A 30-Second Habit With the Power to Shift Your Perspective

All of us want to get ahead and progress to the next round of the video game we call life. Time has become more valuable than money, and we’re all looking for a quick fix or life hack we can use to improve ourselves. That’s where those overused things we call habits come in. You’ve read 101 blog posts on them and probably still not taken action.

That’s what my job is. I’m you’re online, blogging accountability partner. I’m going to secretly mess with your life every time you promise to take up a new habit and then don’t (I’m joking by the way, and I’m not stalking you, I promise). Let’s get serious for a minute. You’re probably unlikely to be in the 1 percent that wake up one day and make three decisions that completely change your life. That’s okay. This means you’re like the rest of us and need to start slowly and create a low barrier to entry. 

The good news is that all you need are these seven habits that take only 30 seconds each to complete:

1. Give yourself the chills.

Create a moment for yourself that makes you get the chills down your spine. We all have a piece of writing, video, song, etc, that makes us get the chills. Practice going through this exercise once a day for 30 seconds. These moments are what will help you see how others have inspired you and how you can do the same. Chase them like an addictive drug and remember to spread them to everyone around you. Choose these moments as often as you can.

Related: Bounce Back: The Inspiration Playlists of Multimillionaire Entrepreneurs

Right after experiencing the chills down your spine, step into a moment that makes you fearful. Use this habit before a major speech, presentation, job interview, pitch to investors, or even asking out the girl of your dreams. Let these moments help unlock your greatness and remind you of the best parts of life. Use them to propel you forward and make you unstoppable. Most of all, enjoy them.

2. Inspiring photos.

Your perspective will change when you start sharing inspiration. A quick 30-second habit is to share one inspiring photo per day. Here’s how you do it, so it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds:

  • Like ten motivational Facebook / LinkedIn Pages so you always have somewhere to get photos from.
  • Each day choose one photo from one of these pages that inspires you and share it on social.
  • Write one sentence about what this photo means and how it can help other people.

3. Compliment someone.

Your inner world will start to change, and your perspective will shift when you notice the good in people. Each day, compliment one person for 30-seconds. Make sure you mean it, and don’t lie to them. The easiest compliment to give is why someone inspires you or makes you feel good. At the end of your praising, thank the person and ask that they keep doing what they’re doing. Pretty soon you’ll have a bunch of people that will be bending over backwards to help you in your endeavors. You’ll also have references of good, quality people when you meet someone who is less than perfect and may upset you.

Related: How Thoughtful Leaders Earn Employee Loyalty

4. Take a breather.

Refocus on the here and now for 30 seconds. Before a big meeting, bring yourself back to the now. Know that no single action is going to destroy your world and everyone gets a second chance. Believe that what you have to offer is valuable. During that half-minute, while you think these thoughts, breathe slowly and deeply. Chill the heck out and remember not to take everything so seriously. People are way more stressed about their own problems to remember when you accidentally make a mistake.

5. Write three negative thoughts down.

Labeling thoughts as positive or negative will help shift your perspective. Each day, for 30-seconds, write down three thoughts that were negative. As you do this more often, you’ll find yourself labeling more thoughts. You’ll know you’re a Jedi Master when you start labeling negative thoughts as they happen rather than after the fact. You have the power but start small with 30 seconds. You’re not James Bond — yet.

6. Picture Quotes.

Yes, picture quotes have taken over the Internet. There’s a reason for it: they serve an important purpose. Each day for 30 seconds, look at one picture quote that you’ve discovered on social media. Read it a few times, and try to see how it could be relevant to your own human experience. When you’re ready, take it up a notch and share them out with your network, similar to the advice I gave earlier.

7. Look in the mirror (realize you’re awesome).

Spend half a minute looking at yourself in the mirror. Realize that you won the race against the thousands of other sperm in your battle for life and existence on planet Earth. Stare deeply into your eyes and look for that sparkle.

Related: 10 Successful Entrepreneurs on How to Be Awesome

It’s in this sparkle that the seed to your success will come from. Look carefully and see just how awesome you are. See the unlimited potential you hold, and use your mind’s eye to see that potential be released.

It’s time to take action.

Why can’t you change your perspective in 30 seconds? Of course you can. You can do anything if you believe you can. Try them out and if they don’t work, feel free to hurl abuse at me. I only say that because I’m 100 percent confident, you will see a shift in your perspective. What’s the worse that can happen? Thirty seconds here, 30 seconds there. You spend more time looking at Facebook and LinkedIn than you would ever spend doing these habits. Start now and send me a message to let me know how you go. 


