Analytics, Strategy, and Agriculture

Tag: success

3 Shark Tank Tips for Success in Anything

If you’ve ever seen Shark Tank, you see first hand what happens when an entrepreneur comes in prepared or not. Each time someone that comes in to pitch, there’s typical things an investor calls out that makes the difference between getting funded or not. Knowing your numbers is the big one, but there are a number of other things that can derail a good pitch or cause the sharks to compete over the start-up. These lessons though, can be applied to anything in life, whether you’re an enterprise executive or college student.

1. Know Your Numbers

The most damning thing you can do on the Shark Tank, is not know your numbers. The same is true in life, that if you want to achieve something (weight loss, financial freedom, a promotion), it makes a big difference to know your numbers. There’s so many LinkedIn profiles I’ve come across that don’t quantify what someone has accomplished, and it’s hard to know what someone actually achieved without a number to back it up. I can say I’m good at sales, but if that’s true, I should be able to say I sold X millions in Y period of time to make Z downstream opportunities for my company.

More importantly, if you aren’t able to measure what you want to accomplish, how will you build a plan to achieve it? Yes, you can lose weight just based on how you look in a mirror without measuring a thing, or achieving success based on how you feel about yourself in the morning, but numbers can help you know what works and what doesn’t, and knowing if you’re starting to slip. Some things can’t be measured, I’ll never know if I’m a good dad based on some measurement and I’d never ask my son to fill out a report card on how I’m doing, but those things that can be measured can help a good deal in where you’re going. In professional life especially, it’s much easier to justify a promotion if you have concrete proof that you’ve achieved great things. In investment, it’s required to show your books to validate how much you’re making or losing, but many other things can be tracked with a number and can help if you know / follow them.

“The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.”

– Arthur C Clarke

2. Have a Plan

There are people that pitch the Sharks without a clear plan on what they’re going to do next, if something bad happens or if they have to spend more than they are expecting. Having an optimistic set of next steps isn’t a plan, it’s a day dream. A plan shows multiple paths, including the “happy path”, and shows you’re willing to consider and understand multiple ways to achieve your outcome. Too many people want to think optimistically or pessimistically and chose not to entertain the other side of what’s possible. To be good in business, and in life, you have to consider multiple possible realities and have a plan, if you want to demonstrate clarity of purpose and determination of outcome. In project management, you have to be able to share the bad news with the client if the project is in red, but you need a plan on how to get to green. If you lose your job, outside of your control, you can take a day to feel awful about that but your success will come from waking up the next day, having a plan on getting re-employed and then executing on it.

You’ll get beat down so much in life, for things that may or may not be your fault. Not feeling like a victim is only possible with a plan to get yourself out of that space, and having a plan can often keep you from getting in that position in the first place. You can’t predict much in life, but you can reasonably know what might occur and build a plan around how to handle it. Eventually you could be good enough in a certain set of circumstances to just react in the moment, but whether it’s getting out of debt, or achieving the goals you want professionally, sitting down and having a plan on how to get there (along with step 1) can help clear out the distractions, default decisions, and unexpected bumps that derail even the best intentions. And when that derail occurs, no matter how good your plan is, accept that defeat and make a plan to get back on your feet.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

– Abraham Lincoln

3. Don’t Go for Easy

There’s lots of ways to take the easy part in life, hit auto-pilot, and call it a day. Life is meant to be lived, and we aren’t meant to be well preserved corpses that never experienced life outside of our 5 square mile life. Humans begin with nomadic life, as we were meant to roam and explore. Those brave souls that show up on Shark Tank didn’t take the easy path, starting a business and asking for money is never an easy thing. Yet, to hear their stories and understand their passion, you can tell they aren’t living a boring existence. We aren’t all cut out to start companies, but we can all start something and live a life full of passion.

Things will be difficult, life won’t always pan out, but if you know your numbers and have a plan, you can get there and over time – failure will teach you lessons, and those lessons will make you a better person. The best ship captains have experienced the most things going wrong, not so things on the ocean can always be avoided but that they’ll know what to do when something happens. This is only possible with experience, failure, loss, and determination. Live to the extent of what you think is possible, and you’ll find 10 more steps in front of you that you didn’t see before.

