I discovered the game of chess back when I was in middle school. As I played my very first match, I knew I would fall in love with this game. It just resonated with me deeply on a personal level. I always loved problem solving and critical thinking – skills that were essential for chess. I always preferred games that involved intellect, strategy and heavy utilization of the mind, over physical sports like football. The latter just didn’t interest me.
My strength has always been the mind. Back in high school, I went through a phase where chess became an obsession. I remember playing chess for 15 hours a day, every day, for months on end. It was not just about improving. It was way more than that. It was an addiction. I was in love with the immense mental stimulation that resulted from each match. I was addicted to competing with players who had a way higher rating than me, just so I could test my intellectual limits. I was obsessed with pushing the boundaries, and seeing what was possible for me. Chess had become my drug.
Years down the line, I am no longer an active chess player. However, as I look back at my chess games, I realize the invaluable lessons that chess taught me about business and life. Thousands of games later, I can now visualize chess as an imitation of life itself. Here are the key principles I have learned, which are as important off the board, as they were on the chess board.
Have a plan – hold long term goals.
In chess, if you focus solely on short term tactics, and do not have a long-term plan to defeat your opponent, you risk losing. It’s important to have a vision in mind, a long-term plan, which you want to realize, and you must make short-term moves which will assist you in reaching that long-term goal. This principle applies to life and business as well. In order to attain the highest amount of success, you must always have a clear long-term plan in your mind, and you must act daily in order to bring yourself closer to the materialization of your long-term vision.
Sacrifice – sometimes you need to sacrifice in order to get ahead.
In my games, I remember sacrificing crucial pieces, in order to checkmate my opponents. I became so skilled at sacrifices, that I could easily sacrifice valuable pieces like the Bishop or Rook, in order to get a better position, and checkmate my opponent in the long run. Many years later, I realize this same principle applies to life as well. In fact, this principle is absolutely crucial if you want to achieve a big dream in your life. In order to achieve something big, you have to sacrifice along the way. Sacrifice can be in terms of taking risks, or giving up luxuries and pleasure so you can work harder for your goals. The people who achieve the most in life are the ones who are able to sacrifice in the short-term to win big in the long-term.
Value your key pieces – know the worth of your best employees.
In chess, some pieces have a higher value than others. The value of a queen is way more than a pawn. What a queen can do to help you win the game is something a pawn can simply never do. Similarly, a pawn can never have the same worth as that of a Rook. In order to win at chess, it’s essential to realize the value of your pieces, and leverage them in the most effective way possible, while keeping the long-term plan in mind. If you don’t value your queen, and expect some pawn to help you win the game, you will lose. If you don’t protect your queen or rook, you risk losing them and getting checkmated. I find this principle replicable in the world of business as well. Initially, when I started playing the game of business, I struggled with hiring and finding the right team. I preferred hiring people with less value, and this led to significant losses for me. After many failures, I now understand the importance of realizing who your best players are, and utilizing their skills in the most effective way possible to help you win at business. It’s always worth it to spend more money to hire people who are more skilled. And it’s essential to value your most important employees, because if they are happy, they will do their best to help you win.
Timing is everything – don’t let opportunities slip by.
Missed opportunities rarely return. Simply acting is not enough. Timing your action is the most important thing. In chess, if you miss a chance to checkmate your opponent, then you might not get another chance to defeat them. Similarly, in business, timing is everything. Would Facebook have been so big if Mark Zuckerberg had launched it in 2019 instead of 2004? You cannot launch a Facebook-like website in 2019, and expect it to become the #1 social networking website in the world. You are too late to the game. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t let the opportunity slip by, and he acted at the right time. Therefore, acting at the right time is crucial to business success. The same decision made too late, might as well be a wrong decision. Timely action also means acting fast, instead of sitting around and waiting for the right moment.
Mistakes are inevitable – don’t let failure stop you, you can still win the game.
During a game of chess, we often make mistakes. If you are able to spot your mistake in time, and act quickly to fix it, you can still hope to win the game. However, if you start to believe that you can no longer win the game, majority of the times, you will lose, even if a possibility of winning had existed. In life as well, we often encounter failures and temporary defeats. It’s important to quickly realize your mistakes, understand what you did wrong, and continue believing and working towards your dream. If you learn from your mistakes, and continue believing, eventually you will win the game.
Have fun – what’s the use of playing, if you’re not going to have fun with it.
I didn’t play chess because I had to, or someone was forcing me to play it. I played because it was fun. It was thrilling. I loved the thought process that went into every move I made. I loved the look on my opponents face as I used well-thought-out strategies to trap them into an inevitable checkmate. I loved the game itself as much as I loved the final victory. The same principle should apply to whatever you do in life. Having fun, being curious, and always trying to learn and improve should be the cornerstone of every endeavour. Too many people are stuck doing jobs they hate. Too many people are spending their life doing things they don’t like. That’s a really sad way to live life. Life is too short to do things that you don’t enjoy. The end goal should always be to have happy, and have fun. If you’re doing something that is not bringing you happiness, or if it’s something that you don’t enjoy, then don’t do it.
