Lessons to Learn from the Professionals

Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan 1997
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While parents often teach children to be friends with people who are good influences, so it is within the business world. The famous investor Warren Buffett said, “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” That made us think about what we can learn by observing other professionals.

Choose associates wisely, this is what Warren Buffett is advising. It is similar to the advice of dressing for the next level of job that you want and not the job you have. Surround yourself with friends at the next level or with better manners or refined skills and you will become more like them. Surround yourself with ill-mannered people and you will become ill-mannered. To be successful in business align yourself with like-minded people with more experience so you can learn.

Failure is important to the process of becoming successful. Did you know Michael Jordan did not make his high school varsity basketball team his sophomore year? He went on to arguably become the greatest basketball player of all time. He said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” There you have it from one of the best, failure is important to success. Remember this when you want to give up on something you truly believe.

Personal Branding: YOU are your brand but what does that mean? Look at Donald Trump and The Trump Organization. His name is engraved on buildings, golf courses and products across the world. Utter his nickname The Donald or say you want to be The Apprentice and people know what you mean. As an entrepreneur you don’t just sell or serve, you ARE the product and people believe in THE BRAND YOU. Another brand is Michael Jordan. Jordans aren’t just Michael and his relatives, they are the shoes, cologne, restaurants and heck even an endorser of Hanes underwear. The Jordan products lines and endorsements are endless and so are The Donald’s business ventures. They are their respective brands so take note and be your brand.

Be an innovator like Henry Ford, the first to produce an affordable, reliable automobile for the average American. He also invented the assembly line after seeing a disassembly line at a meat packing plant, according to Who Made America on PBS. He looked at the meat packing line and saw an assembly line for automobiles. Look at your world in different ways. You may be surprised at what you can do.

Never give up is one of the many topics author/speaker Jack Canfield is an expert. If he had given up after 143 publishers rejected Chicken Soup for the Soul we would have never heard about it. The 144th publisher said yes. If Michael Jordan hadn’t tried out for a basketball team again we wouldn’t know him. If The Donald gave up after a failed real estate deal we wouldn’t know him either. Thomas Edison had an arguable number of attempts to invent the light bulb. Whether 1,000 or 10,000 or another number, he kept trying and learning from his work. He didn’t give up until he succeeded. If Edison hadn’t kept trying we could be reading Chicken Soup for the Soul by candlelight.

Give back to the community is what Bill and Melinda Gates are doing with their foundation. They understand the importance of helping others and are able to do so financially. If you’re not able to financially help others, you can take the spirit of giving back and volunteer. Someday Bill & Melinda might show up with a check for your favorite charity!


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