How To Be The Most Interesting Person In The World

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dos-equis-most-interesting-guy-in-the-world-300x300About a month ago, I saw a tweet from Ted Rubin, king of RonR (return on relationship) and someone who I have a lot of respect for, mainly due to his viewpoint of how to conduct yourself in business through the seemingly basic principle of being good to others (hence the term he coined, Return On Relationship).

I am a strong believer in the getting is in the giving and it seems as if Ted seems to be quite an authority on giving so, when he mentioned that Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends and Influence People was on the top of his list of must-read books, I knew that needed to be the next in my Audible queue.

I finished the book a few weeks ago and am happy to report that Ted was right on the money. There were so many takeaways I have from the book that I will be dedicating a number of posts on Hustle Branding to discussing some of the principles.

There is a reason I am very passionate about this subject as I went a very long time in my business career believing that in order to get the respect of people I needed to be ruthless and feared by all. I simply thought that was the only way to be successful. The result was not pretty. I just became an a*shole who had some money in his pocket. Nothing less, nothing more.

Today,  if I can’t win the respect of people and still maintain a kind and giving mindset, I simply won’t do business with them.

So what in the world does this have to do with learning how to be the most interesting person in the world?

If you read the book you probably know the answer to this question. If you haven’t, let me give you the cliff notes answer in two words…

be interest-ed.

Interesting People Who Are The Opposite Of interesting

I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough throughout my years to have met a number of people who have achieved very high levels of fame, power and fortune. I was very excited when this started happening to me. Now, however, it quite often is more of a burden than something I look forward to.

Why? Well, for the most part, they are very predictable. Though I always try to go in with an open mind and no negative assumptions, invariably most of these people lose me after 15-20 minutes of listening to them talk about their favorite topic…themselves.

The Hidden Gem of Being Interest-ed

In my opinion, there are tremendous advantages to being interest-ed that most people seem to either overlook or completely ignore. You should see after this list that, as ironic as it may seem, the more interest-ed you are, the more interesting you become by default.

Let’s look at a few reasons why:

1)   By being interest-ed, you stay in constant learning mode. There is a phrase (I’m slightly paraphrasing), the more that is revealed, the more that is required. The truth is, we can never master anything. No matter what the skill, we can always get better and no matter what the subject we can always learn more and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

Staying in constant learning mode will negate any sense of complacency and allow your skill or knowledge to be extremely impressive without even trying… The result? …. You will be infinitely more interesting.

2)   The more you show interest in someone, the greater your ability becomes to network and grow, both personally and professionally. I have seen people spend entire conversations talking about themselves and then simply turn around and leave the person they were talking AT (as opposed to talking TO). When this happens there is a tragedy that occurs that the person never realizes unless it is pointed out. Let’s look at one such tragedy…

I witnessed a (one-sided) conversation where a ‘friend ‘ of mine was talking to someone about this amazing technology he had developed and his company was in the process of looking for investors to fund their early-stage growth. He finished his conversation and then walked away from the person.

A few minutes after the conversation, I was talking to my ‘friend’ and I asked him if he bothered to ask the person he was talking AT what he did for a living. My ‘friend’ said he hadn’t bothered to ask him so he asked me why I brought it up. I answered, “He invests in early stage technology companies.” … IDIOT.

3)   Most people think that the key to selling is to show how great your product or service is and wow the client into the buy. Though that may be the end game, the way you sell a product or service is, not to show how interesting your product or service is, but to show INTEREST in the client, listen to what he or she is looking for and then reverse engineer your thinking into how your product and/or service will fill that need.

You never go in talking about how great your product or service is. You go in with questions, and showing interest, then you simply work backwards. That is the only way to develop the connection to turn the prospective client into an actual customer.

4)   Showing interest and asking questions, plays into the ego of the other party. This is exactly what you want as it allows you to gather intelligence that you otherwise would not be able to gather if you are too busy talking about yourself.

The more interest you show in people, the more they will let their guards down and feel comfortable telling you more about themselves. As Gordon Gekko says, information is the single greatest commodity in the world. Personally, I disagree and believe it is the second most important commodity as I feel there is one thing infinitely more important. You can read about my thoughts on this here.

5)   Being interested never gets old. People don’t get tired talking about themselves but they do get tired listening to you. No one kicked anyone out of a party or failed to invite anyone to a gathering because they were too interest-ed.

Let’s be clear, there is a difference between being pesky and nosy and being genuinely interested. How many times, on the other hand have you not wanted to invite someone because you are sick of them talking about themselves?

So be interesting by being interes-ted. Learn to shut-up and listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!

I encourage you to go out and take this knowledge today and turn yourself into the most interesting person in the world… and stay thirsty my friends! … and thanks Ted!

Have a great day!

MJ

 Note: To read Ted’s book, Return On Relationship, click here.
 To read How To Win Friends and Influence People, click here

The 5 Super Skills Of Great Leaders

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leader_goodLast year, I started following the interesting content provided by Fishbowl CEO David Williams and President Mary Michelle Scott.

I quickly became fascinated with their perspective on running a business because it felt real, down to earth, and gusty.  This amazing company dared to try new things and share what they were learning with the world.

