Day 4 of Engage Today
As I sit in the airport on my way home I wanted to share this thought with you … in fact it’s quite possibly the biggest and most profound thing I learned in the last four days of outstanding speakers. And it’s something I think you should know too.
I’m giving Richard Branson credit for this lesson, but honestly each and every speaker on stage taught me this.
The brilliant, famous and successful people that walk among us … they are human.
They have flaws. They haven’t done everything perfect. Things haven’t been easy for them. They didn’t walk on an easy road to get to where they are. In fact, many of them had more challenges and rejections than any of us could imagine.
Sure, some of them exhibit super human discipline like Eben Pagan with his morning regime which goes like this:
- Early to rise… drink 1/2 litre of water,
- Brush and floss teeth,
- 20 – 30 minutes of exercise to get your heart rate up,
- 15 – 20 minutes of reading or listening (not newspaper reading or news listening but thoughtful reading like reviewing Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill or listening to an Athony Robbins CD),
- A breakfast of as close to organic and raw foods that are a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates. He makes a rice protein shake with chard, collards, bok choy and other things I have never considered for breakfast.
This is then followed by 120 minutes of uninterrupted focus on something important. No emails, no phone calls – just Eben working on something important. I wonder if he does this 7 days a week, 365 days a year?
Thankfully Tony Hsieh of zappos.com got on stage and confessed to a lack of regime in his life or many in the audience probably would have cried with despair thinking that an strict morning routine was the ONLY key to success! (By the way, I didn’t take a poll but the vast majority of experts we heard from follow a very similar routine in the morning … some add in meditation, while others suggest the time spent reading be only on things that are a review, but most seem to believe this type of start to your day is critical to success).
The point is that nobody is born into greatness … even someone born into a title or a role doesn’t always become a great leader and most people who achieve greatness have overcome something enormous … in many cases a much bigger obstacle than you or I face in our lives.
Not one speaker on stage was handed their place in life. They weren’t born the world’s leading expert on their subject matter. They each worked hard for it.
And as you listen to Richard Branson you can’t help but realize that when he started out there was nobody there showing him the way. He had to fight many battles, including overcoming the obstacles presented by his dyslexia. He’s fought and won battles bigger than you and I could ever imagine.
Richard Branson is famous. He is rich. And he is brilliant. Yet, somehow sitting on stage he also seemed like someone who would live next door. He seemed a bit vulnerable. He explained that he believed that no employer should discipline their employees. He feels that someone that isn’t working out should just be moved to a different position. He believes that you should praise your employees when they do well but there is no need to tell them when they’ve done poorly because they know.
He laughs at himself. He said he’s never called himself “Sir Richard” and when someone says that to him he often thinks they are talking about a Shakepearen play!
He enjoys his life and somehow has managed to simplify something that really is complex … owning 300 companies around the world plus being the front man for his charity Virgin Unite (which by the way is funded by Virgin so that 100% of any money raised by the charity goes to the cause!).
For someone that thinks so big, he makes it look so easy. And the big lesson he taught me is:
The only difference between him and so many other people in the world is that he follows his passion with intensity. He doesn’t give up when a problem stands in his way. He charges head first into challenges and lives his life in pursuit of fulfillment and a greater world.
It’s not about the money … but money is obviously a necessity. It’s about the passion. It’s about treating people well and caring for what you do and the impact you make. It’s about making mistakes, and then learning from them. And most of all, it’s about having fun.
(I will write recaps of Day 3 and Day 4 once I am home … I just wanted to share this thought with you right now!).