We founded Audienz during the 2008 recession and have grown 40% per year on average since then. We started during hard times, and the road hasn’t been easy. And I am glad it wasn’t, as I believe that, to become unstoppable, you must seek and overcome hardship continuously! Like tempering steel.
Over the years, I’ve been collecting little gems of wisdom (and a few books) that I wish I had found earlier in my career. These are not silver bullets. They’re more like virtues to be practiced to harden your character over time and keep pushing forward no matter what. Become unstoppable!
- NO PAIN, NO GROWTH. Think of pain as the adaptation to the better you. The higher the pain, the higher you’re aiming. The higher the reward. And that is good. If it doesn’t kill you, it is growing you in a big way. You feel comfortable now? Not enough pain in your professional life? Do something! Shake it up! Push yourself!
- THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY. The impediment to action, advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way. How brilliant, Marcus Aurelius! And what a gift of a little book from Ryan Holiday! Learn to control perception, action and will. How you respond to obstacles is what defines you. I wish I could have found this little book earlier.
- ACCELERATE YOURSELF. Whatever you’re doing today, do it faster! And even faster tomorrow! Technology is driving the pace of life and business into higher gear. Learn to leverage it. In your life and work. Stay connected. Never stop learning. Be a first adopter! Transform yourself and the way you work—continuously! You feel you’ve caught up, finally? Don’t stop. Anticipate! As pilots like to say, be ahead of the plane!
- BEST IS THE ENEMY OF BETTER. Be action oriented. Avoid analysis paralysis. As said in #3 above, there is no time for perfection. Not on your first attempt. Test and fail continuously until you get it right. It took Rovio 51 attempts to get Angry Birds. Research? Planning? No time. Test! Pilot! Incessantly!
- NEVER EAT ALONE. One of the few business books I recommend. If you’re used to eating your salad at your desk, you’re missing in a big way! 95% of business decisions are done over a meal or drink (don’t know the real number but should be close to that 😊). So, get out! Every day! Make sure your calendar is always booked at lunch time! Funny that even in the rapid age of the internet, what still matters is human contact and connection. Face to face!
- DON’T OBSESS ABOUT SUCCESS. A collective delusion. Instead, focus on standing up when you fall. Pushing forward no matter what. Growing a little bit every day. Don’t judge yourself. There’s no measuring stick. No one is evaluating you. The success “trap” can fill you with a false sense of completion that will prevent you from continuing to learn and push yourself even further. Success belongs on cheap office posters, not in your mind. Not to mention your goals.
- BE SELF-DRIVEN, POSITIVE. As Steven Pressfield says, we must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause. Be self-motivated! A big part of being unstoppable is taking initiative and driving action and results, without needing pressure from others. Approach life with enthusiasm, positivity and optimism, and spread it around! Being positive amid hardship is a choice. Always keep that in mind.
- YOU ARE ONLY BOUND BY YOUR AMBITION. Once you become unstoppable, there is no limit. Really! You create your own reality and the only barriers are in your own mind. Overcome them! Be confident. Take risks. Don’t be afraid of the point of no return. That’s where you’ll get the most thrilling and transformative rides in your life. Keep moving! Seek chaos. It’s fun! Be comfortable with ambiguity. Life is not black or white.
- BE A CHAMELEON. Adapt as the conditions and the opportunities you face change. Don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself if you need to. I have been a banking consultant, investment banker, internet and software entrepreneur and, lately, a b2b strategy consultant. The transitions are not easy and not painless. And that is good (see #1 above). It may feel like you’re “stepping back.” On the contrary, that is a significant step towards becoming unstoppable.
- LIVE FULLY. Strike that right work/life balance. Don’t make work your only passion. Life is both wonderful and short. Having been very close to the edge (I was accidentally shot when I was 23) taught me to savor every day as if it were my last. Don’t get bogged down by small things and always keep your perspective. Stay grounded. Don’t take things for granted and try to stay in the moment during those special times. Learn to table aside work when you need to. Keep your mind free for those that love you, and be generous, as many people have been generous to you in multiple ways.
Practice these virtues and seek to enter the unstoppable zone! It’s a moving and slippery target but worth pursuing. Hardships won’t affect you that much. You will recover faster and feel better with small incremental progress. You won’t be bugged by ideas of success. In sum, you’ll be a better you every day. They have certainly helped me and my team persevere and grow over the past 10 years. There is now no limit to what we can do at the unstoppable team at Audienz!