Aesop suggests that honest is the best policy. This remains true, transparency is a value that builds trust in relationships, and simplifies communication.

In Mercury and the Woodcutter, Aesop suggests that “Honesty is the best policy.” This is not only true of golden axes being fished out of deep, black waters, but also every interpersonal interaction. Transparency is a value that builds relationships. Those relationships build businesses. When you are honest, you don’t have to worry about what you shared with one person versus another. You also don’t need to worry about what others are thinking, because everything’s out in the open. Here are some of the main benefits of transparency:

Simplicity Is Not Complicated

Those who are dishonest constantly find themselves changing stories based on who they are talking to. When you are transparent as an entrepreneur, your business is simpler and more efficient. This efficiency is good for the soul, as well as the bottom line.

It’s All About Trust

Relationships are currency in business. Transparency builds trust. That trust will allow you to forge stronger connections. Dishonesty is corrosive, breeding discontent and gossip. All of that energy could be focused on performance. Omitting, editing, or withholding information models that behavior for the entire organization. Trust creates colleagues and collaborators, which builds production and performance.

It Takes A Community

Transparency inspires meaningful engagement. When you are honest with your employees about a problem you are having with your company, people will respond to your humanness. Their authentic response can be the start of engagement well beyond normal “surface” communication. By connecting on a real level, you can build a sense of community with your team. And a community always works harder toward shared goals.

Integrity Is What You See in the Mirror

Transparency and integrity work side by side in any successful undertaking. Failure to disclose a fact that may be harmful to a short-term goal can eventually terminate a long-term goal. Those who fail to disclose create bad feelings and distrust when the truth is finally uncovered. And, even if it isn’t, the stress of worrying about its disclosure is energy that could be used to build a better organization. You may have a definite outcome you are trying to avoid by failing to disclose. Yet, your avoidance may close you off from unknown and possibly beneficial partnerships or solutions that you will discover once you honestly declare the truth.

Transparency creates openness and rewards that are both personal and financial. It ripples across the waters of your organization, much like the ripples on the pond where the Woodsman lost his axe into the water. He received, for his honesty, not only iron, silver and golden axes, but also the admiration of Mercury. And there’s no telling where that goodwill can take the Woodsman and his woodcutting business.

Runners hit the wall, and entrepreneurs are no different. Find resilience and energy, even when you feel like you can’t go on.

It’s hard out there for an entrepreneur sometimes. The pressure from clients and employees is great, the hours are long, and the chance for failure is always around the corner. It requires unlimited resilience and boundless energy. Except those qualities are finite resources. Just as the most powerful marathoners can hit the wall, even the strongest leaders have their limits. Still, the organization needs you, and you need it, even when you’re exhausted. How do you get beyond the wall, even when you feel like you can’t go on?

Routines

Routines are your best friends. Load up on work during your most productive part of the day. Make sure you are eating and resting regularly. And leave some personal time each day to get centered and focused. Even 10 minutes of meditation is helpful; mindful breathing can allow you to connect to your deepest resources.

The Why

Be very clear about what gets you fired up, who you are trying to help, and what your goals are. Write it down. Display it on a wall, or carry it around with you. The why will sustain you when times get tough. Hint: Making money will only take you so far. You need to constantly connect with your why.  

Small Steps

Big leaps forward are awesome, and if you keep at it with enough skill and determination, they will happen. But there can be droughts of giant breakthroughs. Instead, be thankful for every small step forward. Take nothing for granted. Write each and every small victory down in a journal so you can look back and see just how far you have come.

ZZZZZZs

Get some sleep. Seriously. Tour de France cyclists, some of the most intense endurance athletes in the world, sleep up to ten hours per night to replenish their bodies and mentally refresh. Entrepreneurs, with their demanding schedules and responsibilities, need sleep just as badly. Find a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it. Your business depends upon it.

Mentors

You have blind spots and weaknesses. Everyone does. A trusted mentor can see things when you are up against your limits. Find individuals who you respect and have been through the fires. Build relationships with them. They can use your energy, and you can use their wisdom. It’s a win-win.

Connect

Surround yourself with positive people that sustain you. Build these groups both at, and outside, work. Being an entrepreneur can be isolating, but humans are social creatures. Despite pressures, you have to find people who inspire joy, wisdom, and caring. Giving to and receiving from those who you love opens you to an abundant present, carrying you through the hardest of times.

