Mental Stamina of a Great Business Mind — an Interview With Stephen Seidel for Thrive Global About Building Business Through Empowering Strategic Solutions
I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen Seidel, voted “What to Watch on the Web” by USA Today, the Founder & CEO of The Seidel Agency, a premiere consulting and marketing agency. After graduating in the top percentile of The Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering, Seidel scaled award-winning start-ups, spearheaded buzz-worthy creative campaigns, and single-handedly built a six-figure consulting firm. Whether he’s creating #1 Ads on YouTube, leading social strategy for ‘The Most Dynamic International Medical Company’ or producing one of Mashable’s Five Best iPad Apps, Seidel strives to impact, inspire and empower audiences everywhere with powerful storytelling.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get to be where you are right now?
Stephen Seidel grew up in Bucks County, PA where he loved watching Philadelphia sports teams and eating cheese steaks. E-A-G-L-E-S! While attending Penn State, he worked at The Paul Robeson Cultural Center and interned both at Merck & Disney World’s College Program, which gave him a sense of social responsibility. After graduating with a BSIE, he left Delta Upsilon fraternity to become the leading engineer at Motorola’s Semiconductor’s Product Sector in Austin, TX. Next Seidel moved to New York City, where he launched fashion powerhouse Milk Studios / Milk Gallery, as well as start-up Beamly (formerly zeebox), which became the fastest second screen app to reach 1M downloads and was acquired by Coty. Shortly afterwards, Seidel moved to Los Angeles to manage the largest MCN in China, Thoughtful Media, where he built relationships with many Fortune 500 clients. Seidel then started his own collective, The Seidel Agency, where his team delivers custom branding and content campaigns, as well as business coaching across the globe. A recent focus within biotechnology consulting led to the acquisition of miraDry by Sientra, as well as #1 ranking on Crunchbase for the iSALON App. Please visit TheSeidelAgency.com to learn more or TheSeidelAgency.com/starthere for a complimentary consultation.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How did this quality help you overcome obstacles on the path of becoming an influential and inspiring leader?
With a degree in engineering and love for psychology, Seidel has found a delicate balance between his left and right brain, resulting in both extroversive and introversive qualities. While coaching or speaking, Seidel focuses heavily on connecting to the hope within clients, as that contagious energy is often a catalyst for change. However, while brainstorming creative solutions, stories and strategies for change, he relies heavily on his ability to find a quiet place and look deep within to problem solve by instituting his training within engineering. “Everything starts with a problem, hypothesis and A/B testing”, Seidel states. He credits both his brain (introvert) and his heart (extrovert) towards recent success leading his firm. Seidel credits his team’s support in white boarding, problem solving and testing solutions as they overcome obstacles within business. You can’t just jump over the obstacle and go right to the goal; you need to create a pattern. Daily habits and routines are crucial in planning for success and removing obstacles before they occur. “When you’re reactive, you let obstacles dictate your every move, but when preplan you position yourself for success, with proactive decision-making.”
What does it mean to be mentally-strong in the hyper-competitive world of running a business or an organization?
As a business owner, it’s important to balance your emotions with your reactions. When we react and respond without thinking, that’s when we make impulsive decisions that often land in our flight, fight or survival instincts. We leave our choices up to our subconscious that’s already been pre-wired. However, if you take a moment to gather yourself, you allow for options. Every day there are several choices and decisions to be made. When you have prepared yourself for the road ahead, you come from a place of mental toughness and preparedness. Like they say, everything in moderation. It’s important to allow for time; to relax, to recharge, to simply be in the now. And the more you do it, the stronger it gets, much like weight training. The goal is to become mentally strong, while having the ability to prioritize and problem solve quickly. You control your destiny, not your problems or obstacles. It’s important to remember that.
A lot of people in the business world feel as if talking about mental health makes them appear weak. How do you feel about showing mental strength and setting an example of what it takes to have strong mental stamina to succeed?
Our entire life is the culminations or previous choices, whether yours or someone else’s. If we are not mentally prepared, we are at a disadvantage. This is when competitors strike, and can be detrimental to ourselves. Confidence is essential in making efficient and effective decisions. Set a precedent for your team, by holding yourself and others accountable to a higher mental, physical and emotional standard. When you value mental growth, you lead by example. Mental lapses can occur from lack of sleep, drugs, and put employees and your company at risk. Find ways to encourage and motivate others to alleviate any mental duress. Find ways to avoid comprising your state of mind. Encourage and reward others for positive behavior. In an age where truth and transparency are everything, we must be open and honest with everyone, including ourself.
