Jim Rohn said, “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.
I believe 100% this also applies to the information and content we consume, particularly on social media.
I recently shared a video where Gary Vaynerchuk was talking about taking risks. He mentioned how the downside of trying something and failing doesn’t even compare to the upside of it working out. But, people get too caught up in the fear of failing to even try.
I love this and absolutely agree with it. But I reflected a bit more and realised how much my mindset has changed over recent years.
Before, I would’ve argued that even though the upside MAY outweigh the downside, there’s still a downside to consider. And, exactly as Gary said, this stopped me from trying anything.
Learning to take risks
Since then, learning about human-centred design (HCD) and Pretotyping pushed me to challenge my assumptions and become comfortable with not knowing. I realised that it’s OK if I don’t have all the answers.
Taking risks doesn’t have to feel extreme. Things are never as scary as we first think. I realised I had to change my mindset and practice doing things outside my comfort zone.
I started by consuming positive, inspirational, practical content, which pushed me to look at things differently.
These are some of the people I followed on Instagram, YouTube, listened to their podcasts, and read their books.
#1 — Brene Brown
Brene is a researcher, author, and entertaining communicator. I came across Brene while watching her TED Talk — The Power of Vulnerability. These 20 minutes made a significant impact on my life. It’s deep stuff, but Brene does a fantastic job telling the story about vulnerability and its relationship with shame, fear, and joy.
This lesson was a massive pivot for me. I used to want to plan everything out, weigh up the pros and cons, and understand all the risks before taking any action. I thought this was me being prepared and responsible. Listening to Brene during several interviews and on her podcast helped me become more comfortable with being vulnerable, which she defines as a willingness to do something with no guarantees.
After listening to this talk and other content from Brene, I realised that I was insecure and scared about what would happen. I needed to let go of the control I was trying to maintain.
The lessons that we’ve learned from Brene helped my wife and I connect on a new level, and it helped me better understand and communicate my own emotions.
Brene has written several books, hosts a podcast, and is regularly interviewed and asked to speak on many topics.
#2 — Seth Godin
Seth publishes a blog post every day and has done so for almost 20 years! He has also written several books and has created courses and other useful educational material.
I learned to look at things differently by reading, listening, and watching Seth. It helped open my mind.
A key lesson was the importance of practising our craft, whatever that is. Putting in the work consistently is the essential ingredient to achieving the goals we set for ourselves. You can read more about this in Seth’s book The Practice.
Seth’s book We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal taught me another important lesson. He talked about identifying the smallest viable audience for whatever you’re trying to do and focusing on serving them. Don’t try to please the masses. By trying to please everyone, you won’t please anyone. This learning came at the right time as I had recently started Karana.
#3 — Marie Forleo
Marie is a multi-passionate, creative, energetic, breakdancing, successful businesswoman and author. She hosts MarieTV, where she provides terrific value for people looking to make changes in their lives, whether personal, career, or business-related. Marie also runs a business education and training development program called B-School.
I first came across Marie on YouTube and watched hours of MarieTV. She provided so much value, answered questions from real people, and always gave practical, actionable advice. Marie was the first person I listened to that talked about selling in a non-sleazy way. She taught me to look at selling differently. She changed my misguided perception of this topic in a significant way. Her take on selling focused on serving and providing value to customers, which aligned much better with how I looked at things.
Marie’s book Everything is Figureoutable is a must-read for anyone who struggles with overthinking and delaying taking action. Using tonnes of examples ranging from different types of people and situations, she shows how you can figure out a solution to any problem. This one simple statement was profound for me. It played a crucial part in building my confidence to take risks and deal with uncertainty.
#4 — Gary Vaynerchuk
GaryVee is an absolute powerhouse of advice, energy, and content creation! He started from humble beginnings working in his dad’s liquor store, which fanned his entrepreneurial streak from a very young age. My favourite young GaryVee story is when he would take flowers out of peoples’ gardens and try to sell them back to them!
It’s incredible how much free knowledge, advice, and guidance Gary gives out on his social platforms. He talks a lot about business and mindset, but my favourite content from him emphasises happiness. I love that someone with such a high profile, remarkable ambition, and so much influence talks about following your own path and not being driven by what society expects us to do.
I haven’t read any of Gary’s books but have consumed countless hours of his content. He is EVERYWHERE and on more platforms than I have accounts which is true Gary-style. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can access Gary on any social platform.
#5 — Chris Do
Chris is an award-winning designer, director, and CEO. He started The Futur, an online education platform with the mission of teaching 1 billion people how to make a living doing what they love.
I first came across Chris on YouTube, where he was doing a whiteboard session on marketing and selling. I connected with Chris because he is also an introvert and, at times, an emotionless robot like me! I loved his down-to-earth approach and simple explanations of what could be complex topics. He is excellent at providing relatable examples which give so much clarity.
Even though I’m not a designer or traditional creative, I got a lot of value from listening to Chris talk about business. He covers negotiations, sales, branding, and the mindsets needed to succeed. His view is always to provide value and see clients as partners that we can help rather than focusing on the money we can get from them. This mindset resonated well with me.
In saying all of this, Chris also taught me to be confident about the prices I charge and recognise the value that I bring to the client.
Breaking out of the mould
My journey of personal development, developing a growth mindset, and believing in myself has just started. It was not easy. Coming from a traditional ethnic family, I struggled with living up to other people’s expectations. Moving away from this and following my path created tension and made me feel like an outsider.
But once I decided that I could be more and have more from life, there was no looking back. The most critical factor that helped me with this was definitely my wife. She’s been the most significant influence in changing my mindset and starting to believe in myself. This change is what led me to start my own business — Karana.
The 5 people I’ve listed (+ my wife) all played vital roles in being positive influences in my life. They provided valuable and practical knowledge that I’ve applied to get to where I am. There have been and will continue to be other people that I’ll learn from as I develop myself and my business over the coming years.