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3 Extraordinary Lessons All Entrepreneurs Should Learn From James Cameron

3 Extraordinary Lessons All Entrepreneurs Should Learn From James Cameron

James Cameron: college drop-out, serial entrepreneur, explorer, artist, philanthropist and a tremendous warrior for the environment – and one of the most inspiring people on this planet. He has written and produced more than twenty-five films and documentaries including The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar; that have made millions and millions of dollars around the world.

But how did a small town kid from Chippawa, Ontario go on to dominate Hollywood and win 11 Oscars in the process?

Here are three lessons we can learn from visionary James Cameron on creating a big life:

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1. Take actions towards your dreams and never give up

“The universe is like a giant bank vault lock, where the tumblers are constantly moving and once in a while the tumblers line up and you have to listen for the click. So you must be prepared in that moment to step through the door.” – James Cameron

There are moments when you may not know what to do next, how to move forward or what kind of decision you should take. Moments in which you find yourself living an unfulfilled life, but know deep inside that you have the power to create your own reality. That’s what happened to James Cameron. After leaving college he lived one of the most frustrating periods of his entire life. He was constantly questioning why he was coming up with such great ideas when he didn’t know how to put them into place. After seeing Star Wars he changed his perspective about life and decided to quit his job as truck driver and make action towards his dream. After writing his first science fiction script for a ten minute short titled Xenogenesis his career as filmmaker began.

Therefore, when you are facing a difficult moment in your life or you need to take an important decision, you have the power to make your own choice. Ask yourself: “If I make this choice today, how will impact my future?” Be prepared, know what you want and move towards it, no matter what!

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2. Dare to dream big and be extraordinary

“I set my goals way higher than the achievable. And when I fail, I fail at a very high level. That’s my process. It’s really demented, but it actually works. When you are aiming really high and doing something new, you must be also prepared to fail, learn from your mistakes and begin with a new plan. More motivated than before.” – James Cameron

When anyone is starting a big project there is the thrill of the idea, of possibilities, that moment when the fantastic becomes possible, just barely possible, and you begin to experience amazing things happening in your life – because you allowed yourself to dream big and be unrealistic. We have the tendency to place ourselves within boundaries that define who we can and cannot be. This mindset causes us to settle for the lowest level of our potential.

So form a clear, detailed picture of what the bigger version of your life looks like; one in which you’ve already attained your greatest goals and fulfilled your deepest desires. When you do something that no one has ever done before you become aware that something really important is happening in your life and you feel privileged just to witness it.

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3. Create a bond of respect

“But now I look back and every single thing I learned in my young age has paid off for me. How to drive a truck and even scraping the gums from the bottom of school desks gave me something that I value now: respect.” – James Cameron

Learning to respect past circumstances, people’s efforts, abilities and opinions is an essential quality to be a great leader and a successful entrepreneur. It’s really easy, all you have to do is to treat people the way you like to have them treat you.

Thank them for their assistance and their support on a regular basis. When others are successful, draw attention to them and celebrate their achievements. You will immediately earn not just their respect, but their trust as well. You must be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others, because you get in return what you give!

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James Cameron is a clear example that the road to success is not a straight line: It’s a winding road. You have to imagine it first, you have to draw it for yourself, you have to work hard and then you have to walk it. Find your passions, find the things that really move you – don’t listen to the naysayers, just go for that. Protect your dreams and ideas and fight for what you stand for, because the world needs the special gift that only you have.

More by this author

Luigi Potenza

Self Employed

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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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