This week I have the privilege of interviewing yet another amazing and successful man of our times, Sanjay Burman. Sanjay is a Master Hypnotherapist, film producer and director and publisher of motivational books now in 8 countries. There is simply too much to even begin to cover here so I am also interviewing Sanjay on the Million Dollar Mindset radio show on Monday, February 1st at 2pm ET. Be sure to tune in! It promises to be filled with fun, laughter, and truly candid conversion with this master of inspiration.
As a rather enterprising youth, Sanjay was asked to leave high school after selling the school to Pepsi without the consent of the principal. What? That's right! That may have been the end of Sanjay's negotiations with Pepsi, but it didn't put the brakes on Sanjay's enterprising spirit. He soon fell into representing children's books and, since he'd already produced a national television show for CBC Television at the age of 16, he applied his knowledge to produce the Cannes Award-winning, Spider.
Q. Sanjay, it's clear that your creative mind has been working full time since a very young age. Sometimes such ingenuity can create chaos in the life of a young person — not to mention his or her parents - tell us about when it all started!
A. Life throws us many curve balls. We don't always see them as kids, and don't have to since our parents protect us. But then some of us get that major curve ball that changes our direction, focus and passions forever. This was what happened to me in Grade 3.
We had just moved from a small town in to the big city. I was behind in school, and realized if you were sick, got to sleep in the nurse's office! What a concept! So every Friday like clockwork, a new disease, illness or un-researched virus would strike me. Off to the nurse's office I would go and sleep for the afternoon. What I didn't realize was that my principal, Mr. Fleming, was watching and one day called me into his office, along with my parents! He told my parents that I was a born actor and made a call to the local college for me to attend a summer acting program. This changed everything.
From there, I ended up carving my own path without knowledge of where I was going or what I was doing. I went on faith. I believe that something that lacks in most people today is faith in themselves. We listen to the media and the remarks of others, and in turn, question ourselves and our path. From selling my high school to Pepsi without getting permission first (obviously something I wouldn't suggest) to producing an Oscar nominated movie by the age of 24, I had my failures, successes, mistakes and lessons.
Q. It sounds like you've had more than one curve ball Sanjay! How did you survive them and what does an entrepreneur really need to continue to survive these unexpected turns?
A. Entrepreneurs need two things to survive and become successful; passion and persistence. That's it! It's not about talent, money, contacts or luck. Those like Gates, Dell, and Turner have all pursued their dreams because it was what they loved to do and persisted through adversity and other people's doubts. The idea of not being successful never crossed their minds. It wasn't about IF, it was about WHEN. This is something that is hard to remember when you are in the midst of walking the long dark tunnel; it is those who have faith in themselves that know there is a light just around the corner. David Foster, the famous songwriter said 'I have written 1000 songs. 100 were hits, which means I had 900 failures'. He never quit or second guessed himself. Like Babe Ruth, the hits made up for the misses by a long shot!
Q. Sanjay, do you believe that we're not only influenced by our own belief system, but by those who surround us as well?
A. Yes! The other very important rule for a self-starter is to understand who you are and who you associate with. When I was entering high school, I was full of vim and vigor. I had written scripts, done plays, and read various books on working in Hollywood. Instead of focusing on my bigger goals, I started to socialize with the 'cool' kids who were very unhappy and destructive to themselves, and as I found out later, to me too. They were constantly dismissing my dreams, even going as far as to make fun of them. Without realizing it, I started to lose focus and lose sight of my vision for myself. By the end of the first year in high school, I was happy with just getting a job!
The people around you will define who you are to yourself. Winners are always with winners. You don't have to be successful or achieved a huge milestone; you have to be tenacious and want to learn. The most successful people I know, love being inspired and motivated. They like high energy, ambitious goal-setting and proper intention. It's those qualities that will allow successful people to come into your life.
Q. So we can attract what I like to call "like-minded" individuals into our lives, and that is important. But once you're on that roller coaster to success, self-sabotaging behavior sometimes creeps in. How can that affect us and how do we keep it in check?
A. That's right. Another common mistake is allowing ego and illusions to creep in. The downfall of every major historical figure can be traced to ego. Ego can be camouflaged as many other emotions and therefore hard to control or even spot! The smartest people I know are those who have left their egos aside and focused on the long term picture. Does it really kill you to say 'sorry' or give in once in a while? Actually, not only do you get close to your goals, but also earn the respect of others in doing so.
The illusions I refer to, are those that are in self sabotage cycles. They think they want more, they think they have high aspirations, but in fact have a hidden need to fail. This occurs for people who think they will end up looking foolish if they do succeed, or they will be laughed at if they try and fail, or if they have a bad interpretation about success. For instance 'rich people are liars and selfish.' These types of thoughts are very common. The trick is to stay focused on just the end result for yourself, and not the consequences of winning or losing.
Earn respect, don't expect respect! 'You don't respect me' says Tony Soprano to his Capo. Of course not! Tony lies, cheats and steals, why on earth would anyone respect him? Respect only comes when you respect yourself and treat others the same way. One of our executives says 'I only respect those who respect me'. If this is your thought as well, then I advise you to read the paragraph above about ego.
Christina Aguilera was asked what she would be doing right now if she wasn't a star. Her response was 'I would be working to be a star'. If your answer would be anything other than that, then re-evaluate why you are not passionate about what you are doing, why you are holding yourself back and why you are in a vicious cycle that will only result in your losing out. Your time is now, not tomorrow. The world will be a better place if you contribute your vision to it. We are eager to see it, so what are you waiting for?
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.