Eric Janssen is wisdom personified.

Eric Janssen
(Source: LinkedIn)

As a Sales Professor at the prestigious Ivey Business School at Western University, he spends his days empowering young leaders with the skills required to navigate an entrepreneurial life.

In a recent conversation with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Eric provided a peek inside his entrepreneurial toolkit. Here are two of his standout strategies for success:

Cultivate Resilience

Every successful entrepreneur understands that resilience is a key differentiating factor between those that lead the pack and those who follow behind.

“You need to be able to pick yourself back up after getting a bunch of no’s. So how do you teach that? Well, I could lecture you on it. I could give you the research. I could tell you a story. But the best thing is you just gotta have students do it. You just have to have them go out and do it, fail, fall on their face and realize it’s not actually that bad.” Eric shared.

Cue: The Rejection Olympics, an exercise in cultivating resilience that Eric has all his students participate in. Each student receives a bingo card of resilience exercises that they’re challenged to complete, ranging from ordering a pizza at Tim Hortons, to reconnecting with friends they haven’t spoken to in five years.

“Ultimately, what I want them to experience is that these are super uncomfortable situations, but after you do them you realize that nobody friggin cares. You know? Really, nobody cares. It’s a little bit uncomfortable the first time but it’s really not that bad. For some of them it’s addicting. They want to keep doing them.” he told Chris.

Learn to Unplug

In order to give others his undivided attention, Eric has a surefire trick to minimize distractions: Turning his phone off.

“Research actually shows that if you have your phone on your desk, even if you have your phone in your bag or flipped over on your desk [and you think that’s polite], your attention span, your cognitive abilities, your focus decreases substantially,” he explained.

Regardless of whether he’s conducting an important work meeting, or sitting down with us for an exciting interview, Eric puts his phone in what he charmingly calls, “Cell Phone Jail.”

“Boom, I can be fully dialed in and focused. It’s funny that being the person that listens more, just by potentially leaving your phone in your car while you’re doing your sales calls, can actually be a competitive differentiator nowadays.” he shared.

Thanks for the look inside your toolbelt, Eric!

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!