Say Hello to Windows Goodbye

It has become second nature to hit the Windows Key + «L» combination when stepping away from my Windows PC or laptop in order to lock the screen. But it’s easy to forget to do if you’re called away urgently, leaving your system open for others to access. It looks as though Microsoft is set to solve this problem for Windows 10 users with a new feature called Dynamic Lock.

We already have Windows Hello available allowing users to unlock Windows 10 using their face, fingerprint or iris. Dynamic Lock aims to repeat that same ease of access for locking the operating system, which is why internally Microsoft refers to it as Windows Goodbye (a name they surely should use instead of Dynamic Lock!).


As Windows Central explains, Dynamic Lock will be an optional feature turned on in the Sign-in options of Windows 10. Once activated, it regularly checks to ensure you are still present at the computer. It’s unclear what will be used to determine this, or if the user will be given a choice of what checks to perform. However, it’s safe to assume a webcam could be used to visually check you are there, but also a lack of activity on the machine for a specified amount of time may also feature.

You can get close to the functionality of Dynamic Lock already. Simply enable a screensaver, set an inactivity time to trigger it and tick the option to lock the screen when it is active. Anyone approaching your PC will then need to unlock it to gain access.

If Microsoft gets this right, approaching and moving away from your machine will seamlessly unlock and lock it without any physical interaction being required. In so doing, it will make Windows 10 more secure by default in public environments as well as in one of the most common environments you find Windows PCs: busy offices.

For now, Dynamic Lock is a feature available to anyone running the latest Insider Preview build of the Windows 10 Creators Update. Hopefully it won’t be too long before it rolls out as a standard feature for the OS as part of a Windows Update.

More from PCMag


FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day

Where are we ordering takeout from? What new series are we going to binge watch tonight?

Everything in life is a negotiation. Sometimes, as in the aforementioned examples, the stakes are quite low. Bad results, at worst, are heartburn and boredom. But other times negotiations have much more on the line. Life and death, to be exact. These are the kinds of negotiations Chris Voss has dealt with for the better part of his professional career.

Voss is a 24-year veteran of the FBI, where in part he served as the burea’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Recently Voss, now CEO of The Black Swan Group, sat down with The Science of Success Podcast with Matt Bodnar and producer Austin Fabel to share some of the amazingly effective negotiation strategies, techniques and tactics that the FBI uses in the field that can be translated to the business world. Read some of the takeaways and listen to the full episode embedded below.

Related:  FBI Director, Again, Says You Should Tape Over Your Webcam

Try the mirroring technique.

When in a negotiation it’s crucial to get as much information out of the other side as possible. Voss explains that by «mirroring» them and simply repeating three to five keywords in their last sentence, people are forced by nature to repeat themselves in a way that gives more information and clarifies their points. An example:

Person 1: To get someone to tip their hand and clarify, simply repeat the last three to five keywords in their sentence.

Person 2: You repeat the last keywords?

Person 1: Yeah, pretty crazy right? What that does is it causes me to explain my point again from a different angle, revealing more information that could be extremely valuable and also it helps you decipher my true desired outcomes and motivations.

Voss notes it feels extremely awkward when you are doing the mirroring, but insists that the other person almost never notices and actually feels listened to. Voss refers to this as the negotiation «Jedi Mind trick» as he says it works every time and no one knows you’re doing it.

Related:  Use This Green Beret Method to Find Out if Someone Is Trustworthy

Why you should ask “what?” and “how?” 

Voss explains that these two interrogatives can be extremely powerful in negotiating, as they encourage the other side to keep talking, to clarify and to eventually reveal their true intentions and motives. «You’d like to settle on these terms? What is it about that this 30-day window that works for you?” 

Likewise, with «how?” if someone demands $1 million in ransom, Voss’s response might be, “I understand, but I need you to take a look at the whole context here. Tell me, how am I supposed to do that?” This causes the other side to actually put themselves in your shoes. It forces them to be on your side for a moment, and in hearing them think out a plan, it can reveal hidden motivations.

Get past gatekeepers by including them.

Voss says that during hostage negotiations you’re often not speaking directly to the boss. Typically someone will be assigned to deal with law enforcement to simply give demands.

