People who want to be successful need a mentor. Mentors are essential to the process of mastery — no matter what it is that you are trying to master. Back in the olden days, there once were apprenticeships where the youth of the world would learn from their elders that have already been trained in a particular trade.
In our more modern times, we don’t quite have the same system, but nevertheless finding yourself a mentor is important; it’s a way of expediting the process by being guided by the hands of someone who has already accomplished what you are trying to accomplish, who has been in your position. Unfortunately, finding your very own mentor is not easy. So what to do in the meantime? Read. Here are 8 quotes from 8 successful and inspirational entrepreneurs:
1. “In the morning I stand up, scratch a little bit, then I light a candle and I meditate. Every morning. I’ve been meditating for maybe 20 years. I meditate so I can make choices — so I’m not a sheep all the time. So I can see better than what everyone else is doing.” – Russell Simmons, founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam
Our morning routines are more important than most of us realize. They set the pace for the rest of the day and will often be the determining factor in whether or not you will find yourself in a good mood. Many of us feel that we wake up with clear minds after a good night’s sleep — personally, I never feel this way. I wake up most days with a song playing in my head on repeat; I have no idea why.
Instead of waking up and going through all the things that you need to do, take 10 minutes to close your eyes, still your body and mind and meditate. Allow yourself to get in touch with reality, with the physical world. It’s best not to start the day running, but rather still and focused. If you sprint from the start, then you will be burned out by the time you really need to turn up the gears.
2. “I usually get up at 6:30 and go to a Pilates class near my house. Exercising helps me maintain calm. Before I leave for work, I have a cup of decaf coffee and spend 30 minutes reading…In the early days, I did everything. My biggest challenge has been letting go and letting people do their jobs.” – Trina Turk, fashion designer
Exercise keeps the body feeling good and the mind feeling calm. The relationship between the body and the mind has sparked the interest of many over the years — no matter what your theory on the subject is, you cannot deny that just as the mind affects the body, the body affects the mind. The only way to remain at the peak of your performance is to keep both the body and the mind fit and dexterous.
3. “If I think something is going to take me an hour, I give myself 40 minutes. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you work faster and with greater focus. I also schedule time every week on my calendar for quiet, concentrated Power-Time where I only work on my most important activities.” – Krissi Barr, founder of consulting firm Barr Corporate Success
Setting and keeping deadlines is crucial for maximizing efficiency. Setting deadlines that are a tight squeeze forces us to focus more intensely and work more efficiently. When working on a task, we often get distracted and switch focus — we sometimes call this multitasking. Multitasking has been scientifically proven to lower a person’s IQ; you may think you are doing more, but the only thing you are doing is not focusing. Focus is essential to being productive — imposing short deadlines on yourself will make sure you are as efficient as possible.
4. “Meetings are a waste of time unless you are closing a deal. There are so many ways to communicate in real time or asynchronously that any meeting you actually sit for should have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go.” – Mark Cuban, CEO of HDNet and Dallas Mavericks owner
While Cuban is definitely on point with setting a duration and outcome on meetings, the same can be said about anything else that we decide to do. If you are planning on doing something, then you must have a reason for doing it, a purpose and desired outcome — otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it. Being clear on that desired outcome and setting a timeframe for achieving said outcome will maximize your efficiency and produce better results. This goes for meetings, for errands, for tasks and even for when you are going out to pick up a one-night stand. You know what you want and you know by what time you need to get it, so go get it.
5. “Find somebody else to run (your) business on a day-to-day basis. Don’t always try to sit in the driver’s seat yourself. Don’t always try to be the top person in the building. If you can, be brave… give them your title—and step aside. Then you can start thinking about the bigger picture.” – Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
Your company is your baby — it’s difficult to trust a babysitter. But it must be done in order for you to take care of the things that are more important, such as the direction that your company now ought to be taking. As the company grows, you must grow with it, allowing managers to take the reins so that you can spend more of your time growing the company and possibly branching out into other markets. Let someone else run the day-to-day affairs; you focus on what you do best: figuring out the next steps to take.
6. “The productiveness of any meeting depends on the level of thought given to the agenda in advance, and you should never leave a meeting without writing a follow-up list with each item assigned to one person. And go outside. All the big ideas are on the outside. You’ll never have a creative idea at your desk.” – Barbara Corcoran, founder of Corcoran Group
Meetings are an important part of your company environment and structure — but if they are not planned in advanced as well recorded post, then there is no point of having them. You should go into a meeting knowing all the points that you need covered and then you should record all the decisions that were made. Otherwise you are likely to have to repeat the same points the following meeting, making little to no progress.
7. “I carry my laptop with me everywhere. If I have any downtime during the day, I’ll jump on my computer and answer e-mails. At least once a week, I log in to Ustream, a free video streaming site that lets you interact with people…I believe that kind of one-on-one engagement with people is key to growing my personal brand.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia
Being an entrepreneur takes up a lot of time. You always have things that you should be doing and often run out of time to do them. More often than not this is a result of time being wasted — not necessarily due to your own fault. Meetings get moved around, transit is a pain in the ass and there are times that you find yourself waiting longer than you expected.
All of these moments are a waste of time — unless you come prepared. Bring your laptop, planner or whatever else it is that you would need to do the work that needs to be done for that day. Even if you can work on a couple of the projects while you wait you will be boosting your efficiency significantly.
8. “Follow Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza rule: Project teams should be small enough to feed with two pizzas.” – Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr
Two minds are better than one…but too many minds are…well…too many. It’s nice to get a couple of different peoples take on an issue, but having too many takes on any given topic is likely to lead to more discussion than is necessary. Keep your project teams small in order to better their productivity. If you have a lot of employees, then have them work on several projects rather than just one.