5 Lessons From 5 Successful People

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Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls – adventurer, climbed everest at 21, British SAS, Man vs Wild

“There isn’t a day when we’re filming when I don’t get at least a little bit scared. We’re dealing with big animals and big free-climbs. You’re not human if you don’t feel fear. But I’ve learnt to treat fear as an emotion that sharpens me. It’s there to give me that edge for what I have to do.”
Everyone feels fear but those who grow and achieve are the ones who when faced with fear keeping putting one foot in front of another. When we first launched MyNappies, I was an 18 year old who was having to conduct meetings and negotiations with experienced business people 30 years my senior. Truth be told, I was afraid that I would not be taken seriously. This fear pushed me to work harder and to understand every detail about the topic I would be discussing. That feeling of fear forced me to grow and to improve.

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban – founder of Broadcast.com, Dallas Mavericks Owner

“Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.”
This goes in the face of 99% of what the general populous is always told… “follow your passion”. However, passion is useless without effort. Look at the things which you have been successful at to date. Was it the passion you had or the effort you put in that impacted the outcome? Plenty of people are passionate about starting their own business, but that passion is not worth a dime without the effort.

Monty Python – British comedy group

In 2008 Monty Python started their Youtube channel and began posting skits from their DVD’s for free viewing. The group did this to combat the fact that other youtube accounts were posting Monty Python material and making ad revenue. The result this action had though was surprising – in the time after they created their channel DVD sales on Amazon grew 23,000%.

This was back when Youtube was a completely different environment to the one you and I experience today, and this move by Monty Python was unprecedented at the time. By providing high quality content free of charge to their current audience base, on a platform such as Youtube where sharing is as simple as a few clicks, their sales skyrocketed.

You need to give before you receive. Another example of this is Seth Godin with his blog. By providing awesome content for free, you build trust and create true value with your audience. Then when it comes time to take action (e.g. buying a dvd, or an online course), your audience will be far more receptive as they know the value you provide.

ben roberts smith
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith – Served in the Australian SASR, awarded Australia’s highest military decoration – the Victoria Cross

During a tour, while serving in the Australian SASR, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith found himself and his unit being pinned down by intense machine gun fire from a large Taliban force. After hours of fire, with their options running out, Ben ran straight towards the opposing force engaging the two machine guns, and thereby enabling his unit to get the upper hand in the firefight.

In his own words: “It came down to the point where someone had to do something. I wasn’t going to sit there and do nothing, and watch my mates die. ‘
Although very few of us will ever relate to the situation Ben and his unit was in, what we can learn is that sometimes as a leader or as someone within team, just taking action is the most important step. Taking the time to plan is crucial, however sometimes in business (and life) we get so stuck up in planning and want to know every little detail, the opportunity to take action passes us by.

Yvon Chouinard Patagonia
Yvon Chouinard – Founder of Patagonia

“Once I found out that cotton was the most damaging fiber that we could make clothing out of, I gave the company 18 months to completely get out of making any product with industrially grown cotton.”

Most companies have values, and in most cases these are nothing more than words on paper. In the early 90’s Yvon gave his company 18 months to completely change their sourcing of cotton. This was no easy feat considering organic cotton was not readily available back then. As Yvon has framed it, this decision meant revolutionising the industry. For example Patagonia had to co-sign loans of the cotton farmers as the banks all had relationships with the chemical companies who were opposed to organic cotton farming.

At MyNappies, Jason and I knew what the brand stood for and just as importantly what it didn’t. One of the things I am proudest of is our decision making when it came to new opportunities. We would always rank the decisions against our brand values. In some cases this meant we lost out on what could have been valuable PR or sales. Overall though it sent a strong message to our community about our values, as our values and actions were always aligned.

Comment Update: I am not sure why some people’s comments are being removed, and why other’s can not comment in the first place. Trying to work it out now, sorry!

  • Connor Fraser

    Wow! I had never heard the story of Monty Python and Youtube before. Incredible business move by them considering the time.