Recover, Recover, Recover

Have recovery practices in place. Music, affirmations, inspiring spiritual words, gratitude journals, vision boards—anything that builds you up after you have been pushed down. Tough times will come. Have recovery infrastructure in place to so that you can rise again.

In running, hitting the wall is very specific. When glycogen is depleted, runners feel intense fatigue and negativity. Runners need to make sure that they are properly trained and that they keep up with the fuel needs of their bodies. Entrepreneurs are no different. They need to have strategies in place to fuel them through the wall and beyond. Some of the most brilliant solutions are just on the other side of the most challenging moments.   

Climbing mountain of success is straightforward for starting your own business, right? Separate fiction and fact for entrepreneurs.

Many people have ideas about what it is and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. If you have chosen to become a business leader, it is critically important to understand the difference between fiction and fact when it comes to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:

A Straightforward Climb Up Mountain of Success?

Fiction: Successful entrepreneurs have climbed straight up the mountain of success without faltering. Fact: Though some have higher business success rates than others, no one climbs straight up the mountain without taking some pretty gnarly falls, either because they lost their balance or they got pushed. The difference is that successful entrepreneurs have the intelligence to quickly understand what happened and the courage to immediately start climbing again.

Being Boss Means Being Free?

Fiction: Being your own boss gives you total freedom. Fact: Being accountable for the direction of organizations and responsible for the well-being of employees and clients often means that going where you want, when you want is impossible. You are free to follow your intuition, which is a great freedom, but your time is highly constrained since people are counting on you for solutions so that they can live well.

Being CEO Means Never Being Alone?

Fiction: Entrepreneurs are part of large groups, surrounded by people. Fact: Though this is true, and, in fact, surrounding yourself with great people is one of the most important keys to successful entrepreneurship, being an entrepreneur can be an isolating experience. When you are starting your venture, you may be an army of one, pushing things forward with no one to tell you whether it is a good idea or not. And, even when things are up and running, making decisions requires an individuality that can be isolating as well.

Money Is What Gets You Started?

Fiction: You need money to make money. Fact: It is a great head start, of course, to begin a venture with resources. More resources, on average, produce better outcomes. But it is not necessary. In fact, if you can find your way through those initial stages, lessons learned by getting over the top with limited resources can sustain a venture into maturity. Someone with inner resources is always preferable to someone who only has outside resources. Building from the inside out makes you stronger in the long term.

Getting Rich = Success?

Fiction: Being successful is all about getting rich. Fact: Though getting rich can serve as an indicator of success, it is just one. And, no doubt, money can help get you through the rough patches. But, as you move toward to a more mature understanding of the world,  having family, clients and employees who are living better lives because of you is truly what marks success.

Born to Be an Entrepreneur?

Fiction: Entrepreneurs are born successful. Fact: Most folks looking from the outside see a confident leader and assume they were overnight successes. They don’t see the level of focus needed, the grinding responsibilities. Or, the  blood, sweat, and tears it took to get to that big office. They don’t know how the venture started. Without fanfare, a single individual pushed an idea that hardly anyone seemed too excited about.  

If you feel the call to start your own business—if you have killer ideas and the persistence to move them forward—then separating fiction and fact is one of the most important things any entrepreneur can do.

What is your entrepreneurial DNA? Are you a Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator? Understanding strengths and weaknesses determines outcomes.

 

You have an amazing innovation you want to bring to market. Your innovation, though, is only one factor in this statement. The other one is you. Your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur will intensely impact your ability to succeed. Investors are increasingly looking to back entrepreneurs whose strengths match up with their projects. One portfolio manager of high-growth international companies, Joe Abraham, calls these characteristics your entrepreneurial DNA, which he breaks down into four quadrants: Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator.

Builder

Do you excel at constructing an organization from the foundation up? If so, you might be a Builder. These entrepreneurs pride themselves on their strategic abilities, seeing exactly what needs to happen to get to a specific goal, staying ahead of the competition at every step. They love the battle and love winning even more. Often, Builders are described as calculating, ruthless, cold, focused, and driven.

