This article originally published at Forbes.com
Entrepreneurs are routinely reminded that they need to “stay hungry” to sustain competitive advantage and success. Though that may be true, what you don’t always hear is that there is a real and present danger in becoming too hungry for success.
The difference between being hungry and too hungry can be summed up in one word: discernment. When you’re hungry for success, you are driven to go to great lengths to achieve your objectives — short of sacrificing your boundaries, values or integrity. But in being too hungry for success, desire overtakes discernment. You dive headfirst into dangerous territory where managed risk is no longer present.
In my many decades coaching, from Main Street to Wall Street, I’ve borne direct witness to the consequences of being too hungry for success. The financial and personal losses ranging from mild to life-threatening are consequences that can be avoided if one learns to recognize the warning signs
How do you know when being hungry is manifesting into being too hungry? Here are the top five signs.
1. You desperately make decisions: High achievers often feel pressure to outperform and prove themselves to others — at an accelerated pace at that. In a too-hungry state, your ability to maintain rational analysis amid challenges or crises is compromised, resulting in a false self-narrative that justifies unethical conduct to solve problems.
2. You’re impatient: When you’re too hungry, you take imprudent action, rationalizing that you must do something right now. Successful entrepreneurs understand the prudence in waiting for the right opportunity.
3. You have false pride: In a normal hungry-for-success state, you care more about successfully solving problems and overcoming challenges than about how you are being perceived, even if that means exposing your losses or mistakes. In a too-hungry state, ego rears its head, causing leaders to care more about the opinions of others. That includes shutting out those who can help them during critical times.
4. You lack faith: When you’re too hungry for success, you don’t make time to develop or practice habits that lead to maintaining positivity, confidence, faith and hope. Devoid of faith, you fail to gain the courage, strength, endurance, inspiration and direction drawn from having the mindfulness or spiritual practice necessary to grow and sustain success.
5. You’re a workaholic: In a too-hungry state, you prioritize work above everything, including your own and others’ wellbeing. You falsely believe you can’t afford to take a break, lest you risk failure.
Here’s a very important fact to know about becoming too hungry for success: Every single person can get into that state of being. In my book, I share real-life stories of good, ethical people who slipped into the too-hungry-for-success state, resulting in avoidable hardships. One of these stories is about a very successful entrepreneur — a charismatic president of his church — who got so angry and tired of being falsely accused of a petty crime that he began to fight back unethically. His justification was that because these people did him wrong, they deserved to be treated the way they treated him.
The takeaway here is that the pathway to prevention is to never allow yourself to become too much of anything, whether it’s hungry, angry, lonely or tired. What does that mean? Recognize and honor your most valuable asset (you) by maintaining healthy habits of self-care, no matter what is or isn’t happening in your life. Optimal self-care is doing all the things that you would advise your child or client to do to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Become vigilant in recognizing the too-hungry-for-success warning signs — and when they do begin to manifest, halt. Stop for a time-out to refuel yourself via rest, relaxation, sound nutrition, exercise and meditation. Your body needs to regain an objective state of mind. There is no risk in halting, only reward.
I’m going to share a shocking truth that I experience practically on a daily basis. It still, even after decades of entrepreneurialism, never ceases to render me speechless. I want to share it so that it will help you to attain far greater success in shorter time frames. So, here it goes…
The truth is that there exist two classes of achievers. There is the genuine achiever and then there is the counterfeit variety. And, here’s the tricky part. It’s sometimes very difficult to discern which one a person is. One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to decipher is that a large segment of the counterfeit achiever class truly believes they are the real deal! They go to work each day, have all the key social media channels up and running, network, make sales calls and set appointments. On the face of it, they appear to be doing what successful people do. But, they have certain habits that if you aren’t aware of or chose to ignore, will rob you of achieving maximum success in minimum time.
Here Are the Top 6 Habits of the Success Bandit:
1. Catfishes: Lures prospects into a relationship (business or personal) by means of a fictional online or offline persona. Yes, they do this not only on Facebook, but also on Linked In.
2. Disrespects Your Time: Sets appointments only to cancel at the last minute, stand you up or show up late. And, often has the gumption to continue to contact you time and time again.
