I gave a keynote presentation a few weeks ago to about 25 young entrepreneurs and artists as part of the Northeastern, Pennsylvania Start-up Scramble.
Scroll below to watch an unedited video of the full keynote presentation (about 30 minutes in length.)
For those of you who would prefer a brief summary of the presentation here you go….
The basis of the presentation was what I believe are four (4) of the most important principles of becoming a successful entrepreneur and harnessing your true, God given talents (regardless of what they are).
(1) Attitude Makes the Difference
Yes, it’s true. Life is 85% attitude and 15% aptitude.
However, being “positive” just isn’t enough. As Tony Robbins (one of my mentors since the age of 14) says, no matter how bad you wish there weren’t weeds in your garden there are going to be weeds – Pick the damn weeds and move on. Being positive is important and in many respects critical – a cup half full attitude will virtually always lead to greater outcomes than cup half empty.
As an entrepreneur and an individual who wants to grow and succeed you absolutely must have a good attitude.
The irony about those who only accept the best is that they very often get it.
In short, if you want to be successful you must set extraordinary expectations for yourself and what you are capable of. I’m not talking about baby goals here – I’m talking about goals and expectations that make you and others feel uncomfortable. The irony of my success as the leader with Pepperjam was that from the beginning I saw us generating millions upon millions in revenue, being an industry leader, speaking at national conferences, and managing scores of employees – again, the irony was that in the early days none of that was true, but my expectations were what they were……and I was determined to reach and / or exceed my expectations.
Life is too short to be negative and to spend too much time focusing on why something isn’t going to work or why it hasn’t worked in the past.
Get off your ass and make difficult decisions. Remember that the only person responsible for you not achieving something you want is YOU – take ownership for your success. Look in the mirror and accept what God has given you….have a come to Jesus with yourself about what your true, natural talents are and exploit (in a positive way) everything you have. Imagine that you are a sponge – fill that damn sponge with as much water as possible and ring it out for everything it’s worth!
Keep in mind that one of the strongest correlates of “Attitude” is Energy. Energy is a term we used to throw around a lot at Pepperjam – it’s really a metaphor if you will for Bringing it! For kicking ass! For putting yourself into a “State” where success occurs.
Think about your greatest successes. Chances are that in the moment of your greatest success you were in a state of high energy and focus – you were able to fixate narrowly on your outcome, but at the same time you were in a positive state of mind such that if you needed to change on a dime you were ready and willing – the only thing that mattered was the outcome of success.
Sooooooooooooo, keep in mind that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur and / or just want to accomplish more than you ever dreamed you need a great high energy attitude with goals that at the present time seem crazy.
(2) Culture Makes a Company Great
If you really want to take your business (and life) to the next level you’ve got to instill in your employees that anything is possible.
In most tech companies structure is for the birds, as it should be.
The environment you build and work in sets the foundation for the attitude you bring on a daily basis to whatever task it is that you are working or focused on.
At Pepperjam we really focused on individual creativity and freedom – during our peak of success, defined by when we were most happy and productive, employees were ultimately allowed to do what they wanted…in an environment that fostered creativity and freedom.
Simple things like no dress code, lax or no rules around coming and going, a game room (we had a ping pong table, Nintendo Wii, etc.) a dog running around the office (I’d bring my English Bulldog Roxy in every day), group meetings (aka wisdom of the crowds), lots of socials, free gym membership, free energy drinks, free food, etc. all contributed to a culture that employees were drawn to – work no longer was work – every day was awesome, it was a hodge-podge of work and play.
Believe it or not….building a culture that is not based on traditional customs is one of the primary reasons that technology companies like Google, Facebook, Four Square and many others excel – dropping the guard, loosening up a bit, and allowing employees to feel like people instead of well…..employees – leads to extraordinary levels of creativity, hard work, and dedication.
Ultimately, you can determine for yourself what type of culture you want to build and / or work in.
Keep in mind, however, that most successful companies are able to break the rigidness associated with traditional approaches to building a company.
Be exceptional – do things in a way that make employees feel that work is less of a job and more of a once in a lifetime experience to grow as an individual.