There’s a parallel in business as many times there are layers of gatekeepers, assistants and people who are not actually in charge before you get to the decisionmaker. In business and in hostage negotiations, trying to simply blow by these people is looking for trouble. If you talk down to an assistant, they’re not going to patch you through to the boss. Their inaction takes zero effort for them but provides a crushing blow to you.

Related:  7 Rules for Talking With Gatekeepers

Similarly, if you belittle the terrorist handling the phone he may freak and hang up on you. Voss recommends instead bringing them into the conversation. «How does what I’m proposing fit in with what you are trying to accomplish?» This creates a conversation and puts them in a position where they feel respected, and also feel the need to connect you to the decisionmaker.

Never lie to anyone you don’t plan to kill.

Voss says that there are long-term negative effects of lying. In a hostage negotiation, if you lie to someone, he says, you’d better kill them because if word gets out that the FBI will lie, the next group who takes hostages won’t even try to negotiate a compromise. Voss calls lying a «seductive trap.»

Related: Use This Secret Military Trick to Tell if Someone Is Lying

In any situation, it can be an easy way to get what we want right now, but if word gets out that you lie, you’ve lost all your leverage in the long run. So rather than killing someone, maybe don’t lie in the first place.


Meet the Man Who Sold 4 Companies for Over a Billion Dollars

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Patrick Bet-David meets with entrepreneur Tom Ellsworth (also known as «The Biz Doc») to discuss the future of business and entrepreneurship

In the beginning of the video, Ellsworth tells the audience about his background building and selling successful companies like Premier Digital Publishing and GoTV. In 2006, he published the book, The Rat, The Race, and The Cage

Speaking with Bet-David, Ellsworth recalls a number of memories and shares his views on the future. He shares the time he watched the last meeting between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and explained its effect on him. He believes Jobs to be the designer with the passion to create an experience end to end, where Gates was more the enabler — helping to create a massive market for products. Although their approaches differed, both equally had incredible impacts. 

Ellsworth also shares the top five companies, entrepreneurs and industries that he predicts will dominate the next 10 years. He’s confident that Google, Uber and Amazon will be industry leaders, that Elon Musk will continue to innovate and change the world and that online education will see major growth. 

To learn more from Ellsworth, click play. 

Watch more YouTube videos from Bet-David on his channel.

Related: 9 Misconceptions of Entrepreneurs

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Click here to become a part of this growing video network.


9 Things Ultra Productive People Do Every Day

When it comes to productivity, we all face the same challenge — there are only 24 hours in a day. Yet some people seem to have twice the time; they have an uncanny ability to get things done. Even when juggling multiple projects, they reach their goals without fail.

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”  — Thomas Edison

We all want to get more out of life. There’s arguably no better way to accomplish this than by finding ways to do more with the precious time you’ve been given.

Related: 14 Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Every Day

It feels incredible when you leave the office after an ultra-productive day. It’s a workplace high that’s hard to beat. With the right approach, you can make this happen every day. You don’t need to work longer or push yourself harder — you just need to work smarter.

Ultra-productive people know this. As they move through their days they rely on productivity hacks that make them far more efficient. They squeeze every drop out of every hour without expending any extra effort.

The best thing about these hacks is they’re easy to implement. So easy that you can begin using them today. Give them a read, give them a whirl and watch your productivity soar.

1. They fight the tyranny of the urgent. The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.

If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”  — William Penn

2. They never touch things twice. Productive people never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.

3. They eat frogs. “Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.

4. They don’t multitask. Ultra-productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

Related: 10 Unmistakable Habits of Utterly Authentic People

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers — those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance — were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. 

5. They get ready for tomorrow before they leave the office. Productive people end each day by preparing for the next. This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” — Benjamin Franklin

6. They stick to the schedule during meetings. Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” — Michael Altshuler

7. They say no. «No» is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity.

Related: 10 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently

8. They only check email at designated times. Ultra-productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.

“One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” — Charles Richards

9. They put technology to work for them. Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they set up contingencies on their smart phones that alert them when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.

Bringing It All Together

We’re all searching for ways to be more efficient and productive. I hope these strategies help you to find that extra edge.

version of this article appeared on TalentSmart.


Are Entrepreneurs an Endangered Species? 3 Safeguards to Ensure You’re Not Next.

