Lessons Learned from the Business School of Hard Knocks With Ryan Blair
Ryan Blair is a serial entrepreneur who established his first company at age twenty-one and has since created and actively invested in multiple start-ups. As the CEO of ViSalus, he took the company from start-up to more than $1.6 billion in cumulative sales and was named Ernst & Young’s 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. His first book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, was a number one New York Times bestseller. He lives in Los Angeles.
1. The First Step to Transforming Your Life is Transforming your Environment
If you are really ready to change your life, accelerate your results, and achieve your dreams, then the first step that you must take is to radically transform your environment.
There is an old saying that environment is stronger than willpower, and I believe it to be true.
If you are constantly around low ambition individuals who spend their weekends getting hammered, stoned, and watching Netflix, then how can you really expect to rise above your environment and excel at a high level?
The first step on your journey to success is to change your environment.
If your friends are bringing you down, get new friends.
If you’ve never lived outside of your small town where everyone knows one another and success is frowned upon, move the hell out of there.
Change your environment as quickly as possible, put in the work, and you will find yourself achieving at levels you previously thought impossible.
2. Go Give Back to Someone Who Has it Worse than You Do
If you are reading this article right now, then you are blessed.
If you woke up this morning and didn’t have to wonder where your next meal would come from, then you are blessed.
If you even have the eyesight and cognitive function to comprehend this interview, then you are blessed.
And yet, despite the abundance in our everyday lives, many of us take our blessings for granted. And as a result, we whine and moan about the most trivial things, never taking responsibility and never stepping up to the plate.
It’s time to step up and step out of your own circumstances.
Go volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or some other cause that will get you around people who are less fortunate than you are. Save up for a few months and go do a volunteer trip to Haiti, then come back and complain to me about how slow your iPhone 6 is.
In our Western society, we don’t suffer from a lack of resources or a lack of opportunity. We suffer from a lack of perspective.
And the only way to get a better perspective is to get out of your current environment and go serve other people who are suffering more than you are.
So I want to challenge you to find somewhere that you can volunteer this week. Go serve food at a soup kitchen, go build homes for low-income families, go serve the homeless in downtown. Go do something that will remind you just how lucky you are.
When you return to your daily life, I would bet my last dollar that you will do so with a better attitude and a sense of gratitude.
3. Base Your Goals on the Value you Want to Offer
Something that you will find on your journey to success is that the universe has an odd habit of conspiring to help those who conspire to help others.
If you find that you are constantly unable to meet your financial goals, then chances are, your focus is almost entirely on yourself.
You think “God, I want to make $100,000 so that I can enjoy a better quality of life, nicer things, and fancier dinners.” And yet for the fourth year in a row, your company is stuck at $60,000.
I want to challenge you to think about your goals differently.
Instead of saying “How much money can I make?”
Ask yourself the question “How much money do I want to give away? And who do I want to help?”
I don’t know what it is, but when you change your goal from “I want to earn $100,000 to so I can buy my new Jaguar F-Type” to “I want to earn $200,000 so that I can give away $70,000 to build schools in Guatemala” the universe will come to your aid and present you with opportunities that seem inexplicable.
So I want to challenge you to start focusing on others.
Begin to look at money as a flow of energy that enables you to help other people and improve their quality of life.
Yes, you should have more than enough for yourself and enjoy a great quality of life. But you should also seek to give away 10X the value of what you have earned.
Adopt this attitude for 18 months, and I can promise that your life will never be the same.
4. Constantly Level Up Your Social Circle
Jim Rohn, the father of personal development said it best “You are the average of the five people whom you associate with most.”
And while this axiom of success has likely been repeated more times than any of us care to recount, so few of you reading this will actually internalize the message.
Right now, I want you to pull out a pen and paper and take stock of your current circumstances. Everything, from your health, your finances, your fulfillment, and your relationships.
Now, I want you to pull out a separate sheet of paper and write down that same list of circumstances for your five closest friends.
If I was a gambling man, I would bet that the lists look pretty similar.
Proximity is power, and if you are serious about achieving your dreams and reaching the levels of success that you desire, then you need to constantly level up your social circle and spend time around people who are smarter, better, and more successful than you.
5. Ask for Help
As men, it’s easy to let our pride stand in the way of our fulfillment and growth.
It’s easy to say “I’m fine” and block out the outside world.
What’s difficult is to be real.
It’s difficult to be honest with the important people in your life and tell them the truth. The truth that you aren’t alright, that everything isn’t ok, and that you are feeling pretty messed up right now
It’s difficult to ask for help.
But until you are willing to hang up your ego and talk with someone else, you will never overcome the challenges standing in your way.
You must be willing to let go of your pride and speak the truth.
Because when you do, the universe will come to your aid and the people who truly care about you will help lift you up and raise you to new levels.