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
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-I just love it though. And what's interesting is on Thrive I want to give the Thrivers an example in this business education video. This is so awesome. This is just incredible.
Four of the people on Thrive who I would argue, four of the five, four of the Thrive mentors who are probably some of the wealthiest individuals always send thank-you notes in blue pen. It could be just the smallest interaction. You see them someplace. They send you a thank-you note or a little note.
And I just, I'm so impressed by it. And I just think that when we say success is the place where opportunity meets preparation, and I would really be missing the boat here if I didn't mention that. So I appreciate you doing that. It's been a fun example for me to learn from.
Now, life lesson number eight, earn the trust and respect of your new team.
-This deals with when you're starting your first job, or any new job for that matter. I made the mistake when I began my first job at Mid First Bank in Oklahoma City, I thought that everybody needed to know how great I was. You know, they needed my resume. For some reason I just felt like that would help me get on the team or whatever, if I would just share with them my many accomplishments.
-What I now know is that is repelling. And that's not really what your new co-workers are interested in at all. They want to know are you going to carry your weight? They want to know if you can be trusted. You know? And they want to know if you're going to be a team player.
And so what I suggest is that what you ought to do when you start a new job is just a listen. You know, at any level. It doesn't matter what level. As we all know, anybody that starts a new job with well, this the way we did it at my old job, it's alienating.
Everybody's proud of the company. And there's a reason they do things the way that they do. You can implement new ideas but only after you have developed a rapport with your coworkers.
-In your book you talk about this. You have to earn the respect first and then you begin to lead. That is counter intuitive, I think, to what most people would think, this idea that you want to earn the team's respect first.
For anybody watching this who is maybe newly promoted as a manager, or somebody who's new to a position, how do you go about earning the respect of the team?
-We talk about a number of ways in the book. But I think a few highlights would be you need to out work everyone. Don't ask them to do things that you wouldn't do. I've always made a practice of getting there five minutes before and five minutes after everyone else.
And my logic was your boss, you could've have worked all night. They don't know. You know? And so I think you've got to put in the hours.
Again, I think I think listening earns people's respect. I think they're surprised when a young person listens. Because they're so accustomed to them talking. So I think that is another way.
And just following through and doing what you say you're going to do. Over time, it's not something that's going to happen immediately. But over time people will really begin to trust you and respect you. And that's when you can really lead.
-And I think this whole idea, again, I just want to make sure we don't miss these points, outworking everybody, just out of the practice of just, not like you're trying to be competitive. It's more of just hey, I'm willing to do whatever I ask you to do and then some. Listening, and then that follow through. just unbelievable action steps there.
All right, life lesson number nine. Your salary is determined by your value within the market. What are we talking about here? What does that mean?
-OK, this is a shocker to many new graduates, OK? Including me. I thought well, what would happen is I would go to work. I would work really hard. I'd do a great job. And I'd become CEO within a matter of weeks. Was kind of what my hope was.
In reality I'd get big raises, the boss would just come in and give me random raises. Here is really the way the world works. The CEO of the company, their responsibility is to create value within the company via growth and via increased net income. OK? That's their responsibility. It is every time they give a raise, that actually lowers net income.
And so it is not anyone's great desire to run around and give big raises because you got to figure out a way to pay for just to get back to even. However, people get big raises. And they get big raises because it's going to cost me more to replace you then to just give you the big raise. OK? So your salary is determined by your market value.
That is critical to understand. It's not determined by how much you can kiss up. It's not determined by who your friends are within the organization.
All of these are fallacies. These are little political tricks that people share. They are not actual. The people that are paid the most in the organization are paid because they can make that much or more going
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-And I think that one thing you can do is if you're working within an organization, if you make yourself irreplaceable-- I know that this is just in my life, what I've done. When I see an employee who is-- typically, I'm always-- there's a guy, right now, at work who beats me every day.
And so if he's watching there, you are beating me every day. And today, I beat him though. I felt good about that. But normally, he beats me now. He's the new guy. He wants to beat me to work. And very few people have done this though. And so when people beat me to work, and you start looking around going-- and I start to say, what does he do?
Caleb, one of our guys, says, well, he writes all the search engine articles, this guy. I'm like, really? Is he good? Oh, he's good. And so I start, over time, going I need to find opportunities for this guy because he's a hard worker. So you definitely can show your value there, but at the same time, you can't really get mad if your pay isn't at a certain level because it is just determined by the market value.
And so you really have to just know what that value-- and if you're in an industry that has a low market value for what you're doing, maybe switch industries or--
-That's right. And I'll-- a very quick story. I had an employee that worked for me early in my career who would come in periodically with job offers that he was getting from other banks. I didn't think they were probably real job offers, and knowing the individual, I really doubted it.
I really, actually, didn't even mind if the individual took those job offers, so about three offers in, I accepted his resignation. There was no job offer. It was a strategy to get me to pay him more over time.
And so he had to go home and tell his family that he had just resigned from his position because he presented a fake job offer. Job offers, on the flip side, if they're real, and if you are a pro, and you're the best at what you do, they are the way to set your market pay.
I mean if you get a real, legitimate offer over here that's $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 higher than where you are, then it's going to force your employer to set your market pay. And it is a real legitimate, but you better make sure you really have the offer before you do it. And you're willing to take it.
