If you know me well, a word you might use to describe me is…observant.
I’m always looking for meaning. I’m looking for details. I’m figuring out what can be learned in any given situation or conversation that can help me personally or professionally. If I see someone exceptional at something I don’t hesitate to ask him/her how they got so good at that. I fully engage in any given situation, conversation or process. I couldn’t multitask if my life depended on it. Interruptions or even any type of distraction (even a loss of eye contact) quietly frustrates me.
I guess I’m in love with learning. Learning from others gets me high. I’m not talking about any old learning. If someone makes me think about something completely differently, I respect them for life. If they make me smile in the process, I become their evangelist.
A big part of my love for learning comes from my love for teaching. I’ve been teaching all my adult life. Everything I do at The $100 MBA is essentially teaching. I teach on The $100 MBA Show podcast. I teach in The $100 MBA training & community. I teach right here on this blog. And one thing I learned in all my years of teaching is that the best teachers are always looking at what other great teachers are doing. In the same way great dancers would study Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, Madonna or Michael Jackson.
In this past year, I studied five people. Yes studied. The way you study a historical figure. These five people are only discovering I was studying them right now, in this post. Five people that I learned five unique skills from. Here are my Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, Madonna and Michael Jackson.
Noah is not your average business person. Noah was employee 30 at Facebook and is credited with pioneering the status update. After Facebook, he moved on and became employee #4 at Mint software as the director of marketing. He then founded his first major company, KickFlip, a payment company for social games which served over 40 million users and had $18 million in revenue. In 2010 he started one of the most well known internet companies in the online business space, AppSumo.
I first meet Noah over Skype. He asked me if I wanted to jump on some time after being introduced to each other by a mutual friend (more about him later). We video chatted for about an hour. I felt like I’d known him for years or we had gone to college together. We email each other back and forth regularly about what we’re working on at the moment. He always replies within hours and when I ask for help, he actually helps. Like ‘pick you up from the airport’ help.
Noah taught me a profound principle: The level of success you achieve in life is directly proportionate to how much you care. How much you really care. Noah actually wants to help others. It’s not a business strategy or a tactic to get more people to like him. He honestly wants to to see others win. He isn’t too proud or too ‘busy’ to help someone that asks for help. I’ve met people with a fraction of his success treat others like garbage the moment they have a Amazon ‘best seller.’ I guess we know why they’ve only had a fraction of his success.
Noah is confident and to the point but never arrogant. I learned from studying Noah that if I want to have real success with what I do, I need to fully commit to helping others. Stop looking for the immediate payoff and broaden my perspective. If you want to be a world changer, change the world one person at a time.
Look out for Noah’s Guest Lesson on The $100 MBA Show airing on January 12, 2015.
Michael Port is the author of 5 industry leading books; Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, Book Your Self Solid Illustrated, The Contrarian Effect and the New York Times Bestseller, The Think Big Manifesto. In a previous life, Michael was a professional actor appearing in The Pelican Brief, Third Watch, Law and Order and Sex and The City. He is a highly sought after public speaker, considered one of the best on stage performers (more than just a speaker) in the business.
Nicole and I met Michael for the first time at a 2-day immersion program he held in San Fransisco called Heroic Public Speaking. We became fast friends. We had dinner a couple times together and stay in touch via email regularly.
Michael is the best public speaking coach in the game. Period. No question about it. Game over. He knows how to turn you into the performer on stage you’ve been dying to become. He’s an incredible speaker that knows his craft very well but more importantly, knows how to teach his skills in a way that is both comprehensible and entertaining. When he’s teaching he’s having a blast.
Michael taught me to have fun. He taught me when you enjoy yourself while doing what you do; your audience, your readers, your customers, will feel it and will want a piece of what you got. Fun is contagious. Only psychopaths pass up on fun. Fun should be a priority. It was a priority when we were seven, somewhere along the way we forgot that. When you are having fun, the best ‘you’ comes out. So take a page out of Michael Port’s book and HAVE FUN!
Want to see what I mean? Check out Michael Port’s lesson on The $100 MBA Show.
