Getting screwed in business happens. It’s part of the game. It happened so much to me, I have learned some serious lessons around it. Rather than wait until it happens to you, I feel I should share these lessons. Do not say I didn't warn you!
1. Confidence. I love the saying, “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.” Be confident in your ability. You are doing what you are doing for a reason, and more likely than not, you know what you are doing. If you don't, stop doing it! I find that just acting confident will solve most situations. A good leader is super confident, but that’s not to mix confidence with arrogance. Arrogance is actually the full-on lack of confidence. Be cool, legit cool. Cool, calm, and confident wins every day of the week.
2. Strategy. Learn how to play chess. What I love about chess is that it forces you to look at your moves in anticipation of the future. If you strategize properly, you can foresee certain things that may be problematic. If someone is about to screw you, you will know it and can take action before anything damaging occurs.
3. Stop working with idiots. This is a big one. You are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with drama, do not be surprised when you get burnt. I like to have a test when it comes to working with people. I always ask myself what value they add to the project. If you do not see the value, or if the cons outweigh the pros, it’s time to drop them. People are not glass, so when you drop them, they shouldn't break.
4. Never BS People. You never have to remember anything when you tell the truth. I always remember someone who lied to me, and I know never to trust a word that comes out of their mouth ever again. I would only screw someone if they screwed me first. Revenge is a dish best served cold. But if you do not screw people over, chances are you will not get screwed.
5. Do NOT be emotional. Passion is great to drive your ideas and business. There is no doubt. However, you need to separate the emotion from the business. I remember my first love and how head over heels I was. When we love someone or something we tend to throw everything we should do out the window and we listen to our hearts, not our heads. I am a romantic, so I believe a degree of this is awesome when it comes to personal relationships. But NEVER business. Not thinking with a clear head because of your emotional state only leads to bad things in business.
Related: Meet the Next Class of 500 Startups
PRO TIP: Read The Art of War. It was written hundreds of years ago and references serious warrior status, but the lessons within the book have been quoted and made a personal philosophy by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
6. Meditate. This is something I am still learning. I am no Buddhist monk, but I like to spend my time in the shower clearing my head. I am an “urban shower monk.” I feel that clearing my head leads to clearer thoughts. The brain is like a huge machine, with data pumping in and out. Millions of quick thoughts pass by throughout the day, and it’s impossible to let everything in. Clearing your head once in a while makes you a bit more understanding of your challenges. If you understand situations with slightly more clarity, you will make better decisions, which will keep you from getting screwed.
All in all, I think that the biggest lesson I learned is to focus on meaningful relationships. When it goes beyond making the deal work, and beyond the money, you find yourself looking out for all parties (and they will look out for you). It’s all about collaboration and communication. That is how we are going to fix this crazy world we live in, and that’s how we are going to win big. I hope this resonates with you and it stops you from getting screwed. Hustle ON.