10 Things You Need To Know To Win In Business And Life
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~ Kahil Gibran
As a Navy SEAL combat veteran turned entrepreneur, I’ve experienced rewarding successes and catastrophic failures on many different battlefields. On this chaotic and often unpredictable journey, I continually strive to study the paths others have taken – roads often pockmarked with blockages and micro-failures leading a meandering route to the “top.”
As British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton once said, “Difficulties are just things to overcome.” Those that seem to find true fulfillment in business and life embody a growth mindset when it comes to their perceptions of adversity. Skills come from hard work and can always be improved. Challenges are embraced and seen as opportunities for growth. Effort is essential to mastery. Feedback is imperative for development. And Setbacks are a necessary wakeup call for combating complacency.
One particular entrepreneur I’ve long admired is Bedros Keuilian. I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Bedros at an event in Miami in 2018; he is the founder and CEO of the rapidly growing and remarkable fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp. He created the first Fit Body Boot Camp concept in the middle of the 2008 housing market crisis. Where so many others found panic, Bedros saw an opportunity in the fitness industry. He also happens to be physically stronger than any other CEO I’ve ever met, but I suppose it’s beneficial to practice what we preach right?
He knew he could make personal training results available to more people by taking the already popular “boot camp” training model indoors and making it affordable and convenient. With Fit Body Boot Camp, he tested and refined the concept until he created the turn-key business model he has today. In recent months, he’s also played a critical role in thought leadership for business owners across the nation as we navigate the murky waters of COVID-19, having appeared several times on national news networks as the voice of small businesses.
One again, Bedros finds himself in a time of business crisis and change. During the March, 2020 COVID-19 business shut down he pivoted his 700 plus franchise gyms to online training in a matter of 72 hours to ensure that his gym members were still getting the daily workouts they paid for, only now in the comfort of their homes. “As entrepreneurs we must always find the opportunities in adversities,” says Bedros. Pivot, reinvent and find new problems to solve in exchange for money – and that’s just what Fit Body Boot Camp did. The alternative is to be rigid, avoid change and ultimately fail.
In July 2019, Bedros launched a new business to provide a solution to an often-ignored topic that plagues married male entrepreneurs. The “Modern Day Knight Project” was born out of his own personal struggles over a decade while starting a business and trying to balance being a husband and father.
Many married men who embark on the entrepreneurial journey often suffer in silence and struggle with being overwhelmed by high levels of stress, depression and addictions due to financial challenges and trying to balance a family and business.
For this reason Bedros created The Project – a 75 hour physically and mentally challenging experience administered by a Navy SEAL, U.S. Marine, a former SWAT operator, MMA fighter and Bedros himself. The Project takes a group of sixteen men through physical training, leadership coaching and teamwork drills to help them build mental toughness, emotional discipline, and better communication skills while also receiving exclusive business coaching from Bedros himself.
“The Project gives these men a brotherhood to belong to where they can communicate openly with one another, network, and support each other in business, personal and family growth,” says Bedros.
He and I decided to collaborate on this article – the following principles initially introduced in one of his recent social media posts. All of which fall into the category of “simple but not easy.”
Here are ten simple truths everyone needs to know about winning in business and life in general.
1 – The person on top of the mountain didn’t land there by accident.
We have a tendency to celebrate the monumental successes of others with a healthy blend of admiration and mild jealousy while conveniently overlooking the pain and suffering they endured while translating their effort into accomplishment. As Bruce Lee famously said, “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” Pay your dues.
2 – Most people overestimate (AND underestimate) what they can achieve.
Bedros’ philosophy is that people often overestimate what they can accomplish in a given year, and underestimate what they can achieve in five years. Plans often look better on paper than when they come under fire. And “no plans survives first contact with the enemy.”
Preparation and planning for contingencies can be far more valuable than the initial plan itself. The road to success is often peppered with detours and potholes which force timelines and game plans to be adjusted based on the setbacks that you’re sure to encounter. Like anything worth pursuing in life, you must put in the time, pay your dues and do the work.
3 – Leadership is always the problem, yet always the solution.
