Lessons From the News Desk -- Carl Quintanilla

You've heard this one: nice guys finish last.

Carl Quintanilla is a nice guy. And he is far from last. Quintanilla of NBC Nightly News and CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" has learned a lot during the course of his career. He embraces adversity and has the willingness to persevere. Being moved to ten different schools in eleven years, then climbing the journalism ladder to become a well-respected news anchor, Carl Quintanilla imparts a number of lessons that have been key to his success.

In this episode of Spartan Up! The Podcast, Carl Quintanilla reflects on some invaluable lessons he has learned in his life both personally and professionally that have helped him make his journey in the world of journalism successful.

Be honest. Be careful. Be nice. You can't go wrong by following these simple rules in your personal and professional interactions. The best leaders have the ability -- whether it is innate or developed -- to get people to want to follow them rather than being bullish and abrasive. Quintanilla's success is largely attributed to his ability to stick to journalistic and courteous principles of telling the truth, being cautious and aware, and being courteous.

Embrace life's mud. People often quit too early or view molehills as mountains. "You're always 'in the mud' and you have to move forward. The people who have struck me the most are the ones who just plow through; who don't wallow in their failure," Quintanilla said. Instead of being complacent, which is the easiest option, be brave and tackle the next hurdle with the support of others if necessary.

Make failure temporary. "Set a period of time that you'll reflect on your failure...and that's it. When it's over - you move on! That period expires...it's gone. Find a way to work through this." Carl Quintanilla's advice, albeit, easier said than done, is paramount to achieving success, especially if you run a business. "Everyone should abide by this because life is tough and it requires the right approach. If I can get through that crazy obstacle I got through five years ago, I can get through this."

Know what you're cut out for. The world is full of challenges and those challenges bring out people's strengths and expose their weaknesses. The key is finding how you can translate your strengths in other arenas because the world of business is more brutal than people think. For example, an elite racer and a successful business person are not necessarily guaranteed success in the other's environment. So, when business-minded people run a race, they tend to get through the courses. However, when elite racers, adventurers, or explorers go into the world of business, they tend to struggle. This is often due to the multi-pronged nature of managing money, time, investments, resources, and making decisions that are not singular -- like finishing a race -- that affect more than the individual.

Never say no. According to Quintanilla, "Yes" is the best answer. This is a tricky one, but people should not turn down opportunities no matter how trivial, difficult, or unattractive. Those experiences help you to become a better employee, make you more likable and demonstrate your willingness to accept and overcome challenges en route to success. Don't let ego get in your way. What seems unglamorous might just prove to be the defining moment and will not soon be forgotten by those around you.

Treat people on the way up the way you want be treated on the way down. This advice is crucial to career-based happiness and achieving mindfulness. As we progress in business, our responsibilities change and attitudes shift -- as does our sense of self-importance. Quintanilla points out that showing empathy goes a long way. When I started Spartan Race, I benefitted from my years on Wall Street where people constantly mistook cockiness for confidence -- they are not the same.

Sell yourself. To be liked, you have to be nice. Part of being well-liked is giving people a reason to respect you and your contributions. In business, this translates into putting your best attributes on display all the time. Real world success is different from what we see in Hollywood movies. Real life interactions should not be dramatic episodes where egos collide at work, but a constant assessment of how people perceive you and your actions.

As Quintanilla rightly points out, luck is created when people create a platform for luck to play a part in their careers and lives. Oftentimes, luck is merely the result of toughness and persistence -- just like in an endurance event. Survive long enough to get lucky. Quitting is the easy part. Sticking it out by making a series of mindful and consistent decisions can lead to success long after everyone else is packing it in. You'll have plenty of chances to take shortcuts and burn bridges in exchange for short-term success. Though tempting, remember Carl Quintanilla's advice: be a nice guy. It will pay off.