Your journey to accomplish your side hustle/business can be a lonely one, especially when you’re just a beginner.
Unfortunately, there’s no other way around it and everyone needs to feel those “falls and scrapes” or tests and failures until you can ride that proverbial bike to accomplish your endeavor without stopping.
How can you start if you don’t have a strong foundation?
Luckily, the influencers I have listed below have the following character traits that will help you endure this worthwhile, uphill battle:
- ALTRUISM – They are passionate in leaving an indelible mark that benefits the world in a positive way through charity or the messages they deliver.
- GENEROSITY – They dedicate their time to the service of others by bringing value and most if not more than 90% of their content is free.
- AUTHENTICITY – They know that being transparent to others in their successes and failures helps everyone feel they can achieve their success as well; they will destroy any myths that spread the “overnight success” story and they will warn against that idea.
- HUSTLE – Their journey to success was not easy but filled with days of long hours of work, wrong turns, u-turns, do-overs and so forth but regardless, they show every action counts and despite everything still stayed on the path and worked towards their goals, demonstrating the big “C” = consistency.
- HEART – Passion is the fuel that drives them and it resonates in their content so even with all the setbacks life has thrown at them they still keep their eyes on the prize and feel the compulsion within to never stay down.
- HUMILITY – They don’t rest on their laurels. They strive for their own self development by enriching their lives with an endless pursuit of knowledge from books, mentors, interviews and from almost everyone they meet both directly and indirectly.
- ADAPT – They take the harsh terrain of life over the smooth, paved easy road and step out of their comfort zone again and again to gain inner strength.
We can read their content, examine their success and model their traits to navigate our own lives.
My painting, New School, is a contemporary version of Renaissance artist Raphael’s School of Athens.
Here’s the O.G.’s version:
Raphael’s School of Athens
Here’s New School
I painted the forward-thinking influencers who teach us valuable lessons to improve our lives in unique and relevant ways.
In using a bar as the meeting place of the minds, I wanted to show that these lessons are for everyone to hear and not just a select elite.
Also, your own experiences and observations of others in the real world “classroom” gives you the best type of education as these influencers have shown.
I realize there are countless amounts of influencers that have changed people’s lives other than the ones on this list but for now, these are the ones that I found really opened up a whole new world for their readers (and me) in their unique way.
I was also drawn to them because they are all philosophers who are redefining and challenging preconceived definitions of education, success, progress and value.
To be straight up, they are all just dope.
Originally, this was one long post but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a tsunami of >10,000 words so this will be broken up over the next weeks to showcase a few at a time.
So without further hesitation here’s the post delivered as a series and in no particular order.
(Side note: It was unbelievably hard to write this post (for real – over two years) let alone to create a meaningful short version of how these influencers contribute ridiculous amounts of value to the world. Some have been generous enough to tell a bit of their story. Get cozy and I hope you enjoy the read.)
At first, you are drawn to his energy and there is no question that Noah is extremely passionate in helping people achieve their goals.
With his unassuming nature that transcends his content, you’re transported into the “stop thinking, start doing” mindset.
A master marketer and successful business owner, Noah is world famous for his content and products but despite his success, he still retains that characteristic humble nature that wins your trust.
In addition, you will be entertained by his content and not turned off like you would be by so many influencers in the industry that show a lot of success (cars and bling) but no relatable characteristics.
Noah is also painfully honest and transparent since he is always open to share his roller-coaster ride of experiences.
Famously, he recounts his past as one of the first Facebook employees and then the journey after working there achieving his own phenomenal success.
When interviewed, Noah is known for always asking questions during his interviews. In doing so, he shows us that he learns something from everyone and in every experience.
In analyzing his work and experiences, he teaches us that in order to be successful we need to take the triviality out of life, such as having mindless routines, and start waking up to the opportunities that present themselves in everything we do.
In the long span of his career, Noah has steadily expanded his business by stepping out further and going big worldwide. It is easy to see why Noah is so successful. He constantly steps out of his comfort zone.
In one of his famous conference speeches he shows a video of himself trying out a hip hop dance class where he’s out of his element but still resolute to complete the choreography.
Being in this awkward situation and in addition, presenting it to an audience of hundreds of people, he shows that everything is all good because to expand your level of success means going beyond yourself and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Instead of simply stating a cliche adage about courage, he walks the talk and his actions become effective analogies for business and life in general.
For everything that Noah writes and delivers, there is an endless amount of entertaining and value-driven content for everyone.
Also, if you bow down to the majesty that is the Taco (like me) you’ve found your kindred spirit. Noah loves them tacos.
On a superhuman, weekly basis, Neil delivers marketing content that is so valuable you can’t believe it’s free.
The posts he writes are always carefully crafted reflecting the knowledge of a bonafide authority in his space.
His content shows that he has practiced or did the full range of research necessary to back up his claims.
Every sentence in his posts or video reflects a huge amount of work has been put into everything.
In addition, Neil writes so that his “How-tos” are delivered in a very actionable way.