Specialist

Specialists enter an industry and spend the rest of their lives becoming an expert. They are strong on knowledge and relationships in their specific corner of the business world, but can struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Specialists are great at starting small, family businesses, but, when it comes to scaling, lack the vision and broader experience to succeed.

Opportunist

Are you a dreamer? Do you pride yourself on your limitless imagination? Opportunists dream big, go big, and, when they crash, go down in flames big. When you find yourself, for good or bad, diving into projects more quickly than is expedient, you are flying your Opportunist flag. Impatient, these entrepreneurs are constantly looking to be in the right place at the right time to make money.

Innovator

The strength of the Innovator is to work meticulously and tirelessly to perfect their invention, product, system, recipe, or product. Their weakness is that they focus so much on their innovations, they miss opportunities because the realities of the business environment are less engaging than innovation breakthroughs and solutions.    

There is no explicit formula for success. Each of these types of entrepreneurs have strengths and weaknesses that powerfully impact the likelihood of successfully bringing an innovation to market. Investors, more than anything, are looking for execution rather than an idea. For investors, when a Builder teams up with an Innovator, the potential for success is unlimited.

Even if you don’t believe in narrowly defined characteristics determining outcomes, it is critically important to fully understand your strengths and weaknesses. To bring your innovation to market, you will have to build a team that makes up for your weaknesses. The success of your business may depend upon your ability to look inward, before you start looking outward.  

Industry conferences might be the perfect place for CEOs to discuss mental health issues associated with business leaders.

Strong handshakes and powerful keynote speeches. News of disruptive trends and insurgent strategies. The latest technological advances. As dynamic and demanding as they are, industry conferences aren’t normally known as places to make human connections and discuss mental health. 

But at least one founder and CEO, Erin McKelvey, sees that as just another unhealthy industry standard in need of unsettling.

Mental Health Struggles

In a recent article in Entrepreneur, McKelvey points to studies that show that entrepreneurs are more likely to feel isolated and alone. While depression affects about seven percent of the general population, a study, Touched With Fire, reports that 30 percent of entrepreneurs have lifetime histories with depression. They also had much higher rates of ADHD, substance abuse, and bipolar diagnosis. And even asymptomatic entrepreneurs had higher rates of close relatives who experienced these mental health conditions.

Suffering at these higher rates, what is an entrepreneur to do?

Mostly, until now, entrepreneurs have had to gut it out. As founders and leaders, entrepreneurs have cultivated facades of invulnerability and strength. Even as they crumble inside.

McKelvey, after struggling to understand the suicides of a close friend and two colleagues, found that connection and empathy were keys. She opened up to colleagues at a conference and, communicating honestly and vulnerably, made deeper, important connections with her peers. Validated and understood, she was ready to face the stigmas associated with depression and entrepreneurship.

Foster Intimate Discussions

Her conclusion is that industry conference keynotes could focus on dealing with everyday stresses and how to develop coping skills. Also, conferences could arrange seating that encourages smaller groups, two to four people, to foster more intimate discussions. Finally, event planners can motivate honest, real talk with discussion cards and questions, such as:

  • Tell us about a wrenching decision you had to make last week with an employee or colleague.
  • How do you manage your work-life balance? Is there such a thing?
  • Do you feel like you can let down in front of your organization?
  • Do you feel like you need to be a superhero all the time, every day?

Touched with Fire also recommends destigmatizing people with mental health differences by understanding the strengths and weaknesses associated with entrepreneurs. It is crucial they are informed about mental health vulnerabilities associated with risk-taking innovators and leaders. With empathy and understanding, entrepreneurs can continue to create economic value, generate jobs, and create social and market solutions while moderating their suffering.

Three green text bubbles on the left, to symbolize positive reviews, next to three red text bubbles to imitate negative reviews.

Getting positive reviews going may take a while, because people are really only likely to publish a good review if the service was particularly spectacular. But if given some sort of prompting, like a verbal asking of “hey, would you mind leaving a good review for the store later on if you have a chance?” or a reminder on a receipt can go a long way. When a review page starts getting those glowing reviews going, it’s something worth being proud of and even sharing with the business’ employees.

But, inevitably, not everyone is going to be happy with the services they receive. Upset customers are over 50% more likely to leave a negative review. If a business on average has more positive interactions with customers, the concern over negative reviews can be mitigated. It may not feel great to have a negative review left, but as a business grows it’s bound to happen.

