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The 25 best pieces of advice I have given or received

February 17th, 2015

Over the years I’ve been given or have picked up from my reading lots of good advice that I have acted on. I thought I’d put together a list of my top 10 but before I knew it I had about 30 ideas that came to mind. So I filtered them to 25 and I intend to work on this a little more but for now here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. Don’t ask what can you do for me? Ask what can I do for you?
  2. You become the average of the 5 people you spend most time with. Choose your friends and associates carefully.
  3. Don’t ask for it to be easier, ask to be better.
  4. If you want to achieve more you have to become more.
  5. In your industry, and every industry, the dominant business logic leads to mediocrity.
  6. Nothing of any significance is easy to achieve. What gives you a decided competitive advantage is the pursuit of the hard things that others are unwilling to tackle.
  7. Personal development comes before practice development.
  8. If you want to change your life, or your business, you first have to change your thinking.
  9. Success is a journey not a destination. It is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. To experience success you must have a worthy goal and make choices that are consistent with taking you in its direction.
  10. Work to learn rather than work to live. Become an apprentice to life.
  11. Let go of who you are and you’ll become who you can be.
  12. What got you here won’t get you there.
  13. You can’t manage change but you can manage how you respond to it.
  14. If you or your firm is not changing at least as fast as the environment, you’re falling behind.
  15. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Rewards don’t accrue to the faint hearted.
  16. The only thing you need to fear is fear itself.
  17. A map is useless unless you first know where you are and where you want to go.
  18. Your success comes from the product of your innate abilities, your passion and your work effort.
  19. Being given a tool set does not make you a builder.
  20. No matter how hard you rub you can never polish horse shit.
  21. The clients you choose to serve will determine where you sit on the industry value chain. That will in turn determine your client value proposition, your pricing options, who your competitors are (which sets the performance standards you must exceed), and your ability to attract, develop and retain talent.
  22. Luck occurs at the intersection of preparation and opportunity.
  23. Don’t spend too much time managing the present at the cost of creating the future. Most firms are over-managed and under-led.
  24. Great accountants focus less on the process of measurement and more on the processes that drive an improvement of the things being measured.
  25. You can’t capture value until you first create it.
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