A few years ago, Fortune (may they rest in peace) wrote a story called “Best Advice I Ever Got.”
It was popular enough that CNN re-ran it so you can benefit from all of this best advice.
They interviewed 22 business leaders, journalists, chefs (yay, Thomas Keller!), politicians, and other people at the top of their game.
These people said things such as:
- Be effective, not popular (so, so hard)
- Focus on performance, not power
- Use failure to motivate you
- Be nice to people
- Read everything (amen!)
- Trust your instincts (or, as a business coach used to tell me…obey your instincts)
Some of it was useful and some of it was, well, lame.
The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received
But it did get me thinking…what’s the best advice I’ve received, particularly as I took this business from me in a windowless office to two businesses (Arment Dietrich and Spin Sucks) and a team scattered around the globe.
It’s not been an easy journey and it’s sometimes easy to forget you should stop and smell the roses.
But it is fun to stop and think about all the great things people have helped you do during your journey.
- Never be afraid to get your hands dirty. This goes to the one below, as well, but people tend to want to work with people who aren’t above it all. There are times to delegate and there are times to roll up your sleeves and work side-by-side with your team.
- Lead by example. One of the things we talk about internally a lot (a lot) is our vision for Spin Sucks. It’s to change the perception people have of the PR industry. To do that, we provide professional development to help you evolve your careers. It also means we have to lead by example. We can’t very well suggest you stay ahead of the trends and not do it ourselves.
- If you write down your dreams, you’re more likely to accomplish them. We were talking with some friends over the weekend about Rachel Hollis and her approach to life. She suggests a daily approach to gratitude and goal setting. While she approaches it from a personal perspective, it works professionally, too. What you put out into the universe is what is returned to you. That may feel a little hippy dippy, but it works.
- It’s okay to fail. Just pick yourself up and try again. Some of the biggest lessons (and expensive, too) are in our failures. Don’t be afraid to fail, but do know how to pivot quickly.
- Treat everyone the same. You never know when your intern will be your client. Or, as Bill Gates says, when the geeks might run one of the largest companies in the world. When I first started dating Mr. D., I noticed he looked everyone in the eyes and spoke to them. It didn’t matter if the person was homeless or the sommelier at a five-star restaurant. He treated them all the same. Mirror that behavior.
- Actions speak louder than words. Just like you should never tell your children to do as you say, not as you do, the same goes for your colleagues. I used to work 100 hours a week. I never expected my team to work like that, but my actions didn’t support what I was telling them. And people were burning out. It wasn’t until my coach told me to leave the office at 5 (even if it meant I went home to work) that my team believed I didn’t expect them to work like I did.
- It’s OK if they don’t do things the way you would. Employees may not do things the same way you did them, but if it’s good, who cares? My mom told me this when I got married, “He may not make the bed the way you do, but as long as it’s made, who cares?” So sure, sometimes I go around the bed and tuck blankets and sheets, but he made the bed…and saved me a good five minutes!
- People will be critical. I love it when Greg Brooks says he has the skin of a 13-year-old girl because I’m the same way! It’s super hard to ignore the criticism that isn’t constructive to your business or career. People will say bad things about you and try to make you look bad. Ignore them and stay the course. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to try. (I’m saying this more to myself than anyone.)
- Hire a coach. Some of the most talented and successful people in the world have coaches.
- Manage the culture. Protect the brand. After all, it represents the whole of you. Protect it like you would a newborn baby.
- Read voraciously. Just the other day, I was tagged to post a movie poster every day for 10 days to represent how they’ve each affected my life. I had to decline because I just haven’t seen enough movies for that to be interesting for anyone. Ask me to do books and I’m all in! But don’t just read books. Read blogs and publications and things that interest you and things that don’t. And read things that challenge your beliefs and things you don’t agree with. Read #AllTheThings!
- Review financials EVERY DAY. I have found that when I don’t do a good financial review at least once a week, things get lost and we fall behind on our goals. It’s not front and center so it almost becomes an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. I keep our financials open in a tab and I review them daily.
- Business owners do, entrepreneurs delegate. John Jantsch is a big proponent of this. If you want to own a business and have it do the things you want it to be successful doing, that’s great! Roll up your sleeves and get work done. And if you want to scale something that can eventually be sold, learn how to delegate, and delegate well.
And the best advice I’ve ever, ever received is something my mom has said to me my entire life: remember who you are and what you stand for.
She always said that to us when we were leaving the house, and it will stick with me forever.
If you remember your morals, your values, and what you believe in, you’ll always find success in the world.
And now I leave the comments to you.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?