What’s a problem, though, is fraudulent reviews. Customers that are upset for reasons probably way beyond what happened with a company may not just leave one negative, but several, some of which may be made up. Or, petty competition may throw up some bad reviews to make themselves look better. Getting rid of fraudulent reviews isn’t always easy, but there are ways to go about it. Reporting those fraudulent reviews is usually the way to go about that, but there will have to be sufficient evidence that the review is fake so there’s no “he said/she said”.

Whatever comes a business’ way, it’s important to look towards the future, and work hard. That positive attitude will transfer over into better customer interactions, until even a few bad reviews can’t dim the shine of the tons of positive reviews a business might someday have.

This blog discusses Zig Ziglar's steps for successful goal setting. The image shows an illustration of a mountain with a path curving upward, representing reaching your goal. All of the colors are blue, except for a red flag at the top.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

Are you having a difficult time sticking to your goals? Does it feel like January 1 was 10 months ago and you never lost any of that extra weight, started a meditation practice, or increased your income? There might be a reason why. Zig Ziglar has 7 steps for you that have profoundly helped many business leaders throughout the years. Find out if you have what it takes to manifest destiny.

Zig Ziglar’s Seven Steps of Goal Setting

Paraphrased from the Born to Win Workbook

    1. Identify the goal. If you want specific success, you must set specific goals.
    2. List the benefits: what’s in it for me? Your goal requires personal motivation.
    3. List the obstacles. Anticipate obstacles, and develop strategies to get through them. Learn how to improvise and be flexible if you aren’t prepared.
    4. List the skills and knowledge you need. Knowledge and skill will be required to successfully complete any goal.
    5. Identify who to work with. Who can help you be more successful?
    6. Develop a plan of action. The devil is in the details.
    7. Set a deadline. Make deadlines and stick to them.

Apply Zig’s Steps to Your Goals

The first step might seem obvious: “identify the goal,” except many people set out to do something without any specifics, such as “I want to travel more” or “I want a better paying job.” Ziglar is asking you: What does that mean? How will you stay motivated? Are you aware that obstacles will arise, and are you prepared for them? These are essentially the first 3 steps that Ziglar laid out in his book. What does this look like in a real world scenario? Let’s look at the goal of getting a raise at a current job.

Specific success in this instance requires a specific range or number. For example, if you were making $45,000, maybe you want a 20% raise after successfully increasing profits for your product over a period of a few years. This means you want to make at least $54,000 annually, which is a $9,000 increase. This is a specific goal.

Next, Ziglar wants to know for Step 2: “What’s in it for you?” The benefits of a higher income are plentiful but Ziglar wants you to be specific. Perhaps you currently live in a crowded house with noisy roommates, and a higher income would allow you to rent on your own in a quiet apartment. “If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal is diminished,” Ziglar wrote.

Learn to Be Prepared

So, you know how much more money you want to make, and you identified your personal motivation. Most people stop there, and then if any obstacles hinder their progress, they give up. Ziglar wrote for Step 3, “if you can anticipate something, you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it.” You need to figure out what your obstacles will be. Perhaps you asked for a raise, and you are a woman (gender matters in pay negotiations, according to The Muse), which means they gave you less than you wanted, without an opportunity to negotiate. You might also be told you have to wait 6 months before your next performance review to be considered for a raise. Before going into the conversation, be prepared, and find sources that will help you be both professional and assertive.

Work Better and Smarter Where You Are Now

Steps 4 through 7 require more reflection and detail-oriented planning. What skills and knowledge are required? If you cannot get your raise today, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what skills you need to get there. Or instead, you could try the enlightened approach: how can you increase your value for your company? Huffington Post has several suggestions for you for developing soft skills, and their writer Jonha Richman offers another post to inspire you to cultivate a more positive attitude. If you leave a job because you feel undervalued, Richman warns:

“the sense of fulfillment may only be fleeting in your next job and the very same feeling will start to creep in over and over again because you’ve only tried to escape the problem which lies within you. Instead, focus on how you can work better and smarter and be able to bring in more results for your current company.”

There is always room for improvement. If the obstacle to your goal for a raise was to wait 6 months, then you can adjust accordingly and still work on sharpening your saw.

