Lessons I Learned from John Hope Bryant

Photo via @johnhopebryant

Photo via @johnhopebryant

John Hope Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics in the world who is also of African-American descent.

Do I have your attention now?

His online profile reads as follows: John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures, a Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World and his newest bestselling book is How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. He is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index with the Gallup Organization, and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.

Go ahead and do a Google search on him to see his many achievements in life. But his latest post on LinkedIn sharing his life’s failures will give you better insight into his work ethic. Different entrepreneurs inspire for different reasons. Read on to see how I have learned to be a better businessperson because of him.

Humility as an entrepreneur

The very fact that Bryant is sharing all his failures on a wide-reaching source such as LinkedIn is proof enough that humility is one of his many virtues. He mentions how it is difficult to be humble as an entrepreneur but be humble you must. So you’ve built a business from the ground up and your friends put you on a pedestal, worshipping you as the one that did not succumb to the cube farm. Don’t let that get to your head. Simply being the anomaly does not make you better. There will be people to boost that ego, others that will nurture it for their own agenda and many that will use it for your downfall. Humility is the essence of a successful entrepreneur.

Love Leadership

This was the title of Bryant’s first book and one that gained him many followers from all walks of life. He showed how leading with love and respect creates success in business and life, and addressed that the best way to get ahead is to figure out what you have to give to a world that is obsessed with what they get out of it. The book outlined his five laws of love-based leadership: Loss Creates Leaders (there can be no strength without legitimate suffering), Fear Fails (only respect and love leads to success), Love Makes Money (love is at the core of true wealth), Vulnerability is Power (when you open up to people they open up to you), and Giving is Getting (the more you offer to others, the more they will give back to you). The book marries sound business advice and much-needed inspiration for all.

Busyness is not business/Knowledge is not wisdom

In today’s electronically driven, fast-paced global economy, we mistake being busy with being in business but Bryant points out clearly, that is simply not true. Attending meetings for the sake of it does nothing for your business. Neither does fancy lunches with people in suits. And the notion that knowing about something makes you the expert at it is another faux pas many commit all the time. Applying that knowledge to real life situations results in wisdom. We all know while textbook learning in school helps in theory, nothing quite prepares you for the practical experience you gain in the work place.

Never Give Up

Having become an entrepreneur at the young age of 10, Bryant has witnessed many ups and downs in his life, personally and professionally, to say with much conviction, the one rule of thumb that any business owner will swear by, and that is to never give up. That is usually the one driving force that motivates many entrepreneurs to keep at it, to continue being the powerhouse they are, and to find solutions to their problems so they can progress. No matter the dilemma, moving forward is the only way. You face the situation head on, learn to deal with it and forge your path to success. Giving up is simply not an option that crosses a successful entrepreneur’s mind. #BestAdvice