In recent conversations with students, the topic of one’s self-capacity and potential kept being brought up. Many students questioned if perhaps a person’s capacity and potential is caped based on who they are, their DNA, or their parents. This brought forward a very interesting discussion about how our potential and limits are set. I enjoyed the diversity in opinions so much through our conversation that I chose to share 5 life lessons that I went through that perhaps can help you understand how you yourself can also become LIMITLESS.
When looking back at my own life, many would agree that it seemed that I was not destined for greatness or even success. I was born to a single mother who often was very absent due to her heavy work-load and need to provide for us, I did poorly in school and hardly got A’s as my capacity for information was somewhat bad. On top of all that, I wasn’t athletic nor had any interest in sports which meant that I certainly wasn’t going to go to college on a scholarship and finally, no one in my family had extra money to help me start anything. The worst part of it was that it seemed that no matter what I did, I simply couldn’t find anything that moved me or made me passionate enough to want to do something.
So what can you do if you are not really particularly good at anything, and don’t like learning?
LESSON 1: BE GREAT at EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO DO!
When I turned 14, I didn’t have the right to work legally and didn’t have transportation to use other than the bus system. Despite my inability to work a typical job in a retail setting, I still applied for employment everywhere else. Many rejected me because of my age, while others simply said my social security number wasn’t valid. It wasn’t until I saw 2 sales guys offering employment to students, that someone gave me a fair shot at making a few bucks. The job was nothing more than being a telemarketer and paid $12/hr plus commissions. My school permit allowed me to work limited hours and so everyday would take the bus 20 miles away from home to work as a telemarketer. Many in the office felt their job didn’t matter and therefore worked maybe 1 full hour the whole time they were there. The rest of the time was spent chatting or mocking client’s names, and while believe me I would have loved to join; I didn’t have the luxury of losing my job as I knew how hard it was for me to even have the opportunity to work. I didn’t have a niche for selling, nor any training and my communication skills were at best average but I knew one thing early on, that the only way I would be able to perform my job well would be to keep calling clients until I got the hang of how to actually turn every call into a sale. The average telemarketer in that office called 25-35 clients in the 3 hours they worked. I called over a 100. Through calling and trying various ways to not get hanged up on, I figured a few tricks that helped me convert leads into clients and I would soon become the top sales person by the age of 15. My secret was simply overcoming the fear of failing through repetition practice and as I look back today, I didn’t do a single thing more than just doing my job well. This lead me to eventually collect $2500 weekly in commissions rather than worry about my $12/hr. Years past and my telemarketing job became an office manager one, followed by director of sales and finally GM of an entire company by the age of 18.
LESSON 2: BREAK YOUR COMFORT ZONE IN ORDER TO GROW.
What do you do at the age of 18 when you are making $80,000 a year and sitting in an office all day telling others what to do? Well, you quit!
Since I realized that selling windows, roofing and decks wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, and I certainly didn’t want to work 60-80 hrs a week, I decided that the time to take a pay cut and go learn something new was then. I quit and found myself applying at banks. Partly because I had a desire to learn all about lending and investments and partly because I wanted shorter hours. Since I was making a very high salary for being so young, finding something close was going to be near impossible. How did I still manage to land a bank manger job at 18?
I leveraged myself based on skills and looked for a loophole. Back in the year 2000, banks were experimenting with other channels of banking like having banks in supermarket, malls and other interesting locations that catered to a very unique demographic. Those locations were used solely to acquire new clients and expose the bank’s brand to certain communities, and therefore what they required where managers with strong sales backgrounds. All I had to do was tailor my resume and apply. After 4 interviews, I finally landed a great role in a great bank at the age of 18, all while losing 30% of my salary so that I could learn and expand my knowledge rather than my wallet.
I did the same thing again later in my life when I gave up 6 figures and loved it.
LESSON 3: FIND OPPORTUNITIES WHERE OTHERS SEE CHALLENGES.
It wasn’t until a year went by in my banking career and that I had decided to leave the banking field because I hated the work that a unique opportunity came into my life. The opportunity to make an effort was that unique opportunity. Many will argue that it certainly had no relevance to opportunity but I would argue that opportunities are presented to us everyday and it is only those we identify with that become our opportunities, rather than generalizations of the word opportunity.