Entrepreneurs may not be going the way of the dodo — not yet — but they should probably be considered an endangered species.

Related: 3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Fail to Secure Funding

Research by World Bank economist Camilo Mondragón-Vélez shows a significant drop in the number of entrepreneurs. Mondragón-Vélez warns that entrepreneurship has become a “viable option only for those with higher income and wealth levels.” Considering how vital entrepreneurship is to the world economy, this trend is somewhat disturbing.

There are clear indications of a shrinking U.S. middle class, which is particularly problematic in the world of entrepreneurship. A Pew Research Center analysis of government data found that the number of adults living in middle-income homes decreased in 203 of 229 metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2014. The same study reported a 4 percent drop in the middle class nationally during that 14-year span, with a decrease of 6 percent or more in 53 metropolitan areas.

This shift is bad news for the entrepreneurial community. Members of the middle class generally have a high enough standard of living to support their children, relatives or friends during the startup phase; they also may have savings to cover expenses for a while as they test the entrepreneurial waters. But a disappearing middle class? That could mean fewer entrepreneurs.

On top of this dwindling pool of potential entrepreneurs consider the credit crunch that has been in place since the Great Recession. The Federal Reserve has printed loads of money for a long time, but those funds haven’t reached businesses in need of capital. People often blame banks for sitting on cash, which is true, but also an oversimplification.

In any case, financing is lacking for people eager to start businesses. Entrepreneurs either struggle to secure financing while they hone in on a profitable niche for their businesses, or they are altogether unable to pursue their dreams. Those lucky few who have the wherewithal to bootstrap their ventures or manage to drum up enough money to launch end up facing incredible pressure to revolutionize the world.

How to ensure your startup doesn’t flop

The middle class is withering away and financing is difficult to secure, but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs should abandon their dreams and stick to safer routes. By taking a cautious approach and exercising a healthy level of prudence, these impresarios can navigate the economic headwinds to succeed in the face of harsh conditions.

1. Identify and build from your core.

You have something unique and valuable that competitors cannot easily copy. It’s your job to figure out that differentiator. Many entrepreneurs don’t know their unique advantage, so they don’t build their businesses around it. They become vulnerable because they don’t do anything that is particularly valuable. They might offer valuable goods or services, but those same items are often available from other vendors.

How will you react when Walmart moves into town or Amazon begins to sell your product? Direct competition with these giants is a losing proposition. You can’t match their efficient logistics, so you must offer something else. That differentiator could be as simple as local knowledge or high-trust relationships in your community. Those core strengths are something even Amazon cannot offer.

2. Grow slowly and organically. 

When sales take off, entrepreneurs can hurt their fledgling startups by not quickly spending money to buy machinery, hire new workers, establish partnerships or do anything else that might increase production. Timely investments are necessary to grow your business, but this also means you’re taking on expenses that you might not be able to shed, should anything change. Many startups try to scale as quickly as possible, but it’s better to grow naturally.

Related: How to Avoid the Premature Scaling Death Trap

It takes a lot of time and money to train new workers to the point that they’re productive. Don’t expand unless that’s part of your plan or relatively risk-free. You shouldn’t buy a house that is the maximum you can afford, and you shouldn’t grow your business to the point where you struggle to break even.

If you’re unable to satisfy all of your customers, using your existing resources, raise your price. Good entrepreneurship is less about maximizing and more about being flexible and making a satisfactory profit.

3. Get creative with funding. 

Traditional lending routes may be harder to navigate, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to raise the capital you need to launch your startup. Crowdfunding has generated a lot of buzz over the past few years, allowing entrepreneurs to skip the middleman and directly ask consumers to chip in some money to help them create a product.

It’s a lot easier to ask 1,000 people to chip in $150 each than it is to get $150,000 from a banker — the banker wants a return, whereas people who support a crowdfunding project are happy to have an early version of your product.

Crowdfunding is a tremendous opportunity now, but I suspect it will become more difficult over time. Most consumers don’t realize how common failure is among entrepreneurs, and crowdfunding could become a harder sell if a few high-profile projects end in failure. Projects such as the CST-01 watch and the ZANO autonomous drone collected millions of dollars from backers, though the companies behind both creations filed for bankruptcy without delivering anything.

If all else fails, you can always fall back on the three Fs of the fundraising world — friends, family and fools.

