What I Learned from Richard Branson…

Robin Sharma and Richard BransonI hope you’re great! Just finished an event with Richard Branson in Bucharest (a city known as the “Paris of The East”) and wanted to share my takeaways with you to help you take your career and life to its next level of wow.

Richard was polite and larger than life. A pleasure to share time with. And a man who clearly adores all he does. I encourage you to read his autobiography “Losing My Virginity” as well as his book “Business Stripped Bare” if you haven’t gone through them yet. Uber-inspiring. For people who want to become Remarkable Entrepreneurs – and express their absolute best.

Anyway, I’ll get right into some of my observations as well as the ideas we discussed. Please don’t underestimate the power of these simple ideas – superbly executed, they yield brilliant results.

1. Politeness Matters. As mentioned, Richard Branson was unfailingly polite. He mentioned to me that when he was a kid, if he criticized someone, his mother would make him stand in front of the mirror at home and say, “what you’re seeing in others is really what you’re seeing in yourself. So look in the mirror.” This educated him on the key leadership habit of looking for – and then encouraging – the gifts and talents within other people.

2. Be Massively Independent. When Richard was just four years old, his mother stopped her car and instructed him to find his own way home, over many miles. When he was about 12, she told him to cycle 100 miles to Bournemouth alone, to visit a relative. He expressed to me that these childhood experiences were his mother’s way of growing his self-reliance. And building the invincible inner core that has served him so well as an entrepreneur.

3. Screw It – Just Do It. What makes a great company (and great life) isn’t so much the inspiring idea as the flawless execution around the big idea. As Edison once said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Richard shared that much of his success came from his philosophy to disregard the naysayers and those telling him his dream was impossible and just get the dream done. (Please remember: the impossible is generally just the untried). This is a man with a giant bias towards action.

4. Lavish Praise on People. I know you know this: the bigger the dream, the more important the team. Having worked with many of the best entrepreneurs in the world, I’ve learned that every single one of them gets that you can’t do it alone. Beautiful to have a brave vision. But the real key is finding the genius-level talent to get that vision delivered into reality. And if all you know how to surround yourself with is mediocre people, you’re destined to experience mediocre results. Richard is brilliant at finding the right people that bring his targets of opportunity to life. And he confirmed that once they are on his team, “I lavish them with praise.” Our takeaway: relentlessly celebrate+develop+inspire your people.

5. Be a Radical Innovator. When he was a young entrepreneur with nothing more than the little college newspaper THE STUDENT, he still showed a lust for disregarding all the rules. He challenged the status quo. And disrupted what was considered normal. An example: he somehow was able to get John Lennon to do an original piece of music for him. He then put the song on a special disc and packaged it into the newspaper, right next to the interview he’d done on the rock ‘n roll legend. At Virgin Records, he recruited the Sex Pistols and reinvented a whole category of music. At Virgin Atlantic, he gave passengers massages on airplanes and dropped them home in limos. And with Virgin Galactic, he’s taking people into space. Very cool. Fantastically bold.

At the Bucharest meeting, he told the 2500+ people in the concert hall that “sometime in your lifetime, every one of you will have visited other parts of the universe.” And I believe it.

6. Build Your Brand. Richard Branson gets branding. He knows what he – and the Virgin name – stands for. Fun. Good Value. Strong customer service. And so at every possible opportunity, he evangelizes all it stands for. Oh, and he’s also clearly a master of getting attention. From hot air balloon adventures that made global news to showing up at a press conference nearly naked to promote Virgin mobile, this Remarkable Entrepreneur gets the value of owning a share of our brain cells.

7. Find Your Necker Island. Get this: Branson paid roughly $300,000 for his beloved Necker Island. He and his then girlfriend Joan were visiting the Caribbean on a getaway. They fell in love with Necker – but it was about $4,000,000. But he wouldn’t give up (let’s never discount the power of a ridiculous amount of persistence around your most closely loved goals). A few months later, the owner needed cash. Branson made his deeply discounted offer. It has served as his retreat away from the world for many years. Here’s the real point: in the world of so much noise and complexity, find your personal retreat (even if it’s an aged wooded bench in a public garden) where you can withdraw to think+create+renew+rest.

