Lewis Howes has interviewed hundreds of top professionals for his podcast. In his new book, The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy, he’s distilled their insights into a roadmap for entrepreneurs who want to thrive.
During an interview with him, he shared with me four of the key recommendations he’s learned from Olympic gold medalists, charitable leaders, bestselling authors and more.
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1. Stay healthy.
Howes, a former pro athlete, says you can’t even begin to think about growing your business until your health is under control. “Staying physically in shape helps with mental capacity and allows me to make better decisions,” he says. “If I wasn’t taking care of my physical health, I’d be slower, I’d need more caffeine, and I’d be more cranky toward employees or teammates. Who cares if our business is thriving if we’re 300 pounds overweight or we have a heart attack at 35?”
2. Give back.
Entrepreneurship can be a difficult slog, says Howes. Sometimes you might lose energy or motivation. But if you’re driven by a cause you believe in, you’ll be able to tap into new sources of energy. “Finding something deeper than making money,” such as a nonprofit or a cause you believe in, will “give you a bigger reason why you’re working hard.” Donating a portion of your proceeds to a worthy cause, or creating a business model centering on social entrepreneurship (such as TOMS) helps build your brand and show customers who you really are, and keeps you motivated when times are tough.
3. Build the right team.
“We can only do so much alone,” he says. “You can only reach a certain level of financial results and growth as a solo entrepreneur or a small team. If that’s all you want, awesome, but if you want to achieve the next level of results as an entrepreneur, it’s important to attract great teammates.” What’s the secret? Howes says entrepreneurs must learn how to emotionally connect with people and regulate their own mood swings, which can spill out and poison the team dynamic if left unchecked. “When we come from a better place of emotional understanding, we get better results in turn.”
4. Hustle the hardest.
Howes has been running his podcast for nearly three years, and viewed it from the start as a “long-term play” which wouldn’t generate revenue for at least the first year. The podcast actually did start generating revenue within a few months, but even if it hadn’t, he saw it as a powerful way to grow his network and connect with his audience. “You have to look at ways to invest in yourself in the long term.”
Says Howes, “A lot of entrepreneurs say they want to make more money or get more traffic or leads or sales, but a lot aren’t willing to do the work. You have to hustle in creative ways.” But that doesn’t mean burning the candle at both ends. “It’s not about staying up till 3 a.m. every night and not sleeping.” Instead, he reaches for a sports metaphor. “It’s about diving for the loose balls in life,” he says. When a ball gets loose on the basketball court, even if you’re not the best player, you’ll often succeed if you’re willing to throw yourself into opportunities and go after it. “You have to build those relationships, provide better customer support, and go to those out-of-the-way conferences that could be the key differentiator that could 10x your business. It’s extra time, extra energy, and extra money, but it could be the key for your business success.”