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How to develop leadership and Thrive ? – Rob Kelly

♪ [music] ♪ – [David] So, Rob is an internet CEO and adviser, and he's the CEO of Ongig. He's reinventing the job market. I'd like you to introduce yourself. – [Rob] Sure. I'm a CEO and a writer. I've been a CEO of three companies. I've founded companies. I have acquired companies. I've sold a company, and I have also helped build up other CEOs… or founders' businesses, and become the CEO of a business. And I've also failed at a business. So I like to think that I have a well-rounded background and hopefully more success in the future than failure. And I also am an adviser to a few different internet companies. I really enjoy supporting other CEOs and leaders. And the best way to learn, I find, is to teach. So I am always happy to teach and share any of my ideas on leadership because it helps the world, and it also continues to help me become a better leader. So thank you, David. – According to you, how to develop leadership? – How to develop leadership? – Yes. – In myself or in others? – What advice can you give or share about how to develop leadership? – Sure. My number one advice would be to hang around, spend time with people that you respect and admire and that you want to emulate. Those people could either be living people, whether they're Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. I've had the good fortune to spend time with both of those gentlemen. Or it could be people who are no longer living or are strangers to you. And the way to learn from them is to read their books and their writings and listen to their speeches. And all of this information can be free, just like the information you're providing, David, right now. It sounds like it is free, right? – Yes. – You're not charging directly for it. And there's a bunch of information out there to develop your leadership skills. And they are in books. They are in people who are happy to meet. You just have to ask. Ask nicely and thoughtfully. And I think that's a great first step to developing into the leader you want to be. – Okay. Thank you. So, you have to meet some people who are inspiring. Talk with them and learn from them. – Sure. And then a step two, as I said earlier, is start to teach yourself to others because we're all leaders in something. We are all uniquely qualified, skilled, at something. So the best way to develop your own leadership or to learn even more is then also to teach. So again, why I'm happy to do this, is to help you. You reached out, and I trust you and would like to support new young leaders. And then, also, it sharpens my skills any time I share my own methodology on leadership. – Okay, that is the second step. Do you have a third step, a little maybe? – Oh, there's three, four, five, six steps. But I would say, that's a good start. Hang around with leaders you aspire to be like, and also practice teaching leadership to others around you. And that's a great one-two punch, as they say in boxing. That's a good start. – For instance, you have a lot of books behind you. – Yes. – A lot of people read these books and don't have the results they want. According to you, what will make the difference? Because they access the good information, but they don't have results. – Yeah, I think that's a great question. So, the first answer I had to your last question was about spending time with other leaders, whether it's in person or reading a book about other leaders and writers. For instance, I just noticed this as I was looking back, but my number one favorite book for business that I recommend. By the way, I have a website that lists all my 25 favorite books. You can just search “Rob Kelly entrepreneur” on Google. It's robdkelly.com. But this is Charlie Munger. He's Warren Buffet's partner. And he's actually… this book, it's called “Poor Charlie's Almanac.” It's big and it's pretty expensive. Not easy to get. I don't think there's an ebook on it yet. He's 86 years old or so. He may be the smartest living business person right now. He has fantastic lessons. He gives speeches to universities, and he writes essays. As I said earlier, reading this book and watching his speeches on YouTube. That's free, by the way. That's a great way to learn. But you just asked a question, which is interesting, which is, what if you tried to learn his leadership and you don't get the results, as you said, right? – Yes. – His partner, Warren Buffet, has a nice approach to this. It's called “draw a circle of competencies.” – I saw your circle on your blog. – You can just search Google for “circle of competence” or “circle of competencies.” You'll probably see something I wrote, maybe on Warren Buffet too that he did. Listen to him first, before me. But that's a very useful lesson for me. Because, what I do is, I draw the circle on a big piece of paper. And inside the circle, I write down the things that are unique about me, things I enjoy doing. For instance, I enjoy coaching people. I enjoy writing. I really enjoy writing. I enjoy careers, talking to people about their jobs and developing their career and so forth. And you could put many things in that circle of competencies. Importantly, if there's something you're not very good at it, and it's outside the circle, that's okay for you to try that out. That may be something like, for me, I'm not good at Hollywood. I'm not good at making a movie. Maybe I'm interested in it, but I'm not good at it. I know I'm not good. So if I wanted to do a Hollywood movie, then I could still do it, but that's more risk because it's outside of the circle of competencies. So if you're not getting results after listening to smart people like Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs and all these great leaders who give free advice, and you're still not getting great results, maybe look at your own competencies. And make sure you're not going outside your circle of competencies because not everyone can be the designer that Steve Jobs is. So if you learn from Steve Jobs, he might teach you about design. Maybe you get a little better, but it doesn't mean you're Steve Jobs at design yet. Maybe you have something that you are very good at. Like you, maybe you're the world's best Skype interviewer. So is that in your circle of competencies? Great. Warren Buffet says to stick to