Related: Is Crowdfunding Right for You? Answer These 7 Questions to Find Out

While there is no guarantee of success, there are plenty of ways for entrepreneurs to fail. The best tactics to safeguard your startup include building from a strong core, growing organically and seeking nontraditional fundraising avenues. With a little creativity and a lot of effort, your startup can keep your name off the endangered species list.


22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

This story appears in the March 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

1. Focus 

“It’s been said that leadership is making important but unpopular decisions. That’s certainly a partial truth, but I think it underscores the importance of focus. To be a good leader, you cannot major in minor things, and you must be less distracted than your competition. To get the few critical things done, you must develop incredible selective ignorance. Otherwise, the trivial will drown you.”

—Tim Ferriss, bestselling author, host of The Tim Ferriss Show 

Offer: Get The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss as a free audiobook with a 30-day free trial to Audiobooks.com.

2. Confidence

“A leader instills confidence and ‘followership’ by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach. As a female leader, to be recognized I feel I have to show up with swagger and assertiveness, yet always try to maintain my Southern upbringing, which underscores kindness and generosity. The two work well together in gaining respect.”

—Barri Rafferty, CEO, Ketchum North America

3. Transparency

“I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.”

—Keri Potts, senior director of public relations, ESPN

4. Integrity

“Our employees are a direct reflection of the values we embody as leaders. If we’re playing from a reactive and obsolete playbook of needing to be right instead of doing what’s right, then we limit the full potential of our business and lose quality talent. If you focus on becoming authentic in all your interactions, that will rub off on your business and your culture, and the rest takes care of itself.”

—Gunnar Lovelace, co-CEO and cofounder, Thrive Market

5. Inspiration

“People always say I’m a self-made man. But there is no such thing. Leaders aren’t self-made; they are driven. I arrived in America with no money or any belongings besides my gym bag, but I can’t say I came with nothing: Others gave me great inspiration and fantastic advice, and I was fueled by my beliefs and an internal drive and passion. That’s why I’m always willing to  offer motivation—to friends or strangers on Reddit. I know the power of inspiration, and if someone can stand on my shoulders to achieve greatness, I’m more than willing to help them up.” 

—Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California

Read This: Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger | Amazon | Indigo.ca | Barnes & Noble

6. Passion

“You must love what you do. In order to be truly successful at something, you must obsess over it and let it consume you. No matter how successful your business might become, you are never satisfied and constantly push to do something bigger, better and greater. You lead by example not because you feel like it’s what you should do, but because it is your way of life.”

—Joe Perez, cofounder, Tastemade

7. Innovation

“In any system with finite resources and infinite expansion of population—like your business, or like all of humanity—innovation is essential for not only success  but also survival. The innovators are our leaders. You cannot separate the two. Whether it is by thought, technology or organization, innovation is our only hope to solve our challenges.”

—Aubrey Marcus, founder, Onnit

8. Patience

“Patience is really courage that’s meant to test your commitment to your cause. The path to great things is always tough, but the best leaders understand when to abandon the cause and when to stay the course. If your vision is bold enough, there will be hundreds of reasons why it ‘can’t be done’ and plenty of doubters. A lot of things have to come together—external markets, competition, financing, consumer demand and always a little luck—to pull off something big.”

—Dan Brian, COO, WhipClip

9. Stoicism

“It’s inevitable: We’re going to find ourselves in some real shit situations, whether they’re costly mistakes, unexpected failures or unscrupulous enemies. Stoicism is, at its core, accepting and anticipating this in advance, so that you don’t freak out, react emotionally and aggravate things further. Train our minds, consider the worst-case scenarios and regulate our unhelpful instinctual responses—that’s how we make sure shit situations don’t turn into fatal resolutions.” 

—Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way and former director of marketing, American Apparel

Offer: Get Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday as a free audiobook with a 30-day free trial to Audiobooks.com

10. Wonkiness

“Understanding the underlying numbers is the best thing I’ve done for my business. As we have a subscription-based service, the biggest impact on our bottom line was to decrease our churn rate. Being able to nudge that number from 6 percent to 4 Percent meant a 50 percent increase in the average customer’s lifetime value.
We would not have known to focus on this metric without being able to accurately analyze our data.” 

—Sol Orwell, cofounder, Examine.com

11. Authenticity

“It’s true that imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, but not when it comes to leadership—and every great leader in my life, from Mike Tomlin to Olympic ski coach Scott Rawles, led from a place of authenticity. Learn from others, read autobiographies of your favorite leaders, pick up skills along the way… but never lose your authentic voice, opinions and, ultimately, how you make decisions.”