8. Lucky Wins. We make luck. Enough said.

9. Don’t Do It If It’s Not Fun. Branson wears a smile pretty much all the time. He laughs naturally. And radiates happiness. Zero doubt: he loves his life – and all that’s in it (George Clooney said he’d swap his life for Richard Branson’s – much to the delight of Richard’s wife). The lesson for us: life’s just too short to be doing work that destroys your soul. This is the best time in the history of the world to become an entrepreneur. Find work you adore. And get busy changing the world with it.

10. With Gifts Come Responsibilities. OK, so Richard Branson’s one of the richest people on the planet. But he gets that being good trumps shiny toys. He mentioned to me that, “with great wealth comes great responsibility.” And so he’s spending a lot of his days evangelizing Virgin Unite, his foundation that helps kids in need. Reminds me of what my amazing father taught me – using the words of the great poet Tagore – growing up: “Robin, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Son, live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.”

So there you go. What the iconic Richard Branson shared with me on a sunny Wednesday in Bucharest. I hope the lessons also serve you well.

Robin Sharma

P.S. If you want to learn exactly how the best entrepreneurs in the world get their results in these uncertain times and grow the business of your dreams, I’d love for you to join me June 2+3 at The Remarkable Entrepreneur SuperConference in Toronto, Canada. There are just a few seats left so I strongly encourage you to grab a seat while you still can. Here are the details: http://www.theremarkableentrepreneur.com

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36 Responses to “What I Learned from Richard Branson…”

  1. karishma says:

    Hello Robin sir

    I was thrilled after reading this article ! highly impressed !
    And abv all so grateful tht u shared with us !
    I m ardent fan of ur writings , really it inspires me so much !!
    Keep writing n inspiring us !!

    an ardent fan
    karishma

  2. bina says:

    this is truly inspirational..thank you so much robin, for kickin my ***.
    it hurts so hard have to get moving rightaway… bless you

  3. Phadke S. N. says:

    Namaste,

    This is an outstanding learning. I saw this on FB page. Thank you so much. God bless you. God bless your parents. God bless all in India and outside India too. I am sharing this on all social media’s so as to empower others free of cost.

    Phadke S. N.

  4. Adele Bantle says:

    I have long been an admirer of Richard Branson, so I very much enjoyed the interview. He inspires me so much.

  5. Rahamath says:

    Thanks for posting. Inspiring…

    Regards,

    Rahamath

  6. Ruchika says:

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for sharing this post & also for dedicating your life, work…& every action for making
    the life if millions of people around this world – Beautiful.

    Today I was a bit low as their is a certain kind of stagnation I am going through..
    well this post made me get going….& I loved Point no. 7 Find Your Necker Island.

    Best Regards
    Ruchika

  7. cléone blake says:

    Oh WOW – such motivation !!!

  8. Umashankar says:

    Hello Guruji,

    Both Heroes were in one roof, am amazed with the above inputs and it motivates me to become an Entrepreneur. Will read his book and his autobiography for more inputs, finished READING all your books including your THE SECRET LETTERS OF THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI, please give us more inspirational books.

  9. robin says:

    Thanks for the posts! Happy to read you found it valuable. Robin

  10. karuna says:

    We require such positive reminders time to time to de stress ourselves..

  11. Carlos says:

    quisiera q me envien por el correo electronico el orden de los libros del monje que vendio su ferrari yo tengo uno que dice sabiduria cotidiana del monje que vendio su ferrari es un amarillo en español y quisiera leer todos pero no se si tienen un orden gracias.!!!! por cierto gran libro el de el lider que no tenia cargo!!! saludos desde Quetzaltenango Guatemala…

  12. Adal Arasan says:

    Wonderful discussion cherishing our thoughts. Training given by his mother to Richard Branson is really amazing. The way she stretched his limits is mind blowing. She changed the perception.. thanks robin for giving the oppurtunity to know about him. Congrats Branson and My wishes to his mother.

