Business and Life Lessons From “The Apprentice”™

Published on November 9, 2010 by

Part 1

If you've ever watched the television show "The Apprentice™," you know that it can be quite entertaining! And if you look under the surface of he personality clashes, the meltdowns, and the "egos gone wild,' there is much for us to learn.

There are two sides to the coin here, when it comes to learning lessons from this business reality show. On one side of the coin, we save time, money and energy when we learn from the mistakes of others. On the other side of the coin is an opportunity to model the winning strategies, beliefs and skills of high performers.

You may not want to compete in Trump's competition, but you can improve your results at work and in other areas of life by applying the following tips...

1. Focus On What You Want:

On a recent episode of "The Apprentice," the losing team found themselves kicked out of the mansion and forced to live in tents in the backyard. They h ad makeshift showers, camping stoves and sinks, not much more! Two weeks into it, the project manager for the losing team decided to quit. In the boardroom, she told Trump that it wasn't what she signed up for; it was too tough. So she quit. What happened there? She allowed her focus to be drawn to all the things she didn't want, and she lost her focus on what she did want. That was the end for her.

There are few things within our control as powerful as our ability to keep our minds on what we want.

Doing so will create amazing results because your brain will find a way to take you n the direction of your focus. Stay on your own path, looking ahead at the future you have clearly designed in your mind.

2. Get An Attitude: Believe In Yourself:

Watch "The Apprentice" if you want to see the dramatic role that self-confidence plays in who does well and who doesn't. You will also see what I'm NOT talking about regarding getting an "attitude." Remember Omarosa? She had a false sense of self-confidence. It came out in her inability to forge relationships and to successfully influence and persuade her teammates over the long haul.

On the other hand, there was Bill Rancic, the first Apprentice. He was quiet, focused, and tenacious. And he believed in himself deeply enough to weather the storms. His deep self-belief and self-esteem allowed him to bring out the best in others and help them weather the storms. Of course, his teammates made some huge mistakes when he was the project manager-that'll happen. Not once did I hear Bill blame anyone for how the teams project was going or for his own mistakes and failures. Now that's an "attitude" worth having.

Something else worth learning from Bill Rancic is that he ultimately trusted his own judgment. Yes, he listened to the feedback of others, and then he made his decision and moved forward.

Your life is your life, period. Make the decisions you deem to be the best and move on.

3. Surround Yourself With Great People:

Teams are initially formed on "The Apprentice" by two team captains being selected. The next step is for the team captains to choose their team. And then the drama begins. The captains who choose well end up doing well. The captains who don't always pay the price. Sometimes the price is severe.

Review who is on your team now. If changes need to be made, be glad you're not competing in "The Apprentice," because you are in charge and can make any changes that are warranted. Not so with Trump's Apprentices. They are stuck with their original choices, until Trump makes the changes. So, how bad can things be when we have the freedom to change what we desire?

Consider your team. Create and nurture relationships that will challenge your blind spots, support your vision, offer their strengths to offset your weaknesses, believe in you, and celebrate your successes with you.

4. Life Is Short... Have Fun:

Every participant in "The Apprentice" soon realizes that they only have a limited time in the competition. They face great pressure and challenges; they have no choice in that. They do have choice in how they respond. Some respond with the mindset that they will have fun along the way. So they find ways to make their "work" fun and invariably they perform better than the ones who are one-dimensional.

And from time to time, Trump rewards the winning team with time off just to have fun! He realizes that people who are enjoying not just their work, but also their lives build great businesses. So, he rewards them.

What do you do for fun on a regular basis? I love playing Texas Hold-em Poker and play a couple of weeks in free tournaments. My wife loves plays and musicals and acts in a local community theatre play. She has been the assistant director for a play, and will be the director of a musical.

It doesn't matter what you want to do for fun; it does matter that you have fun!

5. Surprise Your Brain:

Sign up for "The Apprentice" and you sign up for surprises of all kinds. The competition isn't for anyone wanting routine and rigidity, that's for sure. Now, the players in "The Apprentice" don't choose their tasks or where they will go, or even when they will work. Come to think of it, they don't even choose when or how they will have fun! Trump chooses for them.

But we aren't Trump's apprentices and we have choice and can choose whatever. The irony is that human beings pattern quite well, meaning we learn things so well that we can do them with our eyes closed. And we do them over and over again, over and over again, over and over again...and when you do that, you go unconscious.

There's a time and a place for patterned behavior. On the other hand, the brain craves change and surprise. Researchers on health and longevity are finding out that challenging and surprising the brain with new experiences keeps us healthier and younger.

Give thought to how you can change things around, shake things up, do familiar things differently. Open doors, stir the pot and brush your teeth with your other hand, and while you're on a roll, take a different route to or from work. Go to a movie or play you wouldn't "normally" go to. Talk to someone that seems to be very different from you and learn something new.

Surprise your brain and your brain will surprise you.

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