The best advice I’ve ever received: Team Karbon’s favorite lessons

What’s the use of good advice if you keep it all to yourself?

Two people from the Karbon team in deep discussion.

Here’s a round up of some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking advice that keeps the team at Karbon focused.

Contributions are from members of various teams from around the world: from Andi in San Diego, USA to George in Nelson, New Zealand.

1. We can win at the same time

“Life is not a zero-sum game. If one person wins, it doesn’t mean that someone else needs to lose. If only one side wins, it creates a dent in the relationship. In the long-run, no one wins if the relationships keep breaking. Ideally, you want everyone to win. If you can have that attitude and allow everyone to win, life flourishes.” 

I read that in a blog and it really shifted how I view life, career, and the meaning of winning.

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet." — Fight Club

2. Keep your eye on the (right) balls

“As a leader, you manage crystal and rubber balls. When busy, be sure to catch the crystal balls (and let the rubber balls bounce).” 

Wise words from Brad Smith, Chairman of the Board at Intuit.

3. Embrace discomfort

“To learn something new, you gotta get out of the comfort zone. It forces you to adapt, stretch and change. The most challenging times provide the greatest growth so embrace the discomfort.”

👆 From the one and only Oprah!

4. Ignore the noise

“If you think something is impossible, don’t disturb the person who is doing it!”

Dr. Amar Bose, an incredibly fascinating human being and the founder of my former employer of nearly 15 years, Bose Corporation, had this printed on a plain piece of paper and on his desk at all times.

An image of a piece of paper on a desk with the words: “If you think something is impossible, don’t disturb the person who is doing it!”
Dr. Amar Bose's desk

It's always stuck with me over the years and served as a reminder that it's important to ignore the noise of those who may try to discourage you from pursuing something that's never been done before and stay the course. This is how innovation thrives and becomes reality.

5. Just start. Do something. Trust the process.

“If there's something you need to get done, just sit down and do it.”

This is a stupidly obvious bit of advice, but for someone who doesn't like to do things unless they are 100% confident in the outcome, I find myself having to say this to myself all the time.

6. Find your gift, then give it away

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ― Pablo Picasso

A very humble colleague shared this with me recently which, as an artist (and human), has really stuck with me.

7. Focus on those who matter

“Don't worry about what anyone thinks of you. Except for the ones that count.”

Basically: value the opinion of those who matter. Don’t mind the rest. 

It’s one of the more simple pieces of advice I remind myself of to keep me focused.

8. Look within and trust yourself

A Buddhist monk once told me, "All the answers come from within." 

At that time, for me, this advice was infuriating! What he meant was that sometimes we are only given a small amount of information to solve big problems. Look within, trust yourself, and don't lose sight when the answers aren't clear from the start.

9. Belief is crucial

"What you believe, you will see." 

My first CEO shared this bit of wisdom early in my career. 

Attainment of a goal starts with belief. As a leader, I am keenly aware of the role that belief and attitude plays in achievement. I have a formula I carry with me always: 

Skill x Knowledge x Activity x Belief = Result

All are critical, but belief acts as fuel for the others. Ask yourself: for your team to win, what are the critical beliefs they need to have? As leaders, our job is to provide data and a culture that constantly reinforces productive beliefs to maximize the success of our people, company and clients.

10. Consistency is key

“Consistency is the key to success. Achieving goals and progress won't happen overnight. But if you keep going at it and you are consistently putting in the work, you'll get there eventually.”

11. Keep things in perspective

"We're not curing cancer. Take your job seriously, but at the end of the day, if you accidentally send the wrong email to 50,000+ people, no one will die."

👆 From my first ever boss in marketing.

I think about it a lot. It helps me keep things in perspective.

12. It’s all about trust

In my 20s I worked with a guy in his 30s who seemed to have a lot of calm confidence. One day I remarked about his wallet that he always left in plain sight on his desk, "Aren't you worried someone might take it?" 

He replied, "It's more important to know whether I can trust the people I work with or not."

“Be rigorously analytical while absorbing the brief and ridiculously preposterous while coming up with ideas.” — An advertising creative director on the true power of mental gear switching