Relationships are one of the most powerful things you can have in your life.

A good conversation opens the space to share ideas; it can change a destiny. Think about it, all great inventions start with a few people talking together!

But sometimes, we don’t make our conversations as insightful as they should be. And this is because we don’t challenge our beliefs.

Just last week, I attended Tropical Think Tank, a business conference and mastermind event for entrepreneurs, hosted by Chris Ducker.

You might think you don’t need to hear about entrepreneurship when you’re in a 9-5 job…

Challenge those beliefs. Change your mindset.

Anyone, whether an entrepreneur or not, can learn from the stories I heard there. Here are some important lessons from 9 world-class entrepreneurs about relationships, work and life.


Start with trust – Peter Shankman

“People with resources tend to distribute opportunities to people they trust.”

Do you actively work on building trust? Do you take the time to have meaningful conversations? Can you communicate in a way others can relate to?

Peter delivered his message with simple words. He spoke about what he does and who he helps. He didn’t list his achievements or the TV shows he’s been on, either (and he’s been on a lot of them!).

I could tell that 100% of the people in the room understood Peter’s message, and were inspired by his story.

To make an impact, you don’t need to over-engineer what you do. Or worse, be who you are not. Be brief, humble and always helpful. Do it consistently, and the quality of your relationships will expand. It will come back round to you when the time is right

More wisdom from Peter: In Defense Of Being “So Goddamn Happy All The Time

Lessons from entrepreneurs - Tropical Think Tank 2017 Chris Ducker


Be true to yourself – Carrie Wilkerson

“Put up the mirror and be true to yourself. Do the work without dreading the tough questions. They are the ones which will allow you to expand and move forward!”

Do you let yourself be who you truly are? Do you know what makes you unique? How can you be different from other people doing a similar job?

So many people try to be a copy of someone they admire – be brave and do something different. Let your personality shine through. Being authentic  funnels emotions, and people always remember how you make them feel.

If you want to grow, don’t forget that good work is the bare minimum. But a unique difference is your best asset to build a solid reputation, get noticed, and move up.

More wisdom from Carrie: When Coffee Isn’t About Coffee At All


Stop managing and start leading – Chris Ducker

“Oh yes, I’m a bad manager. But my teams can tell you I’m a great leader.”

Do you manage or do you lead? In other words, what is your focus: to make sure the job is done as it should be, or in the best way it can be done?

Leading is not exclusive to those who have a team. You can always start with self-leadership; how can you improve what you do, by focusing on why you do it, and how it could be better?

Here are a few ideas: focusing on outcomes, seeing opportunities instead of challenges, developing a ‘growth mindset’, keeping customer at the top of your priorities, being collaborative…

You can take small actions every day. Leading is not a skill. It’s a discipline.

More wisdom from Chris: 10 Simple Steps To Unleashing The Thought Leader Within You! 

Lessons from entrepreneurs - Tropical Think Tank 2017 Chris Ducker


The right tribe can amplify your creativity – Jeff Goins

“To engage in creative work, you need to be part of a supportive community of like-minded people.”

With technology and innovation at the heart of every company’s business model, it’s now the duty of all employees to nurture their creativity.

Are you engaging with the people who will support your creative ideas? Are you connected to a few mentors, experts, or sponsors who could either give feedback or relay your ideas in the organisation? If not, you should start now. Find your tribe, or better, create it!

More wisdom from Jeff: Build A Bridge To Your Dreams Before You Take A Leap Off A Cliff.

To engage in creative work, you need to be part of a supportive community. - @JeffGoins Click To Tweet


Building authentic relations? Speak up! – Grant Baldwin

“You are a human being talking to a collection of other human beings. Yes, things will not always work well. And yes, that’s OK.”

From a casual presentation to a large town hall, talking to an audience is part of every leader’s job. But like many people on this planet, you dread public speaking, don’t you?

There is an easy way to get the confidence to step into the unknown.

See your presentation as a way to share value with people who need your knowledge, expertise and stories. By shifting your focus from “get the info right” to “give valuable advice”, you send part of your stress away.

Bonus tip: You instantly become a more relatable person that others will look forward to connecting with!

More wisdom from Grant: How To Give A Truly Memorable Speech, With Hugh Culver

Lessons from entrepreneurs - Coralie Sawruk Tropical Think Tank 2017 Chris Ducker

Find the root cause – Jaime Tardy

“The best way to resolve a problem is to find the root cause and implement a simple procedure to ensure your problem never happens again.”

It’s often said that the better the question, the better the answer. Think about it, the ultimate reason why work exists is to solve problems; those of your clients, or those of your company.

So do you actively question things and challenge yourself or others? Do you really go deep and treat the root cause, as opposed to the symptoms? Make each issue you face a creative case study. How can we simplify? Can we automate part of it? Could we make the process easier?

More wisdom from Jaime: How To Get Your Own Mentor

What’s your theme? – Mike Vardy

“Being productive starts with making sure what you want to do is actually done.”

Are you really taking action to be more productive? Do you ask yourself if what you do is the real priority?

Let me share Mike’s secret weapon – theme your days, weeks and months!

It works “vertically” (e.g. admin and analytics activities will be my focus on Fridays), and “horizontally”, too (e.g. each morning, from 11.30 to 12.00, my calendar is blocked off for questions and feedback from my team/colleagues).

Theming gives space to what is really important, and helps to reduce interruptions.

More wisdom from Mike: How To Tackle Your To Do List When You’re Tired

Being productive starts with making sure what you want to do is actually done. - @mikevardy Click To Tweet


Prioritise retention – Mike Morrison

“When you manage a community of individuals, retention should be your #1 priority.”

Whether you refer to teams, client portfolios, or colleagues, workplaces are communities. So what do you do to help with retention in the communities you’re involved in?

Do you work on improving the experience for the customers you talk to? Do you make sure information flows between the various people you work with? Retention is not just a metric for managers to look at. It’s the result of a collective effort of individuals who value collaboration and inclusion more than profit.


More wisdom from Mike: 21 Quick Tips For Improving Member Retention


Grow yourself every day – Shawn Stevenson

“Everyday, you must ask yourself that question: did I grow myself today? Was it by practicing? By taking care of myself? By working on my relationships?”

What do you do to perform at your best at work? Do you only focus on skills and training? Do you really take care of yourself? How can you focus better?

A high-performing individual is first a healthy individual, who has enough brain power to actively engage in work, conversations, and creative projects.

But what about emotional health? Don’t forget that strong relations are the reset button for your emotions. Nurture them by being a supportive partner, a reliable friend, and a mindful colleague.

More wisdom from Shawn: How To Create A Healthy Brain And A Happy Life


When you let curiosity take over, there is always a good conversation and a valuable lesson for you. So put your beliefs to one the side, walk with an open mind and, from time to time, let the people who see things in a different light mentor you!

Want to know where to find these people? I strongly encourage you to attend a conference they’re speaking at, learn from them and go and introduce yourself.

Europe: Youpreneur Summit, London
US: Tribe Conference, Franklin TN

Lessons from entrepreneurs - Tropical Think Tank 2017 Chris Ducker

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