Successful entrepreneurs and business people generally live by a set of principles or a code of conduct. Learn 12 Life Lessons that most successful entrepreneurs have learned and that you need to know to take your life to the next level.Sign Up to Watch
top purpose training and business education better than lynda.com
Now, on to life lesson number four in this business education video. When choosing a career, run to your strengths. Now, before we get into this, if you're watching this, if you're being realistic, you have a certain set of strengths and you have a certain set of weaknesses. So just go ahead and take a moment and ask yourself what are you good at and what are you not so good at?
And Sean can you tell us why it's so important to focus on those strengths?
-In your earlier point about if you're out there and you don't have a clear vision or a clear focus, that's very normal. And so we spend time in the book trying to help people, as you know, achieve that focus and vision. And this is the first step in that.
As you've said, all of us are good at things and bad at things. I'll just give you a personal example. I am in the banking business. I am good at and I really enjoy relationships.
I love developing new ones. I love expanding existing ones. I love employee relationships. I love relationship.
I hate loan write ups. I hate sitting down, putting all the numbers in, you know, trending the numbers, figuring out. I am terrible at that.
So I have had to, in essence, over time, craft my position such that I do more relationship and have people to do write ups. I think a lot of times what happens is, we go to school. People come to campus to interview, and we interview with them because we need a job. And no matter who it is, we're going to interview and maybe we'll get some offers.
And we'll take whichever one pays the most without any thought given to, do I fit with this company. Do my skills fit with this job, you know? And just making sure that we are in a career that, in which, we can spend most of our time doing what we're good at and what we enjoy.
-And I want to give just one example to the Thrivers watching this. Just in my own life, I really like systems. I love order, which is why you'll never see me without a red tie and a white shirt. I just like the same consistency.
And so travelling to me is discombobulated. And so as Thrive has grown and as I've done more speaking events, like, the desire of my heart, just being totally transparent, I like to be in the same place, at the same time, on the same days, doing the same thing. I love that.
Other people might be watching and say, I love to travel. And the idea is, like for me, I'm trending towards, I'm moving towards a place where I don't travel very much. Where for some people, they love to travel all the time.
And so I thinks is just really important that you have to ask yourself if you're even in a season right now where you're doing a task you're not necessarily super great at. I know when you started out in banking you probably did some number crunching that didn't want to do. But if you will work hard and be diligent where you're at, you'll eventually get promoted out of that position and you can craft the ideal job.
But you can't just tank and do a horrible job thinking that eventually you'll get promoted out of where you're at if you're doing a poor job. So it's really important that you're diligent in all that you do.
Now, in life lesson number five, find a mentor who has reached your goals and follow her or his guidance. That's massive right there. Almost nobody does this. Talk to me about this principle.
-Well, I agree with you. And I don't understand why nobody does this. I have always been blessed with a mentor. Always.
And my grandfather told me-- a lot of these things come from when I was little-- and things that my grandpa told me and they've all come to be true. And he said, if you want to be successful, find someone who's done what you want to do and ask them how they did it. You know?
But for what ever the reason, I think people believe that we are too busy or we won't take time. We always do. I mean, if somebody reaches out and says, tell me how you've gotten to where you are, I'm going to be able to tell you more about mistakes than I am successes. But I think it's extremely valuable.
-I'm going to take the devil's advocate. For some who are watching this who maybe says, well, yeah, but. There's three, I think, reasons that I've seen a lot of people that they don't reach out to mentors. And I want to hear your feedback.
One is I know the feeling of rejection. They call a mentor and maybe they say, now, I know I've called mentors in the past who've said no and some have said yes. But some people fear that rejection. What would you say to someone who fears that rejection? They're going, man, I'd love to call that person, but what if they say no?
-I would say, if you can't handle rejection then don't plan on going very far.
-OK, that's some truth right
Watch More Business Education Videos
-The second one is I don't know how to get a hold of-- I just don't know how. How do you do it?
-For me, it was really a matter of looking out there and going-- OK, who's where I want to be? You can swim for the fences. It doesn't matter. The person can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I'm telling you-- there is something about being a mentor. It's not only the protege aspect and what you get out of it. It's what the mentor gets out of it as well.
We all duke it out every day. We're all in our chosen profession, and we work hard, and we have good days and we have bad days. It may look real glamorous to the outside world, but we all have setbacks. It is so refreshing to spend 30 minutes or an hour a month or every other week with someone, just helping them. There's no negativity. You feel good about yourself. You feel good about what you're doing. I would swing for the fences.
-The third one you kind of answered earlier. A lot of people don't know what mentor to call, because they don't know where they're going, and therefore they can't find somebody who is successful at what they want to do, because they don't know what they want to do. I think it goes back to earlier.
-That's the hardest. That is the hardest one. Finding your voice and your vision is definitely the hardest thing to do, I think, in life. I think what happens is very few of us really invest in what that is. We just go with whatever the opportunity is. There are a million things you can do. Take personality tests. Taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and matching that up with different careers. There are many ways to find that, but you've got to put in the time to do it.
-A little example here for you, as far as mentors. Throughout the years, Chester Cadieux is the one who started QuikTrip. His son, Chet, I just kept cold calling that guy until his assistant-- I think finally Valerie was like OK, fine. We'll set up a meeting. I asked him what books to read. I asked him what systems he used to hire his people, how he incentivized his staff. I learned so much in an hour with him.