3. Doesn’t Follow Through: Has a great offering, but doesn’t ever put in the work to close the deal.
4. Talk and No Walk: The smooth talker. Charismatic, smart, knows what they are talking about and repeatedly makes promises and fails to honor them.
5. Regularly Goes Dark: Here one day and gone the next which always leaves you wondering if you will ever hear from them again. Until, yep, you get that text, email or call saying, “I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m still here and working on it”, only to disappear again.
6. Unrealistic: They frequently pursue that which is beyond their level of expertise
The number 1 way to avoid both the intentional and unintentional success bandit is to do your due diligence no matter how good something sounds or looks. Due diligence means you never rush into anything regardless of your need to have something happen right away. Before you formally engage someone, ask for and call 3 references that they’ve done business with in the last 6 to 12 months. And, most importantly, do not ignore the signs of the success bandit!
Lastly, if you identify with some or all of the signs, and consistently wonder why you aren’t achieving the kind of success you feel you should be having, be honest with yourself, modify your habits and behavior, and watch as you finally become a genuine achiever.
This is not a personal rant. This is me, sharing my direct experience, to help you in becoming hyper-vigilant to quickly and expertly recognize who to choose to associate with that will most easily and effortlessly expedite your time to achieving the outcomes you desire. Cut to the chase and weed out the chaff! It doesn’t make you mean, it makes you smart and successful.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: I was interviewing companies to award a contract to handle a very important aspect of a global operation. I reached out to my colleagues to get recommendations feeling like that was the smartest way to cut to the chase and weed out the chaff. I was excited and confident about the prospects because they came from high profile and highly reputable corporations. Wow, was I shocked and disappointed. The CEO of the #1 prospect arranged three separate conference calls over a protracted period of time (often leaving me wondering if she was ever going to follow through) pulling in different senior executives each time to be a part of the needs analysis. I documented each call with a follow up email. On the last call, we clearly defined next steps. I never heard from them again, they never sent the needed documents. I moved on to my next best candidate. Lo and behold, many weeks later, I get a phone call from the CEO asking me to call her back. There was nothing more to talk about. The Success Bandit had already wasted enough time and energy.
My mistake here was that I had failed to perform my standard due diligence practice of talking to at least 3 references and had ignored the red flags because she had been referred by a hugely successful global corporation.
This article originally published on Forbes.com
We all know that content is king. Never before in entrepreneurial history have there been so many platforms and communities to learn, join and establish a presence on.
It’s easy to spend countless hours per week churning out blog posts, article submissions, videos, podcasts and social media posts, and engaging in conversations. With the mad rush to gain a brand presence and stand out in an ever-increasingly complex and crowded social media landscape, it’s easy to lose one’s self amid the maelstrom.
I talk daily to both emerging and seasoned entrepreneurs who spend much of their time and energy researching where their target audience is spending their time and then churning out content they think their audience wants to hear. Eyes focused downward on their devices, they closely monitor, minute by minute, how many views, likes and shares they are getting.
In the mad rush to put out mass competitive content, the gold standard for achieving and sustaining brand recognition is being lost. In place of communicating in one’s authentic voice, which is the conveyance of personal standards, values and truth, the focus is now on how to post the most frequently and outrageously in order to capture views. Keywords have replaced the authentic voice. Outlandish headlines and video antics have replaced being true to oneself. Getting traffic has become more important than increasing value and discovering customers’ needs.
It’s time to regroup, refocus, take a stand, break out of the pack and lead by taking a counterintuitive action that will authentically get you the competitive advantage, the brand authority and the customers that you’re seeking — without losing yourself and your values in the process.
Silence is the counterintuitive action that will earn you massive attraction. I know it seems totally counter to what you probably learned or are currently doing. But using silence as a strategy is, in fact, a tried-and-true method of winning a competitive advantage.
Using silence as a marketing tool will get you back on track to delivering your unique, value-driven message. Value is what attracts and keeps customers. At the end of the day, you could have a store online and in every single physical mall in the world — or self-publish 100 books and make them available everywhere — but if the unique value proposition isn’t inside, you’ll just be adding noise to the already noisy, crowded environment, and you will not achieve success.
