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If you enjoy stellar interviews and inspiring entrepreneurial video content, you already know and love Tom Bilyeu, the co-founder and host of Impact Theory. He is on a mission to help people develop the skills needed for personal growth, to create empowering media-based intellectual property and to foster mission-based businesses. Before Impact Theory, Bilyeu co-founded Quest Nutrition, a startup valued at over $1 billion. He is also an in-demand public speaker and has been featured in publications like Forbes, Success and many more. He has an infectious positive attitude and an incredible entrepreneurial track record, so I was excited to chat with him recently after a speaking engagement in Dallas.
Related: 5 Ways to Rewire Your Brain to Be Positive
If you have trouble staying positive through the grind, check out the following eight tactics for success in work and in life from our conversation.
Foster (not find) passion.
Bilyeu has a refreshing take on passion: You don’t need to find or rediscover it.
“I don’t think it’s like, you were given a passion lightning rod when you were a kid, and you lost it somewhere in your bedroom,” he said.
Instead, take an interest, gain mastery in that area and ask yourself if you have the drive to keep pushing. If you do, find the overlap.
“You can generate true wealth doing something that you love, if you understand how to make your areas of interest, and things that can be sold, overlap.”
Find something to enjoy failing at.
Bilyeu was passionate about the fact that time is our most precious commodity. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us, and neither is success.
“The lesson that I finally learned was, you need to find something that you would love doing, even if you were failing. Failure is a guarantee, success is not,” he explained. “[Put yourself in] a position where you can enjoy even the hard times.”
Every endeavor is going to have valleys, as past guest on The Pursuit, Seth Godin, wrote in The Dip, so make sure you’re building your life and work around something you will still enjoy on the hardest, bleakest days.
Related: 4 Ways to Save Yourself From Burning Out
Find a way to keep learning.
Bilyeu is overwhelmingly positive. When I asked about his seemingly bulletproof belief system, he explained there was no one turning point. He shared that the stories and ideas we read and absorb over time create the building blocks of our foundational mindset.
“I probably read about 50 books a year [via Audible.] I take notes on it to make sure that I’ve got the information.”
Remember, successful people adopt a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset — believing one can change and grow and expand. Be wary of phrases like “Well, I’ve always been this way” or “That’s just the way I am.”
Part of growth is admitting what you don’t know. In his younger years, Bilyeu prided himself on being right. “I ended up switching and building my self-esteem around being a learner and identifying the right answer faster than anybody else and always being willing to admit when I was wrong, and that changed everything.”
Related: 8 Essential Personal Characteristics for Leading Your Business to Success
Some don’t believe this can be learned, but in my 50-plus interviews with millionaires and world-changers, I believe it can. Bilyeu offered a great exercise. When you feel yourself starting to get overwhelmed with an emotion like anger, first recognize the emotion.
“Once you realize that you’re having the emotion, then you can [ask yourself], Something is responsible for this feeling. What is it? And as you begin to parse through things, then you can begin to identify it. Over time, you’ll get pretty good.”
Past guest on The Pursuit Gretchen Rubin, happiness researcher and New York Times bestselling author, was also adamant that people can develop self-awareness in order to build a happier life. She offers multiple exercises on self-awareness on her website, gretchenrubin.com.
Find the positive.
Time for some tough love, readers. I spend a lot of time around entrepreneurs that, like myself, are still in the trenches, still building. We are not always the happiest, most positive bunch. We love the work, we love our mission, but the day-to-day grind is intense and draining, and many admit to me, as I openly admit myself, it can be very hard to “enjoy the journey.” I loved Bilyeu’s suggestion for this. First, realize that it’s your deep limbic system that interprets the inputs around you. This system can get inflamed and start to perceive all stimuli as negative.
Related: How the World’s Smartest People Learn Things Fastest
“When I found myself [thinking] everything seemed negative, I’m like, Okay, hold on. I know the deep limbic system well enough to know, for whatever reason, it is now just coloring everything as a negative event.” he explained. “Understanding that you always have those choices that you can also use take control of that mind. It’s . . . just neuroanatomy and then asking, ‘Why, why, why? Why do I feel this way?'”
Foster a positive culture.
If you have a small team, people can easily see that you as the leader are a hard worker, you care about them, you have a mission driving you. That starts to get lost as your organization grows, Bilyeu shared. To combat this, make sure that every division, from the top to the bottom, has an influencer employee, who embodies your philosophies so there are “the five to nine people that can legitimately warm their hands on that person’s cultural contributions, because as you start getting too far away from that, it begins to crumble.” He has learned that people need to feel taken care of, to feel like they have purpose and to feel significant.
“What is your company trying to do in the world? We [at Quest Nutrition] had TVs that would cycle through images of people that have used our product to go through these tremendous transformations, because we wanted them to understand what you’re doing is significant, it matters. There are people out there counting on this product, using it, it’s changing their lives, and to really feel connected to that.”
Related: Why Community, Not Capital, Helped This Founder Find Success
Find a market that’s underserved.
Bilyeu understands building a successful business and brand in an extremely saturated, competitive market. First, he explained, only try to enter and stand out in a space where the market is actually being underserved. “Truly, the standing out needs to be done at the product level. If you don’t have that, move on to something else. If nobody’s being underserved, what are you doing?”
At the product level, you need to be “better than any other product out on the market, otherwise, why are you there?” He believes companies should always double down on the product to make it better and more revolutionary.
“Once you have a product that is serving a market that has been underserved, at that point, you want build a community,” he said, explaining that we are living in an incredible time with no gatekeepers. If you’re willing to put in the effort in the peaks and valleys, make the best product and foster your own community, nothing can stop you.
“The world of excuses is dead and gone,” he said. “However big you want to make your platform, you can. It may take time, obviously, but you’re gonna deliver value one after the other and then it just keeps getting bigger. It is you and your community. And as long as you deliver value to them, you’re crushing.”
Related: How to Go From Starving, Side Hustle Artist to Thriving, Full-Time Artist
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