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10 Secrets of Jay-Z’s Successful Life

10 Secrets of Jay-Z’s Successful Life

Jay-Z is one of the highest earning artists in the music industry. Forbes estimates his net worth to be around $520 million in 2014. He is also married to another powerhouse in the music industry, Beyonce Knowles. Together, their combined 2014 net worth is around $900 million.

So what makes Jay-Z so successful? Rumor has it that he is part of the Illuminati (Satanic Music Industry). We don’t know the truth about that, but the list below is what we know for sure. These are the ten principles behind Jay-Z’s successful life:

1. Hustle

Jay-Z was born as Shawn Corey Carter in 1969. He grew up in Marcy, a housing project in Brooklyn, New York City. In 1982, Jay-Z’s father left, and his mother had to support her family alone. It was by following her example that Jay-Z got his unrelenting work ethic – his hustle.

“Without the work, the magic won’t come.” – Jay-Z, from “Decoded.”

Don’t be afraid to work really hard and hustle in the beginning. The future you will thank the present you for hustling hard now.

2. Don’t Wait Until You Have Everything You Need

“It just got to a point where it was, like, ‘Make this decision, because this is something you really love and you love to do. It’s time to really focus on and then get serious about it, give it your all.’ And once I did that, it was no looking back from there.” – Jay-Z, Interview with Forbes

Jay-Z didn’t have a drum kit or Pro Tools growing up, but that didn’t stop him from making beats to rap over (he used his fist and a kitchen table).

If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Don’t let imperfect circumstances prevent you from executing your goals.

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3. Don’t Run Your Mouth

Jay-Z was still struggling to break through into the music business when his collaborator, Jaz, got a big record deal from EMI. Jaz was going to London to record and he wanted Jay-Z to come along.

When Jay-Z told his crew about it, their response was less than enthusiastic. They felt like they were being deserted and told him that rappers were just being used by the music industry.

Of course, Jay-Z ignored their negativity, but he also learned a valuable lesson: sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut about your aspirations. From then on, Jay-Z says he knew he wanted to get a record deal of his own, but that he “didn’t go around talking about it to even [his] closest friends.”

It’s tempting to share your dreams and goals with people, but be careful not to talk too much. Sometimes even your closest friends and family members won’t be able to see your vision and their responses may be discouraging. Actions speak louder than words.

4. Skills are Transferable

Jay-Z never went to business school. But that hasn’t stopped him from founding $100 million companies and serving as a co-brand director for Budweiser Select.

While others were out getting their MBA, Jay-Z was learning real-life business skills on the streets. He learned sales, management, and promotion on the streets, so it’s no surprise that he slipped comfortably into the many roles of an entrepreneur.

We all have a breadth of experience to draw from. Try to learn as many skills as possible. What might seem like a useless skill now, might prove to be very useful in the future. Also, always keep a look out for how your skills in one field can be used in another.

5. Know How to Handle Rejection

Jay-Z was turned down by every label in the industry. So did he give up on his dream of becoming a professional rapper? No. Instead, he started his own record label.

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Jay-Z was offered a weak endorsement deal from Iceberg Apparel, even though Jay’s shout-outs for the clothing company were boosting their sales through the roof. So did he accept their offer? No. He started a competing clothing line and sold it ten years later for $200 million.

Jay-Z has an amazing knack for bouncing back from rejection. We would all benefit from adopting this mindset.

We should learn that rejection is part of the journey to success. Do not give up easily when you are rejected by people. Instead, you should see this rejection as an opportunity to improve yourself.

6. Make a Plan

When Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Burke founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1994, they drew up a business plan. Jay recalls, “We made short and long-term projections, we kept it realistic, but the key thing is that we wrote it down, which is as important as visualization in realizing success.”

Make sure that you write your plan down on paper. Sometimes we think we know how it’s all going to play out in our head, but there’s something powerful and clarifying about actually writing things out.

7. Don’t Take Your Eyes off the Prize

It’s a common story in the entertainment industry: an up-and-coming artist gets a little taste of success and then everything comes crashing down when they get caught up in the lifestyle (i.e. parties, drugs, and alcohol).

Jay-Z’s music and business career took off simultaneously, but he managed to keep a level head. Even though he rapped about champagne and margaritas, he was only a light drinker. Jay prefers to be sober so that he can, “stay focused on making money.”

It’s this ability to resist temptation that has allowed Jay-Z to turn his initial success into a business empire.

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The lesson that you can learn from this is to always stay focused. Do not let distractions keep you from the main prize (success).

8. Dream Enormous

As a poor kid growing up in a housing project, nobody ever told Jay-Z he could one day be worth $520 million or that he would pack Madison Square Garden.

But he did have a sixth-grade teacher named Miss Lowden who “must have seen something” in young Shawn Carter. That little show of support gave Jay-Z the confidence to imagine a life beyond the projects.

Accomplishing enormous goals starts with the ability to imagine them and the willingness to pursue them.

9. Demand Respect

In 1999, Jay-Z won his first Grammy award: Best Rap Album for “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life.”

But he was nowhere to be found at the ceremony that night. Jay-Z had boycotted the Grammys because he “didn’t think they gave the rightful respect to hip-hop.” So even though attending the event would have been good for Jay’s career, he passed it by.

Jay-Z clearly has zero tolerance for disrespect – and as a result he’s very rarely disrespected.

You should also know whether a situation is right for you to be firm and demand to be respected by your colleagues. It will make you more charismatic and people will start to respect you more.

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For example: you have been working really hard for many years, but your boss still treats you badly, and you are still being underpaid by the company. Your reaction to his behavior is the key here. If you keep accepting his bad attitude towards you, your colleagues will look at it and do the same to you. However, if you react by being clear and firm that you will not tolerate the disrespect, your boss will see this change in attitude and start to treat you better and show you respect.

10. Accept Help from Mentors

Entrepreneurs and artists tend to be strong-minded individuals. Jay-Z is both, but that hasn’t stopped him from seeking the guidance of a host of mentors through the years.

A good mentor has already been in your position. That means they can see what steps you need to take and what mistakes you must avoid – all while still giving you room to breathe and grow on your own.

Without the role models below, Jay-Z couldn’t have become the entrepreneur, rapper, and championship-caliber performer that he is today.

Some of Jay-Z’s mentors are:

  • Russell Simmons – Co-Founder of Def Jam Records
  • The Notorious B.I.G. – Rapper
  • Michael Jordan – Six-time NBA Champio

There are a lot of things that you can learn from these ten principles behind Jay-Z’s success.

I personally think the last principle is very important. You need to get mentors so that you can significantly improve many important areas in your life, such as your finances, health, relationships, and many more.

I personally have seen many people struggle with their health and body. They have tried to lose weight for a while but with no results. Finding and working with a mentor unlocks their abilities and they start to get results.

How about you? What do you think is the most important principle behind Jay-Z’s success? Share it in the comments section below.

Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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