The articles were not your typical fare. They did not simply tell you what to do but told stories with passion that captured my interest.  Following their Forbes columns is an adventure in learning.  They write about everything from abolishing meetings, to solving the worlds problems on 3×5 cards.

The Fishbowl team has exceptional thoughts on leadership and how to build a culture within a company that thrives on a willingness to work together and create something incredible.  Easier said than done.

The reason why I was drawn to the articles was because I knew there must be quite a backstory that gave the leaders at Fishbowl the desire to empower their team. People don’t build an exceptional work culture by accident. It is not a talent that you are born with. It needs to be sculpted with a lot of experience and effort.

Dealing With Adversity

One of Forbes columns that captured my heart was, “A Lesson In Courage: The Story Of Cam, a very inspiring story of the courage and determination of David’s son Cam, and his battle with cancer. This past week, they sadly lost another amazing member of their team.  His name is Bryan Byrge, a young man with so much promise who was tragically killed while riding his bicycle to work.  One of their employees, a fellow elite athlete offered an amazing tribute to Bryan.

These Fishbowlers have their share of challenges and trials, what is interesting is how they all pull together during these times.

What It Takes To Be A Great Leader

It is important for people to understand that great leaders are not born; they are made. And all great leaders got a lot of help and inspiration along the way, though few like to admit it.

It is also extremely important to know that being a great leader has absolutely nothing to do with how much someone has in his or her wallet. I know a ton of people running hugely successful companies who are miserable and callous.

Being a great leader has everything to do with how you treat your people and how you trust and empower your team. Nearly every business leader relies on their team as the lifeblood of their business, whether they choose to believe it or not.

A Tremendous Book On Leadership

The 7 Non-Negotiables Of Winning, chronicles the personal trials of David, the rise of Fishbowl and the importance of teamwork to make a company grow and flourish. David often comments, “It’s not my book, it’s Fishbowl’s book.  It belongs to all of us.  It is our shared history and it is a great reminder to our team that we will never sell Fishbowl.”

Here are five of the main ingredients that I took away from reading The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning:

Let’s dive into this a bit:

1) Fail… a lot.

A leader fails a lot because that’s the only way he or she wins a lot. People need to understand that the difference between failing and succeeding is getting up one more time than they fall down.

2) Listen… a lot.

Leaders listen a lot because they need to learn why they failed and get help from people who have failed before them so they can learn from them to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. David and I have started a series on Forbes on this topic called The Lemon-Aide Interviews, which talks about how to learn from failure.

3) Strive… a lot.

Leaders strive a lot because great leaders never give up on what they believe in. It doesn’t mean they don’t analyze, change, and modify along the way. It means they keep trying until they succeed… no matter what.

4) Care… a lot

The_7_Non-Negotiables_of_Winning_book_coverGreat leaders must care a lot because if they don’t love what they do, and who they work with, there is no reason to do it. Life is too short to be self-centered.

5) Get back up… a lot.

Leaders get back up because they have to be in the game to have a chance to win. No one ever scored a goal, made a basket, or hit a home run while sitting on the bench.

Admirable Values Of The 7 Non Negotiables Of Winning

Fishbowl continues to practice these principles every day. The 7 Non-Negotiables are a blueprint on how to run a company with exceptional values and empowerment. My favorite line in the book is “our exit strategy is death.”

Here are a few of the items from the book that I enjoyed:

1)  Most of the people at Fishbowl own a part of the company.

2)  There is not a traditional hierarchy. Leaders work in pairs and they empower employees to manage themselves.

3)  There are as few company meetings as humanly possible. The philosophy is that meetings are productivity killers and there are often better ways to communicate what people need to do.

4)  People decide their own responsibilities and are accountable for one another as a team – not to some boss far removed from them.

5)  Pay structure is contingent on how the company performs, not on what the management thinks people should be paid.

6)  Fishbowl’s philosophy is to grow slow and steady rather than fast and reckless.

7)  Fishbowl believes that the most valuable asset is listening and seeking to understand.

Information By Itself Is Useless

This book is not simply a sit-back-and-learn kind of book. Information is great, but if it is never applied it means absolutely nothing. At the end of each chapter are exercises developed and used within Fishbowl.

This reminded me a lot of the principles of the old Tony Robbins tapes. To me, implementing action steps after teaching a lesson is the only way to get people off their rear-ends and actually get them to practice what they have been taught. Information that is not put to use right away is known to dissipate quite quickly.

A Few Last Thoughts

To be clear, this is not a book review. Nobody asked me to write this. I wrote this because if you are a leader, or some day want to be a leader, you need to read this book.

Too many people have the misconception that leaders lead only through fear and iron fists. This is 100 percent incorrect. Dictators lead with an iron fist. If you are a leader that means you have a team. If you have a team, your job is to create an environment for that team to thrive and flourish.

Have a great day!

MJ

{Final Note}: David’s book is now available on Audible. I am an Audible fiend so I suggest downloading the book via Audible. David’s calm and soothing demeaner coupled with his clear narration makes the experience even better. Don’t take my word for it… listen to a sample of it here