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7 leadership lessons UK business owners can learn from across the pond

From ensuring you don't collect resentment to viewing other people's success as your own, Jake Humphrey lays out the lessons he's learnt

Jake Humphrey lessons across pond illustration

When I interview US guests on my High Performance podcast, I notice their different approach to life and business. I love talking to fellow British entrepreneurs and discussing success stories, but I sometimes get the feeling they’re focused on what the podcast can do for them.

However, when I speak to guests from across the pond, they have a real mindset of collaboration and encouragement. When we finish interviewing these guests and they head for the door, their parting comment is: “If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.”

I feel that in American society it’s ingrained in them to lift each other up and celebrate the successes of another person, company or project. I think we need to be much better at doing that in the UK.

We’ve made more than 300 episodes of High Performance. Despite the incredible conversations we’ve had, I’ve never been more excited than I was before interviewing Robin Sharma, who wrote The 5AM Club. His business is built on how he can help as many people as possible.

His new book, The Wealth Money Can’t Buy, talks about fortune in a different way to most. We all think of wealth as our assets, the size of our house and the money that’s in our bank account. Sharma talks about wealth as personal growth, creating your craft, community and family.

I want to share a few of the key tips from our interview that should help all business leaders, no matter the size of their company.

1. Don’t be a resentment collector

The first thing I learned is not to be a resentment collector. Sharma sees resentment as an energy, which means that any time you’re using that energy it removes it from a different area of your life you could apply it to.

2. Other people’s success is your success

That leads to the second point he made, which is that other people’s success is your success. I think this is a really powerful concept for everyone reading this column. No matter what industry you’re working in, if there’s a business or a person in that sector that is doing amazing things, have this idea that their success is yours. Why? Because they are adding to your industry. Not only that, but if they can do incredible things, then you can do incredible things too.

3. Work on your craft

The next thing he spoke about was working on your craft. This is making sure that every single day you do something that moves you closer to the person that you want to be. He also talks about choosing the people around you. Everyone reading this will have their own way of hiring people. My method is to not go through a lengthy interview process as the chances of the perfect person being available at that moment are slim. Instead, I love the idea of collecting and meeting people on my journey, and then trying to find a way to work with them.

Sharma has two big lessons in this space. The first is to think about the people who are
in your life who are not just business associates – partners, loved ones and really close friends. You spend a lot of time with them, so when you meet someone for the first couple of times, ask yourself a very simple question: could I sit and have 10,000 dinners with this person?

If the answer is yes, then they definitely deserve a place in your life. If the answer is no, then you need to ask yourself whether they’re the sort of person you should be investing your time in and using your energy on. Sharma also made the point that you’ve got a choice – you can be happy or you can hang out with toxic and negative people. You don’t get to do both.

4. Absolute personal responsibility

He also spoke about hard work, which is connected to a philosophy that he calls absolute personal responsibility, or APR. It recognises that you might go through tough times but stresses that you are responsible for how you respond to certain situations or challenges.

5. Focus on physical and mental wellness

Sharma talks about money because money is one of the key drivers of wealth. He has spent his life surrounded by money masters, working with some of the biggest global CEOs, billionaires and elite sportspeople. You think of a well-known entrepreneur on the planet and Sharma is more than likely going to be their mentor.

What he has learned from them is that at the end of their days they would trade every single penny they’ve ever earned to possess physical wealth. That means when we talk about success in business, we must not compromise on taking the time to ensure we have a healthy lifestyle with physical and mental wellness at its core. What’s the point of being the richest person in the cemetery?

6. Be comfortable being ridiculed

He also reveals that money masters are comfortable with being ridiculed. If you do exactly what the other 95 per cent of people are doing in the world, you will get the same results as them. If you want to stand out and be different, if you want to create something distinct, find the 5 per cent that other people aren’t bothered with or aren’t occupied by and focus on that space. Yes, it’s the 5 per cent that will bring the criticism, the ridicule and the naysayers, but your job is to become comfortable with that.

7. Good habits are the real game changers

The final quality that Sharma talks about when building successful businesses is that good habits beat IQ. People talk so much in business about intellect or qualifications, but it’s so often good habits that are the real game changers.

Jake Humphrey is the host of the High Performance podcast and co-founder of Whisper Group

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