How, then, does silence help you stand out? Here’s what I’ve learned from 40 years of being an entrepreneur and from studying some of the greatest achievers of all time:
1. Talk is easy and cheap, but walking the walk requires strength and is invaluable to becoming sustainably successful.
2. Being discerning about where, when and how you speak creates brand power and authority, and positions you as a leader.
3. Focusing on quality over quantity results in long-term gains.
4. Knowing yourself, your unique purpose and value proposition — and honoring that truth — delivers sustainable success.
The first step to effectively using silence as a success strategy is to take the time to be silent within yourself, reconnect and reclaim your authentic self and unique message. Then, go out into the world and share it discernibly, simply and powerfully.
When feeling compelled to compete, remind yourself that it’s not about who can shout the loudest, longest or most frequently, but who can share the most compelling and meaningful content where and when it is needed the most. Talking and sharing are valuable only when you have something meaningful to convey. Otherwise, it results in brand dilution.
Training yourself to become still and silent positions you to optimize your mental, intuitive and spiritual powers to use your voice as an instrument to convey the unique truth of who you are. In practicing silence, you become proficient at observing and listening and gain invaluable insights on how to become of better service to your tribe. That’s what successful leaders do, and that’s what creates authentic brand authority.
After all, even amid the evolution of social media, the axiom “silence is golden” remains an unchanged truth.
Nouveau Riche is a term to describe a self-made person who has become wealthy during their own life time rather than through wealth by inheritance. And yet, rather than being praised for becoming self-made, being “new money” historically has been stigmatized. The stigmata is that “new money” people are inferior to those coming from old money because they lack sound value systems and exhibit conspicuous consumption.
Oh, my goodness! Has the world changed or what? Someone needs to update all the dictionaries! Nouveau Riche has been redefined and modernized by a new breed of entrepreneurs. Those who through their hard work and dedication to manifesting their vision into reality have revolutionized the world we live in. And, rather than exhibit behaviors of over-consumption and self-absorption, live lives of minimalism and profound giving.
“Wealth is not to feed our egos but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.” Andrew Carnegie
Ok, so where am I going with this you may be asking. No longer do we have to hold the belief that wanting to become rich is a bad thing. Many good people perceive that if they desire to be rich, there must be something unspiritual, undesirable or unhealthy about themselves. Or, if they do want to be rich, they are afraid to admit it for fear of being judged.
It’s 2017. A brand-new year! Now is the time to let go of the outdated belief that wanting to become rich is a negative aspiration. Now is the time, more than ever, to strive to get rich at every level of your existence: mentally, physically, spiritually, and yes, financially. There is no shame in it. There is only positive benefit in it.
After studying the 2016 entrepreneurial stats and the world’s richest entrepreneurs here’s what you need to know in 2017 to get and keep you motivated to become the world’s next “new money” breed of entrepreneur:
1. Age is not a barrier. The fact is that the rate of new entrepreneurs is highest among boomers between the ages of 55-64.
2. Having a passion will automatically drive you. A relentless desire to bring your vision into reality automatically prompts you to take relentless and consistent action.
3. A Lack of Money does not prevent success. Those who persist in pursuing their dreams by taking action every day to manifest it attract the money they need to achieve entrepreneurial success.
4. Not having too much is an advantage. Minimalism breeds focus. Focus is the key to success and attainment of wealth. Eliminating the non-essentials that distract you from your goals gives you the mental prowess needed to stay focused and to innovate.
5. Starting small leads to great achievements. It’s ok to start small. Great wealth doesn’t happen overnight, but it can come expeditiously by being pragmatic and sticking to your vision and values.
“Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, you have nothing.” – Warren Buffett
In closing my shocking confession: My single goal as early as I can recall was to strive to make a difference in each person’s life that I encountered. I did not want to leave a single interaction without hopefully having imparted something positive. That passion is what drove all my actions. Then, to my surprise, I became a millionaire. I kept it secret for a very long time. I kept it a secret because I thought I would be perceived as a bad person for being rich and that it would negatively impact my relationships. What I discovered was, as long as I stayed true to my passion and my values, I was able to preserve the quality of my relationships, maintain balance and humility through self-restraint–all the while having a greater capacity to give more.