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#6: A Lesson from My Grandfather: How Your Outlook Affects Your Success

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When I was coming up with the idea for this podcast, I was thinking about legacy and what I wanted to be remembered for.

This got me thinking about my grandfather, and today I’m going to share a highly personal story about my family. I don’t typically share these stories in public for a variety of reasons, but I think it’s a really important lesson, so here it goes…

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A Lesson From My Grandfather

While my grandfather passed away in 2006, he is still one of the most positive people I have ever met. He had a total rag to riches story: He grew up on a farm in rural Ohio and had to leave school as a young boy to work and contribute to the family income. A true optimist, my grandfather was a sincere believer in the American Dream. He believed that with a little hard work, he could achieve just about anything.

When he was a young man, my grandfather drove to California with his brother to find opportunity and make a better life for himself. It was there he met my grandmother, settled down, and became a true entrepreneur. He borrowed some money for my grandmother to start his business: a hot dog cart on a street corner in downtown Los Angeles.

My grandfather quickly learned how to grow his business, and ended up opening more hot dog carts, and eventually a chain of fast food restaurants. He grew his business like a true entrepreneur: No matter how much hardship and failure he faced, he remained positive.

I’ll tell you more about my grandfather’s inspiring story in the podcast, but let’s skip ahead to what his story taught me.

1. Act “As If” (aka Fake It Till You Make It)

One of my selling tricks at tradeshows years ago was to always act as if the show was the best show ever even if it was terrible. This advice was given to me early on and it really works. When faced with drab situations, find the positive light and others will follow suit. After all, no one wants to do business with a constant complainer – don’t rub off like one!

2. Be Grateful

It is so easy to focus on what is not going well. We’re all victim of it, whether it be in life or in business. A store didn’t call you back or your sales at the tradeshow were not that great… but did you forget that you landed one of your biggest clients ever without even trying, and a local newspaper called you to do a story? There are a million ups and downs in life, and especially in the life of a business. Do yourself a favor and practice the art of being grateful.

3. Be Open to the Unexpected

Business – and life – never unfold as you might expect. But when one door closes, another may open in its place. Next time you start panicking about your sales, take a moment to consider your attitude and how it directly affects your business and interaction with clients.

4. Celebrate Little Wins

Celebrating is my favorite thing to do, especially when I want to keep my outlook and attitude positive. Whenever I start coaching sessions with designers, I start by asking them 5 things they are celebrating in their life and business.

I encourage you to use this tool every single day. When you are feeling down, chat with a friend and TALK about all of the things you are grateful for or celebrating. Nothing is too small!

5. Keep a Positive Attitude

This may seem like a no brainer, but when stuff hits the fan, it can be so tempting to freak out.
All of these steps today have focused on building a positive attitude that can fuel your business, so don’t let it all go down the drain because of a few hiccups!

When things don’t go your way, remember that something bigger is around the corner… but you may never notice it if you’re not keeping your spirits up!

So herein lies the lessons from my grandfather: if you want success in life and in business, you must keep a positive attitude even in the rough times.

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