Time speeds up the older I get. I’m in my late 30s and looking back, there are a lot of things I may have done differently had I known what I know now. With experience comes wisdom, and I could have used some of that wisdom when I was in my 20s.
But I have to put the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” in the past. Instead of mulling over fears and regrets, I’m focused on the present and dreaming big for the future. It’s essential for startup leaders and entrepreneurs to follow Grant Cardone’s model for going 10X.
So thinking about that 10X mindset, I’ve come up with a list of things that I wish I’d learned earlier. Here are 10 life lessons I wish I knew in my 20s.
1. Challenge the status quo.
You have to challenge the status quo to gain the freedom to grow. The reality is, if you’re not challenging the status quo every day, then you’re doing what everyone else is doing and just trying to do it faster and/or cheaper. To truly make a change, you have to create time for brainstorming on your next big innovation.
2. Execution is everything.
Everyone has big ideas, but if you don’t execute on them, then those ideas are worth nothing. If you have an idea — especially if it’s a 10X game-changing idea — then you must go all in with laser focus. Nothing less is acceptable.
3. Don’t hide your dreams.
Most people don’t know this, but before Terminus, I had my own startup for three years. I was moonlighting every weekend, yet I didn’t tell a soul because I wasn’t proud of my startup’s accomplishments. That was dumb, but that’s how I felt. The point is to share your dreams. The worst thing that can happen is you get feedback that leads you to a better idea.
4. Always be connecting.
Find ways to get out there and connect with other people: your peers, industry influencers, sales prospects, and even perfect strangers. Follow people on social media and when you finally meet them in person it’ll be like you’ve known them for years. Go out to eat, take a walk or a break, attend conferences and events–whatever it takes to get out there and start connecting. Nobody is out of reach.
5. Build a personal brand.
Everything you do online helps to build your brand. You have to take charge of it. There are tons of social media tools out there, and they are all platforms to help develop your personal brand.
6. Learn how to sell.
If you aspire to become a CEO, entrepreneur, or leader in your company, then you must learn how to sell to effectively get your point across. You’re always selling — whether it’s your own idea or a product. I was personally involved in the first 15 deals we closed at Terminus. It’s opened my eyes to the sales process, and I have immense respect for our sales team.
If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried hard enough. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my career. With my first startup, I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t trying to cross the line. I wasn’t ready to make a fool of myself. Today I’m 100 percent there. I have no problem feeling foolish because I might learn something new.
8. Create your own lifelong board of advisers.
Whatever your passion, there are tons of people who can help you achieve your dreams. When I decided to come on board as a startup co-founder, I created a list of the best people to connect with to help guide me and (in some cases) tell me what I was doing was wrong. Assembling your personal board of advisers will help ensure you’re on the right path to success both personally and professionally.
9. Bank 2,000 percent on your strengths.
Find your strengths and build on them. This is something I’ve learned over time, especially with my 6-year-old son. We’re on this path of getting him involved in activities to discover what he’s good at. Nobody likes to be average. The whole idea of trying to be good at everything is impossible. It’s important to find what you excel at and cultivate those skills.
10. Be yourself.
There are so many amazing people out there whom I admire. While I’d love to be as successful as they are, I know that my path to success will be different. Find that role where you’re stretching yourself, giving yourself complete flexibility for what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to fail while trying to reach your goals. Our dreams get accomplished on our own terms, and nobody else’s.