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My friend Stephen Brewster and I got to hang out last week in Canada when we both spoke at the same conference. He posted a blog post last week that I thought was worth reposting. Here it is:

I wish someone would have pulled me aside when I was 20 years old and took the time to tell me that:

1. My problems aren’t unique.
That problem it’s nothing new. Your challenge, someone already beat it. So ask some questions, read some books, talk to someone who is seasoned and figure out how to apply others solutions to your situation. You are special but your problems are not special…they are common and you will beat them.

2. Look Beyond.
Don’t worry about what others think. Be adventures and trust your gut. Look at your current situation and ask what advice you would give to your best friend if they had your situation. Problem solving is a creative exercise. Embrace it.

3. Ask more questions and keep your mouth shut.
You will learn so much more listening than you will by talking. If you have to talk, let it be to ask questions. Shhhh…It will make more sense.

4. Refuse Excuses.
They are energy suckers. The amount of time we spend creating them delays us from doing our best work. Not only that, they rob us the opportunity to build amazing trust equity by owning our mistakes. We don’t learn from success, we learn from massive, ugly, grand failure.

5.Look For Solutions Not Just Problems.
Problems are everywhere. Solutions are to, but most people don’t want to find them. They would much rather complain about the problems. There is a premium found in problem solvers.

6.Manage Moral More Than Risk.
Attitude matters. If we worry more about moral then we do risk, we will never have to worry about risk because we will build cultures that feel they can accomplish ANYTHING! Vision creates amazing moral and moral fuels us to do the impossible.

7. Continually Collect Data.
Early on I was afraid of data. I was afraid it would show everyone I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Then I learned that no one does so data is just a roadmap for us to identify what works best where we are. Data is our friend, when we ignore it we cost ourselves more than we could help! Learn to embrace data, collect it relentlessly, and use it to make our best art.

8. Find Community.
We are better with it. More artists give us more leverage and better ideas. Community will be the best thing that ever happens to us and will hurt us only to build us up again. Life is better when we are in community.

9. Remember Who You Are.
Who you are is not what you make, what you achieve, what ideas you have, or how people respond to what you do. Who you are is exactly the person God made you and who he intended you to be. Be comfortable in that unique place.

What’s one thing you wish someone had told you!

Greg Atkinson

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