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Valuable Advice From Highly Successful People For Young People

Valuable Advice From Highly Successful People For Young People

One of the best ways for you to move forward and achieve your life’s goals, is by learning from the people who are already successful. By opening your heart to listen to their advice, you will probably reach your goals much faster. It is important to focus on the kind of attitude that you choose to display when you are at work turning your dreams into reality, rather than what you already know.

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci:

Learning never exhausts the mind.

These successful people have been through what you are currently going through and probably faced a lot of rejections before their companies grew. For them, now the challenges still exist, only on a whole different level. But they consistently have remained committed to their goals nonetheless. Because of this, there are a lot of life lessons you can learn through observing what they did to get to where they are now in life.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It is much wiser to follow their footsteps and do the things these people have done to build their successful careers. Here are some valuable pieces of advice from highly successful people you can learn from:

1. Mary Barra: Do something You Are Passionate About

The CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra’s advice is to do something we love. In her own words,

“Do something you love. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed, and a lot of other things will happen that you don’t need to worry”.

You don’t know how long you are going to need do the things you are currently doing until you reach your vision of success. That’s why it is quite common for you to hear a lot of these successful people telling you not to aim for the money. Instead, you should do something you are passionate about. It takes great determination to keep on going, especially when the odds are stacked against you. But if you are doing something that you love, as Mary Barra put it, you are naturally going to succeed.

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2. Maya Angelou: Forgive Yourself

Maya Angelous was an American author, poet and civil rights activitist. She said that it is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes–it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you should forgive yourself and say, “Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better“.

It is very easy to  blame yourself for the mistakes you have made before. But by realizing that those mistakes can be a very good platform for your growth, you can discover more about yourself and ultimately, your true potential. The co-author of “The Effortless Entrepreneur”, Daylle Deanna Schwartz said “people get into trouble because they try so hard to be perfect and then they beat themselves up when they’re not”.

Instead of trying so hard to pin the blame on yourself for those mistakes, look at it as part of your learning curve instead.

3. Richard Branson: A Setback is Never a Bad Thing

The Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson has provided us with a very good perspective on learning from our mistakes. He said,

I never see a setback as a bad experience. It is just a learning curve.

As a serial entrepreneur, Richard Branson has had his own fair share of setbacks. He nearly failed when Virgin was in its early years. But through a combination of luck and planning, both of them (Richard Branson and the company) made it through the difficult period and prospered. From his setbacks, he learned very quickly to use them as a platform to learn more about the business. One lesson that is valuable to learn is the ability to adapt quickly to changes, and another is the ability to be quick to accept that something is not going well and either change tack or close the business.

4. J.K. Rowling: Embrace Failure

Seven books and eight blockbuster films later, the Harry Potter brand is valued at over $15 billion. Over 400 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide and translated into 67 languages. It is a massive success.

But when J.K. Rowling had just started out almost fifteen years ago, it was a very difficult time for her and her daughter. She had faced a lot of rejections from literary agents until her work was finally accepted by Christopher Little, providing her with the springboard to turn her work into the success that we know today.

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And during Rowling’s speech that she gave at a Harvard Commencement, she said something that could really resonate well with us,

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default“. 

5. Helena Foulkes: Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Helena Foulkes is the Executive Vice President of CVS Health Corporation. Her advice for those who strive to be successful in their lives is:

“You know what the finish line is that you really want to get to but, along the way, it’s not always pure joy. There are really hard moments. But if you keep your eye on the prize, it’s part of what drives you to get there”.

We often find examples of this attitude when we listen to stories of how highly successful people became successful.

Donald Trump is probably one of the best known entrepreneurs out there because of the reality show, “The Apprentice”. Forbes currently estimates his net worth to be at $4 billion.

What’s interesting is, he was in tons of debt in the late 1980s and by 1991, his increasing debt brought him to business bankruptcy. However, he did not take his eyes off the prize. He fought back by putting his focus back on his business and the late 1990s finally saw a resurgence in Donald Trump’s financial situation. He knew what he wanted and with his eyes on the prize, he was able to achieve the massive amount of financial success that we know him for today.

6. Indra Nooyi: Never Stop Learning

The Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi insists that we should never stop learning. She has said:

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“Wherever we are in our lives, whether we are entry-level employees fresh from college, or a CEO, we don’t know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of  weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students.”

It is much easier for your learning process if you walk into all of the lessons that your life is giving you, by assuming you don’t know everything because by being a know-it-all, you are already pushing away the opportunities for you to learn something new, which could be very useful in your journey toward success.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

Joel Gascoigne, the co-Founder and CEO of Buffer demonstrates this point perfectly. Before Joel launched Buffer, he decided to test whether people would use the product and in order to do that, he created a minimal two page website without building the product at all.

He then shared the website with his followers on Twitter. When a few people visited the website and put in their emails, Joel began sending them personalized emails, asking for their feedback about Buffer. After he had received enough feedback, he got to work and built the full product.

Stories like this exhibit the nature of highly successful people. They never stop learning. Imagine if all of the successful people in the history of mankind settled only for their first major breakthrough, would the world be as magical as it is today?

7. Eric Schmidt: Say Yes to Things

Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt advises young people to find a way to say yes to things.

“Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well. Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

It is very easy to say ‘yes’ to things, however it is not easy to follow up on this because it requires action, commitment and engagement from you.

When you say yes to an opportunity, you have to be prepared to do the all work that is required to keep your end of the bargain. However, with practice, as well as (again) action, commitment and engagement, this habit will be beneficial for your growth as you are able to learn more and build connections and trust with more people.

It is also a very good practice for character-building, to mold you into the person who is prepared to do what is necessary to turn your dreams into reality.

8. Mark Zuckerberg: Listen to Yourself

We must have faith in ourselves. That’s according to the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His advice for young people, in his own words, is:

“The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you. But I started Facebook when I was 19”

Almost of us who want to be successful will encounter people, including those who genuinely care about us like our parents and spouse, who will doubt what we do. This is simply because they cannot see clearly what we are currently seeing in our minds. In our minds, we have this great image of us being very successful doing what we are currently doing.

The founder of TOMS Shoes, Blake Mycoskie’s words resonate well with Mark Zuckerberg’s advice:

If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger–something that matters”.

No matter how young you are, you are still never too young to achieve something significant in your life and be successful. There will always be people who will tell you that it is not possible for you and all the good ideas are already implemented elsewhere anyway. But remember, Zuckerberg did say, “I started Facebook when I was 19”.

Featured photo credit: Richard Branson/ NRKBETA via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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