  13. Vinod Eralil says:

    This was truly inspiring ! Motivates and ignites ones desire to excel in life. Thank You, for this wonderful thoughts…

  14. as prasaad says:

    Dear sir,

    i am going through break up pain in relationship. please help me to come out it ,please help me sir,

    m

  15. Shaik Fareeth says:

    Dear Robin ,

    Thanks for Sharing. It served a lot to me. Take Care

  16. Dinesh says:

    Thanks Robin and Richard for sharing your thoughts .
    Inspiring & paradigm shift .
    Let all of us also be firecely independent .

  17. Pawan says:

    Thanks..robin sir,

  18. Kevyn Mendonsa says:

    Hi Robin,
    My favourite guru’s meet each other. I admire Branson, follow your teachings,
    Make my life complete please meet Portuguese author Paulo Coelho.
    he is like you and Sir Richard. Such a source of inspiration to me

  19. Nilantha says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    All the very best with your good work!!

  20. Raakhee says:

    Truly Inspiring, I`ll surly share this in my training sessions.
    Thanks Robin.

  21. ashu says:

    liked d point about being ‘massively independent’ makes me feel should do sumthin about it…..thanx

  22. nate says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing these insights. They apply.

  23. Laila Moysey says:

    As an entrepreneur and long time freelancer, I think you have nailed the reason that I have never had a hard time getting gainful employment in even the worst of times and areas. I smile. I grin and know that even if I feel terrible, by smiling, I reduce the blood-flow to the hypothalamus, and experiments have shown that doing so reduces the negative feelings and aggression that are stimulated by frowning.

    The positive effect of smiling has been a very important part of my life, as has your blog! Thanks :)

    Laila Moysey

  24. Sushanta sarkar says:

    Awesome sir.thanks a lot

  25. Vaibhav says:

    My mentor Dr Daisaku Ikeda says -
    A great inner trtansformation in the life of a single individual can help transform the society, nation and the humankind itself.

    My heartfelt thanks and regards to you for all the work you do and share with us !

    Regards, Vaibhav.

  26. Chanel says:

    Love it! Thank you so much for taking the time out to share your wisdom and knowledge with people all over the world. You are greatly appreciated for the pearls that you pocket in to my life. Chanel.

  27. Rob Moore says:

    This is gold! I really appreciate this blog post! Thanks for taking the time to to put this together and thanks again for sharing!

  28. Tariq says:

    Truly Inspiring and thanks for sharing these valuable insights.

    Regards,

    Tariq.

  29. Vishal Anand says:

    Dear Robin,

    What a great way to inspire people by putting such blogs and sharing life experiences from successful person like Richard Branson. Truly amazing to read how his mother shaped his life and he went ahead and created one of the most appealing Airlines.

    I am moved to read about Necker Island as this resonate to my real life story. There was a residential Flat in Delhi which we wanted to buy way back in 2004 but could not agree to pay asked price. But we persisted with seller and finally in 2009 we bought the same flat.

    It is always pleasure to read through your Twitter / Blogs / Mails and look forward to see you in person at some point of life.

    Thanks & regards,

    Vishal

  30. vishal says:

    thanks thanks thanks……

    all i can say,parents are to give birth,but you have changed me and my working life enormously,Robin you are really
    parent for me for teaching me all this.i have all your books.

    thanks a lot,keep inspiring,improving.

    vishal k karamchandani
    nasik.mah.
    india

  31. Keyur says:

    Thank you robin sir. Its very nice and motivational.

  32. Sahar Mohamed says:

    Iam from Egypt and I always search for any new articles from u and every time I receive any thing from u I been filled with exciting to live it as it should be never stop and iam waiting your inspiration

  33. It is realy wonderful write-up, hunting very interesting is going to be glad present and recomendate my local freinds Iam positive they’ll be pleased read this publish

  34. Suneeta says:

    Thank you! My deep gratitude to you for sharing the learning with us.

    Please keep sharing as you continue to inspire us :-)

  35. Hruday Atal says:

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for this wonderful and inspiring blogpost. it would be great if you can share the link to video of the conversation between you and Sir Richard.

  36. Khetre dev says:

    Outstanding
    But who is poet Tagor

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