Iconic Advice Made Relatable

Fast Company

I got to thinking recently, how do the great game-changers, like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, continually reinvent and spur whole new industries. Tons of articles are written everyday about these people, that dissect their unique personal style and document their greatest advice.

But let’s be real, I’m not a CEO of a $500M company (yet). I’m WFH during this pandemic, just like most of you, and in my sweatpants. Yet, it all starts here and now. Small changes we make today will build to massive progress.

In this article, we’ll dissect some of the greats and distill it down to things we can do in our lives.

Meet the CEO of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd

“The power of even one new connection in your life is unbelievable — it can lead to a family, to love, friendship, children, adventures, new careers, hobbies and more. Connections are the root of everything we do and everything we are, and Bumble really does empower those.” — @WhitWolfeHerd [2]

Funny story about Whiteney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble. Her previous job was starting up Tinder, which she’s credited to have come up with the name. But after a rough breakup the company, she sought out to create her own dating app, but one in which put the women in the driving seat.

What gets me even more inspired is that she didn’t stop there.

“In addition to the ubiquitous dating app, the serial entrepreneur oversees Bumble BFF, an app for friends, Bumble Bizz, an app for networking, Chappy, a dating app for gay men, Bumble Mag, a print publication, Bumble Fund, an investment fund for underrepresented female founders, Bumble Beauty, a skincare line, Bumble Brew, a restaurant concept, and a film fund. Oh, and she’s also a new mom.” — @createcultivate [3]

The takeaway for today is simple — the power of connecting. I’m not talking about the “slimy” connotation of networking and connections, but to really connect with someone deep down, on a vulnerable level. What takes real confidence and practices your personal skills is the courage to lead a conversation towards openness and sharing some deep thoughts. In doing so, we can be like Whitney Wolfe Herd and harness the power of relationships.

DIG DEEPER — “Dating app Bumble is reportedly preparing an initial public offering for early next year. And anonymous sources told Bloomberg that the company could seek a valuation of at least $6 billion.” — @TheStoryXchange [4]

Reality Distortion

I’ve got this friend, who is a great leader in his own right and making big moves in the space industry. I used to get upset whenever he said in order to make progress, sometimes you have to “jedi mind trick” them. I didn’t like the idea of manipulating people. But yet…

Compare that to Steve Jobs, famous for his ability to create a “reality distortion field.”

“In the presence of any great leader, we feel compelled to move beyond our current beliefs, to step into a dream that is bigger than us, and because of a strong leader — we’ll push past our ‘reality’ and move into the stuff of dreams.” — @wholesomeunion [12]

Let’s dissect the art of inspiration and how we can apply it to our everyday life.

“When I watch great leaders share their vision, I always feel like describing their dreams is a celebration. Right from the start, they are interested in the celebration of an idea becoming a reality. It’s as if their faith comes before the physical expression of their vision. When they share that vision, they infuse their dream with an energy of excitement and use communities as a way to get that momentum going.” — @wholesomeunion

What Steve Jobs does so excellently is how he communicates. The key traits are:

  • Celebrate — Who doesn’t like a party, right? Jobs describes his vision in a way that is already celebratory. Next time we describe a mundane task or errand, let’s try to describe how we’ll feel like a success once it’s done.
  • Excitement — Ok, this one might be tough if we’re naturally introverted or have a limited emotional spectrum (like me). The trick here is just stay positive. No negative body language, no negative tone. Just the other day I failed at this when I was communicating with my team and it came across as stressed, because I was! But by the next morning, I course corrected and sent the team a more positive-outlook message… not fake, but something I believed in.

Read the entire analysis of Jobs’ reality distortion field and learn some additional tips, such as comparing your struggles with those of other great icons and immediately elevating your own stature. Have I jedi-mind tricked you yet?

DIG DEEPER — Well, this is fascinating — the FBI had documents on Steve Jobs and his reality distortion field from back in 1991!

“Don’t let others put you in a box.” — Wojcicki

In order to get ahead, they say you have to stand out.

But how? And what if we’re naturally inclined to be quiet, or have a less in-your-face style?

Fast Company

During this pandemic and WFH, I’ve had introverted colleagues tell me how it finally feels like to have a more level playing field. They feel that back in the office, pre-pandemic, it was hard to get a word in edgewise compared to their naturally louder teammates. But over a virtual meeting, everybody is limited to the same few inches of screen space and you can mute people!

Yet, I say this is not enough. Whether it’s in person or virtual, I’d venture to say you have to do more to be noticed. When you’re noticed, then you can take command of a situation and steer it in your preferred direction.

Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube. She was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2015 and was described in a later issue of Time as “the most powerful woman on the Internet.”

When it comes to standing out, that’s exactly what she doesn’t do.

“In an industry that celebrates eccentricity, Ms. Wojcicki presents as exceedingly normal, bordering on boring, even as elements of her digital realm burst into the real world in forms that are increasingly grotesque and sometimes dangerous.” [8]

So, what’s her trick? How does someone “bordering on boring” command the room and drive the conversation?

“She says when people talk over her or ignore her ideas in a meeting, she calls them out, on the spot. “Or I’ll find a way to get people to really listen,” she says. “What I find is, you can’t say comments in a timid, unsure way — no one’s going to listen to you and no one’s going to take you seriously. You have to be able to state your opinion in a way that is confident.”” [7]

Ok ok, soak that in for a second. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. To incite conflict during a conversation like that takes a lot of courage. Therefore, when you do it, you have to commit to it all the way and be confident in yourself.

My next level advice is to do it in your own unique style.

Don’t just bluntly point out how you’ve been interrupted… point it out in a way that sounds like your true voice. For example, if you’re a humorous person, point out the interruption by poking fun at it. If you’re a soft spoken person, then softly say out loud, “hang on, I wasn’t finished.” If you’re conflict averse, then say, “I want you to finish what you’re saying, then I’d like to finish my point.”

Or you can channel your inner Susan Wojcicki and take a very direct approach: “‘No, I completely disagree with your point of view, you’re going in the wrong direction. Let me tell you what I think is the right step for the future.” [7]

Matthew McConaughey’s Approach to Life

I don’t care who you are, you’ve got to love Matthew McConaughey’s approach to life. His persona of loving life and pursuing everything with passion comes out of him so effortlessly, you have to believe it.

He’s recently released his first book, Greenlights.

“It’s a love letter. To life.”

“It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights — and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.”

Wow, so cheesy that it’s worth getting a glass of wine and listening to the master storyteller.

Specifically, let’s dig into the book that changed McConaughey’s life and sent him down the path of acting versus law.

Listen to McConaughey on the Tim Ferriss podcast tell the story of why he decided to reach for a book called, The Greatest Salesman in the World.

In the book, there are basically 10 lessons, which it calls “scrolls.” Today, we’ll break down what I think are the two most relevant to us, both right now during the dumpster fire of 2020, and also for long term happiness.

  • Scroll II: I will greet this day with love in my heart — Approach everything and everyone with love.
  • Scroll VI: Today I will be master of my emotions — Don’t let your moods and thoughts control you and your actions.

It’s not hard at all to see McConaughey live and embody these lessons. (If you need help, here’s McConaughey motivating you in what’s left of 2020.)

Over the last several issues, we dissected how iconic business people achieved their success. Yet, the most powerful way to feel successful and translate it into everything you do is to truly approach everything and everybody with love.

Here’s my easy advice on how to make that happen:

  • Assume (until proven otherwise) the other person loves and cares for you.
  • Even if you feel angry or stressed, only allow others to see you calm and in control. This goes for all professional (and most personal) settings.

REFERENCES:

  1. From Bumble to YouTube: How the world’s most powerful female CEOs built their empires by Mike Huynh
  2. A Conversation with Bumble Founder & CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd by Vikas S. Shah
  3. Create & Cultivate 100: Entrepreneur: Whitney Wolfe Herd
  4. Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd Would Join a Super-Exclusive Club With $6 Billion IPO by Candice Helfand-Rogers
  5. A 27-year-old CEO says too many company founders get a key element of leadership all wrong by Áine Cain
  6. 10 Things We Can All Learn From Susan Wojcicki by Ellie Hearne
  7. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki: Here’s what to say when men are talking over you at a meeting by Courtney Connley
  8. The Most Measured Person in Tech Is Running the Most Chaotic Place on the Internet byDaisuke Wakabayashi
  9. Google’s Susan Wojcicki: The Most Powerful Woman In Advertising by Moira Forbes
  10. Matthew McConaughey is ‘alright, alright, alright’ — and thinks you will be too by Mark Athitakis
  11. Book Summary — The Greatest Salesman in the World
  12. What You Can Learn From Steve Jobs About Distorting the Truth to Advance Your Vision by Luis Congdon
  13. The Steve Jobs ‘Reality Distortion Field’ Even Makes It Into His FBI File by Alexis C. Madrigal

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