Wow! My interview with Clint Betts, Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Beehive Startups, was about 30 minutes long but it was filled with a lifetime of wisdom. I want to thank Clint for spending time with me. Clint is a leader because he is great at what he does. Those of you who read my article about Travis Hansen will remember the quote at the end (quoted from Warren Bennis). “No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When the expression is of value they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader, the point is to become yourself. To use yourself completely, all your strengths, gifts, and energies in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing, you must in sum become the person you started out to be and to enjoy the process of becoming.” That describes Clint perfectly.
This article is organized into five different topics and within those topics there are principles. Remember, a principle is a package of truth that can be applied to multiple circumstances (that is why I love principles). Clint is a startup guy and talked a lot about entrepreneurship; however, the principles that he talked about can be applied to life. So, here we go. Enjoy!
Definition of Success
Success, true success, is NOT defined by our typical status symbols. Clint quickly pointed out that money, fame, fancy cars, and titles can be by-products of success but they are certainly not the definition. This principle is vital to understand for two reasons. First, wealth, fame, and stuff are relatively easy to obtain, or at least fake. Therefore, don’t get caught up in thinking that your neighbor down the street (or your boss, co-worker, etc.) are successful people because they drive a luxury car. They may be successful, and if they are, it is not because they drive a luxury car. Second, don’t think that when you are able to buy a luxury car that you are successful. At one point or another we have all had the thought, “When I ____________, I will have achieved success.” When I graduate or buy a house or become a CEO or lose weight or get married, I will have achieved success. Success is not an occurrence or moment in time. Success is a process.
Success is about happiness, other people, and doing something meaningful. Clint defined success as doing something that makes you happy, doing something that makes other people happy, and doing something that is meaningful (that makes the world a better place). Notice how Clint’s definition of success includes you (a person) reaching out to other people and having a positive impact on the world around you. The older I get, the more I see people who have achieved significant professional success, but have missed the train to significant life success. They have sacrificed their family, their health, and their relationships (those things that bring the most happiness) for the sake of titles, money, fancy cars, etc. In some cases, they never made the world a better place because what they offered really wasn’t valuable. These people are skipping multiple parts of the equation. Remember this definition. Success is all about 1) doing something that makes you happy, 2) doing something that makes other people happy, and 3) doing something that makes the world a better place.
Habits That Play Into Success
Inbox Zero: Take care of the little things that matter. Corresponding through email is vital to Clint’s business success. Prompt communication is key. Therefore, Clint has a goal to reach “inbox zero” at the end of everyday. When he doesn’t achieve that, he feels lost and out of touch. Reaching “inbox zero” in a business is a small detail; however, it is vital. We all have things in life that are small, but vital. Do you address them consistently or ignore them because that are “insignificant?” Success is achieved by doing the little things really well over a long period of time. The other day I was watching a PGA golf tournament on TV. At one point in the coverage they showed one of the professionals warming up and he was practicing a one-foot putt over and over and over again. This golfer understands the importance of addressing the “little” things.
Running: Take care of your health and have a positive outlet. Clint runs to maintain physical health and to clear his mind. Having habits of health and recreation (mental-release) will make a massive difference, especially in the long-run. Think about it, you are vital to your own success. Therefore, what good will you be if you can’t move because you are depressed, burned out, or over-weight? I recently sat down with an entrepreneur who works 18 to 20 hours a day and has done so for the last couple years. She is right at the breaking point and it was painful to listen to her tell me that. She is an extremely capable person. Her business has potential. Nevertheless, she is burned out and if she doesn’t correct that her business will fail.
Family: People are the most important thing in life, especially those closest to us. Clint understands the value of family and consistently spends time with them. Life is about family and people you love. However, it is easy to devalue what is constantly before your eyes. It is easy to take for granted the things that are most precious and most available to us. Please don’t devalue your family and those closest to you. Be vigilant. Often you don’t realize you have ignored someone until it is too late.
