I've shared a condensed version of some of the articles I've written over the past 18 months, specifically targeting habits that might help you gain more insight your business (as they have for me).
1. Keep a Journal
The first real crisis occurred in December 1974 when I was 22 years old. In the span of two weeks my mother died, my girlfriend (who was the first love of my life) broke up with me, and the first version of Twisted Sister came to a crashing end after two band members nearly killed each other. (Check out our documentary We Are Twisted F***ing Sister on Netflix to get the whole story.) My reaction to each of these events was to purge my thoughts and feelings in a journal--a reaction that was purely instinctual. I didn't know it at the time but this habit had become for me, both therapeutically and structurally necessary for me to master the art of survival.
Start with just one sentence. "Today was great because..." Or, "Today really sucked because..." As you catalog your experiences, over time you will be astounded at what you can learn from and about yourself. Sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit when it comes to solving the problems that come up in life. You'll discover later when you go back and read what you had written, how you thrived in the face of a challenge that you thought was insurmountable.
Study upon study now shows that the simple act of walking creates a physical and mental release that will not only make you healthier, but will also make you smarter.
How? While you walk, you think. When you can be alone with your thoughts and let the endorphins do their magic, you may find answers to some of the most difficult problems start to come into greater focus. Most of the solutions I found in my personal and business experiences have come during a walk. In fact, some of the biggest decisions I've ever made came during the process of a long walk. It's also helped with ideas for articles for Inc.com.
Start with 10 minutes. You don't need anything except a comfortable pair of shoes. I walk at least an hour a day, which includes walking to almost all of my meetings. I find when I arrive at meetings I'm refreshed and mentally sharper. There's something about the movement of my body in the outdoors that clears my head.
3. Stop Talking
One of the greatest negotiating tools I have learned over the years is to not talk at key moments. Once you state your position, listen to what the other person has to say. You can acknowledge them, but you don't have to say anything. People hate silence. They will start to fill up the space by telling you things they may not have intended to reveal, things that you may have wanted or needed to know that can help you in negotiations.
A comical example is from the movie Weekend at Bernie's. In a party scene where Bernie is present--but dead, and no one knows it--and a friend mentions that he wants to buy his Porsche. Because Bernie doesn't answer (the guy thinks Bernie is just really drunk), the offer gets bigger and bigger. A far-fetched example, yes, and one that takes discipline to remain quiet, but I'm telling you, it works.
4. When You Commit, Follow Through
One of my biggest pet peeves in business is when someone tells me that they are going to do something and then they don't do it. Don't be that person. Do what you say you are going to do. Always. Your reputation in business will grow when people realize that you are not just a talker but a doer!
Commitment matters. Your word, after all, is your most important asset.
5. Stay Connected
I always tell people that everyday you walk out the door, your life has the potential to change. It could be a conversation that you hadn't planned on, and event that you never saw coming, whatever it is, it could lead to an opportunity that could change your life forever. Engage: read; become curious about current events; travel; ask questions; be open to learn.
I knew instinctively that as a high-school dropout I needed to learn as much as possible about the world around me. That knowledge has helped me understand the worldwide brand that I now run. The more interesting you are as a person, the more people will want to know what you think. The more people want to know what you think, the more influence you have. The more influence you have, the greater your ability to understand and control the marketplace.
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to connecting in the new year!