After years of playing chess, I realized that we can learn to treat life itself as a giant chess board. We’re the ones in control of this game. We move the pieces. We can attack when we want. We can sacrifice what we want. We can strategise, and set long-term goals. In the end, there is a dream to be realized, hurdles to be overcome, and sacrifices that need to be made along the way.
You have two choices in this game: take strategic action to achieve your goal, or sit around and wait for your timer to run out.
I made my decision a long time ago, and I don’t intend to turn back. I love the process as much as I love the final checkmate, so I’ll just keep playing this game till the very end.
How a Kid Selling Lemonade Turned His Entrepreneurial Habits Into A Lifestyle
When you observe a major corporation, you most likely see the logo, the product or service they sell, or their marketing ploy. Take Apple, for instance. The iPhone, the MacBook, the classic minimalist design of their storefronts, or their iOS software are the first things that come to mind when the company is brought up. For Henry Westbrooks, he sees the innovator, or the Steve Jobs, behind the creation of the brand. Henry is fascinated by the concept that being an entrepreneur puts power in your hands as the creator. His fascination has lead him to multiple ventures in the business world, and has become massively successful as a result.
Henry is a licensed realtor in Southwest Florida, the founder of iGrowClub, a digital marketing agency focused on helping clients grow organically on social media to reach their target audience and scale, and is the founder of the Health & Wealth Show, a podcast that focuses on health, wealth, love, and happiness. He has even found success in e-commerce business models, and has affiliates earning between 6-8 figures using the model. His intangible skills include door to door sales, where he has generated millions as a solar energy consultant, high ticket selling, and turning people into repeat customers through building value and pitching products. Henry is without a doubt a well rounded, dedicated entrepreneur who is making waves in the industry. But, Henry’s passion and dedication to making his own way in the business world is nothing new.
As a child, Henry was already dedicated to selling and working for himself. During his school years, he would sell lemonade and Pokemon cards at a roadside table, host garage sales, and sell food or magazines whenever he could to make money. He was fascinated by seeing money stack up, and has always aspired to becoming wealthy and successful.
His actions speak louder than his words when it comes to Henry’s dedication. After graduating from the University of Buffalo with a BA in Communication and working for corporate radio, Henry was all in on following his passions and becoming successful. He drove from New York to Florida to start his real estate venture right after obtaining his real estate license. After getting involved in the real estate game, he was presented with an opportunity to sell solar across the country in California. Without hesitation, he accepted the offer, packed his things, and drove cross country to take advantage of the opportunity.
On top of dominating the solar industry, Henry has grown a stellar personal brand and helps brands and companies grow their brands by helping them to identify their mission statements, handle the marketing, and helping with brand development. But, like all successful endeavors, Henry is cognizant of the slow process necessary to gain traction and momentum. He’s very open to detailing the processes he’s gone through to reach his level of success.
Henry knows that the path to success happens one day at a time. There have been many early mornings and late nights, sacrifice, failures, and changes in his mindset. Finding success as an entrepreneur requires a ton of effort, patience, and grit, and Henry possesses all of those attributes, and his work ethic and drive has allowed him to work at his goals day in and day out to find success in his businesses. The reward of building something that not only generates revenue but helps people is well worth the early days of uncertainty, Henry says. A massive key is maintaining faith in the baby stages of a company, as your big break could come just a few days after you feel like quitting but decide to keep pushing forward.
Today, Henry has a massive amount of knowledge and the skills necessary to be successful. But, starting out, he wished he knew two key pieces of advice: Invest in yourself, and be aware that it all starts with you. You need to take on good debt that results in cash flow, believe in yourself, make daily progress, and trust the long term process. Anyone can become successful once they acquire the right mindset and work ethic, and no one believes in that idea more than Henry.
Henry can be reached on Instagram @henryaaronwestbrooks, or via email, [email protected]
Kathy Chou Founder and CEO of Selfkaire is Making Waves in The Beauty Industry
Kathy Chou is the founder and CEO of Selfkaire, a beauty company that’s focused on modernizing the most effective Eastern medicine concepts in order to replace outdated tools and methods. The idea for Selfkaire came after Kathy began to experience health problems from working 80-100+ hours a week as an investment banker at Citigroup. She had developed severe lymphedema in her legs, constant lung infections, and sickness from eating everything outside of a piece of lettuce.
After meeting with her doctors and not finding a solution to these problems she decided to see her family’s Eastern medicine practitioner. That experience is what led her into 8 years of researching ancient Eastern medicine in order to create a beauty brand that only brings the most effective Eastern medicine concepts to market.
