Invest in Yourself to Ensure Extreme Success

Invest in Yourself to Ensure Extreme Success

by Michael Rybarski, October 2010

We are all works in progress. In both our personal lives and as business people, we must continue evolving and developing. While the entrepreneur needs to train his or her people in the functional aspects of the enterprise, we contribute to ourselves and our business success by committing to our own personal growth as well.

One of the most successful entrepreneurs we've worked with is Ed Shackelford, who founded a start-up twenty years ago that now sells over $1 billion in insurance per year. Ed didn't go to college, but he has grown on a personal and business level by reading developmental and inspirational authors like John Maxwell, or Napoleon Hill, or Og Mandino, every morning. And according to Ed, that's been a key to his success. His personal commitment to self-improvement has allowed him to learn about new approaches, keep open to change, and give the appropriate value to the contributions of his team.

Dr. John Demartini has addressed millions of people worldwide on tapping into their own potential and releasing their own greatness (

What makes the difference between entrepreneurs who are just okay, those that are great, and those that are spectacular? Demartini explains, “It's how their goals, their ambitions, and their vision align to their highest values. Nobody has to get you up to do what is highest on your value hierarchy. You are inspired from within. You require motivation from outside for your lowest values. When an entrepreneur is congruent with his or her highest values, nothing will stop them—it's their own calling and destiny to get it done. We develop inertia, hesitation, and procrastination around things that are low on our values.”

What is the single most important attribute a start-up businessperson needs in order to succeed? According to Demartini, they truly have something—a product, service, or idea communicated in such a way that people can't wait to get it. It must be communicated in the hierarchy of the highest values of those people they want to serve. You can't wait to get up in the morning to give your service; they can't wait to get your service throughout the world.

Can anyone genuinely succeed in business if she is not principle centered? Demartini says, “I define success as actions being congruent with our own values. People can tell when you're not congruent. When I speak, people know this is thirty-five years of dedication. That sells. You can't fake that. I am a retired doctor. Patients can tell if you're with them. The market can sense authenticity. When you go into a company, if the people are inspired and enthusiastic and grateful for their jobs, the company is going places. People are never dedicated to a company; they are dedicated to their values. If they feel they can fulfill their values in the context of the company, they are electrified.”

What does Demartini believe is the single most important skill that every entrepreneur needs to master in order to achieve extreme success? (Pay careful attention to the answer.)

“The ability to communicate their inspired vision of service to the people they are going to sell to and to enroll on their team. Make it clear and enthusiastically communicate it to others.”

The message comes through loudly and clearly. Determine what you stand for. Define whom you serve. Determine what they value most. Communicate how your service fulfills their values. Sounds like the makings of successful marketing, doesn't it? It all starts with investing in your people, which begins with committing to your own personal growth and development.

This article has been excerpted with permission from Start-up Smarts: The Thinking Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting and Growing Your Business