5 Tips to Improve Focus and Get Things Done

Where we place our attention determines what gets done. In most instances, we know what we need to do. We even know how to do it. So, where do we fall short?

We don’t account for the impact our environment plays on our ability to stay focused. Our brains are designed to notice and respond to new information. This was crucial for survival in primitive times — notice and respond to a lion, notice and respond to food.

4 Ways to Immediately Earn the Respect of Those You Lead (And How to Keep It)

Are you ready to lead? If you want to succeed, you had better be.

I’ve said before that the number one skill I’d focus on to achieve success in business and life is leadership. Leadership is the key to boosting productivity, creating more value in your organization and even changing the lives of the people you’re responsible for.

But, to be an effective leader, you can’t just come in and start throwing your weight around. You have to command respect. That doesn’t come from just coming in and saying “I’m the leader, listen to me.”

You have to earn it. And once earned, you have to keep it.

So how do you go about doing that?

Be passionate about your vision.

Successful entrepreneurs are always passionate about what they do. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for instance. The founder of Facebook had this to say about passion:

“Find that thing you are super passionate about. A lot of the founding principles of Facebook are that if people have access to more information and are more connected, it will make the world better; people will have more understanding, more empathy. That’s the guiding principle for me. On hard days, I really just step back, and that’s the thing that keeps me going.”

It’s not enough just to be passionate, though. Make sure you’re communicating that passion to the employees or subordinates you lead, and you’ll be able to earn and keep respect and keep your team on the same page. And a team that’s on the same page is an effective team.

Have a servant leadership attitude.

When you look at great leaders, they all have the attribute of trying to help the people under them be better and have better lives. No matter what your business model is, you’re serving. You’re filling a need or solving a problem. And if you’re in it for yourself, everyone else under you will be, too.

Earn respect by working hard to serve the people under you; you’ll gain and keep their respect.

Be open to change.

Seth Godin has founded companies, changed the face of the publishing industry multiple times and become a world-renowned speaker, writer and thought leader. He’s met and spoken with leaders across many different industries and nations, and at the end of the day there’s one major lesson that he found: Great leaders have in common the willingness to change and make things better.

That means being open to input.

Now, there’s a caveat to this: Godin also points out that “great leaders don’t try to please everyone.” Being open to input doesn’t mean being wishy-washy about your vision, or taking steps that are counterproductive because you want to keep people happy.

But, having a flexible mindset and being willing to listen to your employees makes you a better leader. As entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Leaders need to listen and empower their team to become leaders themselves and take ownership of the work they’re given.”

No one knows everything, not even you, and if you’re smart you’ve surrounded yourself with people that complement your strengths and weaknesses. Listen to them and you’ll both earn and keep their respect.

Take responsibility.

Do you know where the expression “pass the buck” comes from? In poker games on the American frontier, a marker was used to indicate whose turn it was to deal the cards, often a knife with a buck handle. If a player didn’t want to have the responsibility of dealing, they would pass the marker to the next person.

Harry S. Truman knew of this tradition, and had a sign on his desk that immortalized an expression derived from this phrase: “The buck stops here.”

Steve Jobs was famous for this mindset. He was concerned with taking responsibility end to end with Apple’s process, and it resulted in one of the most transformative companies that’s ever existed. Jobs took responsibility, and as a result Apple changed the world.

When you’re in a position of leadership, you can earn and keep respect by saying the same thing Truman and Jobs did: The buck stops here. You’re responsible for everything that happens under you.

Respect is earned.

A great leader earns respect, and when you apply these four points you’ll be able to take your organization and the people under you to new heights. You’ll inspire leadership in those who work for you and with you. And you’ll change lives, maybe in ways you didn’t ever expect.

Take that step today, and make tomorrow better. You’ll be glad you did.


Lucas Miller
Founder and CEO of Echelon Copy LLC

#10 Mantras that will Help Your Business Grow Well Past the First Million

Only 50per cent of businesses make it to their 5th year and a staggering 70per cent fails before they reach their 10-year anniversary. A major milestone that many startups chase is making their first million in revenue or gaining the first million subscribers. This magic number holds a special elusive charm for early-stage companies. So much is to be learned about the new venture before then. After reaching this mark, however, many owners find it easier to reach their next milestone and sustain their company.

Here are 10 powerful mantras that can help new owners get energized and moving valiantly towards their first million and sustain their business well past it.

6 Ways the Tough Mudder Changes How You Think About Leadership

There’s a funny video that made the rounds online not long ago about the, “First Person To Run A Marathon Without Talking About It.” Over images of runners stretching and jogging, a deep, documentary-narrator voice says soberly, “for years running a marathon without telling anyone was thought to be physically impossible.”

The dig at runners is apt, and I’m guilty as charged. I basked in cheers and congratulations when I recently finished a half-marathon. To motivate myself for the final push up the last hill, I even visualized posting Instagram photos of myself crossing the finish line. Not exactly what one imagines Rocky thinks about in training. Completing the half-marathon was a big accomplishment for me, but at the end of the day it was about me and my ego. Completing Tough Mudder, a military-style run and obstacle course you do with a team, is an altogether different experience — and it completely changed the way I think about leadership.

In Tough Mudder, there’s no prize for winning and no finish time. There isn’t even a winner. You complete the arduous course with a group — mine had 20. Though you set off with the aim of bringing your personal best, your reward is the sense of bonding and camaraderie that comes with being forced to let your guard down with your teammates and support one another through physically and mentally demanding challenges. And let me tell you, it is sweet. All the cheers, congratulations and sense of personal accomplishment I got out of a half-marathon don’t begin to compare to the rush and emotional high of Tough Mudder.

We need to find a way to replicate that dynamic in the work place. For a long time, I thought about leading Vision Critical, the customer intelligence software company I founded in 2000, similarly to running a marathon. I demanded the best out of myself and out of the people I worked with, and each of us pushed ourselves individually to accomplish as much as possible. We’ve accomplished a lot; but, like in most workplaces, moments where we truly broke down barriers between one another to inspire creativity and true camaraderie have been rare.

3 Crucial Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Running a business is tough, especially when it’s your first. Other than heavy competition, lack of cashflow or poor marketing, I strongly believe that one of the reasons that 90 percent of small businesses fail in the first few years is due to a lack of organization and planning early on.

The reality is that as an entrepreneur, you’re on your own. If you don’t have a mentor or any business training, it’s even more challenging. And don’t expect the government to provide you with any help when you set up your new company. They’ll simply collect the fees and hand over your business registration papers, then knock on your door when tax season comes around.