Leading in the dynamic and volatile world of modern business (and life) is challenging enough –now more than ever in this current environment of complexity and ambiguity. In SEAL training and combat, we learn quickly to adapt in dangerous high-stress situations. And while the world of business and entrepreneurship may not always be life and death – though it feels like it sometimes – it ALWAYS comes back to leadership, which can be categorized in two simple ways: effective and ineffective. You’re either accomplishing the mission, or you’re not.
4 – The two most significant factors to success or failure are Thoughts and People.
We are the architects of our own beliefs, the actions we take (or don’t), and the results those decisions deliver. But the two most profound elements impacting our success, or lack thereof, are the thoughts we allow to consume us, and the people we surround ourselves with. The good news is that both are completely within our control.
And since we know that our actions are influenced by our thoughts, then it makes sense to assume that negative news, gossip and external factors can have significant power over us, if we allow them to. That also goes for the people that you surround yourself with. Make no mistake about it, negative people will fill your mind with thoughts of doubt and failure. So, eliminate them. Not literally. You know what I mean.
5 – Mind and body are intimately connected.
According to Bedros, our bodies are a direct reflection of the thoughts coursing through our minds. Hence, number four above. I completely agree. Mental and physical wellness have a direct impact on our ability to make levelheaded decisions, increase productivity, manage stress and anxiety, and lead ourselves and others. Not to mention fitness and clean living are powerful tools for developing mental fortitude and discipline. And discipline paves the way to happiness and fulfillment. Why? Because disciplined people achieve more of their goals, make time to serve others, and don’t waste time on activities that don’t align with their values.
6 – The most fulfilling life is one of service to others.
As Tecumseh once said in his poem Death Song, “Seek to make your life long and in service to others.” It’s no secret that being around other people is more satisfying than being alone. Social relationships are described as one of the greatest single causes of a person’s overall state of happiness. Thanks to research done by the University of Minnesota, we now know that volunteering in fact creates social gain which “leads to more interaction, engagement, and trust” which all significantly impact a person’s mental health. From reducing stress levels to finding a sense of purpose, there are many benefits that volunteering provides such as improving self-confidence, increasing social awareness, and combating depression.
7 – You only have two chances at the parent-child relationship.
The first as a child; the second as the parent. We all have opportunities to get the first one right. And sure, we’re not all meant to be parents, but similar philosophies apply. It all comes down to relationships.
According to recent studies, humans apparently have a 100% mortality rate. Who knew?! So, when that inevitable day comes, guess what? You can’t take the Ferrari with you. What mark will you want to have left on the world? What relationships will have meant the most? What will those you hold dear say about you? More good news! This too is within your control and sphere of influence. So make every effort to get it right.
8 – Not everyone should be an entrepreneur.
SEALs and successful entrepreneurs have many things in common. They’re willing to suffer and deal with a “suck factor” far beyond what most people are willing to endure.
They’re willing to take risks that would make most people question their sanity. They’re willing to stay in the fight as long as necessary to force the outcome in their favor. For most people, this level of risk and stress is not worth the potential of reward. Those people may be better suited to work as INTRApreneurs – being second or third in charge and working in an industry they love and for a leader they respect.
9 – The pain of regret stings far greater than the pain of effort.
“Cowards die a thousand times before deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” ~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
In SEAL training, business, marriage, parenting, or when faced with life’s many obstacles, quitting is easy. The second habit Stephen Covey covers in his groundbreaking book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin With the End in Mind.” Simply put, start managing your list of regrets now so that when the end comes, you can confidently say “I’m ready.”
Regret is just one self-negotiation away. Are you willing to negotiate the price required to achieve your goals and dreams? Will regret cost more? Something to think about.
10 – The key to successfully leading others, is to first lead yourself.
There is no success in leadership, be it in life or business, without first learning to lead ourselves. What do we mean by this? Self-awareness. Personal accountability. Discipline in thoughts and deeds. And having an authentic desire to be a life-long learner. The most effective leaders in business or on the battlefield are those who have a reputation for self-discipline and are respected by those they’re tasked to lead.
So, take some (or all) of these truths to heart and forge ahead. Embrace pain. Be willing to suffer purposefully, and win in business and life. The cost of regret is far too high!