-And I want to bring up this little example though for you. If you're somebody who owns a business, you're probably going to make far less than anybody else. So if you're an investor in a business, you'll probably make far less than anybody else for a long, long time.
But then the theory is, on the upside, you'd make vastly more. I think where you get in trouble is if you're not an equity owner, if you're not an investor, and you're getting paid less than your market value, and you have no opportunity, at any point, to make a big leap there, you really just-- you have to understand you're a free agent in today's economy. And you really do have to look for the best opportunities for yourself and for your family.
Now, life lesson number 10, be patient. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Now, this right here-- this cuts me-- it cuts to my 19-year-old soul. When I was 19, I remember, man, I thought I'm going to buy that first sweet DJ system. I'm going to buy those speakers, those lights. I'm going to get six systems, pa dow! Bam! It's going to be awesome.
And not knowing that I'd have to build pro formas and fire 25 people to find my top 10, and all this stuff. And so I was going in burnout mode. And so-- and I'm not exaggerating. I, literally, Shawn, about every three months, would end up sleeping in the closet for a 24 hour period because I would tell my wife-- I'm like here it comes. I'm getting stressed.
And my wife would just say, you got to pace yourself. What are you doing? And so part of that entrepreneurial bug is we like to rush at it. Talk to me about how you've been able to-- because you're ambitious, and I know you want to grow fast, but you also want to grow in a sustainable way and maintain that family balance. How are you able to do it? What advice would you have for us on that?
-Well, you hit the nail on the head. I think patience is important for two reasons. I think, one, it's important because of balance. I think that you have a great family, so you've been able to balance the two. Many people cannot. So they go at burn out pace, and all their relationships are forgotten. And so all of a sudden, they wake up, and they've been very successful financially, but they have no family. Nobody's around them.
And so I don't think that's a good outcome either. So I think that is one reason to be patient and move at a reasonable pace. However, I think the bigger reason to be patient is because you need to develop certain skills. You don't-- we're not born with certain skills. We learn them over time.
I would argue that my ascent within the banking industry has possibly been too fast because, even today, there are certain things that come up. Thankfully, I have a very strong executive team, and they're trustworthy. And I can believe them, and so they fill in the gaps that I have. But I would argue that I would have been better off doing this-- buying the bank now rather than six years ago, so that I would have had six more years of growth and development as a leader, as a banker.
I think we would have been more successful. So I think the patience, for me, really comes from allowing your skills to develop. And the opportunity will come along when it's right. You don't have to force opportunities in this life. When you become the best, the opportunities will avail themselves.
-I just think, I cannot stress how important it is. If you're watching this, and you're somebody who's been bitten by that ambition gene, that ambition bug, that ambition-- whatever that is where you're just ready to go-- that is a great thing. But it can really be destructive if you're not careful about being patient there. So just to factor that in. Now under principal number 11, life lesson number 11, the key to a fulfilling life is balance. Kind of ties into the last principal a little bit. When you say balance, I always think of your spirit, your mind, your body, your relationships, your finances, kind of those areas. When you say balance, what areas are you talking about that we're trying to balance?
-I am talking about those areas. And I'm also talking about the balance between your work and your family. So all of those. And again, we go through seasons of life where we are more balanced and some where we're not. But I just think-- and I wrote my most recent book is all about this-- I think it's critical-- I believe that our lives are really a sum total of how we perform in our most important roles. I believe that my most important roles are husband, father, and CEO of the bank. So how do I perform in each of those? I can perform great as CEO and increase shareholder value. But if my kids don't know me and my wife leaves me, you know, that is not the life that I certainly want to have. So I think balance is critical. If we go to burnout, but our health fails us, that's not going to be a good life.
I think every entrepreneur, if you're watching this-- right now, if you're somebody who's on the younger side of the pendulum and you are just now getting started, or if you're somebody, if you're watching this and you've been in business for a long time, I know that, personally, almost every entrepreneur I've ever met, we have had our family take a hit in the name of our business. Or we've had our health take a hit in the name of our business. And, in fact, just this week, I was really evaluating just certain balance issues. And really what it is is you have to pull from one place if you're going to add some place else. And so my wife and I, we really don't watch on necessary television. There's just things we don't do. There's certain activities we have to say no to. I think life balance is a lot about just saying no to certain activities in order to say yes. Are there some things that you say no to in your world now, because you're all in with business, you're all in with family. do? You say no a lot in order to find life balance?
-Yeah. You really don't have any choice. Because, over time, what happens is your opportunities become much greater than your time. And so I just think you have to be very intentional. I actually have a list of roles. And every week, I have a goal for my most important roles in this life. And so each week, I focus in those areas. And you're exactly right. Now, it is at a point where if I have a new opportunity, then I have to figure out what I'm going to replace it with. And if I'm not willing to replace it with anything that I'm currently doing, you've got to say.
I used to, for a long time, I would just pile it on. I know you would too. I would just figure it out. Say yes and then figure it out later. I am at a point-- you reach a point where you cannot do that. It's not physically possible. I went through an inventory of all of my kind of important roles in my life, and I found that to fully satisfy those roles was twice the time that I had, I didn't have that much time. So I had to basically look at a number of extra curricular boards that I was on, or just activities that I was doing just to please others but it wasn't really pleasing to me or the most important people in my life. And I had to make some pretty major adjustments.
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