8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

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Throughout my life and my career, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly smart and gracious people who’ve taught me invaluable lessons about business.

Whether you’re an employee, an entrepreneur, or an aspiring entrepreneur, and whether you’re black or white, male or female, this article will share with you eight of the lessons I’ve learned. I hope these lessons will not only give you guidance and direction, but that they’ll inspire and energize you to pursue your best life and career.

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1. Being confident in yourself

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

The challenge I see for many of the young people I talk with comes from within them, not from outward circumstances. But their challenge is not a lack of skill, capacity, or experience; it is that they lack confidence. Confidence is so important in business and career advancement. You can’t rush experience; it will come in time. You can start building your knowledge now, but knowing your worth has to occur from the inside.

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2. Documenting processes

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

Whenever you figure out a new system, a better method of doing something, or an improved strategy that works, document the process. Write it down so you can share it with others in your company and so it can be replicated. Don’t just write down the steps; also be sure to document exactly what you learned from the process.

If you memorialize the difficult things you’re doing today, they become the easy list tomorrow. If you’re not documenting, you’re working from the gut, and you’ll lose some of the important lessons you could’ve passed on to make it easier for the next person.

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3. Understanding entrepreneurship vs. leadership

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

Leadership and entrepreneurship are different skills, but they are related. You can be a great leader but a lousy entrepreneur. But you can’t be a great entrepreneur without also being a great leader. And while we’re on the topic of leadership, how many of you reading this article right now manage people? Stop doing it. You never manage people, you manage processes. You lead people; you manage processes.

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4. Eating healthy food Is the fuel of your success

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

Exercise is only part of what’s required for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. You also have to eat right. Healthy, natural foods in moderate quantities multiple times a day are better than one or two high-calorie, high-fat meals. You wouldn’t run an expensive sports car on the cheapest, lowest quality gasoline you could find, would you? No way. Your body is a finely tuned machine capable of incredible things. Fuel it properly.

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5. Staying healthy on the road

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

Traveling for business forces you to be creative about keeping fit. When I’m in a great walking city, which many are, I attempt to walk as much as possible, whether from meeting to meeting or after a day’s work. When this is neither possible nor optimum, I use the hotel gym or get creative in my room. Bottles of water tied to my ankles while doing sit-ups, anchoring my feet under beds to do exercises, or just doing plain planks have me process the day’s anxieties and pass into calm.

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6. Hiring family members

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

Seven of my siblings worked in my company then, as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, and so on. But I have a rule. Before I will hire them, they must invest three years working in some other large organization. I like my employees to have that knowledge because most of our clients are large enterprise companies. Many employees have employed relatives in our company. As long as they follow the rules and protocols, I consider it a good thing. If they like each other, even better. Work-life balance.

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7. Developing rituals for mind, body & soul

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

No matter where I am, I always begin and end each day with the same ritual. It’s made up of three things: meditation, prayer, and hygiene. Meditation helps clear my mind. Prayer helps me remember where all of my gifts come from and how I can serve my higher power. And hygiene is both healthy and a great way to spend some alone time contemplating the events of the day. I suggest you create your own daily rituals for both morning and night. It will take some time before they become habit. But once they are part of your routine it will benefit you greatly in mind, body, and spirit.

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8. Avoiding working until you drop

8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business

I frequently encounter driven businesspeople who work incredibly long hours and consider that to be a good thing. It can be a good thing when long hours are an absolute necessity, such as in a time of crisis or great change. But working in this mode year after year is not healthy—for you or your personal relationships. Working nonstop is not good leadership, it’s not good role modeling, and it’s not good for your health. You must give care to yourself and your family, as well as to your business. Working until you drop is not sustainable, lest one day you will drop, permanently.

This article was adapted from Howroyd’s book, Acting Up: Winning in Business and Life Using Down-Home Wisdom. Howroyd left her home town in 1976 armed with $900. Two years later she founded ActOne, which she grew into a multibillion-dollar global organization that now manages 2,000-plus employees across more than 20 countries.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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2 Replies to “8 lessons about life and work from the CEO of a billion-dollar business”

  1. Anonymous says:

    FABULOUS. Exactly why I’m going home to FAMILY. I can mentor mold and grow with my young adult & ELDER family.
    I eat well & stay mobile HOWEVER I need to enjoy more working out alone until I leave.

  2. Anonymous says:

    #3. You never manage people, you manage processes.

    And in bio: Manages over 2,000 people.

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