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5 Life Lessons That Made Me a Better Entrepreneur Some of the words of wisdom that guide my personal life have proved to be just as useful in the office.

By Valerie Svenningsen

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Throughout the years, I've gathered countless tidbits of advice from my parents, friends, colleagues and mentors. As I've learned about trust, responsibility and happiness, I've realized that these lessons extend well beyond my personal life. Today, I often find myself using professional advice as a way to confront a personal issue I might run into, or looking to personal philosophies to help solve an obstacle in the office.

Here are five lessons that can be applied both in life and in business that I find myself using regularly:

Related: What I Learned About Business After Getting Married

1. Establish and maintain trust. Without trust, there is simply no foundation to move forward in a relationship, whether it is professional or personal. For a business owner especially, I find that it's crucial to gain the trust of my clients in order to create and maintain a loyal clientele. Especially in the case of owning an at-home senior care service business, such as ComForcare Senior Services, my clients need to be able to trust that their caregiver is providing them with the most personalized attention and care they can experience in the field.

2. Listen. Take the time to fully listen to what people are saying to you. We may have great ideas and advice of our own to give, but I assure you that if you truly listen when someone is speaking to you, you are bound to get so much more out of the conversation.

You will get a better understanding of where they are coming from and the things that they value most. It takes more than one person to have a constructive discussion of thoughts and ideas, so try to resist the urge of speak outside of your turn.

3. Accept liability. No one wants to be associated with an individual who never takes responsibility for his or her actions. Everyone should pull their own weight, own up to their mistakes, and learn how to grow from them. At work, the more responsibility that you take on, the more respect you will earn from your cohorts. In order to create successful and lasting professional and personal relationships, it is crucial to hold yourself accountable your actions and those around you will treat you with more respect because of it.

Related: Can Your Business Live Without You?

4. You have to give to get. It's a simple saying, but remains true across every medium in my life. Whether it's interacting with my colleagues or spending quality time with family and friends, I feel that it is my obligation to give them my upmost attention and care in order to be able to anticipate the same kind of reverence in return.

5. Live each day doing something that makes you happy. I know we hear this piece of advice often, but many of us don't follow it and we're only hurting ourselves in the long run. If we do what we love, it will show in our work and we will be happier and more thoughtful people because of it. Even if it forces you to leave your comfort zone, get out there and put your full heart into newfound hobbies, work projects and campaigns. I promise that you will be a happier individual and your good vibes will rub off on everyone you encounter.

So, the next time you gain some great words of wisdom, think about the ways it can help you in both your life and at the office. You'd be surprise how many things you learn that can guide you in every aspect of your life.

Related: Gender Roles Be Damned: This Startup CEO Quit His Job to Be a Better Dad

Valerie Svenningsen

ComForcare Certified Senior Advisor

Valerie Svenningsen, CSA (Certified Senior Advisor) is the owner of ComForcare Senior Services in Mokena and Buffalo Grove, Illinois serving clients in Will, Lake and Cook Counties. Svenningsen and her husband purchased their first ComForCare location in 2003 after finding a passion in the at-home senior care industry while Svenningsen had to find 24 hour outside assistance for her ailing grandmother who was living in her home at the time. In addition, she took a FMLA from 2002-2003, to support both of her parents while they were going through cancer treatment, and it was these experiences with her own family that influenced her decision to leave her previous career in Human Resources to open an at-home caregiving business. Svenningsen has a BA degree in Psychology and Counseling.

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