As one of the hosts of the Stay Paid podcast, I get to talk to a lot of amazing people from different industries who have become hugely successful.
In just about every episode, I try to ask these top producers one really important question:
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you go back and give to your younger self?
This question also yields interesting responses, and a lot of the advice people have given has been incredibly useful to Stay Paid listeners. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to answer the question myself.
Knowing what I know now, I would tell my younger self:
Discipline is the key to success.
There is no one right way to do things. There isn’t a magic formula that will guarantee success for everyone.
However, you can get a lot further by working harder than the people around you.
Whether your goal is to get a promotion, to earn higher commissions, or to get your big idea off the ground, discipline is the one consistent factor that will lead you to success.
If you can practice the violin with discipline, you can become a master violinist. If you are disciplined in making cold calls every single day, you’ll get a lot better at closing deals over the phone.
Despite the fact that it takes consistency to master anything, most people have poor discipline. Why?
It’s because we justify our lack of discipline by citing quality of life concerns. I’ll skip the gym because I’m tired, or because I just had physical therapy. But, deep down, I know I’m able to go.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t take a rest when you need it. My point is that you need to know when to push through, then make the effort to do what needs to be done.
Be true to yourself.
When I was younger, I cared too much about what people thought of me. Even today, I still worry too much about what people think.
Most of the time, I hide my personal beliefs—whether those are about politics, religion, or even what it takes to be successful. I do this because I don’t want to offend anyone.
Yes, you should be conscious of how you affect other people, but taking that too far can keep you from saying things that really resonate. There’s a lot of freedom in being able to be true to yourself. Plus, people are more likely to believe you when they know you’re being authentic.
Most positivity in your life comes from living your real truth, as opposed to trying to earn the approval of other people.
Appreciate relationships for what they are.
In business, just as any other part of your life, you’ll have people who will come and go at different times. Some people will be around for a long time, while you might only interact with others for a very short period.
If one of my employees goes to work somewhere else, it’s not that we wouldn’t keep in touch. But, realistically, will I see that person regularly once they leave?
In all likelihood, we probably won’t bump into each other very often. You have a lot of relationships like this, too. Someone can make a huge impact on your life for a short time, and then they move on.
When you learn to think about life in that way, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. You’ll have successes and failures. You’ll have great interactions, as well as others that are less pleasant. And you should appreciate them for what they bring to your life in that moment.
Sometimes, you’ll focus so much on what people mean to you right now, but those people might just be a blip on the radar. This shouldn’t bum you out—it should free you.
When you have a setback in your business, no matter how stressful, remember that you can bounce back. If you have a client or business partner who leaves, you’ll find a new one.
Find perspective and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Realize that tomorrow is always a new day, and you can always find ways to adapt.
When I look at what’s made me successful, this is the single biggest thing. I’ve gotten where I am today because I’ve been willing to take action.
At 31, I’m confident that I can run a company that’s worth millions of dollars and has hundreds of employees. It’s not that I don’t have self-doubt. It’s that I have enough confidence that if Steve Jobs could run Apple, I can run ReminderMedia.
I tell my brother Stephen all the time: if a competing agent can sell dozens of homes, you can, too. That agent may be a superstar, but you can do everything that they’re doing.
When my brother Dan and I started our former company, NextMark Design, I didn’t have all the technical expertise that he did. But when we pitched the idea for the company, I came across as way more confident, even though he was far better than I was at the actual job.
Strategy is important, but a little overrated. Action is more important. Action raises the need for strategy in real time, and then you adapt.
To hear actionable advice from top producers from the fields of real estate, financial services, and more, be sure to subscribe to Stay Paid.