I met a man named Ahmad whose showed me a unique way to look at banking, rather than a career or work, he simply allowed me to understand what banking really was. All he asked in exchange was for my times directly reporting to him, in exchange for him showing me how to make my days count. At this point my intentions were already to quit but Ahmad had different plans for me as he felt my potential had barely been tapped into. I agreed to go work for him without more pay but rather the opportunity to learn. He certainly wasn’t like others I had met, he drove nicer cars, lived in larger homes and spent on leisure lavishly for someone of his salary. Curiosity got the best of me and before I knew it, I embarked on a new journey. The next year of my life transformed me from worker to thinker and allowed me to understand the power of great leadership and the importance of time management. I also learned quite a bit about residual revenue models. The real difference here was that I went from wanting to quit a boring job, to instead finding new reasons to love what I did, and actually got a better sense of what I loved doing. This was a critical point for me when I woke up and felt like I re aligned my actions with my goals and therefore my confidence shot up to the roof. The opportunity that I took was the one within myself, the one that was always there. Many relate opportunity to money and often overlook the fact that opportunity come in different shapes and forms, and one that is even more so overlooked is the opportunity to simply be exposed to greatness.
LESSON 4: SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO, AND DO IT!
How many times do you hear from your friends or from family about their goals and ambitions? How often do you hear those around you make promises that in 3 years, they will have X car or in 2 years they will leave in Y place. Perhaps, you yourself have made such mistakes. So many times do these promises go unfilled to one’s self.
We all like to dream big and are all always reminded that dreaming too big means we ll never reach our goals. On the other hand, many others will tell you that setting your goals too low also means you ll reach them too fast and become complacent. While we do all have a story, the one we live in and create as we go currently, we all also have what I call fantasy endings to our own stories. We all want to live amazing lifestyles, be around greatness and leave a legacy behind but very few of us succeed. When I started writing my own story growing through the ranks of a bank, I found myself faced with a dilemma that many seemed to not understand. It is perhaps a dilemma many of you will be faced with as well or have already been exposed to. I wanted a 911 Turbo. I used to have this client who was in her 70s and came in to see me and show me her new 911 Turbo. She gave me a unique opportunity to drive it after we went outside to see it. Being barely 21 and trusted with the keys to my dream car for a test drive came with a promise to myself that I would have one by the age of 30. When I felt the carbon fiber steering wheel, and witnessed the navi turn on with the Porsche crest, I knew then that owning a 911 turbo was within my “must do” on my list, but I had a realistic time frame of 8-10 years to do it. I simply felt that if she did it by 70, I could do it by 30 knowing what I knew then. Many said I should stop dreaming and many reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to do so on a banking salary. Many were right but I was determined to get my dream car in a few years. A few years came much earlier than I expected, 2 years after that promise I found myself in a position to buy the exact car I wanted and did so. My following goal was to upgrade to a Lamborghini within 2 years. Another goal that I did reach only 1 month shy of my own timeline despite really no longer wanting it by the time I got it.
You see, what differentiates those who become designers of their own destiny are those that become slaves to their circumstance is your ability to do what you say you are going to do, regardless of who you say it to including yourself. The more you stick to your word, the bigger the promises you make become and you tend to reach them.
LESSON 5: INVEST EVERYTHING IN SELF-BELIEF
In the Third Circle Theory, I break down the core of belief and where it originates from but also how you can tweak your own belief system to help you grow in just about everything you do. Henry Ford also said “that you believe you can or cant, you certainly are right” and he meant it when he chose to re engineer the way we think of transportation. Self Belief is also what allowed Steve Jobs to take on Microsoft from his garage when many others felt that Microsoft was simply too big to go against. I myself encountered much resistance when I told those around me that I wanted to start a business whose mission was not to make money. I even got more resistance when I told them I wanted to take on the education system by offering content that is useful and from experience rather than from textbooks. Every direction my life has taken has been as a result of a leap of faith but not one that involved a religious belief but rather the belief in myself.
Investing in yourself is the single greatest step you can take to becoming limitless and the last step you must master to living in the Third Circle. As simple as it may seem on the surface, it certainly isn’t but believing in yourself enables you to transform your journey from ordinary to extraordinary and push the boundaries of what other deem possible. Once you tap into your very own potential, you start to understand your capacity and how to apply it to just about everything around you. When I invested in myself back in 2004 and 2005 and started a consulting agency as well as a very successful concierge service, I didn’t know anything about either industries but I knew the power that I held as an individual to never give up. Fast forward 5 years and many will tell you that our success was attributed to the core belief that our team never gave up knowing from the very beginning that they could never fail, but only learn. This self-belief practice helped us stay the course during, good, bad and the worst of times but was the only ingredient that allowed us to succeed at the end.
There you have it, the 5 lessons I learned along the way that enabled me to feel limitless. Most of you who have read the Third Circle Theory know that Belief and Confidence are the 2 factors that play into becoming limitless, but it is ultimately your exposure and observations of those around you that enable you to get there faster. I hope you can use these lessons coupled with the 99/1 Rule we talked about last week to move your life forward.