Network, Network, Network

As for Step 5, you need to ask yourself: who in my network can help me be more successful? Think about possible mentors or business organizations where you can network with others. Local Chambers of Commerce often have mixers and lunches for local business leaders and newbies alike. Websites like MeetUp and LinkedIn could be places to start to identify contacts and resources to help you become the best version of yourself for your career and life. These people have been where you are now and can help you avoid the pitfalls.

The Devil is in the Details

What exactly do you need to achieve your goal? Step 6 is all about focusing on the details to attain the big picture vision. If you are looking for career advancement, then you need to come up with a calendar of the classes you plan to take and the books you want to read, in order to reach your next level of professionalism. Be concrete about this, such as twice a week you will focus on your classes, and on the other days you will read a few chapters from your books. Find out if your employer will sponsor any of these activities if they are relevant to your current role. Your boss may let you use one hour a week to work on your online courses or reading. They may even be willing to pay for all or part of them.

Success Starts with Accountability

Last but not least, step 7 says: “Set a deadline!” You could be planning to take classes and researching indefinitely — but “forever” is not a deadline. When do you want to see results? What is a measure of success for you? For example, one person might say, “I set a deadline for 6 months from now when I have my next review. I will complete 3 online courses on entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and coding. I will also read 5 books on areas that my mentors and boss recommended. These skills will help me be more valuable to my company, and in 6 months I will be better prepared for my review.” Setting a deadline is about accountability.

By following these 7 steps for each of your goals, you are bound to find success in all areas of your life. If you need any additional help, go back to Zig Ziglar’s work for further inspiration.

Smiling employees standing around a desk- positive workplace culture

The culture of a company can shape every aspect of it: morale, productivity, turnover, quality of service provided, how the company as a whole is viewed — even the types of clients a business attracts. Culture is everything, which is why cultivating a positive one is so important. We’ve compiled a few of the best tips to ensure your company culture is as positive as possible.

Hire for Culture

Culture is shaped by every individual who works at a company — from the top managers to every employee. This makes the hiring process for all positions crucial to the shaping of the company culture. An interview isn’t just a time to discuss a candidate’s qualifications for the position, it’s also an excellent opportunity to ask questions that can determine a candidate’s values to see if they align with that of your company.

Recognize and Commend the Team

Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to work harder and stay with a company longer than those who aren’t. Recognizing milestones like birthdays, employee anniversaries, or simply telling them they’re doing a great job can go a long way for morale. These recognitions don’t need to break the bank; they can be as simple as an email or announcement thanking everyone for their hard work, or the boss giving everyone a big shout out at a meeting.

Allow for Work-Life Balance

Even if your employees enjoy their job immensely, having a strong work-life balance is important for productivity and to prevent job burnout. This could mean different things to different employees; some may want the weekends off to spend time with their family or need to take the occasional early day to take a pet to the vet. To some, it could mean that their workday is confined to work hours so that there are no duties encroaching on their personal time at home. Or it could mean all of the above. Having flexibility for employees’ needs makes for a more positive culture where people feel they’re able to work while still taking care of the things that matter in life.

Open Communication

Open communication is important in all types of relationships — even that of an employer/employee. Creating an environment that allows for openness, whether through “open door” policies or asking for employee feedback, is crucial for allowing employees to feel valued and heard. Performance reviews, while dreaded by many employers and employees alike, can be an excellent time for both parties to get on the same page and ensure that any of the employee’s concerns are addressed. Having open communication shows that a company cares and is concerned for the employee’s well-being, making the employee care more about the company in return.

These small steps can go a long way to ensure everyone feels happy and valued, and it ultimately leads to the betterment of the company. Employees are more enthusiastic, more productive, and more devoted when the culture is a positive one that is designed to make everyone’s workday the best it can be.

Business woman standing on log that's breaking- The Most Valuable Lessons CEOs Can Learn From Failure

Being a CEO isn’t an easy job; as the highest ranking executive in a company, they have to wear many hats at once. A CEO may spend their day handling employee concerns, managing the executive team, developing company strategy, and making major corporate decisions. With so much responsibility, it’s little wonder that some of them may worry about failure — there’s a lot riding on their shoulders! The good news is everyone fails sometimes, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some of the most successful CEOs have experienced failure and proven that there are lessons to learn from it.