Research and Development
Kathy decided to shift from her lucrative finance career after her Wharton MBA to focus on Selfkaire. She now has a team that’s spent over ten years researching Eastern medicine and top practitioners in the industry in order to come up with products that are developed by world-class engineers who head R&D teams for the top global consumer product company in both aesthetics and design. Her vision is to disrupt and replace the expensive, invasive and dangerous in office procedures with natural and non-invasive solutions to heal the body from within. To learn why she uses surgical steel check out this article on freepeople.com
Eastern medicine is rooted in the belief that your systems and organs are interconnected, and your lymphatic system plays a core part in making sure everything is functioning — and detoxing — as it should. Those toxins you can’t process out get imbued into your deep tissue, and can potentially lead to the appearance of cellulite, stubborn fat, bulky muscles, swollen lymph. The Selfkaire tool efficiently processes toxins in the quickest manner possible. Selfkaire’s facial tool draw out toxins and expedites lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. From just one use, you may notice a flush in your skin (and soreness) — that shows it’s working! The best thing is, your body gives you feedback as you use the tool.
If you want to see what this tool can really do and bring in effective concepts that are innovating products that haven’t been touched in thousands of years, check out the following:
Meet Lewis Fausett – The Superstar Operations and Marketing Consultant
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lewis Fausett for an interview. Lewis is a business manager and consultant and has had massive success in only a short period of time. We talk about how he got started, what he’s done differently, and more.
- Hey Lewis, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lewis Fausett, and I’m a business manager for Patrick Adair from Patrick Adair Designs. I am also a business consultant for a handful of other influencers. I spend most of my time making sure people are making the correct decisions to optimize growth not just of their brands but their businesses behind the brands. This means I spend a lot of time overseeing marketing and operations on top of the traditional things like advising on contracts and big deals.
- What have you done differently to scale your business?
The biggest thing is being able to blend the traditional world of business with the more personal aspects of being an influencer. Most influencers are focused on just creating amazing content and putting minimal effort into creating the brands and businesses behind the scenes. I spend the majority of my time implementing more traditional marketing aspects and operational flows into influencer based businesses while still letting the influencer be themselves.
Good examples of this occur with Patrick Adair Designs. We often have to blend Patrick’s love of traditional YouTube culture and memes with the fact that his biggest brand is selling luxury jewelry as a designer. This means we have to connect with multiple demographics. Your consumer who frequents Saks Fifth Avenue (this would be a more traditional demographic) is very different from a 25-year-old watching a video because it involves PewDiePie.
The other big blend we do involves including more traditional marketing. You’re seeing this more and more with larger influencers, but the middle tier still leaves this untapped. Incorporating things like paid strategies and lead capturing and nurturing strategies also has really helped. The key is you have to do this all very carefully to ensure that you aren’t alienating your core organic viewers.
- What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that connecting with an audience is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get views on a video, promote a song, or sell a product. If you can get an audience to connect and trust you, you can get away with sucking at every aspect of traditional marketing. Then if you’re able to do those well you get to a point where you are almost invincible in your respective industries.
- What are your three core principles?
- Winning is a culture
This was a phrase that got thrown around a lot while I was playing rugby at the University of Utah. You don’t win games against top teams by just showing up on Saturday night. You have to hit the weight room all week, be attentive in practice, and taking care of all your off the field responsibilities. This translates directly to being successful in life and business. If you just strive for excellence in everything, it’s much easier to strive for excellence at work.
- Innovate or die
You’re never going to be able to do the same thing forever and be successful. You’re only going to have a limited amount of success before people start trying to copy your formula. At that point you need to already be figuring out the next step, so you’re always a step ahead. We see this a lot with competitors trying to rip off designs and naming schemes for jewelry.
3. Outwork Everyone
This is another one that came from sports that I think laid the foundation for success in business. At the end of the junior year of high school rugby, I was a solid second-string player on a fairly bad team in a really good conference. My coach sat me down and told me that because I had really good grades, test scores, and measurables (height, weight, etc.) a lot of ivy league programs he was connected to were interested in me, but they’d need to see me play at a high level first. One of those coaches was the coach for the collegiate all American program. He sent me an email with a weight program and recommendations for conditioning and diets. Between his advice and one on one skill work by showing up to practice early and staying late with my coaching staff, I finished my senior season as an all-conference player. I actually didn’t get into any of the ivy league schools, but in the process, I got to the point where I was recruited to play for the University of Utah which at the time was ranked in the top 10 teams in collegiate rugby. That experience cemented that if your willing to outwork everyone you can do almost anything.
When I started working, I took that same idea into it. There were plenty of days where I’d work 18 hours and sleep on the couch at work to make sure I was there when the day started again.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to become an entrepreneur?
I think I’d give the advice that you need to develop a skill set that’s valuable. I mean I think being an entrepreneur can be a little silly if you have no product or ideas, but if you have a high-value skill set, you can always be an entrepreneur. It can be sales, social media, marketing, design, etc, but if you can do something that most people can’t, then you just have to sell yourself.
That’s why I’m not necessarily pro college or anti college. You definitely need a valuable skill set, and I think you can learn one in college. The networking is also good. At the same time, you can go learn something on your own and practice it. I mean you could even just learn business operations by mowing lawns and trying to scale a landscaping business. The biggest thing is to just start trying to create a valuable skill set that will help you in the future.
- What are your future plans?
The goal is to just keep growing the businesses and brands until they reach their market cap for the effort that is available from everyone.
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