your circle of competencies unless you want to take more risk. Then you go outside, and that's okay, but it means your chance of success is lower. – That's very interesting. I will do my own circle of competencies. I have another question. – No, very useful, and by the way, as you'll see in my blog posting about circle of competencies, I put a dozen or so of these things, skills, inside the circle. And many of them came to me through my blog, through analytics, so a feedback mechanism. So ask others what you're good at. Don't just trust yourself. Ask your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your father, mother, sister, brother, your colleagues. Ask them what they think you're uniquely good at. Many people don't do that. And you'll get interesting answers, and those are probably the ones that are in your circle of competencies. And they could really guide you. In fact, ongig.com, o-n-g-i-g .com, I created that, founded it first. I was the first founder, and then I had two other co-founders. And I founded Ongig because the circle of competence included careers. It included content writing. It included networking. And many of those things in my circle of competence led me to create Ongig. So it guided me like a compass. Truly powerful. – According to you, the ability to set your goals have to be after the fact you do your circle of competencies? Or before? – I think you need to know your skills when you are doing anything in business or anything in life. So whether it's circle of competence or just creating a list. Doesn't have to be in a circle. Could be a square. But I think it's going to help you as you set your goals. And there are many other things that will help you set your goals. And my favorite one is to write a purpose statement for yourself, for your life. That is probably the most powerful tool that I have used to figure out what goals to go after. So goals are many things, right? But writing a one-sentence life purpose for yourself is the umbrella, you know? – Yes. – And everything else, your goals and skills you work on, should be supporting that life purpose. So I only did my first life purpose statement about seven years ago, and it's been very helpful. I decided my life purpose is to positively vibrate the universe through friends, family, and even strangers. Someone like you, I'm meeting for the first time, and the people viewing this, I will have never met. So positively vibrating the universe through friends, family, and even strangers. That's my life purpose. And then my goals support that. I may have a goal. One goal may be to create a billion dollar business. Another goal may be to cure pancreatic cancer, which my dad died of, and so forth. But they support that life purpose. So that's another good compass or guide for me on how to then write down my goals, which I have many. But I only have one life purpose. And I have a blog posting about how to write a purpose statement that's very easy. And I'll give it very quick. Which is, write down your wants, your needs, and your fears about life. And then out of that will come a purpose statement. You have to work on this. It's not easy. And then you go back to your wants, your needs, and your fears, and you start to write “I Will” statements that will help you make progress on each one of them. And we don't have time to go too deep into all this. But I write purpose statements for my whole life, and then I also write purpose statements for smaller things, like my new startup, Ongig, or my relationship with my family, or my vacation. I want to always be purposeful. What is the purpose? So, with you, very simple. When you emailed me and said, “Hey, Rob, I'd like to interview you,” I had to decide, is that purposeful? Does this serve my purpose in life? And knowing that you were going to share this knowledge with other readers and listeners, that makes me happy because it makes the world a better universe, and that's my life purpose. So, very simple. Now, if you were a jerk and not a nice guy, and all you wanted to do was make a million dollars with the video, with me and some other guys, then maybe it wouldn't have been a top priority for me because that's about making money only for you, and I don't know what you're going to do with the money, and so forth. I try to help nice people, support good, positive people. And one easy way is to do it with you. You've got an audience, so I can share, and then, these are all things I'm trying to help the world with. And I hope there are many people who become better leaders because the world needs our help. – You met some inspiring people like Steve Jobs and a few others. So a lot of the people who are following me are wondering, how can I meet these kind of people? What can I do to meet these kind of people? So how did you do it? – Interesting. Well, for me, it was easy. They wanted to meet with me because I was a writer, and I was a journalist. So it was a little easier for me. They wanted to get publicity in magazines and so forth. But still, after I was a journalist, I went to, for instance, a conference called “All Things Digital.” The Wall Street Journal puts on a conference called “All Things Digital.” This was a few years back. And I was very lucky because both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were there together on stage. And it was the first time they had been together in many years. One thing I did was I got up and asked a question because they took questions. It was a small audience. Maybe 1,000 people or so, and it's on YouTube. I got to ask them a question about entrepreneurship. I was nervous to even ask that question because there was a lot of people, and it was a very special moment for the two of them to be together. So sometimes you have to also be courageous or brave and take a risk in that case. But that's famous people. There are so many other people beyond Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the famous people, who are so helpful and smart and experienced, and they're available to all of us. All you have to do is ask, and most good people will agree to help you out. I like to always ask people for their advice. Even if I don't know them, I will find an introduction and ask someone if I can ask for their advice, and that's how I meet them. And also, try to help them. Don't just try to be selfish. Smart