Dan Sullivan, co-founder and creator of Strategic Coach, has experienced incredible success over the span of his life. He’s built an organization and community committed to entrepreneurial success and a personal life that’s energizing and fulfilling.
But getting there wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen all at once.
Dan’s faced a lot of hardship and defeat along the way. Before Strategic Coach, he was both bankrupt and divorced on the same day. But what always got him through, regardless of the obstacle, was his mindset: If you’re learning, you’re never losing. His failures became lessons and what he refers to as “extreme forms of market research.”
“If you’re learning, you’re never losing.”
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Below, Dan shares some of his most invaluable advice when it comes to achieving your biggest visions as you navigate your own journey.
- “Life is a confidence game. Those who create it win. Those who neglect it lose.”
Every entrepreneur’s number one responsibility is to protect their personal confidence. When you have confidence as a daily resource, you can learn anything, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve anything.
Confidence is the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. It’s a capability, and when you know how to create that capability for yourself, you can have it in endless supply. This is key to putting your mind into a productive state so you can see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them.
- “All progress starts by telling the truth.”
To make real progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working, and this is what I think might be a possible solution.”
At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally. The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about your shortcomings, the faster you’ll make progress.
- “Delegate everything except genius.”
Most entrepreneurs are inspired to go into business for themselves by the promise of freedom. But in the pursuit to reach their goals, they end up doing everything themselves, resulting in overwhelm and frustration.
Delegation is your solution. Every time you give away a task you don’t like doing and don’t do well, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at and love doing.
- “The greatest trick in life lies in discovering your Unique Ability—then persuading the world to pay you for developing it.”
Unique Ability is a mindset that honors your natural strengths and all the things you do that come most effortlessly to you. It’s you at your very best—how you get your greatest results and what people count on you for.
Knowing and understanding your Unique Ability and how to harness that power is how you can create success in every area of your life.
- “There are only three things that drive human progress on the planet: increased resources, improved capabilities, and bigger opportunities.”
You might find it surprising to learn that you already possess everything you need, in your existing capabilities, to have a bigger and better future.
Who you are is what you’re personally capable of doing. It’s also a function of what you’re capable of tapping into with other people. If you accept that who you are is the sum total of the capabilities you’re using right now, it becomes a platform for going further and expanding your opportunities.
- “If you need the word ‘should’ to motivate you, the project is a non-starter.”
Get into the habit of eliminating the word “should” from your vocabulary; it sets unrealistic expectations and pulls you away from the things you really want to be focusing on.
When you give your time and attention to the activities that most energize you, you’ll find your levels of productivity and confidence are much higher. Making a conscious effort to stop “shoulding” will lead to breakthroughs in efficiency and workload management.
- “Wherever you are, make sure you’re there.”
When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t be useful or present to anyone—including yourself. Give life your best performance, and be fully where you are in this moment.
Doing this becomes a lot easier when you allocate time and create firm boundaries for different activities and commitments.
- “In every situation, people’s best energies flow to the clearest purpose.”
It’s great to be involved in projects you’re excited about, but when what you’re doing has purpose behind it, you’ll stick with it much longer.
Purpose sparks a deep sense of motivation and commitment because the task at hand isn’t just worthwhile; you identify with it. Our biggest rewards and projects that give us the most self-worth are those that have both passion and purpose behind them.
- “The anticipation of a difficult situation is always worse than the actual experience.”
There are two types of suffering: short suffering and long suffering.
The choice is yours. There are no benefits to procrastination.
- “Treat your employees as an investment, not a cost.”
Hiring for talent and experience might seem like a big expense, but that reasoning overlooks the returns the new hire will bring to you and your organization.
How much more value can you create, or freedom can you experience, with this person on board? Their contribution may or may not be financially measurable, but you’ll often see a multiplier effect that more than justifies your investment.
There is no successful person who hasn’t experienced doubt, failure, or fear and had to pick themselves up from that. By acknowledging that no goal worth pursuing will be easy or without its moments of uncertainty, you can rise to the occasion and challenge yourself.
Learn how the top coach to entrepreneurs achieves his most productive workday.