6 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt About Business And Life In The Past Year
It’s been a crazy 12 months to date, potentially the biggest ever for me on a personal note. I’ve started to see some real results across both businesses I’m running, I’ve spoken at some big conferences and most importantly, feel like I’ve grown a ridiculous amount on an individual and team member level.
And with another year of experience and wisdom locked in the bank, I was doing a bit of reflecting over the past few days about the past year. So I thought it was only fitting to share a few of my biggest learnings as I switched from 25 to 26.
#1 Be Proactive In Every Way
Whether it’s starting a new project, trying to make revenue in your current business or even when it comes to relationships with family, friends and significant others – be bloody proactive. Being proactive is essentially just a better way of saying that you shouldn’t leave things to chance. We’ve started nailing some sales across both businesses in 2018, and I can honestly tell you that 95% of that is due to being the most proactive person I can be. From approaching people and potential clients directly, to networking, and asking questions that many people might feel are a small chance of being answered. It’s all proactively done, aiming for the best and not letting opportunities pass by.
And when it comes to relationships, it’s the same. I’ve tried to be direct with people, friends and family, I’ve tried to relate with them and find common grounds that produce a great story or connection. And that segues perfectly into my next point.
Tip: Write down one area you could do better at. Relationship building, honesty, being a better leader, converting more sales, whatever. And then write down three proactive things you will do to be better at that thing. Keep it on your fridge or in an openly visible area.
#2 Treat Your Team & Co-Workers Like Family
It can be tough at times, especially when you don’t really vibe with colleagues you have to work with. But really you should treat them like family. You honestly will probably see them more than your actual blood relatives and friends, so why would you treat them any differently?
And naturally I’d say this is super vital if you’re a Founder with a growing team, or even if you’re a manager. With some of my current team, we set fortnightly goals and catch up every week to track how everyone is going. Part of this is setting personal goals like sleeping more, going to the gym or meditating – basically stuff that provides an insight into their life and to make sure everything is going okay outside of the office. It’s one thing to be nice or act like you give a damn, it’s another thing completely to actually legitimately care. And while we’re all still working at being our best selves, it provides the insight into how your colleagues and team are actually going, and that is so, so vital.
Tip: Have two genuine conversations with colleagues or your team members this week. Speak and actively listen to them with no intentions of getting anything back, be selfless and you’ll get what I like to call “people ROI”. Understanding and caring about them will be worth it.
#3 You’ve Hit The Jackpot When You Talk About “Work” Everywhere
I know a few people who would die inside a little if you were to bring up anything work-related with them at Friday drinks. I get it, but trust me when what you do for work becomes just a general conversation piece, that’s when you know you’ve hit a gold mine.
A lot of the time I will chat to mates about content, new clients I’m working with, or cool shit that the team and I are doing – stuff that I’m proud of. And it’s because I just genuinely love doing it. I’m not even specifically trying to speak about ‘work’, I’m just speaking about my life and honestly those types of chats give me so much energy. I just love living at the moment, and that doesn’t change if I’m in the office, bar or at a gig.
Tip: Ask yourself this, do you live for Friday drinks? For boomerangs of cocktail glasses at 5pm? Do you constantly have Mondayitis? Do you count down to the weekend every week? If these questions result in a resounding yes, it might be time to consider a career and life change.
#4 Your Life Outside Of The Office Is So Vital
While I definitely encourage you to embrace what you do for a job, I’ve also found the time outside of the office super important for a good headspace. We often push the limit when it comes to work – regardless if you’re running a business or not. Deadly nights in front of the laptop can become a regular thing, working weekends sometimes is unavoidable and burnout is the natural result.
Personally, I’ve never been the type of person to embrace the whole “entrepreneurs need to work 80-hour weeks to make it” attitude. I’ve made it habitual to exercise constantly, meditate almost daily and have times to rest. I’m still working on it, and have a way to go, but I just feel more refreshed that way. Importantly, I always work better from a mindset point of view when I feel healthy. Your health is the easy compromise when you’re super busy, but making sure your mental and physical health is in top form will change your whole life.
Tip: Set one fitness, mental health or lifestyle goal (ie go to the gym three times this week, meditate everyday, read a book). Share this goal with a friend or colleague and get them to do the same. And then set rewards for each other if you hit the goals (ie your colleague shouts coffee on Monday if you hit goal and vice versa).
#5 Effective Work Is Better Than Long Hours
This directly relates to the point above. Some people are just too obsessed with being ‘busy’. Everyone should be busy in nature, but it should be effective levels of being busy. Replying to emails isn’t being busy, and I think we’re often to focused on to do lists that focus on crossing things off. We load our planners up with a tonne of small things to do so we feel like we are busy, but we’re actually not that effective.
It’s important you know how to prioritise things, so you are working effectively, not just being busy for the sake of being busy. And trust me, there is definitely a difference between the two. I’m no mastermind at this yet, but I’ve definitely made progress, and it means you don’t always have to work long hours.
Tip: Allocate three key goals for each week, and little things you need to do to achieve them. Don’t try and pretend like you’re going to do 80% of your KPIs this week, be realistic. So when you cross off one of them, you’ve actually achieved a lot.
#6 Push On
For me 2017 was all about being a bit more direct in everything I did. And in 2018 it’s been about pushing on to the next level. Really putting myself in an uncomfortable space that allows for real personal and business growth. Doing things I often wouldn’t and trying to achieve things that seemed out of reach.
And that’s my encouragement to you. What areas of life can you push yourself to develop in big time? Can you push on to the next level from a work ethic point of view? In a relationship? In a new job? It’s important to realise that what you think you’re capable of is only scraping the iceberg.
Tip: List four areas where you really want to push to the next level in 2018. It could be becoming a better sales person, maybe becoming a better writer, or even just being more confident at networking. And really those tasks you set on a weekly level should all aim to hit these overarching goals.