(3) Mentors Help You Accomplish Things You Weren’t Sure You Were Capable of
I can’t stress the importance and power of having exceptional mentors in your life. Great mentors help you to accomplish things you weren’t sure you were capable of accomplishing – literally!
When I say Mentor I don’t mean Mom or Dad or Grandma unless Mom, Dad, or Grandma have done something so exceptional in your area of interest or profession that they have the propensity of helping you to set ridiculous, uncomfortable goals and reach them.
Hear me out.
Another thing is that you don’t necessarily need to have direct access to the mentor. You don’t need to touch them in order for them to lead you ( by example) and they can be dead. Heck, John F. Kennedy has inspired many a politician to run for office, while Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi have inspired many people to dedicate their time and energy to things greater than their own self interests (John McCain quote).
Here’s the deal.
You need to select one or more mentors in an area that you want to excel in. For example, Tony Robbins is one of my mentors as it relates to public speaking and inspiring others to take massive action and accomplish extraordinary things. Tony Robbins gets up in front of thousands of people and gives speeches and lectures that inspire and motivate people to grab potential by the balls, ring the sponge of life, and live life with passion – I think that’s cool and want to be able to do the same thing when given the opportunity. Therefore, in my minds eye I constantly think to myself – if Tony Robbins can speak in front of thousands of people with absolute confidence and certainty I sure as hell can do the same thing (not as good, but I’m trying and will only improve) in front of a few dozen or few hundred people.
Again, Tony Robbins is nothing more than an example of someone I admire and aspire to be more like. I don’t want to be Tony Robbins, I want to be Kris Jones with Tony Robbins zest for life, his desire to help the masses, enjoy life for all it’s worth, and inspire others to tap into their own God given potential. That’s why Tony Robbins is a mentor. I have others and they influence how I set goals, live my life, and make decisions on a daily basis. It’s one of the secrets to my success.
Great mentors allow us to shoot for the stars.
Great mentors prove to us that very specific things are possible.
Great mentors help us to set high standards and live life with purpose.
If you want to be a great artist there are great mentors for that.
If you want to be a musician, scientist, successful entrepreneur, acrobat, dog groomer, anesthesiologist, day trader, esthetician, A-list Mom or Dad, public speaker, basketball player, etc…….there is a mentor for that!
You get my point – stop picking shitty mentors and make sure that you have one or two mentors you can depend on throughout the day to help you move in the right direction!
Anything is possible when you are constantly striving to grow.
As most great athletes will tell you – you don’t get better by playing weaker players.
In the game of business and life if you want to constantly improve you need to study those who’ve succeeded before you, associate yourself with them, and work your ass off to catch up.
(4) Use Mantras / Quotes to Remind you What Does / Doesn’t Matter in Life and Business
Finally, if I can share with you one final principal to becoming successful in business and life it’s to “keep it simple stupid,” “there are no failures in life, only results,” and “hire smart people and get out of their way.”
Not sure if it’s universal or not, but for me I’ve got a small arsenal of about 15-20 quotes that I repeat in my head on a daily basis.
Some people select their favorite life’s messages, quotes, mantras, whatever you want to call them and post them on your wall or computer – that’s great! Whatever works, but don’t just let them collect dust.
Memorize them – add new ones to the list, repeat them in your head before you’re about to make important decisions, use them to help you break fear…..confront hardship (BTW – “The degree to which one perseveres in the face of hardship defines the strength of their character.” – I’ve used that one a few hundred times over the years), make new friends, etc.
The point here is that most successful people are disciplined – they have the ability to stay motivated, keep things in perspective, and maintain a razor sharp focus that would cut through the ozone layer.
If you want to be successful you’ll need to make decisions about business and life in a fraction of a second – my third (Select Great Mentors) and fourth principles (Use Quotes / Mantras to build discipline) above are virtually all you need.
If you have any questions please post them.
If you have any great quotes please share them.
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur and individual follow my four principles and you’ll achieve things you’ve only dreamed of.
Best of luck!
If you want more…here is the unedited video from my keynote two Friday’s ago at NEPA Start-up Scramble: