“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

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June, 2019

In 12 Words, Einstein Explains What It Means to Be a High-Performing Leader

No need to overthink about how to effectively lead. Following this timeless advice from Einstein is all you need.

Creatorscientistinventor and unmistakable are a few terms used to describe Albert Einstein. While many people relegate Einstein’s powerful mathematician’s mind to strictly the scientific space, Einstein lived a life that has lessons applicable to a broad spectrum of areas.

At the core of Einstein’s unmistakability were curiosity and a commitment to see the possibilities of tomorrow as opposed to the limitations of today. That same trait is needed among today’s entrepreneurs and leaders.

Being a high-performing leader comes down to effective communication, and Einstein perfectly sums up how to do this in 12 words:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Being a genius and a leader doesn’t lie in using fancy jargon, big words, or explaining things in complex terms. Being a high-performing leader requires a ruthless commitment to simplicity.

Simplicity is where true genius lies. Knowing a fact is different from understanding a concept. I can recall that the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second. But I can’t explain why, nor can I begin to give a breakdown of quantum mechanics.

As a leader, being able to recite facts means very little if you can’t explain it to your team and persuade others to follow your vision. To adopt this commitment to simplistic communication, here are two keys to keep top of mind.

1. See the world through the eyes of your target audience.

When I was first getting started as a consultant, I had a tendency to speak in industry jargon and roll out words that only a peer would understand. The only issue (and it was a big issue) was that my target audience wasn’t a peer. My target audience was the general public.

When I realized I wasn’t very good at my job, I reached out to some veterans who were consistently getting positive results. The difference wasn’t in the factual knowledge–it was in the communication channel.

Using precise language that your target audience understands is pivotal for achieving results. When seeing the world through the lens of your audience, you’re better able to craft a message that is more on the level of their understanding. 

As you prepare to talk to your teams, prepare for a speech, or work with clients, take a moment to pause and pretend you’re them as you prepare what to say.

2. Would your parents or a fifth-grader understand your message?

Providing the best information in the world doesn’t mean a thing if it isn’t absorbable. Keep that in mind that as you prepare for a speech, interview, or client session. Make your foundational message so clear and simplistic that even your parents or a fifth-grader would understand it.

This exercise forces you to remove the fluff and reduce your ideas down to their core essence. Of course, now that you have the foundational message ready to deliver, you can go back and throw in some sizzle to expand upon it.

When you’re an expert at your particular craft, it’s tempting to demonstrate this through eloquent wording and industry-speak. However, this usually entails making the message more complicated than it needs to be, and that bleeds over into the audience not taking action nor getting value.

A big part of committing to simplistic communication and becoming a high-performing leader is the removal of the ego.

This article appeared first on INC.com and was written by Julian Hayes II.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Key Insights from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Book

Always wanted to read The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People? Get the main takeaways in just 3 minutes with this great round-up.

1. Sharpen the saw.
Don’t work yourself to death. Strive for a sustainable lifestyle that affords you time to recuperate, recharge and be effective in the long-term.

2. Be proactive.
You have a natural need to wield influence on the world around you so don’t spend your time just reacting to external events and circumstances. Take charge and assume responsibility for your life.

3. Begin with an end in mind.
Don’t spend your life working aimlessly, tackling whatever job is at hand. Have a vision for the future and align your actions accordingly to make it into a reality.

4. Put first things first.
To prioritize your work, focus on what’s important, meaning the things that bring you closer to your vision of the future. Don’t get distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks.

5. Think win-win.
When negotiating with other, don’t try to get the biggest slice of the cake, but rather find a division that is acceptable to all parties. You will still get your fair share, and build strong positive relationships in the process.

6. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
When someone presents us with a problem, we often jump right to giving a solution. This is a mistake. We should first take time to really listen to the other person and only then make recommendations.

7. Synergize.
Adopt the guiding principle that in a group, the contributions of many will far exceed those of any individual. This will help you achieve goals you could never have reached on your own.

This post was originally seen on Blinkist, and was written by Sarah Moriarty.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Top 10 Elon Musk Productivity Secrets for Insane Success

Here are the top 10 productivity secrets of Elon Musk and how you can apply them:

1. Start the Day with Critical Work

As the CEO of three companies — TeslaSpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top on a day to day basis.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work. For Musk, this meansdealing with important emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

He typically starts the day at 7:00 a.m. and replies to critical emails for at least half an hour. Musk is careful to filter anything that is not deemed critical, focusing on only the most important items.

In his own words at the USC Commencement Speech:

Apply This Productivity Secret

Find your most important task (MIT) for the day and tackle it first. Your MIT should be the one thing that creates the most impact on your work.

2. Use Feedback Loops

Musk has a very tight schedule, often working at different locations on any given day. That’s why he’s constantly trying to optimize his time.

Musk incorporates not only his own feedback but also of others: he urges entrepreneurs to seek preferably negative feedback. While it might be hurtful at first, you normally end up getting a lot more out it.

He also focuses on hiring the best people in any field that can provide consistent and truthful feedback.

Shortening the feedback loops lead to increased efficiency, faster implementation, and a better-finished product.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The great thing about this particular Elon Musk productivity secret is that it works for both your professional and personal life.

Gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve.

“Don’t tell me what you like, tell me what you don’t like.” – Elon Musk

You can do the same exercise with friends. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you and it’s well-intentioned.

3. Reason from First Principles

first principle is a basic assumption that can’t be deduced from any other proposition. It’s the only sure thing in a complex problem.

Musk reasons from first principles, rather than by analogy (such as previous experiences). This way you build your reasoning from the ground up:

“You look at the fundamentals and construct your reasoning from that and then see if you have a conclusion that works or doesn’t work. And it may or may not be different from what people have done in the past. It’s harder to think that way, though.” – Elon Musk

Here’s an example of first principles reasoning, from Musk himself: “What is a rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, plus some titanium, copper, and carbon fiber. Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical price.”

Instead of buying a rocket for millions of dollars, Musk decided to purchase the raw materials for cheap and build the rockets himself in his own own company.

And SpaceX was born.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Reasoning from first principles forces you to think differently. First Principles is about getting to the root cause of the problem. You have to break down the problem into its basic elements.

There are three main steps to apply this thinking framework:

  1. Identify and define current assumptions: when faced with a problem, write down your current assumptions about it
  2. Break it down into the fundamental principles: find the most basic truths or elements of the problem. Is Musk’s words: “Boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say ‘okay, what are we sure is true’…and then reason up from there.”
  3. Create new solutions: if you deconstructed the problem following the first two steps, you are now ready to create new solutions from scratch

4. Use Asynchronous Communication

The first productivity hack gave you a slight hint for this one: Musk prefers to communicate on his own terms. That means defaulting to email and texts, both asynchronous ways of communication.

He also makes himself hard to reach for people outside his company by using an obscure email address.

This lets him focus on actual work for his companies.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Progress comes from being focused and performing Deep Work. This means living as asynchronously as possible and with minimal interruptions from coworkers.

Here are three solutions to start working on your terms (in order of difficulty):

  • Turn off notifications: shut all notifications down on your phone, computer, and any other gadgets you use. If it’s truly important, people will call
  • Decline meetings: don’t agree to a meeting unless there is a clear agenda and you know the expected outcome; if possible, use email instead
  • Work remotely: a noisy office means distractions, whereas working from home is done in silence. If that’s not a possibility, ask for a private office

Minimize distractions in your daily life in order to make progress in meaningful work.

5. Master Communication

When Musk is not building rockets or revolutionizing the automobile industry, there’s one place you can always find him: on email. He joked on a conference: “I do a lot of email — very good at email. That’s my core competency”.

He is extremely clear, concise, and direct on his emails. As an example, read the email sent to his entire staff about the use of acronyms aptly called “Acronyms Seriously Suck”.

He frequently emails his entire company with updates, how to communicate, company visions and mission, and being more productive at work.

He is also a master at public speaking, converting complex concepts into easy to understand language using an authentic voice. Musk often uses the present tense when talking about visionary topics, a language trick that excites the listener into feeling the future is now.

Apply This Productivity Secret

According to a study of Carleton University, a third of the workweek of the “typical’’ knowledge worker is spent on email. That’s why mastering communication over email is an art form.

You want to be succinct but also get your message across. In an email, every word counts. Here are some tips on how to master communication over email:

  • Keep it short: don’t write ten sentences when two suffice. To practice, take an email you’ve already written in normal fashion and edit it down to half the words
  • Avoid squishy words: avoid writing “I feel”, “I’m not sure”, “perhaps”, using the passive voice, or any adverbs that waste time for both you and your recipient and create confusion and misunderstandings
  • Know what you want: think about the intended outcome of the email and outline it first in plain-spoken language. With practice, this outline IS your email
  • Bold the important: if you need a reply from a particular person on a thread with multiple people, put their name in bold with action items and timeline
  • Forwarding code of conduct: never forward along a massive email chain without a few bullet points as a quick summary at the top explaining why you’re sending it and action items you need from the other person

6. Batch Tasks

Musk multi-tasks strategically. Whenever possible, he combines several tasks together in a productivity hack known as batching. For example, he answers emails while eating or having a meeting over lunch.

Here’s a quote from Elon on the subject:

“But what I find is I’m able to be with [my kids] and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time… If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to get my job done.” – Elon Musk

Another example is going through emails and invoices while on phone meeting or interviews.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Studies have confirmed that multi-tasking is normally less efficient than single-tasking. The brain needs time to adjust when navigating different tasks, also known as task switching. Switching makes you tired and unproductive, not the tasks themselves.

But if you batch similar tasks that call for similar mindsets you can efficiently work on multiple tasks without losing your workflow. In other words, your brain is focused on one type of task at a time.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Outlining all your blog posts for the upcoming week in one sitting
  • Processing all emails, Slack, phone calls, and other communications at once
  • Updating several related worksheets at the same time

To find more activities you can stack, write down all your general activities for the day and week and identify the ones that can be batched together. Try the batch a couple of times and rearrange tasks if necessary.

To process batches even faster, use the Pomodoro Technique.

7. Scheduling

Running three companies is no small feat, which means time is of the essence for Elon Musk. He is constantly trying to optimize his time using feedback loops.

Like many other ultra-productive and successful people, he follows a very detailed and specific daily schedule. He breaks his calendar into five-minute slots and finding your way into one of those openings is tough work.

He prioritizes engineering, design, and manufacturing, spending 80 percent of his time at work on those areas.

By splitting his day into 5-minute chunks, Musk manages to get more tasks scheduled into his work.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The most productive people work from their calendar instead of a to-do list. Calendars are finite and give you a better sense of time, making it easier to determine how much time you have to complete projects during your week.

Breaking your days into small chunks and scheduling tasks on your calendar can boost your productivity. But you don’t have to use 5-minute chunks. I found that the most efficient way of organizing my work is to break the days into 30-minute slots. Find a timing that works best for you and your work.

And make sure that you schedule everything: checking email, calling clients, lunch, and meetings. Everything goes on your calendar.

Rip to-do lists and instead work from your calendar.

8. Embrace Stretch Goals

Perhaps one of Musk’s most notorious character traits is his tendency to set incredibly ambitious deadlines for his companies’ projects. He uses stretch goals as a way to change perception:

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” – Elon Musk

Here’s a story from a former SpaceX executive: “It’s like he has everyone working on this car that is meant to get from Los Angeles to New York on one tank of gas. They will work on the car for a year and test all of its parts. Then, when they set off for New York after that year, all the vice presidents think privately that the car will be lucky to get to Las Vegas. What ends up happening is that the car gets to New Mexico — twice as far as they ever expected — and Elon is still mad. He gets twice as much as anyone else out of people.” (emphasis mine)

The last sentence illustrates the power of stretch goalsEven in the face of failure, your goal was so outrageous, so impossible to achieve, that you celebrate the small achievements you made because you expected that nothing would come out of it.

The initial plan of Tesla was to start shipping the Roadster in 2006. The company pushed that deadline back several times until the car actually became available in 2008. Even though they released its car almost two years after the deadline, Tesla delivered the first completely battery-powered electric car.

In his own words:

“I say something, and then it usually happens. Maybe not on schedule, but it usually happens.” – Elon Musk

Musk’s stretch goals have given us a world where one of the best cars you can buy is electric, and where we finally have reusable rockets“When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.”

Setting goals that maintain the status quo doesn’t get you reusable rockets.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The intention of setting stretch goals is to push yourself outside the comfort zone. Growth doesn’t happen when you keep doing what you’ve already done in the past. It comes from failing while trying to make progress. If you aim to achieve five great things and only succeed at two of them, you are outperforming all the people who never tried in the first place.

Stretch goals demand more quantity and quality of work and forces you to innovate more often than ordinary goals. And in the pursuit of it, you grow your skills to where they need to be in order to get it done.

At first, you won’t know how ambitious your stretch goals should be. Using trial and error, understand how much past your limits you should push. But the most important thing is to start trying and then adjust as you go.

Next time you are making plans for work, take a few extra minutes to include a stretch goal. Try to push yourself to perform 50% better than your normal goal requires. Go big and see if you can surprise yourself with incredible performance. Using this strategy is the first step towards smashing goals and reaching targets you didn’t even think were possible!

9. Develop a Growth Mindset

In 2004, Musk called a supplier to get the price of an electromechanical actuator. The supplier quoted $120,000.

Reasoning from first principles, Musk broke down the components needed and asked an Steve Davis, now SpaceX’s director of advanced projects, to build one from scratch for under $5,000. Davis spent nine months designing and building the actuator for $3,900, which flew to space inside the Falcon 1 rocket.

Elon Musk is never satisfied with where he is now. His companies have had enormous achievements, but Musk knows that there’s always room for improvement — in every area. There’s always a better, faster, or cheaper way to do things.

This is what is called a growth mindset, an important skill that separates successful people from everyone else. When you have a growth mindset, you know you can learn anything if you put enough effort into it. And if you fail, you approach the problem from a different angle until you find a solution that works. You iterate until you get it right.

In Musk’s words:

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

The opposite is known as a fixed mindset, where the status quo is rarely challenged. Things will always be the way they are because “that’s how we do things around here”. Preconceived notions are taken as universal truths, instead of being questioned. Thus, people stagnate.

On the other hand, developing a growth-oriented mindset brings progress to both our personal and professional lives. And even if you manage small gains each day are small, they compound over time. A 1% gain every day compounds to almost 38% increase over a year.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Growth comes from tackling difficult problems, questions, and challenges. In order to succeed, you need to train the brain to look at failures and struggles as progress, as getting closer to the solution.

Here’s how you can start developing a growth mindset:

  • Continual learning: expand your knowledge with books, learn from your personal challenges, and from others; loading your brain with fresh knowledge enables it to come up with new ideas and solutions that add value to your job and life
  • Be persistent: shift your perspective to look at failures as minor setbacks and learning experiences in the great scheme of things; adapt and iterate your ideas so you can be successful on the next try
  • Live for challenges: if you have two choices, choose the harder; look at challenges as an opportunity to expand your skills and grow
  • Embrace failure: at some point in life, everybody fails; learn from failures by understanding what went wrong and how it can be improved and use that experience in the next try
  • Open to feedback: effective and timely feedback on areas to improve is a critical component of success; be more open to receiving feedback, even the non-constructive one
  • Celebrate others: “no man is an island”, so start supporting other people successes because they won’t dampen yours; when it’s your time to shine, they will celebrate with you

10. Develop a Wide Knowledge Base

According to his brother, Musk used to read 2 books a day at his early age. In other words: he devoured knowledge. This led to a wide understanding of many sciences, such as physics, math, engineering, and computer science.

Even when running his companies, Musk constantly tries to learn from the people around him that have more knowledge on a specific topic. Here’s a passage from the book: “He would trap an engineer in the SpaceX factory and set to work grilling him about a type of valve or specialized material. “I thought at first that he was challenging me to see if I knew my stuff,” said Kevin Brogan, one of the early engineers. “Then I realized he was trying to learn things. He would quiz you until he learned ninety percent of what you know.”

Over the years, Musk developed T-shaped skills: a lot of knowledge in one particular field and a substantial amount of knowledge in many other disciplines and topics. This allowed him to be world-class in one field (business) but also use his broad knowledge to innovate, find different solutions, be more creative, and collaborate with experts in other fields effectively.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Let’s start with a practical example: you want to be healthy. In order to be healthy, practicing just one sport isn’t going to cut it. You need to know a whole lot of skills: you need to learn the basics of a good diet, how to develop muscle, flexibility, different cardio, condition, etc. While you have deep knowledge in a particular field — the sport — , you also developed broad knowledge in many other areas which are the basis on being healthy. This is the T-shaped skills approach.

Let’s look at someone who works in Marketing or Growth: deep knowledge in acquisition channels such as PPC, SEO, and viral loops, while also having broad knowledge over other topics such as statistics, some programming, design principles, and copywriting.

Here’s how you can develop T-shaped skills in your area:

  • Draw a T and list the main skills, secondary skills, and base knowledge. If it helps, model a successful person in your field and their range of expertise
  • Now see where you stand in each of those areas
  • Improve your deep expertise by reading books, taking courses, reading about your industry, and learning from other people
  • Continually reevaluate yourself in the areas and adjust your learning to become T-shaped

This article was originally seen on The Startup and was written by Dan Silvestre.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Guy Kawasaki On The 11 Lessons That Changed His Life

“Take the high road…you’ll find out there’s not much traffic there,” shares Guy Kawasaki.

Those years have been full as he’s worked at Apple twice, started several tech companies, became an investor, keynote speaker, thirteen-time author, brand ambassador, and “chief evangelist” for Canva.

In his latest book Wise Guy, Kawasaki shares what he calls “miso soup for the soul”, a wide-range of stories that have helped him grow.

He pulled out the top eleven lessons he’s learned that have helped him achieve success in work, play, love, and family in hopes that it will inspire and encourage you, too.

1. Find people who challenge you

Kawasaki advises that we should seek out and embrace people who challenge us rather than those who hold us to lower standards, much like Steve Jobs did for him. “The bottom line is always to put yourself out there, not to take the easy path, to stretch yourself, and then those people will appear in your life naturally,” he explains.

2. Know when to quit

Quitting isn’t always bad. But how do you know when it’s time to quit versus keep pushing? Kawasaki shares, “I’m an Asian-American, and in the mid-70s, I quit law school. Back then, it was an honor and a strike of lightning to get in. I got in and I hated it. My parents had only gone to high school. My father was a State Senator in Hawaii and there’s all this pressure of 2000 years of my ancestors working for me to get to this point. And in the midst of that, I had to quit. To my utter amazement, my parents did not disown me. In fact, my father said, ‘It’s okay. Just make something of your life before you’re 25.’ So that’s the Asian-American version of cutting you slack.” Kawasaki trusted his instincts knowing that it was time to quit, against all odds.

3. Question everything

“Challenge the known and embrace the unknown,” is a famous quote from a commencement speech Kawasaki made at Menlo College. The unknown is typically something we fear, but he elaborates, “When somebody tells you something’s for sure, you should question that. And when somebody tells you that something absolutely is not true, you should question that, too. Basically, you should always be skeptical. I think that’s what leads to breakthroughs in life. Life is kind of counterintuitive. Of course, I encountered this time after time at Apple where people said, ‘No one needs a new operating system. What’s wrong with MS DOS and Apple II?’ My observation is you should basically question everything.”

4. Never stop learning

We are often socialized to believe that learning stops when school ends, but that isn’t true. Kawasaki explains believes that “ If you’re not learning, you’re dying. Learning is not an event that ends. It’s not the 100 yard dash where you cross the tape and it’s done. It’s more like a marathon. At 62, I decided to take up surfing. Let’s just say that at 62, you’re about 58 years too late to take that up.”

5. Prioritize Relationships

“I think the statement that I’m so busy I have no time to develop relationships is a total cop-out. Nobody is that busy. Maybe a single mom with four kids is that busy. In the venture capital business, companies get funded not because of the quality of the pitch. It’s because a venture capitalist knows a corporate finance attorney, for example, who knows a CEO. The corporate finance attorney says, ‘I just incorporated these two gals. They have the most exciting company I’ve seen since Google.’ This is all about personal contact. It’s not because you have the best digital PowerPoint or keynote pitch. The irony is that many digital technologies make analog relationships better, faster, and broader. Now, I could also make the case, somewhat contradictory, that what’s important is not only whom you know, but also who knows you,” encourages Kawasaki

6. Customers can’t tell you how to innovate

During his tenures at Apple, the top lesson he learned was, “Your current customers cannot tell you how to innovate. They can’t tell you about the next curve, the revolution, the next category, because a current customer is always boxed in by what you are already providing them. If I’m buying film from Kodak, all I can think is better film, deeper colors, cheaper. But you wouldn’t go to Kodak and say, ‘I really don’t want to use film. I want to use a digital sensor.’ Of course the irony of this is in 1975, Kodak did invent digital photography, but they defined themselves as a chemical company that puts chemicals on film. What they should’ve done is define themselves as being in the business of preservation of memories. If you’re in that business, you don’t care if it’s film, instant development of pictures, or if it’s a digital sensor. You just want to preserve memories.”

7. Learn how to sell, even if you’re not ‘in sales’

Not in sales? Doesn’t matter. Everyone is selling something. Here’s why: “It comes down to two fundamental skills in life: you’re either making it or selling it.  Even for someone who can make, you’re going to be selling to get approval, to get funding, to get people to buy what you’re making. And in a day-to-day context, you’re selling to get a seat upgrade on a flight or to get the ocean view at your hotel. The assumption that your awesomeness is so inherently obvious that you don’t have to sell is a very, very foolish assumption. Everybody has to sell.”

8. Say ‘yes’

“Fundamentally, I believe you should default to ‘yes’ unless people give you a reason not to do something. My experience is by defaulting to ‘yes’, you open up opportunities that never would have happened. The perceived downside of this is, ‘What happens if people take advantage of you?’ But my experience is that truly very few people try to take advantage. The upside of helping people all the time far exceeds the downside of being screwed a few times. Having said that, this doesn’t mean I say ‘yes’ to everything. I’m thinking ‘yes’ all the time, but if somebody says, ‘I’m having this conference in Croatia, would you fly over and give a one-hour talk for free?’ The answer is ‘no’ and it’s because the limiting factor on me is having four children. I’m not going to spend four days going to Croatia for free so that you can have a better conference that you’re selling to people.”

9. Don’t take things personally

A lot can shift when you don’t take offense. And, it can be a lot more challenging to enact than it sounds. Kawasaki shares his experience: “I was once in front of my house in San Francisco, and I was cutting the hedge, and an older white woman came up to me and said, ‘Do you do lawns, too?’ because I’m Japanese-American. That’s a case where you can easily be offended. That was my first reaction. A couple weeks later, my father comes to visit me and I tell him the story, fully expecting him to go off. And instead, he says to me, ‘Son, where you live, she was right to assume you were a yardman. Statistically, she was right. So get over it.’ And I learned a very valuable lesson: Don’t look for problems. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be so easily offended. If not, you’re going to be angry your whole life.”

10. Be yourself

Ever nervous to be your true self in professional environments? Kawasaki suggests, “Just be who you are because it’s so hard to maintain a façade. It’s easy to be honest because typically there is only one truth. But if you are trying to be dishonest to make something seem true that isn’t true, you’re going to have to remember your lie.”

11. Ask for help

Asking for help can be challenging, but can pay dividends both in your relationships as well as in your own advancement. “One of the ways that you can start and strengthen relationships is ironically, maybe surprisingly, to ask for help. In my optimistic view, the reason for this is that, generally, people are helpful. It’s satisfying to help people. So, asking people for help is a way of starting a relationship as opposed to the thought that, ‘They’re going to hate me because I’m asking for something right up front.’ Of course, you have to follow up asking for help with gratitude and reciprocation. It’s not a one-way street. But I think the concept that you should never ask someone for help because you’re going to ruin the relationship or never have a relationship is false,” he explains.

This article was first seen on Forbes and was written by Darrah Brustein.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

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