With 2017 officially behind us and 2018 unfolding before us, I hope you can look back on the past year with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Here at Mindmaven, it’s been an exciting year of learning and growth, and I imagine many of you can say the same. But as great as 2017 was, I’ve got my eyes set on making 2018 even better.
If that resonates with you—and if your New Year’s Resolutions are focused around reaching your fullest potential—this blog post is for you. Below, you’ll find a list of what I believe to be the best-of-the-best content we’ve created in 2017; our must-reads to get the most out of yourself, your business, and your network.
The content below covers a range of topics—from leadership to entrepreneurship to productivity and more—and it’s my hope that no matter what your goals are for 2018, at least one of these resources will be an invaluable tool in helping you reach your fullest potential.
Ready? Let’s get started: Here’s our top blog posts, eBooks, and online resources from 2017.
Our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017
For the last year, we’ve written a new blog post almost once a week, totaling nearly 50 new pieces of content. Picking a “Top 5” wasn’t easy, but I hope you’ll agree with the choices I made.
Think I missed one? Let me know in the comments below!
In this article, I tackle one of the most common problems successful founders face: Losing touch with their growing team.
For relationship-focused entrepreneurs, this can often feel like they’re losing touch with the very soul of their business; like they’re being pulled away from the things they enjoyed about their startup the most.
To counteract this, I use the post to introduce a simple 5-minute habit any founder can adopt to start developing more meaningful relationships with their team members, no matter how large that team grows.
For many founders, one of the best parts of leading a young startup are the one-on-one relationships they’re able to develop with their small-but-passionate team. And often, these relationships become more than strictly professional connections; they become genuine friendships between two people that share a powerful vision.
But as a startup begins to gain traction, that initial team is probably going to grow. Obviously, growth’s a good thing and, at least for a little while, that growth won’t change the team dynamic much; it’ll still be possible to build those personal relationships with each new hire.
But unfortunately—as many founders have discovered—that doesn’t last forever.
The more a startup grows, the more responsibilities the founder has; and the more responsibilities the founder has, the harder it becomes to find time to invest into relationships.
Although few founders launch a startup with plans of selling their company, preparing for that possible future is never a bad idea.
In this pragmatic post, I share the true story of a founder who was able to double the valuation of his startup from $200M to $400M in just seven days, and introduce the replicable strategies he used from day one to make that happen.
Although an IPO might be the most coveted exit, the most likely—and thus realistic—exit for most venture-backed startups is an acquisition.
And one of the best ways to prepare for this exit is to become an outward-facing CEO. You can accomplish this by building relationships with the most important people in your space.
But a common mistake here is going after the biggest fish in the pond. Even if you already have your top five target companies in mind, focus on meeting the most influential people in your ecosystem, not just the ones who work for those companies.
Arguably one of the biggest headlines of 2017 was the sudden and (relatively) unexpected resignation of Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.
And if you’re a startup executive, there’s a lot you can learn from this ordeal about the power of a leader, the importance of your environment, and the influence of culture. Those takeaways are exactly what I tackle in this Medium-exclusive piece.
On one side, you’ve got people defending Travis and celebrating his leadership. On the other, you’ve got people celebrating his forced resignation and even calling him a monster.
So … Who’s right? The truth is, both sides probably are.
[One] group sees Travis first and foremost as a human being. They’ve found at least one positive side to him and feel this has been overlooked in the drama.
The [other] group, on the other hand, sees the mounting evidence of Travis’ unethical behavior and base their assessment of his character on that.
And while understandable, there’s a chance the [other] party may be falling prey to what Stanford psychology professor Lee David Ross calls the fundamental attribution error. Here’s what that means …
At Mindmaven, we’re all about relationships. We believe the best things in life—both personally and professionally—come from those we know and trust.
More importantly: They come from those that know and trust us. The problem is, people often don’t know how to build (or maintain) relationships at the level necessary to generate breakthrough opportunities.
In this highly-actionable, story-focused piece, SVB’s John China and I share 9 ways to unlock the power of your network by investing into the right relationships.
When you take a genuine interest in others, they take a genuine interest in you. But the key word here is “genuine.” You’ve got to ask questions you’re truly curious about; ones you actually care about the answer to. And being genuinely curious is a choice. You can choose to think, “I really want to know about …” By thinking that, you create an authentic desire to learn.
When you ask genuine questions, two things happen:
- People start talking about themselves, something most people enjoy doing, and
- The more interested you are in the answer, the more intently you’ll listen. And the more intently you listen, the more engaged and caring the other person will perceive you as (more on this later).
Those two benefits combine to create an incredibly positive experience for your conversation partner and, as a result, their memory of you will be as a “very interesting person;” even if all you did the entire time was ask questions.
If you only read one blog post out of all the above, make it this one.
In this article, I share the tested-and-proven strategy for top performers across all fields to fast-track their growth and generate the opportunities they need to reach new levels of success.
By leveraging this one resource in 2018, I feel confident you’ll learn, grow, and accomplish more than even your most ambitious resolution.
