As we settle into the new year, I wanted to share some beliefs that have helped me tremendously. Hope you find something that resonates with you!
• INTEGRITY OVER OPPORTUNITY. It's simply a way of life. Compromise your integrity in the short-term and pay for it in the long-term.
• ONLY BEFRIEND PEOPLE WHO HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND. In turn, be known as someone that always has others' best interests in mind. The world doesn't operate that way, what matters is that YOU operate that way. Be recognized and rewarded for it.
• LOYAL PEOPLE ARE RARE. Make sure others have earned your loyalty before you give them yours.
• CUT TIES WITH COMPETITIVE "FRIENDS" - anyone that competes with you, is jealous of you, envies you, are threatened by you, etc. They're not your friends and by allowing them into your realm, you allow room for backstabbing and havoc.
• ONLY ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE WHO CELEBRATE YOU. Dissassociate from those who tolerate you. (Got this from Tyrese's book).
• AVOID SMALL MINDED PEOPLE imprisoned in their own minds. They put you down because they envy you for the ability to live freely by thinking large.
• ON GIVING REFERRALS - If you're not willing to pay $20 to refer that person, then they don't deserve your referral. I learned this lesson the hard way (a few times, lol). Folks will come to me and ask to be referred to someone; speak on their behalf; co-sign their credibility, write a letter of recommendation, etc. I love to help people so I was usually happy to lend a hand. Well, let's just say it is awfully embarrassing when you have to go back and recant your referral, because the person you referred clearly did not deserve the privilege.
This week I realized, "What if I had to pay someone $20 to refer this person? Would I still refer them?" If the answer is "No" or "I don't know", then they don't deserve your referral. It could be that you are unsure of how they perform as a professional, whether they are able to deliver results. Are they a person of integrity? Will referring them compromise your credibility within your network? If you're unsure, take more time and make more effort in learning about that person and their organization. Would you pay $50 to refer this person because they're that awesome, professional, great to work with, and absolutely deserves your referral because you believe in them and know they won't let you down? Would you pay $100 to refer this person?
Definitely ask yourself, "Am I worthy of being referred by others? Do I deliver results and excellence? Am I easy to work with? Do I pull my weight when I'm apart of a team? How is my attitude - does it suck? Would others be willing to pay money in order to refer me?" I was so inspired when I asked myself this question. Which is why it's important to continue working on ourselves in becoming that person that others are willing to pay, in order to refer you. Let's strive to be that good, to be that awesome!!!
• STAY RELENTLESSLY COMMITTED TO YOUR DREAMS. Don't allow others to make it your problem for staying relentlessly committed to your dreams. True commitment is rare; not many people get up after they've had their face grinded up against the pavement with someone's foot on their head. Sometimes facing your adversities feels like that. But by getting back up, you continue to remain in the game while others drop off like flies.
• STOP SEEKING APPROVAL. This is a big one. I see so many people doing things, living their life to make someone else happy yet they are absolutely miserable themselves. The only thing they live for is the approval of whoever they're trying to satisfy. Or they own things they can't afford just to seek the approval of peers. We all know someone like that. The truth is, they're not being true to themselves by allowing others to dictate their life. I was one of them.
My parents are Chinese and were very traditional when we moved to America. The only career choices I had was to be a lawyer, doctor, accountant, or concert pianist. So when I told them I wanted to pursue fine art and build an empire by making flowers out of porn magazines, you know they were not having it. lol Yet I stayed committed and remained relentless. When they realized it was art or nothing, they started coming around and are now more supportive of me than ever. Same thing with friends. If they don't support you in the person you want to become, criticizing you instead of helping you, cut them off. Doesn't matter if you've known them for a decade- what matters is they're no longer helping you grow, but instead helping you die. So let them go. The only approval you need is that of yourself. (And God, of course). ;)
• BE HIGHLY SELECTIVE. Hand-pick friends, associates, who u network with, who u do business with, who u choose to help and invest in, who deserves ur time and energy, even who gets to collect your art. There are 7 billion people on Earth - not everyone deserves to be in your world. Hand pick the angels and allies in your life that have earned your time, energy, and investment.
• MASTER THE ART OF SAYING "NO". And don't feel guilty about it. You'll be much more productive and get a lot more done.
• MASTER THE ART OF LEAVING. Know when to leave, but more so how to lock the door after you shut it.
• FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION. When someone shows you their true colors the first time, run! You're only positioning yourself to be a doormat and punching bag if you stay, thinking they will change. They won't.
• KINDNESS IS CONFIDENCE. Don't mistake kindness for weakness. We continue to convey this belief through our brand and professional practices. In being truly kind and genuine, others will show you who they really are. Observe and be discerning.
• WHAT HAPPENS OUTSIDE OF YOU SHALL NOT SWAY YOU. If it is something or someone negative, or if it's beyond my control, I respond by simply removing myself from that person, project, or environment.
• BE BOLD & BE DIFFERENT. Shine bright, be the best version of yourself you can be, and don't be afraid to differentiate yourself from the status quo. People are afraid of what's different, of change. A lot of folks are afraid to be who they truly want to be. It's much easier to hate you for being committed to your dreams and bold in your innovation than it is for them to continue pursuing their visions. But that's not your problem. The only responsibility you have is to continue moving forward (and be kind, lol).
• NO ASSHOLE RULE. In this world, you're either an asshole or you're not. That is the first question in qualifying whether you move forward in associating with someone or not. Doesn't matter if they're powerful. Doesn't matter if they're well connected. What matters is you're associating with an asshole that doesn't have your best interest in mind so whatever resources they have doesn't matter. How much will it COST you to deal with an asshole? Your sanity? Your self worth? Your dreams? Your life?!
• SEEK AUTHENTICITY, SINCERITY, INTEGRITY - You either have it or you don't. It can't be faked. Seek those qualities within yourself, and learn to assess it in others. Time, observation, and intuition will guide you. If you're hesitant, run!
• ONLY DO BUSINESS WITH KIND PEOPLE. In today's cut-throat business world, you hear horror stories of success acquired through "business brutality". Sure, I've been told many times, "It's just business Yun" as an excuse for ill-mannered manuevers. Not at all. I thought to myself, "Naw, you're just an asshole." lol
There's a book called "The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness" by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval that changed how I do business. Everything I've gotten, I've gotten from being genuinely kind. It works. The book inspired me so much that I only work and associate with kind people - it's a mandatory trait to be on my team. I've let go of art reps simply because they were rude to my associates, and have chosen not to work with particular galleries and companies simply because they weren't kind enough. So the next time someone tells you "You're too nice", think again. I exploited this concept and turned what I thought was a disadvantage into a powerful advantage for my career. It is ingrained within me and my brand, and is apart of our style.
Of course, you gotta defend yourself and release some whip-ass, when it's necessary. Just because you're furry doesn't mean you have to always be friendly. lol
Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Nice-Business-Kindness/dp/0385518927/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357858068&sr=8-1&keywords=the+power+of+nice
Ok BunBuns! I hope these insights can help you as much as they've helped me in making life easier (and clearer) so we can cut through to the triumph of our dreams! Yeee!!! *Pumps Bunny fist
-YUN BAI aka YunnyBunny