In these excerpts from Rise and Grind, Daymond John writes about entrepreneurs he admires, and the habits that make them successful.
Media mogul and founder of the Adelante Movement to empower Latinas
You might not know Nely Galán by name, but you probably know her work. Chances are, even if you don't speak any Spanish, you've stopped to watch something on Telemundo, where Nely served as president of entertainment for a stretch, and where she created and produced some of the top shows.
Nely is all about setting her goals small. In order to meet hers, Nely learned early on to make good and careful use of her time, and she credits her own self-styled goal-setting technique with keeping her focused. At the beginning of each year, she comes up with three things she hopes to accomplish.
"I keep it to three big things," she says. "Not 20 things. Not 100 things. Three. And every Sunday I sit down and see where I'm at, and what I need to do that week. I break it down. If you set out to do big things every week, you do nothing. If you set out to do baby steps to get to the big things eventually, you feel good about yourself because you're able to succeed."
There's a lot to like about Nely's approach. I like how it sets it up so she can feel good about herself every night. I like how it's all streamlined and simple--hey, it's a lot easier to track three things than six or eight or 10.
"A lot of kids in America, we get told, 'Follow your bliss and the money will come.' I think that's a BS, first-world, entitled way of thinking," she says. "To me, it's about mission and money. You have to always cultivate what you love, but alongside of that you have to make money. You have to keep the lights on. Always, take care of your family. And always, take care of business."
Entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and extreme athlete
"I was realizing that I needed to listen to the message I was putting out there," says Kyle Maynard, born with a condition that has left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs ending near his knees.
"I had wanted to climb Kilimanjaro since I was a kid, and I was spending so much time talking to other people about their goals and their dreams, and not focusing on my own. And finally I was doing a CrossFit competition and had to climb this tiny mountain, Stone Mountain. It's only 900 feet, and I tore a lot of the skin off the ends of my arms doing it. When I came home, I told a friend of mine I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, and she looked at me like I was crazy. She said, 'You just tore up your arms doing Stone Mountain. How are you going to do Kilimanjaro?' And I just looked at her and said, 'I don't know.' "
Those three words--I don't know--turned out to be the most powerful, most impactful words of Kyle's life, because in those words there was the certainty that he would figure it out. Same way he figured out how to put on his socks or type or dive beneath the legs of a blocker in a youth football game. He would rise and grind his way to the top of that mountain--and that's exactly what he did.
And one of the most surprising things he learned from those experiences was the power of looking back at what he's accomplished, instead of looking only ahead. Perspective is all, he says.
Former Air Force pilot and founder of TurboPup
Kristina Guerrero kept thinking there had to be some company out there selling the doggie equivalent of a Clif Bar or PowerBar, something you could carry when you're out and about with your best friend and a bowl of food isn't really an option. She went online, tried every search term she could think of, and came up empty.
I should mention that Kristina, like everyone else you've met in this book, doesn't do things halfway. When she goes, she goes hard. And when you're the kind of person who sees a need and looks to fill it, like Kristina, things start to happen.
Her direct, aggressive approach to problem solving, her relentless work ethic--she comes by these traits naturally, but they were sharpened and refined by her military experience. But I also liked the grind in this woman. I looked at her and said, "Obviously, you don't sleep, just like me."
One of the things she said in her pitch that struck me was how her friends all joked that she'd come up with the name for her product. They said it was because she only knows two speeds: turbo or off. My thinking was, a woman who has done three tours for our country will not go to sleep on this. She was in it to win it, and now so was I.
Al and Brittani Baker
Co-inventors of Bubba's-Q Boneless Ribs
"I will persist until I succeed." That's a quote from Og Mandino. It's also a line that has motivated my friend Al "Bubba" Baker throughout his career--both as a 13-year veteran of the National Football League and now as the owner of Bubba's-Q World Famous Bar-B-Q and co-owner of Bubba's-Q Boneless Ribs.
"This was his great project, but he kept getting sidetracked," Al's daughter Brittani says. "He just had so much going on, so he told me it was my job to keep him focused." One of the ways Brittani kept her father on track was to remind him of the time he wouldn't let her quit the track team when she was in high school. "He never let me quit on anything," Brittani says.
Al was running his famous Bubba's-Q barbecue joint in Avon, Ohio, but it was a tough slog. Brittani was a big-time Shark Tank fan, and she got it in her head that her family's story would play well on the show, so she went ahead and threw their hat in the ring.
When the producers finally called to invite Al and Brittani to participate in a Skype interview as the final step before coming out to Los Angeles to appear on the show, Al was at the bank trying to arrange a refinancing. Specifically, he was about to default on a loan--that's how up against it, how broke, he was at the time.
It wasn't just their sauce that won me over. It was their heart, their hustle. And their sense of humor. If there's a secret ingredient in what these good people bring to the table, other than the finest herbs and spices and the best cuts of meat, it's their sense of humor.
"Even though we've been on Shark Tank," Brittani says, "we're still grinding. Every day, we grind."