Start focusing on your strengths

Do you know what your strengths are? Most people don’t so you shouldn’t feel bad.

I was one of those people just a few years ago. You know, one of those people working in areas that I really sucked at only to frustrate the hell out of the people around me.

Yup, that was me, until I decided to become obsessed with knowing and understanding my strengths. I was sick of working in areas that I flat-out wasn’t good at. And for that matter, now looking back, I hated anyways.

You see this all the time….especially with younger people – they are trying to figure out what they are good at. Or, what they want to do with their life. So, what do they do, they try this, try that, they move around, but the question becomes, do they ever take the time to really understand what their strengths are and how to apply them? No.

Try this sometime. Ask your friends if they know what there strengths are. It’s fun to hear their responses – most of the time it’s made up on the spot and complete crap.

After a couple of failures in my life, I became obsessed with understanding my strengths and weaknesses.You screw up a couple of times so bad that it hurts a bunch of people, you will reflect and ask yourself some tough questions.

This lead me to take it upon myself to take every test and assessment I could find. I even hired some professionals that do this for a living. I wanted to better understand myself. What were my strengths? What was I good at? Where should I be focusing my time?

When you find your strengths and embrace and focus on them daily, it will change your life….forever.

Beyond taking the tests and assessments, I went out and spoke to other people about how they found their strengths and how they were applying them – it was inspiring to hear.

If you are interested in learning your strengths, here are three really great assessments that you can take. You can either take them online or you can reach out to the companies for other options.

  1. Strengths based leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. If you buy the book there is an access code in the back to take the test online. The test consists of about 170 questions.
  2. Myers Briggs tests which are always interesting. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
  3. Predictive Index was really great because of the teacher I had. He was very patient and went through everything step by step with me.

John Maxwell, a very well know leader calls this filling in your Gaps, you can read his blog here. Once you understand your strengths you can start filling in your Gaps and start winning.

You can’t win unless you fill in your gaps.

Too often we try and be everything or we focus on things we suck at. Be honest with yourself and let someone fill in the gap.

Today, I focus on my strengths: competition, activator, futuristic, input, and achiever. Outside of these, I fill in the gaps.

Here is why I believe that it is so important to find your strengths and start applying them today:

1. It helps you to focus on what you are good at and stop trying to be something that you’re not.

2. If you suck at Golf, just do it for fun, not as a career or a position.

3. You can’t play every position on the team – you need other players to fill in where you are weak.

4. If you want to win the game, you need to know where you stand.

Keeping in mind the above four points, and applying what you learn should allow you to experience similar results. If you find that you are still struggling, it might be a good idea to reach out to other leaders and discuss how they are applying what they have learned.

I will tell you this as well, this is not an overnight fix.

Once you find your strengths, it will take time to start applying them. You might even find that you are leading in an area in the company that doesn’t fit with you. Maybe your down the wrong career path. You might even be chasing the wrong things. Whatever it is, just remember that anything good takes time.

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How about you? 

Do you know what your strengths are?  Are you focusing on them?

 

Will you pursue your vision until you breathe your last breath?

In my book, short-term expectations and plans aren’t as important as long-term possibilities. Honestly, I don’t really care if some of my plans fall apart. Why? Because what matters is that I stay strong and continue to pursue my vision letting nothing get in the way.

Photo Courtesy of: 123freevectors.com

What matters is that you follow your heart and keep choppin’ wood every day. If you’re one of those people that lets short-term plans affect long-term possibilities you have a problem, and unless you change your thinking, you might  not accomplish much in life.

Things are going to happen to you. Plans are going to fall apart. You will lose at times.

The key is staying positive,  keeping an eye on your vision, and charging forward daily.

A good example is Jobs. He never let short-term stuff affect his vision of making cool shit. The thing I loved about Jobs was how he made gutsy decisions time and time again. He stayed hungry and never gave up…even till his last breath – this inspires me

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

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What about you? 

Will you stay strong pursuing your vision until you breathe your last breath?

 

NIKE: Greatness is not beyond your reach

I’m super impressed with Nike and their ability to reach pretty much everyone – out of all the brands out there, they get it. Watch this video and try to disagree with me.

They recently released this honest and brave statement and call to action under their #findyourgreatness campaign – It features a 12 year old Nathan from London OH. He’s overweight, but still getting after it and it’s down right moving and motivating.

And the thing that impresses me is how they’ve gone from serving a narrow athletic market to serving pretty much everyone: athletes, action sports, males, females, and even overweight 12 year olds.

Personally, I’d love to see Nike stick with Nathan and follow him in his journey to losing weight. Who knows, maybe they will.

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What do you think?

 

Ship Now, what are you waiting for?

If you’re sitting around thinking about this sweet plan about how you are going to take over the world with your product and you keep adding this and changing that, I say stop now and ship that shit – what are you waiting for….seriously?

Don’t be scared, no one is going to know about it for a while anyways – you will have plenty of time to collect feedback and make changes….trust me.

If you don’t ship now, there may be no hope for you or your product. By the time you “think” it’s right, someone will have already beaten you too it – you don’t want this, right?

It’s important that you get your product to market as quickly as possible. The longer you wait the more life and stuff happens. Put everything aside, figure what you need to make it viable, and start shipping. Do it now before I do.

The key is taking your product to market as quickly as possible. Then, after you’ve taken it to market you can collect customer feedback and use it to adjust the customer and product path. Simple stuff. Don’t complicate it.