I met Mr Green, who started Hobby Lobby. I've met Mr George Foreman-- a lot of these people. And I'm telling you-- it's hard to get hold of them sometimes, true. They did have very little time, and they don't appreciate you showing up late and not being prepared. But I've found when I show up organized and have 15 minutes of their time, you can learn a ton.
-In a short amount of time. Which is part of why we have mentors in Thrive. That's exactly what I know you're trying to provide to a viewer, and I think it's very valuable.
-Moving on to life lesson 6-- choose a career that you love, not based solely on the pay. A lot of people are not doing this. A lot of people are choosing careers they don't love, strictly based on pay.
-What would you say to that? This book, I would say, is really directed toward a graduate-- a young person between early twenties and early thirties. Admittedly, this is difficult to do when you're already in your midforties, midfifties and you're doing something that maybe you don't, but you've got to pay the bills.
What I'm not proposing is hey, everybody quit your job, file bankruptcy, and figure out. We have responsibilities. We need to take care of our families.
But if you get hold of this early enough-- and I understand this is easier said than done-- so many people just pick a job based upon the pay. And I think they end up in a career rut that may not fit them. I think it's critical early on. You can even be in your first job. You're going to have five to seven job changes over your life, at minimum. So you can even be in that and still studying this and trying to figure out, really, what you want to do.
An ideal scenario is you read this early, you have three or four internships while you're in college to try to figure out what you really like and don't like, and by the time you're out, you have a very good idea of where you want to go.
-I want to give an example here. One of our Thrive mentors-- you can watch some of his training-- his name is Braxton Fears. And Braxton and I, we teamed up to do, basically, real estate. I was brought on to do some marketing with him.
What Braxton did, which was fascinating, in middle age, in his thirties, he decided-- I don't like what I am doing. I don't like the way it's playing out. So I want to get into ministry on somewhat of a full-time basis. And he was able to navigate his way through real estate and earn a lot of money while dramatically decreasing his expenses-- slashing his costs, finding a way to decrease his standard of living. He actually moved to a more rustic environment. He had a debt-free home-- all these different things he did.
Now he has a beautiful home that's off the map. He's off the grid. His expenses are low. He's in a ministry, which he wanted to be. And he was able to do things where and in his midthirties, he was able to basically be semi-retired. Braxton also did that in his early twenties. He was working in one of the big three accounting firms, and he just decided-- you know what? I don't want to do this.
So I would encourage you that ideally, we want to do it is as young as we can possibly can. But if you're watching this and you're in your thirties, you haven't lost hope. You can absolutely make a change. You just have to be more methodical about it. You have to be more intentional. And it might take a while to transition into a different career. But you can do it. There's countless examples of people that have, and I know you can, too.
Moving on to life lesson 7, success is the place where opportunities meet preparation. What are we talking about here?
-We don't always know when the opportunity is going to show itself. What we do know is that we can prepare for when that is going to occur. Again, a great example is in the spring of 2007, when I had the conversation that led to our buying Regent Bank. I did not know that conversation was going to occur. It just came out of the blue one day. And, thankfully, my entire career had led up to being prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.
As I say-- and it's not an original thought-- to be successful, you really have to have these two things collide. You have to be prepared. All these skills that we talked about earlier we've got to prepare for. And then we have to have that opportunity show itself. We can also increase the number of opportunities by networking, being out there, being involved. The more people that know us, the more opportunities come about. The better job we do, the more opportunities come about. But the two have to meet.
-I want to take just a second to brag on you with your career and how you're able to actually prepare for where you are. Because I'll never forget-- when I first met you, you were the president of the Bixby Chamber of Commerce, I believe. I'll never forget. Were you president of a bank at that point?
SEAN KOUPLEN: Yes.
-You didn't have to do it. I know you did it for other people, but for some reason it mattered to me. I was, I think, 21 years old at the time. My wife and I had just built our first house. We were new to Bixby.
You wrote me a handwritten note, in blue pen, that said something like-- thanks for coming out. It was a pleasure meeting you.
And I thought-- that's a blue pen. He actually wrote that.
How many thousands of thank-you notes have you written over the years?
-I don't know how many. A lot.
-You do it. You go that extra mile. And then there's this principle of there's the tilling, then there's the sowing, then there's the watering, then there's the harvesting. If we're talking about planting crops, that's how you do it. And I viewed a lot of what you were doing as tilling. You were shaking hands, mailing the handwritten notes-- you were doing that.
But then you went the next step, and you actually sowed seeds. You actually came over to our house. And I'll never forget that. You said, "What do we need to do to get you to bank with us?" I had said something like-- I'm already banking at such-and-such. I've been banking there since '99.
And you had said-- we'll pick up your deposits for you. We'll just pick them up. You could save all the time. Why don't we just do that?
You came over to my house. My wife and I thought-- the banker has come to our house! He has sent us a note with a blue pen! He has come to our house!
Now, you could have decided to go-- you know what? I'm a banker. I have that title. I don't need to write things in blue pen and show up at people's houses. And you did that.
And then the watering! You'd randomly call. Hey, what's up? How are you doing? I wanted to introduce you to somebody. Hey, this person might need entertainment for their party. And then the final part was the harvest.
But there's all these steps that you did. I would say there's thousands of people you did that for for years. Was that something you've always been very intentional about-- handwritten notes and following up? Is this something that you, every day, wake up and say-- I need to tell that person thank-you for that dinner. Is this is what you do?
-Yes. Yes. It's very natural for me, because I that's what I enjoy. I enjoy relationships. It's very personal to me. You're a system guy. It's very systematic for me.
Send us your email address, and our team of elite minds will get right on it.