Times Are Always Tough
Times are always tough. Expect it and be okay with it. When Clint expressed this to me my first thought was, “Dang. That is a rather bleak way to view life.” However, the more I think about this concept the more I realize how valuable this mindset can be. Realize that Clint is NOT saying that times are always tough, therefore, you should complain and give up. What Clint is saying is that times are always tough, therefore, you should expect it and relish in it. Welcome the challenge and persevere. Understand that you will be tried but be determined to always overcome. I admire the blue collar work ethic and this principle is closely associated.
Mission In Life
Have a life mission. Humanity can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle. Every human being holds a piece (the piece represents our life mission) of that puzzle. We can choose to be a part of the puzzle and make the world a better place or we can choose the opposite. I am a firm believer that everyone has a purpose and a part to play, in other words, a life mission. Clint was adopted and experienced that process firsthand. Clint talked about how complicated and sometimes corrupt the adoption process is. Clint’s life mission is to purify and simplify that process; therefore, Clint will be making the world a better place. Clint is using his business experiences now to prepare to accomplish that mission. I love this example from Clint’s life because it illustrates the fact that we may not be able to directly work on our life mission throughout our entire life. We can constantly have the vision of our life mission before us and use our daily life experiences to prepare for the moment when we can directly focus and work on accomplishing our mission.
When you start something you will always be excited and have high hopes. Clint pointed out that when you start something you will always be excited. The future can be as bright as your amazing imagination. When you were 12 years old you were planning on being a professional basketball player or a world-famous designer. When you set the goal to lose 80 pounds you knew you could do it because on January 1st you were eating healthy and in the gym. When you launched your new business you knew that you could reach $1 million in sales in only a couple years. While this excitement and passion should not be suppressed, it should be controlled and realistic.
When you start something, no one will care. Even though you think people will care, they probably will not. Clint talked about the process of starting Beehive Startups. Beehive Startups is dedicated to supporting and publicizing Utah startups. Through their blog they highlight different businesses and their success. In the beginning, Clint would spend hours producing the articles and maybe 20 people would read them. This can be demoralizing but it won’t be if you expect it. Take a look at yourself. How many times do you jump for joy and become consumed when a friend tells you they are going to do something? For example, I have a friend doing an MBA at Purdue University. When he told me that he was going to do it I didn’t jump up and down and volunteer to be his personal assistant. I certainly congratulated him and let him know that I was there to help. However, I have things in my life that require my time and energy. People have so many things competing for their attention. Don’t expect your new thing to capture the world at the beginning.
As the startup process (for anything in life) continues, you will experience loneliness, disappointment, and lots of failure. Life is tough, but that is okay! When loneliness, disappointment, and failure come don’t take that to mean that you need to give up. Those things are part of the process and that is what will make you stronger if you endure. Clint is a great example of this. After years of being involved in startups, Clint is still going strong. After years of experiencing loneliness, disappointment, and failure, he is still moving forward.
Remembering these things can save you. Remember the principles in the three previous paragraphs. So much of life is having the right mindset. When you attempt to make a change in your life, expect disappointment, and when the disappointment comes, you will be able to handle it. It will not phase you. When you declare on social media that you are going to become healthier and end up receiving very little actual support from others don’t become angry or depressed. Expect it and be okay with it. The key to the advice and insight that Clint has provided is that it allows you to have a rock-solid, powerful mindset that will help you accomplish your goals.
How you respond to failure will make all of the difference. Clint intelligently pointed out that people respond to success in a very similar way and responding to success is fairly easy. However, responding well to failure is what will make all of the difference. I am a consistent gym-goer. Every January is somewhat of a bother for me because the gym is PACKED. Everyone is excited to become healthier. However, by mid-January or early-February the gym population is back to what it used to be. There is no doubt that during those first couple of weeks people experience pain and failure and then gave up. They never end up becoming healthier. When you get knocked down, get back up. Respond to failure by shaking it off and continuing forward.
I want to thank Clint again for the time he spent with me. Follow Beehive Startups and check out my other articles. Links are below. Remember, sharing is caring. Please share this article with your friends, family, coworkers, etc. Thank you!