By Guest Blogger: René Rodriguez, Current Entrepreneur and Former Photographer/Owner of René Rodriguez Photography LLC
Without a doubt, the critical keys to my success in business and in life — and that of the entrepreneurs I mentor — are mindset and paying attention to my gardens.
Okay, I don’t literally mean gardening. I like to think of life as a series of gardens.
We all have multiple gardens, be they: a relationship with a lover, parent, sibling, or friend; an unfulfilled dream; our career; our physical body; or our emotional well being.
Neglect any one and it dies. The death may come quick or it may be slow and excruciatingly painful to watch.
The tending of your gardens is hard work.
You’ll want to give up. Don’t.
Stop whining about how hard it is. It’s your garden! Unless, that is, that particular garden is not really important to you. If so, let it go for someone else will love and tend the way you could not or would not. The exception being your own mental, physical, and spiritual health, or the garden that holds your unfulfilled dreams. Those are all on you. Neglect those at your own risk.
When I have failed relationships, businesses, or my health, it has been — without exception — because I failed to tend a garden.
Like you, I have several gardens that need my attention. If you follow me on social media, you know the gardens I talk about most are my work and the pursuit of dreams.
While I am happiest and at my most successful when I tend all of the gardens that are important to me, the rest of this article will focus on how to succeed at business.
I am confident that applying these principles will help make you succeed at anything in life.
- HAVE A GOOD PLAN
Take the time needed (but no longer) to come up with a logical plan on how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Be clear about what you want to achieve, and know what your version of success looks like.
- EXECUTE THE PLAN
Once your plan is clear, be hyper-focused. Don’t get distracted by shiny objects.
Many people are good at one thing or the other. They are either good at dreaming up plans that they don’t execute well on, or they are reactionary, executing in life without a clear idea what they’re doing or why.
- LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND KNOW YOUR ‘WHY’
Be passionate and keep why you’re doing what you’re doing in mind. Dig deep on figuring out what your ‘why’ is and remember that when things get tough. This will get you through most of the difficult times.
- FOR THE LOVE OF VALUE, NOT MONEY
Chasing money is a fool’s game. Money is just a tool. Instead, find ways to add value to the world, your customers or employers, and the money will follow.
- BE SMART
Never stop learning. Warren Buffet has said, “The more you learn, the more you earn.” This has been true in my life.
- MEASURE EVERYTHING
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Know and understand your KPIs (key performance indicators). I’ve never met a successful person who didn’t know their KPIs and couldn’t recite them without having to pull up a spreadsheet.
- HAVE SELF CONTROL
There are three things that are highly correlated with success:
– Intelligence (your IQ is not static; see #5)
- FAIL QUICKLY
There are no mistakes in life, only experiments you ran too long. If you’re doing something that isn’t working, stop it and move on. See it less as a mistake but as an experiment you ran that didn’t work. Learn from it and move on.
- BUILD YOUR PERSONAL ADVISORY BOARD
Every successful person I know or have heard of has mentors. Warren Buffett, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg… the list goes on and on.
The right mentors will make a massive impact on your life. I’ve been fortunate to have five mentors without whose guidance I wouldn’t enjoy the life I have today.
- YOUR ACTIONS MATCH YOUR MINDSET
Have a positive outlook, but thinking positively isn’t enough. Get your head out of the clouds and put your back into your work. You need real, physical energy to make your dreams come true. Sure, some people get lucky and some are born into privilege. But you and I have to hustle to get where we want to go.
When I played Little League baseball, my coach put me in center field, partly because I had a strong arm and could throw the ball from the fence to home without a relay, but mostly because he knew if a ball was hit anywhere within 30 yards of me, I’d catch it or hurt myself trying. Where others would let it fall if they couldn’t get to it quickly enough, I’d sacrifice my body and dive for it every time. I’d dive for it head first if it was in front of me. I’d dive for it into the fence if it was over my head. I’d dive for it knowing my teammate was going to ram into me because he couldn’t see me coming. I wasn’t born with some innate talent for diving; I just wanted the ball more than the next guy.
I heard Will Smith say that if you and he get on a treadmill, one of two things is going to happen: you’re getting off first, or he’s going to die on the treadmill.
Simple as that.
It’s that type of work ethic I believe that you need to succeed. I see it in the successful people I know. When others are sleeping, they’re working. When others are eating, they’re working. When others would rather be fishing, they’re doing exactly what they want to do: making their dreams come true.
There’s a quote that I like and that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately:
“What we vividly imagine, ardently desire, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”
It MUST inevitably come to pass. However, “failure isn’t an option” is only a catchy phrase unless you’re willing to put the hard work in and have the right mindset.
Quick, there’s the ball… going for it?