—Jeremy Bloom, cofounder and CEO, Integrate

Read This: Fueled By Failure: Using Detours and Defeats to Power Progress by Jeremy Bloom | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

12. Open-mindedness

“One of the biggest myths is that good business leaders are great visionaries with dogged determination to stick to their goals no matter what. It’s nonsense. The truth is, leaders need to keep an open mind while being flexible, and adjust if necessary. When in the startup phase of a company, planning is highly overrated and goals are not static. Your commitment should be to invest, develop and maintain great relationships.”

—Daymond John, CEO, Shark Branding and FUBU

Read This: The Power of Broke by Daymond John | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

13. Decisiveness

“In high school and college, to pick up extra cash I would often referee recreational basketball games. The mentor who taught me how to officiate gave his refs one important piece of advice that translates well into the professional world: ‘Make the call fast, make the call loud and don’t look back.’ In marginal situations, a decisively made wrong call will often lead to better long-term results and a stronger team than a wishy-washy decision that turns out to be right.”

—Scott Hoffman, owner, Folio Literary Management

14. Personableness

“We all provide something unique to this world, and we can all smell when someone isn’t being real. The more you focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them—rather than just focus on what they can do for you—the more likable and personable you become. This isn’t required to be a great leader, but it is to be a respected leader, which can make all the difference in your business.”

—Lewis Howes, New York Times bestselling author of The School of Greatness

15. Empowerment

“Many of my leadership philosophies were learned as an athlete. My most successful teams didn’t always have the most talent but did have teammates with the right combination of skills, strengths and a common trust in each other. To build an ‘overachieving’ team, you need to delegate responsibility and authority. Giving away responsibilities isn’t always easy. It can actually be harder to do than completing the task yourself, but with the right project selection and support, delegating can pay off in dividends. It is how you truly find people’s capabilities and get the most out of them.” 

—Shannon Pappas, senior vice president, Beachbody LIVE

16. Positivity 

“In order to achieve greatness, you must create a culture of optimism. There will be many ups and downs, but the prevalence of positivity will keep the company going. But be warned: This requires fearlessness. You have to truly believe in making the impossible possible.”

 —Jason Harris, CEO, Mekanism

17. Generosity

“My main goal has always been to offer the best of myself. We all grow—as a collective whole—when I’m able to build up others and help them grow as individuals.”

—Christopher Perilli, CEO, Pixel Mobb

18. Persistence

“A great leader once told me, ‘persistence beats resistance.’ And after working at Facebook, Intel and Microsoft and starting my own company, I’ve learned two major lessons: All great things take time, and you must persist no matter what. That’s what it takes to be a leader: willingness to go beyond where others will stop.” 

—Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo, appsumo

Read This: How I Lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook by Noah Kagan

19. Insightfulness

“It takes insight every day to be able to separate that which is really important from all the incoming fire. It’s like wisdom—it can be improved with time, if you’re paying attention, but it has to exist in your character. It’s inherent. When your insight is right, you look like a genius. And when your insight is wrong, you look like an idiot.”

—Raj Bhakta, founder, WhistlePig Whiskey

20. Communication

“If people aren’t aware of your expectations, and they fall short, it’s really your fault for not expressing it to them. The people I work with are in constant communication, probably to a fault. But communication is a balancing act. You might have a specific want or need, but it’s superimportant to treat work as a collaboration. We always want people to tell us their thoughts and ideas—that’s why we have all these very talented people working with us.”

—Kim Kurlanchik Russen, partner, TAO Group

21. Accountability 

“It’s a lot easier to assign blame than to hold yourself accountable. But if you want to know how to do it right, learn from financial expert Larry Robbins. He wrote a genuinely humble letter to his investors about his bad judgment that caused their investments to falter. He then opened up a new fund without management and performance fees—unheard of in the hedge fund world. This is character. This is accountability. It’s not only taking responsibility; it’s taking the next step to make it right.”

—Sandra Carreon-John, senior vice president, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

22. Restlessness

“It takes real leadership to find the strengths within each person on your team and then be willing to look outside to plug the gaps. It’s best to believe that your team alone does not have all the answers— because if you believe that, it usually means you’re not asking all the right questions.”