Is there a particular person, a book, or place of wisdom that has inspired you to become a successful and mentally-strong leader?
There are countless books to establish a mental toughness, but there are a few that stand out. Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” and Tim Ferris’ “4 Hour Work Week” are corner stones of my daily life. Every day I look to minimize my ‘busy’ time and maximize my impact. A close friend, Dean Bokhari runs a company called FlashNotes, which is basically Cliff Notes for Nonfiction books, and it’s helped me elevate our growth tremendously. Whether it’s “Give and Take” by Adam Grant or “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek, the value of the service is worth its weight in gold. As Sinek says, “Great leaders start with Why.” What is your Why? If you don’t know, we help you find it. A few other practices we use are meditation, guided and transcendental, listening to music, as well as breathing exercises such as Wim Hof. I can’t stress the importance of being present in any given situation. Too much of our time is spent actively listening and scrolling through social media, so we outsource the mundane tasks to focus on what matters. Once again, focus on now, and what you can do to support your task, goals and ultimate mission.
Can you give us 5 tips on maintaining strong mental health stamina to succeed in the modern business world? Tell us a little about why each point matters.
- Breathe: Our attention span is continuously being bombarded by emails; push notifications, calls and more in a day. You NEED to take time for yourself, even if only 1 minute per day of silence, to recharge and keep on task. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost health and minimize change your brain for the better. It helps create the space within and turn down the noise all around you. Try it!
- Begin with End in Mind: Treat your company or brand like a car driving through your life. You never leave the house without a destination, so why would you do it for yourself? Many times, such as vacations or trips, most of fun comes from the anticipation leading up to the big day. When you synergize it with powerful visualization, you’ll begin seeing your ideas come to fruition. This sets you up for success, as you work backwards from your desired outcome. Be sure to set SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. All goals need to have a timeline and a way of determining your progress.
- Write Down Goals: When you write it down it becomes real, so you (and the universe) can conspire for its arrival. This will also support time management, so you’re not being pulled in many different directions. Focus and clarity is key. Pick your most important task of the day and write it down. When you succeed, rip it up, cross it off, or just feel the sense of gratitude from completing it. Gratitude is essential to your well being, as new gifts and opportunities enter your life. Our life is built on these small wins that generate momentum.
- Put Audience First: Whom are you serving? Make sure to clearly define target audiences. When you make a decision, base it upon what they’d like to see, not your thoughts and opinions. You must build a vibrant community and listen to what they ask for. This will facilitate a give and take, where you are confident in your skill sets and the product being delivered to them. This will facilitate proactive creation, by identifying what trends exist, and keep you from reacting or being complacent. When you step into your power to serve your audience from the heart, you experience fulfillment from the joy of helping others.
- Shut up and Listen: When you are listening to a speech or story, the subtle nuisances mean everything. This is one reason why I try to have face-to-face meetings (or virtual meetings) as opposed to phone call. There is incredible value in not only hearing someone, but feeling them too. Recently, my coach and I had an a-ha moment when she noticed a huge shift in my face while identifying my core values. If she were taking notes, she would have missed it entirely. After you’re done listening to a speech, webinar or meeting, try to simply remember what you’ve heard and then distill it onto a Post-It note. Less is more. If you’ve missed it, then it wasn’t important or you didn’t listen well enough. Be sure to record anything important, and then you can simply rewind and push play again.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There are a few things in life that I’m extremely passionate about and would love to connect with others who share my affinity: Penn State, Philadelphia, Philly sports teams, technology, books, short films, documentaries, crime TV Shows, podcasts, speaking, helping children, being a great father, peanut butter, pizza, cheese steaks, Polish pierogies, and amazing stories. If you have a tip for me, please send it over and I’d love to learn more.
If the readers of this interview series would like to read more about you, how they can reach out?
What are you waiting for?! Check out TheSeidelAgency.com and let’s get Linked Up -> www.linkedin.com/in/StephenSeidel 10% OFF Reader Exclusive for Limited Time, Just Drop us a Line www.TheSeidelAgency.com/starthere or email [email protected] Connect across social with @StephenSeidel and @TheSeidelAgency too! Make today the best it can be -> Impact. Inspire. Empower.
Originally published at thriveglobal.com.