The Secrets to Success

tent-384108_640Back in October, Nickolas Green began uploading videos to YouTube. The 15-year-old outdoor enthusiast filmed himself hunting, trapping, and practicing all manner of outdoor skills. By January 1st, his channel had reached a grand total of 70 subscribers.

To celebrate, and as a show of gratitude, Nickolas made a new video. He spent the night camping in his backyard. With temperatures hovering around -20 Fahrenheit, he narrated his experience for the camera. He reviewed his gear, described the environment, and shared his thoughts on the physical discomfort and the slow passage of time. He did all of this with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of youth. In other words, he was real.

And then last week, Nickolas suddenly gained traction. His video was shared on Reddit and went viral. It was viewed 95,000 times overnight. Viewers were drawn not to his fancy camera work or polished acting skills, but to his honesty. Today, his subscriber count has shot from 70 to almost over 70,000. Nickolas Green is a YouTube sensation.

They say that nice guys finish last; that to get ahead, you must be ruthless, political, and often even deceitful. The more you see others rewarded for this kind of behavior, the harder it is to justify remaining true to yourself. But people like Nickolas Green remind us that there’s another route to success; one that I find much more refreshing.

Be honest.

Be genuine.

Be engaged.

Be humble.

Be grateful.

Admit it; these are the qualities we appreciate in others, especially those we do business with. Lose my trust and you’re likely to lose your share of my wallet. Businesses who operate in the open and display admirable qualities may not skyrocket to the top overnight, but they also don’t have to worry about the public discovering any skeletons in the closet down the road.

The same goes for the individuals who occupy every level of the company. Real leaders, regardless of the actual title they wear, aren’t interested in playing political games. They don’t have to worry about who they’ve told which lies to or which version of the story is the “official” one. When you approach work from the right heart-set, you’ll have the right mind-set.

Perhaps it’s just my age showing, but I’d much rather watch Nickolas Green than most of his professionally accomplished contemporaries. And perhaps in time he will become jaded as well. I hope not. I hope he remembers how simply being himself led to his success.