“Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.”

– Ray Dalio

Do you have principles that guide your life?

No, I don’t mean the “live, laugh, love” quote on your wall.  And I don’t mean the tribal tattoo that you got on your forearm, either.

It’s more detailed than a quote, yet more simplistic than a book of rules.  It’s a way to live your life – as a reminder to work hard, treat others well and think boldly.

When it really comes in handy is when your back’s against the wall.  For those agonizing decisions that come up in business, relationships, and life. You know, the things you think of at 2 am on a Wednesday night?  The thoughts that make your head race faster than an Indy 500 racecar – Should I fire her?  Is he really the one for me?  Can I really keep going? Can’t I just quit?

John Barrows is not your average sales trainer.  He’s a self-described salesperson that happens to train.  I’d describe him as a wise business mind that enjoys selling & training.  Whatever you call him, call him successful. He’s taken over the SaaS Sales Training market and is working with businesses like Salesforce, LinkedIn, Box and my company, TechTarget.

Despite this, Barrows has had his fair share of 2 am conversations like the ones I described.  In those teams, he leans into his twelve guiding principles that steer him in the direction he wants to move.

1. Work smart and hard

2. Always ask for feedback

3. Set high but attainable goals and tell people about them

4. Earn everything

5. Be open and honest with everyone, especially yourself

6. Don’t think you’re better than anyone else but know no one is better than you

7. Confidence overcomes most shortcomings except an ego

8. Find your passion or find something else to do

9. What goes around comes around

10. You can learn something new from everyone and every situation

11. Make sure you can live with ‘worst case’ scenario

12. Get at least 1% better every day

In this conversation, we talk about sales tactics, the mindset needed to be successful, how to focus on growth over short-term results and what he learned from working with Jack Welch.  But through all of that, the principles still stand out to me as the optional homework that’s not really optional.

If you have one takeaway, make it this: take time to be with yourself, carve out your Principles and work towards the “5-year-plan” that Barrows outlines.  

What are your guiding principles?  Let me know in the comments.

“Stop doing what you’re supposed to do.”

– John Barrows


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Podcast: Make It Happen Mondays

Also Mentioned:

Richard Harris


Tony Robbins

Michael Gervais

Ray Dalio

Morgan Ingram

Jack & Suzie Welch

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