John is the founder Smart Business Revolution and a practicing attorney. John Corcoran is the most well connected person I know. John actually introduced me to Noah Kagan and invited me to a dinner where I got to know Michael Port on a personal level. Almost on a weekly basis, I get an email from him introducing me to someone new.
John is an exceptional communicator. He actually started his career as a speech writer for the Whitehouse and has been credited for writing one of the most famous Presidential Thanksgiving speeches ever. I personally think he is such an impressive communicator because he is a great listener.
When enjoying a dinner together with friends once, I really paid attention to how well this guy listens. He actually pays attention and is interested in what everyone has to say. He never interrupts and isn’t just waiting for the other person to stop talking so he can sound smart.
John taught me what true confidence looks like. John doesn’t feel the need to impress someone when he meets them. Instead, he makes sure you feel appreciated. John isn’t protective of his high level network of people. He openly shares his contacts and isn’t worried by the idea you might become closer to his contact than he is. I never heard John speak poorly about anyone. Even people he would have the right to speak poorly about. This is because he doesn’t need to put others down to feel good about who he is.
Intrigued? Check out John Corcoran’s Guest Lesson on The $100 MBA Show.
Amy Hoy runs unicornfree.com and the 300 X 500 program with her business partner Alex Hillman. She’s all about helping bootstrapping creatives, designers, coders and creators of thing, well, create things.
Amy and I are not friends. I’ve never met Amy. We never exchanged words on email or a tweet. I would guess she doesn’t know who I am, and why would she? It’s a big world.
I love Amy’s writing. It’s the kind of writing that is so good, you have to share. Here is one of my favorite posts of hers. She’s real, raw and she forces you to ask yourself important questions. She’s not an overly self-conscious person so she doesn’t pull any punches. Her content is great but I mostly read her stuff because I love to study her writing.
Amy taught me if you want to resonate with your audience, I mean deeply connect with them, you have to let your guard down. You have to get real with who you are and not be ashamed of any part of it. You have to communicate with your audience like you would with your best friend, because in a many ways, they are. She taught me that writing is more powerful than I thought, a power that can’t be measured by Google Analytics. She inspired me to write the post 16 Things You Don’t Know About Me…But Should. Funny enough that post, a post that has nothing to do with business, is one of our most read pieces.
Amy, if you are reading this….thank you. Please let me know how I can help you in 2015.
Chris Brogan is an best selling author, speaker and the president of Human Business Works. He also serves on the board of advisors of HubSpot. He is one of the worlds most successful bloggers and online business figures. He’s kind of a big deal to us online business folks.
Chris and I are not close friends. We know each other but we’re not “besties” or anything. We met at Podcast Movement this past August. We had a few remarkable conversations. We didn’t talk about anything particularly exciting. He spent some time in The United Arab Emirates and so did I. We talked about the future of education, technology and how it’s affecting the global culture. What was most compelling about my time with Chris was the way he talked to me.
Chris was the Opening Keynote Speaker at Podcast Movement. His time and attention was constantly being demanded from attendees that weekend. It was like Justin Timberlake visiting a high school. I took note at how he handled it all. I’m pretty sure I won’t be in his same predicament any time soon but I was just fascinated by how well he handled it all.
Chris is very polite. His parents did an excellent job (my complements to them, Chris). He smiles. He asks you what you think about a topic. He excuses himself when he has to go and he thanks you for the conversation before he parts. He does this with everyone he speaks to.
Chris reminded me that being nice is not a weakness. I learned I don’t need to stop smiling or being a nice guy if I want make it to the big leagues. Chris doesn’t forget that those fans, those people that want his attention at a conference or event, are the people that helped him become successful in the first place. They read his blog posts, they listen to his podcast, they purchase his programs.
He pays his respects with his smiles and limited time. It’s heartfelt and genuine. It’s the real thing.
Chris, don’t be a stranger. I hope to speak to you again real soon.
I’ve learned from many people in 2014. Too many to list here. But if we look at the things I learned from the people above, they’re not business skills per se. I learned about the content of good character. If the person behind the business is great, it’s hard for the business not to follow. This is the real lesson I learned from all of the esteemed people above. Be better. Just be better.