The truth is, the secret to massive success is a commitment to change. And for many people, that’s a hard pill to swallow because change goes against our human nature.
Think about it: Why else would we have a multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry to fight the signs of aging? Or spend hours of our precious weekends mowing the lawn to make it look as though our grass doesn’t grow?
Change makes us uncomfortable because we yearn for consistency. Consistency makes us feel safe, and safety—as we know from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—is one of our primary drivers.
Change is hard, and if you think you can create it on your own, I’d challenge you to ask whether or not that’s really the best path. Change isn’t a decision, it’s a skill; and one that most of us don’t invest enough time into to be proficient at.
Our Top 3 Books of 2017
We didn’t just stop at blog posts in 2017. We also produced a wealth of actionable guides and eBooks to help build on and supplement the knowledge we introduce on our blog.
Though it was again difficult to choose, below are the three I think you’ll find most actionable and valuable as you move into the new year.
#1: Whitespace Time Management: The Proactive Entrepreneur’s Guide to Owning Your Time and Mastering Your Priorities
Ever feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day? Like after you finish responding to emails, replying to Slack messages, and sitting in meetings, there’s no time left for the tasks that really matter?
You aren’t alone.
Time management is one of the most universal challenges faced by people across the world; especially entrepreneurs. In this book, you’ll learn a 3-pronged approach to proactive time management, you’ll learn to …
- Schedule: You can’t find time for proactivity. You have to make time. And this book will show you how.
- Utilize: Learn how to best leverage your newly-created time to generate maximum results.
- Prioritize: Learn the strategies to turn proactive time management into an effortless habit.
#2: The Definitive Guide to Accompany: Using Accompany to Generate Breakthrough Opportunities from Your Network
Every day, it seems more and more tools are becoming available that allow us to interact with our network in new, exciting, and powerful ways. Some of these tools deserve your attention, many don’t. I want to introduce one I believe does: Accompany.
Put simply, Accompany is a web and mobile app that allows you to be the first-to-know and first-to-respond to relevant news about the most important people in your network.
As of writing, this is the first definitive guide to this unique and powerful networking-tool-meets-social-network, and it covers how to …
- Become the first-to-know and first-to-respond to your network’s most important news stories.
- Increase your mindshare and boost the likelihood of referrals by providing relevant, meaningful interactions to the most valuable people in your network.
- Become an early adopter of what I believe is the next level of relationship marketing and management tools.
For many—and I count myself in this—the idea of approaching someone at a networking event can feel a little … Daunting, at best. And interestingly enough, it often isn’t the conversation that’s the challenge; it’s the approach.
Most people find that, once they’ve made the approach and initiated the interaction, the conversation itself flows pretty naturally. So how do you get over that fear of the approach and start delivering high-quality interactions at networking events?
That’s exactly what I cover in this 14-page guide. If building a better network is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, consider this a must read! You’ll learn to …
- Start Conversations: Learn to overcome the fear of starting and kick off conversations in a strong way.
- End Interactions: Learn to skillfully remove yourself from a conversation without damaging the relationship.
- Build Relationships: Learn to use those initial interactions to build a value-driven network.
Our Newest Addition for 2017: Online Courses
I’m incredibly excited about this section here, because it’s the first official, public “announcement” for one of our newest resources:
The average person receives many more emails than they actually respond to. And if you’ve ever been on the other side of that equation—writing an important email that goes unanswered—you probably know how frustrating and painful that can be.
In this brand new, premium online course, I use rich video and text content to teach users how to write emails that get responses. More specifically, you can expect to learn …
- A deeper understanding of the 3 factors that control the likelihood of email replies (and how to leverage the one that really matters),
- How to generate relevant, valuable opportunities by determining your “Ultimate Ask” and honing in on the real purpose of your email, and
- How to use email to land a call or meeting, as well as 10+ other tips, tricks, and templates to dramatically increase the likelihood of getting a response.
And in honor of the new year, we’re offering enrollment in this powerful online course for only $7! If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, click here to learn more and start 2018 off right!
Next Steps: 3 Must-Reads to Make the Most of 2018
Alright, we’re just about wrapped up.
We’ve covered our top blog posts, our most valuable resources, and our newest online program. It’s my sincere hope that at least one of these tools will help make your 2018 a year to remember.
But there’s one last thing I want to leave you with: Three articles that perfectly accompany all the resources above, and that I believe will really help you get the most out of the new year.
Here they are:
- To set great resolutions that actually end up completed, I recommend reading Stop Setting Weak Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Goals (That Actually Get Done).
- To ensure you follow through on those resolutions and give each day your all, check out The Best, Last Motivation Article You’ll Ever Read: 4 Tactical Tips to Turn Self-Motivation into Habit.
- And to turn all of these strategies and tactics into automated habits rather than conscious decisions, read 6 Facts Successful People Know About Building New Habits (You Should Know Too).
I think that about covers it. You’ve got the best of Mindmaven to make the most of 2018. I’m honored to be a part of your journey, however small that part is, and look forward to helping you reach your fullest potential in the year to come.
Happy New Year!