1. Embrace Failure as an Innovation Tool

Striving for perfection prevents risk-taking, and often risks are needed to make a business stand out from the crowd. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has had a number of failures over the years (the Fire Phone, Amazon Destinations, and Amazon Auctions) and has joked that failure feels like “a root canal without anesthesia.” Despite this, he’s learned to embrace failure as a tool to create successful endeavors. “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon,” he’s said. “If you decide you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.” Some of Bezos’s experiments have become huge successes, such as Prime, Marketplace, and Amazon Web Services; Amazon Web Services alone brought in over $5.4 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2018.

2. Learning From Your Mistakes Can Be More Valuable Than Success

It’s not enough to embrace your failures; you have to be able to learn from them. Failure can teach you a lot about how to improve an idea or give you valuable hindsight. Bill Gates, principal founder of Microsoft and former CEO, has had many pitfalls over the years that he was able to learn from. From his ill-fated first company Traf-O-Data to his failure to recognize internet opportunities, Gates has been candid about some of the lessons he’s learned from failures. While discussing how Microsoft missed the boat when they failed to develop a search engine, he said, “success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” He’s also admitted that Microsoft made missteps in the mobile arena. As Gates has said, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

 3. Don’t Give Up

Persistence can pay off. Elon Musk, entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX, has had repeated failures over the years. One of those failures that turned to success is SpaceX. He founded SpaceX in 2002, with the purpose of less expensive transportation to space, and had nothing but a string of roadblocks. At the start of the company’s launch, they had trouble hiring anyone who had experience building rockets. Musk has said, “And the reason that I ended up being the chief engineer or chief designer, was not because I want to, it’s because I couldn’t hire anyone. Nobody good would join. So I ended up being that by default.” The first three launches failed, and the company almost went bankrupt. Having only enough money for one more launch, they tried again, to great success; not only did the rocket launch, the company received a $1.6 billion contract from NASA. “Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up,” Musk stated. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

Four photos show a woman reading, a mother hugging her child, a successful business meeting and a man working out. These are all ways to connect the dots.

Fortune magazine released their 40 Under 40 list recently with a diverse list ranging in race, gender, nationality, and industry. Notable influencers that were given the honor include filmmakers like Jordan Peele, who was the first black screenwriter to win an Oscar in the screenplay category in 2018, and Executives like Dhivya Suryadevara, 39, who was the first female Chief Financial Officer of GM. What makes these visionaries amazing isn’t their skin color or gender. Instead, they are being celebrated for the obstacles they have had to overcome. Below is wisdom from another thought leader, who has empowered over 50 million people from 100 countries through his work. Tony Robbins has a roadmap to almost every subject area relevant to CEOs, artists, executives, and more. Below are pieces of advice from Tony that could help inspire you to become as influential as Jordan Peele or Dhivya Suryadevara in your circles.

Take Care of Your Body and Mind

Tony recommends reading 30 minutes a day to boost mental growth. But he doesn’t suggest reading only your favorite graphic novel or romantic fiction. Instead, he wants you to read something that will make you think critically. In his own words, “Scrolling through social media doesn’t count.”

Don’t just exercise your brain. Get your heart pumping, too! He suggests, at a minimum, exercising 5 days a week with your heart racing for 10 minutes. What you do to get your body moving is up to you, and be sure to consult with a doctor if you have any health concerns. Combining physical and mental exercise will go hand in hand in your personal development.

Expand Your Sphere

You may find yourself tempted to lower your self-worth by associating with people you think are at your level or lower because they are comfortable to you. But this won’t help you grow. Find people who have what you want, and associate with them. It’s up to you whether this means a casual “hello” and slowly building up to more small talk, or straight up asking them for their advice on your mutual fields. As Tony says, “if you play someone at your level or below, you never stretch yourself. No stretch, no improvement….Yes, staying in an environment where you feel like you’re not good enough can be tough, but hold on – it’ll pay off in the long run.”

In Giving We Receive

Try to help someone every week for 2–3 minutes, or break it into 10 minutes per month. It’s that simple. Tony recommends providing food, conversation, or your problem-solving skills. You could also try to be kind when you’re stuck in traffic. For example, let cars into your lane when they need to change lanes. Or return the grocery cart for the elderly person who cannot return it. Tony’s “secret to living is giving. It’s truly the secret for how to feel happy.”