On Success. So Far.

It’s amazing how having a conversation with someone who knew you “back then” can help you understand where you “right now” – how far you’ve come, and where you’re headed.

In the past three years, my life has totally changed. Much of this I attribute to my career path. Not the one I chose, but rather, the one I’ve created for myself as a business-owner and entrepreneur.

Lately I’ve been asked on numerous occasions what I attribute to my success (so far). While there are a number of things to share and stories to tell – I’ve ultimately been able to pair it down to five key actions/values/ideas. One’s I’ll continue to put into practice – and one’s that I think any entrepreneur, aspiring or thriving, should take to heart.

I’ve stayed the same.

In that, I’ve never lost touch with who I am. My identity has remained intact. A couple months ago I got an email from a friend and blog reader after I wrote this post – who commended me for being so open and honest about my views on politics, faith, and equality. I really hadn’t though twice about putting those thoughts out there, but she thanked me for being so honest, even at the sake of being less “professional”. My theory? The kind of people I want to work with are the one’s that – whether they agree or disagree with my beliefs – understand the importance of having these kinds of conversations in an open forum. They understand that I’m a human being – just like them. One that’s capable of learning and sharing beliefs – challenging myself and others to think in new ways.

Personally and professionally, I haven’t forgotten my “roots” – and in a world in which we often find ourselves changing to appease the masses – staying true to yourself and embracing who you are is an invaluable asset.

I’ve evolved.

At the sake of sounding contradictory, one of the most important things I’ve learned is the value of maintaining an open mind. To new ideas. New perspectives. New opportunities. I’ve surrounded myself with people who inspire and enlighten me. Who challenge me and aren’t afraid to speak up.

It may make me more vulnerable to criticism – but I crave feedback. I want to know what I can be doing better. I want to learn more and try new things. I’m not afraid of failure – as I know it leads to success. It’s easy to be set in your ways – never allowing yourself to see things in a different light. But we grow, truly grow, when we open our minds to new possibilities. When we admit that we don’t know it all.

I go the extra mile.

I’m never, ever afraid to go above and beyond for my clients. My colleagues. My peers. My friends. This is made easier because I’m fortunate enough to really enjoy what I do – making all that “extra” work feel much less “worky”.

This excerpt from a recent Inc Magazine article sums the “extra mile” concept up beautifully.

“Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, “Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?” and leave, never to return. That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.

Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Don’t just tell employees what to do–show them what to do and work beside them. Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do–especially if other people aren’t doing that one thing. Sure, it’s hard. But that’s what will make you different. And over time, that’s what will make you incredibly successful.”

Preach.

I started hiring.

More importantly – I started trusting other people. It hasn’t been easy – but I’ve slowly but surely let go of the reigns and have focused on bringing together a team of talented, passionate, excited individuals to do great work. Together.

Entrepreneurs are clingy with their ideas. A business is an entrepreneur’s baby – and it’s hard to trust that baby in the hands of other people.

But a funny thing happens when you start trusting other people. You regain your sanity. You start to understand not only that you cannot do it all, but that you don’t have to. That you can focus on what you’re best at, and allow other people to do their best work.

Business is better together. Which is why I always suggest, to anyone in the early stages of operating a business – that as soon as it makes sense (financially, etc.) – hire someone. Then when you can, hire someone else. Building your empire MUST start with building a collaborative team you love, respect, and trust.

I worry.

This would appear as something odd to include, but it’s this one thing that has helped me maintain my focus and drive. I worry. I worry about failing. I worry about success and how to manage it. I worry about when the next client will come through the door. I worry about what a client will say about me when my work is done. I worry about getting paid.

I worry about everything. Possibly to a fault (I’m working on it) – and while fortunately so far I’ve had very little to worry about, it’s this humility – this idea of “staying hungry” – that continues to motivate me to do more. To try harder. To be better.

Worrying can become completely toxic if you let it – but it can also fuel your passions and creativity. For me, it’s helped keep me grounded – as I’ve taken on more projects and seen increased success, I make sure to maintain that those great opportunities – that the success I want for myself and those around me – will only continue if I continue learning, trying, trusting, and hustling.

(Photo credit)


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14 Responses
  • Steph Gordon Reply

    Awesome, dude. I especially love the point about staying the same. As the lovely Tara Gentile so pointedly preaches the YOU Economy is based on the promise of individuals being individuals! Your voice is what started you on the path to success and what will keep you on that path. Sell out and that’s where you lose people and momentum.

    Also, the Extra Mile bit = Super tough but super worth it. It’s a great feeling to surprise someone by going above and beyond. In my experience is that’s extra mile that solidifies their loyalty to you and what you are doing.

    Thanks for the Monday morning read!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks for reading, Steph. I completely agree with Tara’s philosophy. Even in the most saturated, crowded markets, there’s always room for individuality. Cheers!

  • William Hunnell Reply

    Great insight. Can’t help but agree with what you’re saying here.

  • William Hunnell Reply

    “the success I want for myself and those around me – will only continue if I continue learning, trying, trusting, and hustling.” – I especially agree with your last sentence. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Rachel, Undercurrent Coaching Reply

    Great read — the one that hit home for me was “I’ve stayed the same” — I too recently launched my own GenY life coaching biz (www.undercurrentcoaching.com) and one fear I had around it was thinking “But..will this new path CHANGE me?” It totally has, but in a way I didn’t expect — I’m MORE me and now others see what has always been within. I’m the same person and it’s wonderful to have my passions and skills be recognized by many people — being myself  = my success.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Agreed. Staying true to who I am and what I believe in has been one of the undeniable reasons I’ve seen the success I’ve seen thus far. Congrats on the recent launch of your business!!

  • Samantha Tananbaum Reply

    This is great advice, and as someone who has known you for a while, I can vouch for the fact that you really have stayed true to yourself. Yes, you have definitely learned and evolved, but you still enjoy a good beer and an episode of Saved by the Bell. You stand up for what you believe in, and you aren’t afraid to ask for help. Too many people lose sight of themselves when they find success, and they become afraid to mess up or appear as if they don’t know everything. You are proof that it doesn’t have to be that way…so props for that! 

  • Amy Rogers Reply

    Amazing read and exactly what I needed today. Thank you!

  • Heather Day Reply

    Matt- I love that this isn’t a collection of “I built my list, then I posted on social media xx number of times weekly…” but an explanation of how your ethics, your philosophy, has gotten you this far.  Personal truth, evolution, and a lotta heart.  Best advice anyone could give an entrepreneur- especially when the online market can feel so very *saturated* these days!

    Thanks, again, for your always-insightful writing.

    Heather.

  • Vivacity Consulting Reply

    Hi Matt I have just discovered you and I think you are great! So refreshing and insightful. Love you post about the attributes that you attribute (sorry couldn’t help myself) to your success. Looking forward to reading more of your writing. Fiona

  • paul Reply

    Success happens when you don’t listen to that little voice inside your head (that all of us have) saying “you can’t do that”.

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