people, leaders, like to be asked for their opinion, and they also appreciate someone who is thoughtful about their time. I always try to help people first, any way I can. I think it goes, all of us are surrounded by super smart people who are willing to help you. – What would you do today to rise and become a better leader and to have more self-confidence? – Good question. I don't know if you've ever heard of Russian dolls. Do you know what a Russian doll is? It's stackable dolls that get bigger as you stack them up. – Yes, I know. I know. – I like that as a metaphor, which, by the way, metaphor is very important in business because it helps to think and imagine what someone's saying. I'm not very good at using metaphors, but I'm trying, practicing, to use more metaphors. Your question reminded me of the Russian dolls. They start small, and then they get bigger and bigger and bigger, and they stack up. I like to find bigger Russian dolls, meaning, they are more experienced or have built bigger businesses, sold bigger businesses. They have done big things in life. So I call those Russian dolls, bigger Russian dolls, and I like to go and find them and spend time with them to grow my own self as a leader. I'll give you an example. Ongig is… fortunately, we're very lucky right now that we have some good clients. We have Yelp and salesforce.com and really neat clients trying our platform. Tesla, the car company, and many others. Groupon and Twitter. And we are starting to grow, but it's still very hard. It's very challenging. So I went out the last week and I met with new people, who I had never met with before. I asked all my friends, “Who are the smartest people you know who have built internet businesses and raised lots of money or grown the teams to much bigger companies than I have?” And I have spent time now with about eight different new people over just the last week or so, and these are Russian dolls. And I learn from them. And that has helped me grow as a leader. Now, of course, I then offer to help them out. So one of my favorite questions is, “What does a good prospect look like for you?” I ask anyone I meet, “What's a good prospect look like for you? How can I help you today with anything you're doing?” They often look at me like, “Whoa, not many people ask that.” So they appreciate that. And I try to help them because I don't want one meeting. I want a long-term relationship with that person usually if they're very successful and smart. So the Russian doll approach to learning for me has really served me well. That goes back to the circle of competence. You have something that you are super good at. For instance, you have a platform with your Skype interview, and you have a couple of websites that you can distribute a message to. So what if you went to every person you wanted to meet, and you said, “Hey, Rob Kelly, I believe in your learnings and content and your advice, and I would like to send that message and share that message with many people through my websites. Would you agree to talk to me for a little bit?” And the message can include helping them with whatever they're doing. Maybe they are starting a new charity or a new business. You were nice enough to mention Ongig in this interview, so that helps me. That's useful. Everyone has something to give, right? Understanding what it is first is very important. Even young people. My nephew, he's not going to university. He's an artist, and he's figuring out what to do. He doesn't know much about leadership yet. He's still young. But, boy, he knows a lot about Facebook. A lot more than me. And Facebook's important to my business right now, so he can teach me about that. And he knows about Facebook and art also. Very interesting. He may not think he has much to offer to leaders, but even just Facebook. Any internet entrepreneur needs help with Facebook. They need to understand how it works with the younger generation. Because he sends 3,000 text messages every month. He's a different kind of person because he's only 20 years old, and I'm 45. I can learn from him about communication and messaging and email and all that. He doesn't send email. He sends only texts and Facebook messages. So that's very valuable to me. – Do you have some advice about how to increase your self-confidence? Because a lot of people who are following me are very interested in increasing their self-confidence. – Absolutely. My favorite way to build confidence is to look back at the things, the achievements I call it. It's an exercise called “quality of achievements” exercise. You can search it online and see the details. I try to do all the exercises I write about in my book. My book is “An Enlightened Entrepreneur.” Its ebook is only 99 cents. I don't want to make any money. I just want to help people with it. The book is \$10, but the ebook is only 99 cents. Amazon won't let me do it for free, or I would give it away for free. Anyway, in the book, I have, it's called the “qualities of achievements” exercise. But it could just as easily be called “confidence-building exercise.” And it's really fun. You go and list the recent things that you have done in your life, any time in your life. It doesn't have to be recent, actually. Anything you've done in your life that you are very proud of. When I was eight years old, I ate the most oranges. You know, an orange, like a fruit? In the cafeteria, I ate 32 oranges. I competed against a kid who ate 31. We were just eating. So I was very proud of that when I was a kid, you know? Or I learned how to juggle. Or later on in life I spoke at a funeral for a friend who died, and no one else would speak. And it was very hard. I was very nervous, and it was an unusual situation, his death and all that stuff. These are all achievements I'm listing. Or I started a business, or I got a certain job. So list out these achievements that you're proud of. They could be anything. You learned how to make a blog. Look at you. You learned how to do a Skype interview and record it and edit it. Wow! That's cool. I don't know how to do that. I want you to teach me how to do that. So that's an achievement. So list out a few achievements like that in your life. And then, go into each achievement, and list out what were the qualities that you possessed to make that achievement? ♪ [music] ♪

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