I’ve dealt with both situations before; taking time to go to market and just shipping. You can probably guess what one always turned out better for me.

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Are you that person who sits around waiting to ship? What’s holding you back? 

 

VC’s Don’t Care About Your Small Company

For those of you who know me, I am a visionary. I like big risks and I’m not afraid to fail and lose everything – I’ve already been there done that. Yeah…it sucks while you’re in it, but you get right back up and start building again.

My dad always taught me to either go big or go home. We never went half ass – it was either all in or not in at all. Let me tell you, this was a great foundation for my startup life.

The same is true when it comes to VC’s. They are all in. They are taking big risks on your startup and for that, they are looking for a big win. They want deals that present an opportunity for a 10x return – minimum.

VC’s could give two shits about your little startup company that is going to own 30-50% of your small market – have some vision for crying out loud – that is if you are trying to reach VC’s.

I will also tell you from experience that it is just as hard to build a small company as it is a large one – you will never find me building something small again.

If you want a VC’s attention then go all in and build something that has the potential to scale and show a beauty of a return.

I am no VC, but I am speaking for some of my friends that tell me the horror stories. If your deal doesn’t have the potential for a 10x return then don’t waste their time.

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What about you? 

What are you building? Does it have the potential for a 10x return – minimum?

 

Look For People Not Opportunities

Look for people not opportunities. Why? Because every opportunity is attached to a person. When you think about opportunities where do they come from? People.

Opportunities start with people. They don’t just come floating out of the sky and slap you in the face – you have to go searching for them.

The next time you start searching for an opportunity – one that gives you a nice return, start by searching for a person.

How do I approach opportunities? I look for talented people. For the last 5-6 years, I’ve made it my personal goal to connect and meet with at least 3-5 new people per month. I’m intentional about this and build it into my calendar. I also set aside the time, energy, and money to pre-commit myself to actually making this happen.

Yes, it does require a bunch of my resources,  but the return has always been greater than the actual investment – not short-term, but long.

For me, my long-term strategy and goal is to invest, partner, and build incredible startups. What do I need to do this? People and relationships. I need a network of very talented folks that I can bring in to help me do these things.

Again, if you want to build anything great and of scale, you need people.

And, when push comes to shove, don’t give up on connecting with new people – take the long view and do it right. Relationships — whether it be romantic, friendship, or professional – take a lot of time time to develop. And if you rush them, you end up hurting something that could have had great potential.

Don’t take it from me, go ask around. Anyone successful will tell you that they took time to connect with new people and without them, they would not be where they are today.

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How about you? 

Are you making time to connect with new people?

 

Want To Enhance Conversions? Here are 15 Ideas

You should constantly be trying to enhance your conversion rates. Why? Because conversions are the lifeblood of your organization – they are what make you $$$$$$.

I’m no professional by any means, but I did put together some ideas that I thought I would share with you this morning. Feel free to go and act on some of these things. Try them out, see what works for you and your company. The same things don’t always work for everyone company – it’s about trial and error.

Here are a few of those ideas:

  1. Eliminate clicks for the user. Make it simple for them to convert. Don’t ask too much information. Don’t make users click-through7 pages to get to your product or offering.
  2. Combine as many things as possible into one click user experiences.
  3. Try adding a video to your homepage that explains your product, value propositions, and who you are as a brand – be sure to give it some personality and realness.
  4. Make sure your homepage is intuitive and experiential. Don’t lose your customers at the first step.
  5. Make sure your language sounds like a human wrote it – not a robot. I hate when I see people writing like a robot.
  6. Study your traffic sources and look at behavioral trends. After this, use the results to for A/B test within your website.
  7. Don’t be a fool. Use social signup and make it seamless – it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
  8. Quality content over quantity of content. This isn’t 2001 where you were only looking for SEO results. Users are way smarter these days.
  9. The path to purchase should be easy.
  10. Try using live chat to engage with every customer at they navigate through your site.
  11. Test out the timing of users. When are they coming to your site? Where are they at that time? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Ask questions from the user perspective and try to get into their head.
  12. Free shipping works every time.
  13. Put your search bar big and right out in the open on your homepage. Don’t make users go searching for it.
  14. Show the product on the homepage.
  15. What are the benefits for the customer – put these out there for the customer to see.

I hope these help. Again, the key is trial and error.

 

Get out there and scuff up your shield

As you know, or as you are learning, failure is a very important part of your journey. Yes, I know I’ve blogged a lot about failure lately, but it’s only because of how important failure really is.

All successful entrepreneurs fall at times and then climb their ass right back out of a heap of crap only to be better, stronger, and more ready for the next challenge – I know that this is true for me. How about you?

The key to failing is getting right back up. You can’t stay down long and cry like a little bitch. You have to jump right back up and flaunt it – show off your scars and wounds so that other people can learn from them as well.

What matters in the end is that your shield is scuffed and beaten up because it shows that you were willing to fight. If you come back with a clean and shinny shield that just shows that you’re a pussy.

If you want to help and transform others, don’t talk about your arrival, talk about your journey, your battles, your wounds, and your redemption.

You hear about people with setbacks – I’ve had mine. Setback are awesome! Why? Because they are opportunities for clarity, humility, growth, and wisdom. You learn your strengths and you learn your weaknesses. You learn to ask for help. And you learn who you need to win the fight.