—Nick Woolery, global director of marketing, Stance Socks


How to Network in the Nation’s Tech Capitol

U.S.-based hedge funds may be pulling out of Silicon Valley, but there’s a new guard rushing to take their place: overseas investors.

While hedge funds conducted 38 percent fewer venture capital deals in Q4 2015 than the prior quarter, Asian investors are stepping up with fresh capital. Snapchat, for instance, secured $200 million in investment funding in March 2015 from top Chinese retailer Alibaba. The same month, Lyft won a whopping $530 million from Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten.

For investors and entrepreneurs alike, Silicon Valley’s luster isn’t wearing off — it’s simply being polished with new cloth. 

Related: 5 Insights Into Venture Capital Entrepreneurs Need to Know Now

Silicon Valley networking secrets

In the country’s tech capitol, a new crop of investors means new opportunities to form valuable connections. But even in the on-demand city, relationships can’t be rushed.

A few years ago, for instance, I met a talented iOS engineer. My drone company, Skycatch, had no need for iOS development at the time, but because I maintained a relationship with the engineer, I was recently able to ask for his help with an iOS integration. Even though the project was outside his usual work, he made an exception to work with us.

So, whether you’re meeting an investor, developer, CFO or whoever, make time to nurture that relationship. Even if the person can’t help you then and there, he or she may be able to introduce you to someone who can. If you break the first link in that chain, you’ll never get to see where it leads.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should take a shotgun approach to Bay Area networking. If you go to every event in San Francisco looking for that next investor or full-stack developer, you’ll find a lot of noise. The startup boom has created a gold rush, which means some events are packed with people whose only objective is to get rich quickly. If you want to build a valuable network, don’t be one of them.

Related: 9 Networking Blunders That Undermine Your Reputation

Build your Bay Area network.

Networking — wherever you are, but especially in Silicon Valley — is about quality over quantity of connections. Plan to attend three or four key events per month, and use the following tips to make the most of them:

1. Start small. Always network with a clear objective in mind. As a former CTO and engineer, I know the importance of pairing a business-minded CEO with a technical co-founder.

Be choosy. Don’t work the room; invest your time in finding that one person. Go to that first connection for advice, not a handout. Ask him (or her) for 15 minutes of wisdom, and you’ll most likely get it.

2. Find a matchmaker. When I was searching for investors interested in drone data, I contacted my friend Naval Ravikant, the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. Naval gave me feedback on which investors might want to speak with me, helping me to make the most of each meeting.

Don’t be shy about sharing your vision with others. If people don’t know your end goal, they can’t help you find those with the wisdom and resources to reach it. 

3. Be clear about your purpose. When you go to an event, it’s essential to understand the value your company can bring to others. If your only goal is to make a quick buck, you’re going to recruit people with the same intentions. 

In Facebook’s pre-IPO days, CEO Mark Zuckerberg brought aboard a lot of people who were hoping to cash in. Then, when Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo’s billion-dollar buyout offer, many of his company leaders abandoned ship. The exodus was a painful lesson for Zuckerberg, but it did help him separate Facebook’s long-term contributors from those simply chasing cash.

Related: 5 Ways Mark Zuckerberg Took Risks, for Better or Worse

4. Build a “most wanted” list. Written goals are much more likely to be achieved. To create a record of connections and a reminder of purpose, build a list of people you want to meet. After each event, update your list with new targets, and cross off those you’ve connected with.

Don’t be afraid to think big with your list. Mine, for instance, includes Space-X founder Elon Musk. And, while I may never meet him, my list has helped me win investment from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Others I’ve met on the list include Ram Shriram, a founding board member of Google and Richard Branson of Virgin Group.

Networking is about strategy, but it’s also about fun. Remember: We’re talking about meeting friends and advisors for the work of your life. Invest your heart and mind in these people. And maybe, eventually, they will invest in you.


Top 2017 Franchises By the Numbers (Infographic)

This story appears in the January 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Franchising is a big, big world, spanning everything from small players making their way to giants like Subway and 7-Eleven. In putting together Entrepreneur‘s latest Franchise 500 rankings, we stumbled upon some eye-catching numbers — ones that inspired this infographic. Take a look and learn which company saw the greatest percentage growth last year and who takes the cake for the biggest franchise company on Earth. 

Related: These Top 10 Franchises Lead Entrepreneur.com’s Franchise 500