Don’t go for easy, don’t hit auto-pilot in your life, and remember that life is a bullet train that goes down the same path for us all – it’s just a question of what we see, experience, and impact along that journey that matters.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong person stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

Passion & Purpose

Regardless of what career you have, or what you’re doing, it’s hard to really get results without passion & purpose for why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s important than, to re-examine your motives on a daily basis and ask why it is you’re doing what you’re doing. There are practical reasons to achieve things, but your career is building something for someone. Just surviving means you’re depriving the company, because you’re not giving it your all – this is why overqualified people often get passed over for jobs, because the employer knows a half committed person won’t last and won’t contribute 100%. If you’re in a situation where you feel like you don’t have a choice, it’s a choice to stay comfortable because the alternative choices means having to do a lot of growth in a short period of time. Perhaps You don’t like your office job, but worry about hustling enough to make it in a start-up, having to cold call and be persistent to sell an idea or passion you have. Perhaps you turn down management positions because you’re afraid of having people report to you.

The truth is the world is full of millions of mechanisms to achieve what it is you really want, and if you’re in a place right now in your life where you’re unhappy – you’re choosing to accept it and stay there. Though there may be more temporary pain to endure until things in a new direction settle out, living a life without purpose is far worse than unemployment or even bankruptcy. Fear & security are usually the tools jobs use against us to keep us in the place of acceptance of the circumstances we’re in, but what kind of existence is that? We are called by something bigger in life to make a difference, and the people that align their gifts and talents to that bigger than life version overcome every obstacle in their way to conquer and achieve success. Money isn’t the end all, but it’s a tool you can use to keep yourself trapped (“I don’t have enough!”) or use it to break free and make a difference (“I really believe in X, here’s a check”). Never mistake your job for your career, because a job just gets you a livable wage – a career is aligned with what you care most about and are motivated to wake up every morning and do. If you’re doing what you’re most passionate about, you’ll be successful at it naturally. It won’t be something you have to work on, it won’t be something you have to force yourself to do, instead you’ll go to work and just be successful out of the passion and drive you have to do your job.

Today consider what it is keeping you in your current position – are you here because of debt? Are you ever going to break free of debt without making the big change or giving up creature comforts in the short term to get there? Once Debt is gone, what will you be free to do? It’s usually fear that keeps us tied to a job because of debt, but it’s a system of numbers manufactured for exchanging goods – it has as much power over you as you chose to give it. Breaking free means you disassociate reasons with the dollar, and realize that there’s bigger things at risk than defaulting on a loan if you allow your life to stay trapped because you’re afraid of what happens if you leave this situation and this life for a life of purpose and meaning, working to cure the debt in an aggressive method, and moving into a future that is more fulfilling and having purpose.

Remember that in life, you’re in the place you chose to be. Decisions you made got you to where you are today, and it’s no ones fault but yours that you’re in the situation your in – regardless of what happened to you, you chose how to react to it. Even the most horrific crimes committed against someone, there are stories of forgiveness and reconciliation. If you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you’ve told the world it’s ok what they did, it means you’re tired of having that chain around your neck and you’re ready to move on. If it’s a lack of forgiveness keeping you in chains, if there’s family members you had a falling out keeping you in the place you’re in, it’s time to forgive them and stop holding yourself prisoner to the circumstances that brought you here.

Once you make room in your heart & life for the things you’re passionate about, you’ll have more space to focus on the things that bring passion & purpose to your life. You’ll be more successful doing those things, you’ll be more successful and profitable doing those things, and you’ll be sold out to something bigger than yourself. We are here to make the world a better place, regardless of what circumstances you’re born into or currently live in. Religious or not, people pretty much agree on benefiting humanity being a clear priority for people. It’s time you step up to the plate, clear the past, and get clear on why you’re here, and what you want to do with the very limited time you have left. A life lived in purpose, is a life worth living.

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