Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. You will never see success without hard work, determination and the ability to make tough decisions. Sometimes you have to be ruthless for the sake of the company, your employees and, of course, yourself.
But it’s equally as important to have a strong moral code and to conduct yourself in an honorable, honest and forthright manner. A reputation for fair play and integrity is priceless. Here are some principles that I have embraced while building three successful companies—with the third, RadiumOne, hopefully on its path to billion-dollar status.
Put Family First
Never lose sight of where you came from. Honor and respect the sacrifices of your family, especially your parents and grandparents, when they were raising you. It’s all too easy when you’re working day and night chasing your business vision to let your home life slide into second place. Try as hard as you can to find the right balance. Time spent away from your loved ones can never be regained.
Keep Your Promises
If you say you’re going to do something — do it. It doesn’t matter how big or how small at the end of the day you will be judged on whether you kept your promises or not. When your customers know that they can count on your word they will remain loyal customers, and refer others to you. You want people to know that you are true to your word — always.
Embrace Your Mistakes
Acknowledge your decisions that haven’t worked out. That’s the first step towards learning from them so you don’t make the same mistake again — and your company will flourish as a result. The ability to bounce back after a setback or mistake is the single most important trait an entrepreneurial venture can possess.
Don’t Be a Whiner
Many people can’t help but feel sorry for themselves if something doesn’t go their way. They feel the world is against them. They complain openly to all of their colleagues or anyone who will care to listen. This is a trait to be avoided at all costs. In business and in life, in general, you never want to be viewed as a victim. Dust yourself off and move forward.
Develop a Thick Skin
The more successful you become, the more visible you become. And that often makes you a target. Sometimes it’s unscrupulous competition (or business partners!). Sometimes it’s a personal relationship that tests your honor and integrity. You can’t afford to let the “slings and arrows” get to you. All you can do is continue to lead your life in an honorable way and hold your head high. If you come from a place of authenticity and always protect your integrity, you will always walk away unscathed.
There’s one key area where any entrepreneur or business leader should not be stingy. And that’s when it comes to rewarding your executive team and others who work with you or for you. I’ve always believed in being generous on this score. If you want the most talented and dedicated people on your team they need to know that they are appreciated and are compensated accordingly.
Take a Break
When you’re passionate about your business dream and striving to accomplish it—guess what? You can all too often forget about other things in life. Like having dinner. Enough sleep. And exercising. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve survived on fast food and slept in the office. All the more reason for me now to stress that you should take a break, now and then. Enjoy the company of family and friends. Go for a walk. Have a power nap. Eat a decent lunch. Making the time for any kind of break that will clear your head and improve your performance. You’re of little use to your organization when you’re running on empty.
Share the Dream
Make a habit of talking to others about your dreams and your goals. Talk to your family, friends and employees. And talk to other entrepreneurs about their similar passions. Sharing bold out-of-the-box ideas and exchanging stories about obstacles you’ve hurdled along the way generates even greater conviction and determination. It is a powerful, motivating force and should be used as reinforcement that you are making positive contributions to society.
Do the Right Thing
Whatever you do in business and in life keep your moral compass on track. Don’t ever compromise it. Your integrity is more important than your bank balance. Karma also has a weird way of showing up — when you least expect it. There will be many occasions when you might be tempted to take a short cut or when something that is borderline is presented to you. Make a decision because it’s the right and decent thing to do. Make a decision knowing that it’s one you can justify — to your family, kids or loved ones. After all, they make us want to be the best possible version of ourselves and are the main reason we strive to be successful.
A legacy is defined by the actions we live by and never by any currency we acquire.