There is nothing intimidating about Neil’s content that makes you feel lost.
Instead, what Neil teaches can be immediately applied because he makes complex actions easy, which reflects Neil’s command of his industry.
Neil breaks it all down so you are assured that you can learn marketing tactics no matter what stage you find yourself on your journey.
It is through his integrity and dedication that it is easy to see why Neil is so successful since he exemplifies the very essence of what it takes to be successful in everything that he does.
Having the Midas touch and being a successful owner of multiple businesses, Neil never hesitates to share what he knows about growing a business to the world.
He walks the talk and wants you to also share in that world and to take your business to another level.
But there is more to just putting out good content that you can take away from Neil’s marketing site, he is a model of what inner strength can help you achieve when navigating through the journey of life.
Neil teaches us that perceived “failures” are actually data points so there’s no need to hide your head in shame but learn from them.
All experiences build a stronger foundation since Neil firmly upholds the reality that nothing comes easy if you wish it to last. So with his content you will learn to enjoy the crazy ride you embark upon.
Neil is never short of showing you how he constantly tests out what he does through case studies and his life experiences.
Overall, it is easy to see that Neil will leave a legacy because he is helping others as much as possible to help themselves achieve their dreams.
Pragmatic and wise, James’ name coincides with his writing: clear and direct.
Through his blog posts, James shows he has a rare, quiet wisdom characteristic of a Zen monk. His writing is a unique blend of philosophy and science with all posts being worthy of study.
Always important and relevant, there is a deep lesson that you take away from his posts that makes you quietly self-reflect on your own life.
Like the most effective teachers, James guides you but never forces you to make changes, since change is only lasting if it is because you’ve made them with your own free will and not because someone told you to do it.
When you first read his posts, you instantly recognize that what characterizes James is not only the unique comforting tone, but a simple eloquence in everything he writes.
It takes an enormous amount of talent to encapsulate knowledge into just a few words without coming across cliché, which is why when he publishes a new post, everyone admires not only the content but the skillful execution of its structure.
Although the wisdom is classic and timeless, there is always something refreshingly new delivered in his writing.
Like the calculated word positioning in a Haiku poem or the placement of natural objects in a Zen garden, James carefully constructs the words in all his posts so that practical, actionable advice is present in almost every sentence.
Ornamentation only distracts from meaning so unnecessary wording is left out and what you have is an enjoyable, educating reading experience that leaves a lasting impression.
James is famous for teaching us about developing habits and processes that over time lead to lasting change.
He famously supports his findings through scientific studies, literature and historical references.
One of my favorite references is one where he writes about comparing changes and progress in your life to that of the growth of a rose from a seed.
Like the others on this list, there is never a shortage of books that you can read that James suggests on his website to further implement your personal development and expand your mind.
In addition, James uses personal stories to show how he is also trying to improve upon himself in meaningful ways.You can find James’ enlightening writings here. In addition to being a talented writer, James is also a talented photographer. His stunning photographs can be seen here.
What seems esoteric and only accessible to the most learned of scholars, Ryan makes relevant to everyone.
He has the gift of taking an in-depth analysis of classical literature and history and making it contemporary and relatable without stripping anything of its meaning, which can only be achieved when someone has a complete grasp of the history they write about, which Ryan clearly shows.
You won’t get an abridged/Cliffs Notes version of history either – nothing communicated is “watered-down”.
Ryan preserves the depth of analysis serving it up “80 proof” without any pretention or haughtiness to turn you off. In addition, his style of writing makes history entertaining with practical applications.
As Alexander Pope, the 18th century English writer says in his Essay on Criticism, “Drink deep or taste not the Pyrian spring,” – Ryan definitely goes deep in the history he writes about for our benefit.
The literal library of books he has read is evident in his writings, which are all backed up with research.
Having been mentored by one of the greatest and most influential writers of the 21st century, Robert Greene, Ryan continues his own work using his own unique voice to teach people how to develop self-empowerment and autonomy from the social constructs that constantly change as reflected in human history.
He shows us how to develop inner strength by teaching us the essential characteristics of history’s most notable figures.
A prominent theme I have noticed in reading Ryan’s work is that great leaders are not necessarily geniuses but average people who have the inner strength to fail, adapt, fail, learn from failures and then succeed over and over again on a consistent basis.
Ryan shows that these notable historical figures were not only knocked down but some were figuratively ran over by a tank of unfortunate events only to still get up and dust themselves off.
Overall, after reading Ryan’s work, you will feel inspired to step out of your comfort zone, test the waters and be better for it.
In addition to a scholar of history and the human condition, Ryan is also a master marketer having been the director of marketing for American Apparel at the ripe old age of 22.
You can find Ryan here. A prolific author, you will raise your IQ points after reading his many books such as his phenomenal The Daily Stoic, Ego is the Enemy or The Obstacle is the Way and many others. Or his most recent book Perennial Seller. Get ready to transcend.
Thank you for reading!
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