Learning from the people who have made it to the top can truly inspire you to become better at what you do.
29 June 2017| Last updated on 2 July 2017
We’ve all heard the cliché advice mainly consisting of “work hard” and “follow your passion.” However, if you’re looking for something a little more deep and constructive, we’ve got just what you need. Some of the greatest tips come from those who have already tried and tested them and then accomplished something.
As expats, one of the top reasons for leaving our home countries and moving abroad is to advance our careers and broaden our minds. So here’s some of the best, and sometimes unconventional, advice from successful people.
1. Richard Branson: Abandon regrets
Richard Branson, the Virgin Group Founder and Chairman, urges others to eliminate regret from their lives.
He was once quoted in The Good Entrepreneur saying: “The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running all the Virgin businesses - so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve."
2. Sheryl Sandberg: No straight path
Facebook Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg advises others to have both a long-term, abstract dream and a more solid 18-month plan. You’ll be able to dream big with your long-term plan while your short-term plan will serve as a motivator to push yourself.
Sandberg once wrote on Quora: “As Pattie Sellers of Fortune Magazine says, careers are not ladders but jungle gyms. You don't have to have it all figured out. Ask yourself how you can improve and what you're afraid to do. That's usually the thing you should try.”
3. Warren Buffett: Be humble and have restraint
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett recommends exercising restraint.
In an interview with Yahoo, Buffet explained that the best piece of advice he ever got was when one of the members of the board told him: "Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow - you don't give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow."
4. Bill Gates: Be open-minded
Way back in a 1994 interview, Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates gave a piece of advice that still stands today. He said that “somebody could do it differently and still do it well. You can’t have this bias that they need to do things the same way.”
Fast forward to 2017, Gates recently tweeted another crucial tip and that’s to “surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and push you to be your best self.”
He is the richest billionaire in the world, so who are we to argue with that?
SEE ALSO: 7 lies everyone tells at work
5. Tony Robbins: Learn new skills
Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins turned his life around drastically thanks to his mentor the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn. One of the things he recommends is to gain the necessary skills that you’re lacking.
Robins shared during a Facebook Live Q&A that Rohn once told him: “Tony, you're so focused on expecting things to happen so fast ... Your worth in the marketplace is based on your ability to add more value than anyone else. If you can find a way to do more for others in your company, more for the employees, more for the clients, than anybody else, your gifts will make room for you. But in order to do that, you've got to build skills.'"
6. J.K. Rowling: Embrace failure
The best-selling author of the Harry Potter book series, J.K. Rowling, was once living off of welfare and receiving plenty of rejections from book publishers. So she definitely knows a thing or two about failing.
During an interview on NBC’s Today Show, Rowling said: “I don’t think we talk about failure enough. It would've really helped to have someone who had had a measure of success come say to me, 'You will fail. That's inevitable. It's what you do with it.'”
She went on to explain that she saw her early failure as a "gift" that was "painfully won," since it allowed her to learn more about herself and others.
7. Eric Schmidt: Say yes more
Former CEO of Google and current CEO of Alphabet Inc Eric Schmidt thinks that being open to things is crucial in life.
He advises to “find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse and even your kids."
8. Steve Jobs: Go after something larger than yourself
Walter Isaacson, biographer of Steve Jobs, once recalled a talk he had with Jobs reportedly saying "Yeah, we're always talking about following your passion, but we're all part of the flow of history ... you've got to put something back into the flow of history that's going to help your community, help other people ... so that 20, 30, 40 years from now ... people will say, this person didn't just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from."
9. Suze Orman: Ignore negative criticism
CNBC host, author and motivational speaker Suze Orman once wrote in a LinkedIn article that she was regularly a target of baseless, nasty criticism due to her success.
She wrote: "A wise teacher from India shared this insight: The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking. The sad fact is that we all have to navigate our way around the dogs in our career: external critics, competitors, horrible bosses or colleagues who undermine. Based on my experience, I would advise you to prepare for the yapping to increase along with your success."
10. Alexa von Tobel: Get things done
Alexa von Tobel is the Founder and CEO of LearnVest and author of Financially Fearless. She believes that it’s important to be excited about what you’re doing, to look the part and always show up.
In a Business Insider article, she wrote that “as a new hire, you will likely find yourself in tons of new situations and it's up to you to figure out how to navigate them. Remember that your manager is strapped for time, so know when to ask questions. Are you unsure of the objectives for an assignment? Asking her to clarify is crucial, since it's pretty hard to make the mark if you don't know where it even lies. On the flip side, avoid bombarding your manager with petty questions that could be answered by your peers or a quick Google search."
11. Oprah Winfrey: Know yourself
The famous media proprietor and talk show host Oprah Winfrey is a prime example of someone who worked their way from the bottom all the way to the top.
During a graduation speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, she said: “Your real work is to figure out where your power base is and to work on that alignment of your personality, your gifts you have to give, with the real reason why you are here. Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.”
12. Indra Nooyi: Take on the hard tasks
While conventional wisdom would encourage taking the easy projects and doing them well, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi believes it's a misguided outlook.
In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Nooyi said that "the problem with that theory is that nobody notices when you do an easy job well. It's far better to challenge yourself by raising your hand for the toughest assignments and work to solve problems that no one else has been able to solve."