time.

Take some chances, push the envelope, get nuts, and do it now before you end up living some boring ass life.

Have a great week friends!

 

Writing is hard business

He dropped out of college. He was a cook, salesman, diplomatist and a farmer. The guy knew absolutely nothing about marketing, and not a lick of copy writing experience. He was unemployed at 38 when he tried to get an adverting agency to hire him.

Image Credit: Ogilvy on Advertising

No American agency would hire this guy, and then, a London agency picked him up and gave him a chance. Three years later, he became the most famous copywriter in the world, and in due course built the tenth biggest agency in the world.

Who am I talking about? One of the most respected and sought after wizards in the advertising industry, british-born David Ogilvy. In 1948 he started what would eventually be Ogilvy & Mather, a Manhattan-based advertising agency that has since been responsible for some of the worlds most recognized ad campaigns.

So, what makes a guy like this put out some of the best work in the world? It’s not what you would think. Read the letter below written by Ogilvy in 1955 to a Mr. Ray Calt to find out.

April 19, 1955

Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.

Yours sincerely,

D.O.

(Source: The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners