Tell Your Own Stories Not Someone Else's

JWH_AuthorPic2012I'm honored to have Jeffrey Hayzlett as a guest blogger. Whether in life, or in business, there’s no cookie-cutter, surefire way to achieve success, no one plan you have to follow. We all carve our own niche, create our own success, but there are some things all successful entrepreneurs have in common: they Think Big and Act Bigger. Meaning, they tie visions to actions—go beyond the stories and excuses, the self—imposed limitations, preconceived notions and constraining structures to become the biggest, baddest, best versions of themselves.

Here are five principles that have helped me stay on track throughout my career:

Be Authentic   I consider myself a successful businessman, but that success doesn’t come from trophies or accolades. It comes from being me all the time. It’s OK if you’re not everyone’s cup of tea; it’s going to happen. Some of the best people I’ve met act the same way in public (or in a business setting) and at home. That authenticity comes through in every setting – during a meeting or at a keynote. There’s no need to second-guess their motives and they exude trust.

If you’ve been conditioned to think that being yourself is risky, ask yourself why? To me, that sounds exhausting. Having to pretend to be someone else is no way to live. How can your business stand for something when you can’t even stand up for yourself? Being anything less than yourself could have serious repercussions for your business. It can kill morale, productivity, loyalty, vision and eventually, your bottom line.

Adapt, Change or Die Your story will need to revolve over time. That’s a given! However, many people are afraid of changes, thinking that it will change the core of who they are. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s OK to evolve, and to even change your mind about things. That doesn’t change your core. If you refuse to evolve and change with the times, you run the risk of being the dinosaur in the room, and we all know what happened to them. Extinction shouldn’t be part of your plan. Ever!

What’s Your Story? That’s one question I ask everyone I meet. I ask, not only because I am interested, but because I’m curious to see how original their story is. I want to see if they stand up for something or if they’ve crafted their story out of someone else’s experience. For example, I am firmly against TED Talks, not because they’re useless, but because I think they cultivate a false sense of idolatry. There are some great people that speak at TED Talk with great, useful advice. But that’s their story; it will never be YOUR story. There’s no single solution to any problem, so while the TED Talks may inspire many, it can create a sheep mentality and not encourage the individuality I look for in people and entrepreneurs.

What Are Your Conditions of Satisfaction? In business, I always adhere to the following criteria: is it going to make me money, will I grow professionally and am I going to have fun doing it? Those are my conditions of satisfaction. I might consider a business opportunity that satisfies two of the three under the right circumstances, but never just one – no matter how good the money is.

Find out what makes you happy and meet your own conditions of satisfaction. Throughout my career, I have learned that violating those conditions, it never ends up well and it usually ends up costing me some money. So unless your last name’s Rockefeller, I wouldn’t recommend losing money on something that doesn’t interest you.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following questions: 1) Who are you? 2) What do you want to do? 3) Where do you want to go? 4) What is your end game? 5) How does it all connect to the story that sells you?

I’ll leave you with the following: the only thing that ever limited me were the voices in my head telling me I couldn’t do something or needed to do it differently. Basically, get out of your own way, ignore the naysayers and forge ahead. Find your own success.

Jeffrey Hayzlett Primetime TV & Radio Host, Keynote Speaker, Best-Selling Author and Global Business Celebrity Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV, and business radio host of All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. He is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Hayzlett is a well-traveled public speaker, the author of two bestselling business books, The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet. His third book, Think Big, Act Bigger, releases September 2015. Hayzlett is one of the most compelling figures in business today.

Jeffrey is a leading business expert, cited in Forbes, SUCCESS, Mashable, Marketing Week and Chief Executive, among many others. He shares his executive insight and commentary on television networks like Bloomberg, MSNBC, Fox Business, and C-Suite TV. Hayzlett is a former Bloomberg contributing editor and primetime host, and has appeared as a guest celebrity judge on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump for three seasons. He is a turnaround architect of the highest order, a maverick marketer and C-Suite executive who delivers scalable campaigns, embraces traditional modes of customer engagement, and possesses a remarkable cachet of mentorship, corporate governance, and brand building.