When you reach my age, it’s inevitable that you reflect back on your life. I’ve considered the experiences that shaped my life, how my core beliefs and values have guided my life and most specifically how the hand of God has led me along. This reflection was one of the reasons why I published my memoirs earlier this year. God has blessed my life in such a way that I’ve been given the opportunity to give back to His children.
The other day someone asked me what I would tell my younger self if I could go back in time. It’s an interesting thing to ponder about.
Some of you may be young and just starting your career, but for those of you who have a few more years under your belt – what would you tell your younger self? Here are a few things I would advise my younger self about:
The first thing I would tell myself is…
You’ve got to relax and enjoy the moment a bit more!
1) Don’t take people at face value. Initially trust them, but then verify what they’re saying to you. Unfortunately, there are some people who will deceive you, so be careful who you trust.
2) Don’t take things so seriously. I loved what I was doing in my 20’s – building a business in a new industry. But, I had all the pressure on me to make it a success and not only provide for my family, but make payroll for everyone else in our company. This pressure could really weigh me down, so try to lighten up.
3) When you take risks don’t jeopardize everything you’ve got. The risks you take have to be well thought out, be the right decision for you and you have to be willing to lose 100% of your investment. If you can’t do all three, then don’t make the investment.
4) Quantify your long-term goals; work on your short-term goals daily. I have always had and done well with focusing on my short-term goals. My main short-term business goal has and still is to grow my businesses from month-to-month. I would tell myself to be better at identifying and working toward long-term goals.
5) It’s okay to fail. If you don’t have a little fear to fail, then you’re not going to grow. I discovered that when I was young, my fears were bigger and as I’ve grown older my fears are lessened, because I know that I can do it based on my accumulated experiences. One great example is speaking on stage to a large crowd. I’m much more comfortable with doing this now than when I was younger.
6) Find mentors you can learn from. I mentioned in my book about one particular mentor who greatly impacted the success of my first business. Be willing to be humble and ask for their help. Other mentorship opportunities can be reading books for business advice from or about successful people.
7) If you have a bad experience, learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. It’s okay if your employee makes a mistake, even a big one, if they learn from it and don’t do again.
8) If you get emotional with your investments you’re more likely to make mistakes. I’ve found that I make more money when I don’t listen to other’s advice about investing. I seem to do better when I just do it myself and use logic and not emotion when making my decision. With experience and some mistakes, I’ve learned to be a wiser investor.
9) Avoid investors if possible. I was always worried about the investor’s money more than my own. So, if there’s any way you can build your business without investors’ capital I would highly recommend it.
10) Don’t invest in projects that you can’t control. Other people don’t care about my money as much as I do.
11) Invest in your education. I’m fine with reading general financial statements, but I wish that I would have taken more accounting courses so I could understand the really complex financial statements quicker. The more education you get the better, if you don’t let it take away your entrepreneurship spirit (if that’s what you’re trying to be).
Regarding personal and family
1) Be optimistic. I’ve always been a happy and optimistic person even under major stress. I know that there is a lot of commentary out there about how to find happiness. I’ve been blessed to have always been generally happy. Keep doing what you love to do and you will be happy.
2) Read books. Too many people don’t read these days. I’ve gained so much incredible knowledge from my lifelong love and habit of reading. Read biographies, fiction, nonfiction, spiritual and inspirational books to gain insights for all aspects of your life.
3) Watch educational TV shows. One of the things I love to do, if I invest in a business that has a factory, is see how things are made. There are some TV shows that show how things are made. I also enjoy shows about historical events because we can learn from history not to repeat it.
4) Continue to have a personal relationship with God. Another thing I talk about in my memoirs, is how I first developed my relationship with God. I’ve always had a good relationship with him because I’ve tried my best to keep His commandments, pray every day and regularly attend church. I think that a person will have more success in life if they will draw closer to God. He won’t keep you from making mistakes, but when you do He will guide you through them. I think it is extremely important to stay close to God.
5) Be careful about what you eat and put into your body. We live in a society that has food that is often lacking in nutrition, full of preservatives and/or genetically modified. We are also addicted to sugar which has no nutritional value whatsoever. My nutritional supplement companies offer supplements that will complement this food that is lacking in nutrients. We also need to seriously decrease our sugar intake.
6) Find a routine that works for you. When Linda and I still had our children at home part of our daily routine was that I would get the children to bed so that she could get things done around the house. My current weekday routine starts off with getting my work done for the day, then coming home to spend time with Linda, read and watch the news or educational shows on TV. We get to spend many of our weekends visiting with our children and grandchildren. No one can function well under stress, so be sure to find ways to unwind each day, try to take weekends off whenever possible (depending on the nature of your business) and get away on vacation sometimes.
7) Make sure to spend priority time with your family. Don’t do so much business that you have little time to spend with your family.
Final pieces of advice.
1) Success is evolving. At first, success for me was just keeping my company alive and making payroll. Now success for me is looking at how many people’s lives have been blessed from the products and opportunities that my companies offer. Keep working hard and you will be able to truly bless other’s lives.
2) Enjoy your life! As you get older the faster time goes by, so enjoy every minute of it.