3 Leadership Lessons to Learn From Elon Musk The Tesla and SpaceX founder knows how to use everything, even setbacks, to his advantage.
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As personal-development expert Tony Robbins says, "Success leaves clues." That's why when people are successful in their field, you should try and learn from them. It doesn't matter whether you love them or hate them, if their style is different from yours, or if you like or dislike their business: If they are successful, their expertise is useful to you.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know Elon Musk is all over the news and that Tesla's stock price has been on the rise. This means it makes sense to look at exactly what Musk is doing and what you can learn from him.
This doesn't mean that everything he does will be a perfect fit for your industry, but there will certainly be some central themes that can be applied. Here are the lessons I've learned from observing Musk that I apply to my property and training business.
1. If you fall, get up again
Like all successful people, Musk has had his share of failures. He was booted out as CEO of his own company, Zip2. When his company, X.com, merged with Confinity to become PayPal, he was removed as CEO of PayPal soon after. Additionally, at one point, Tesla and Musk's space exploration company, Space X, were on the verge of bankruptcy. But none of that has held him back. When Musk has fallen, he has gotten up again — stronger and more able.
In business, nothing ever goes completely to plan. The difference between a winner and a loser is the amount of times someone is willing to try again, learning from each past attempt. If you are able to get past the bruised ego and understand the lessons from past failures, you will go far. If you can't, you won't. It's that simple.
2. Personal branding matters
In many respects, Musk is a bigger brand than the companies he has founded. This is because he understands the importance of personal branding. When Musk does anything, he brings his personal brand with him, and he therefore can cash in his public-relations capital wherever he ends up.
These days, personal branding is important for everyone, from employees to founders. By marketing yourself as an expert in your field of choice, you ensure people know, like and trust you before they ever set eyes on your product or service. If you can brand yourself, rather than just your business, you have an asset that travels with you beyond your current venture.
3. Be different
Musk isn't your typical CEO, and that's putting it mildly. He is regularly on Twitter posting memes. He says what he is thinking rather than the carefully crafted, PR-team-written statements most public-company directors deliver. Sometimes, this may get him into trouble, but in a crowded attention economy, there's no question that Musk stands out.
While you may not be comfortable being as "out there" as Musk, there is certainly a lesson to be learned. Simply put, doing things the way everyone else does will get you the results everyone else gets. If you want to be exceptional, you need to be different. If you want to stand out, you need to risk making mistakes. If you want to be known, you will be disliked by some. But if you can get over the fear of being judged, being different can make a real impact on your business growth.