1. All you need is …FLOW!
The secret to a successful career is without doubt – doing what you love. In this space, you are the message possessing an abundance of energy and enthusiasm. You execute with… effortless ease! Note it doesn’t mean that life will always be easy but passion and love for your vocation will drive you through the rough and the smooth. Like many entrepreneurs you will always be “reasonably” comfortable in the uncomfortable. But there is even more! Doing what you love normally put you in a state of flow which allows you to transcend normal circumstances. Let me explain a few months ago I was doing a one day leadership keynote in Saudi Arabia. That morning I experienced excruciating back pain. (A few days later an MRI highlighted two bulging discs.) So intense was the pain I was barely able to walk. I asked for permission to lay on the floor before addressing the audience? The organiser was concerned about my health and suggested that one of them filled in for me allowing me to recuperate throughout the day. Instinctively I retorted “don’t worry when I start to speak, flow will kick in and I will be fine.” They looked at me… potentially worrying did we both occupy the same planet. Finally I got up and found one position where I was able to get momentary pain relief – I sat there for the day and received a 4.69/5 top speaker ranking for the event. Only when the event was over did the pain come back to torture me. Flow transcends all – do what you love and enjoy the trip!
2. Ego is an extraordinary thing!
Doing a fantastic job doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will be asked back for more! This is one I have struggled with over the years. I remember addressing audiences on many occasions where the feedback was fantastic (in many of these examples people had rated the session on a feedback sheet) but when I approached the decision maker afterwards I could spot from their physiology that all wasn’t well. I was to learn some months later that my client wanted me to be good but not to outshine them. I never got in the door of those establishments again!
3. Lose the Messiah complex – not everyone loves you!
No matter how competent you are; be very clear that someone in the audience won’t get you, and that is putting it mildly. Your default position should be simply “I will do the best I can from the heart, be authentic and get out of here!” I remember in my early years agonising over the one or two who were challenged by my energy and wondering what I was doing wrong – now I just have fun with the challengers and move on. Please note that doesn’t mean you disregard detractors because maybe just maybe they are right and you are the problem. A strong mentor network around you will help you see the situation as it is.
4. The person in front of you holds the key to your career.
The most effective strategy I have used over the years is being open to potential teachers that can show me the way. To gain access to this fountain of knowledge; drop the ego and be aware that the person in front of you is both a student and a teacher. One amazing trips I enjoyed was to Jerusalem in the mid 90’s. I was on the lookout for interviewees that could stir and shake me, challenge my views and bring me outside my comfort zone. The day after I arrived, I went down to the receptionist in the hotel – his name was Bassam and explained what I was looking for. Yes my first port of call was the receptionist; not the Jerusalem Post. The following morning he approached me and asked whether or not I would like to speak to Jamhil Al Matour; former head of the 12,000 Palestinians prisoners who had just been released under the Wye Accord and; at that time was one of the biggest possible interviews around. I spent two half days with a person who was described as a terrorist – amazing experience on so many levels. This type of “luck” or “synchronicity” has followed me around all my life because I was open to the fact that the person in front of me was indeed a student and teacher.
5. Business is all about the delivery of the most powerful drug in the world – ATTENTION!
6. Doing trumps Dreaming every day of the week.
In my early years I was a marketing consultant who conducted many feasibility studies. In that time I can recall that very few ideas were given the green light as numerous reasons were unearthed showing why an idea wouldn’t succeed. On reflection I now know that knowledge will always give you enough reasons not to act. No matter what your idea; you will find enough reasons why you shouldn’t pursue same. Meanwhile as I reflect on my own career to date my best moments happened when I DID and didn’t overanalyse before committing to the cause. My first best selling book which in many ways has been the building block of my speaking career would never have been penned if I reflected on my “D” in English in my Junior and Senior exams, my lack of background in the writing field, the lack of role models in Ireland to help me create it and so on. No I spent my time Doing, learning on the job, and ultimately succeeding rather than affording more time to reflect. Go on……DO it!
And finally those first 25 years have been a magical rollercoaster – 5 books, addressed audiences in every part of the globe, met incredible teachers along the way from saints to terrorists and more; and it’s hard to believe after all that…. I am still only 29 years old!