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20 Successful Habits I Learned Working For Two Billionaires (Part 2)

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In Part 1, we looked at general lessons I learned working for billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Enver Yucel. In Part 2, I continue with deeper insight into successful habits – specifically for business-minded readers seeking to understand how extraordinarily successful people reach the top of their fields.

 Successful Habits

It’s my honor to share with you Part 2 of successful habits I learned working for two billionaires:

1) Recognize the Value of Simple Ideas

Oprah, Enver, and most of the world’s billionaires got rich not from a complex idea, but from a very simple one. Sure, there are several who do something technical – like create complex hedge funds. But most billionaires figure out how to take something we all like to do, simplify it, and bring more value to the bottom line. So, next time someone asks you to invest in a lemonade stand, don’t dismiss it so easily :-).

 

2) Be Patiently Impatient

Billionaires realize nothing happens overnight. As a matter of fact, it takes most billionaires decades to become successful. While patience is used for their long-term goals, I’ve witnessed deadlines for day-to-day, short-term goals articulated by my former bosses as “due yesterday.” Being nimble and having the ability to deliver faster than your competitors is what often makes the difference between success and failure. . Think about Oprah often beating a competing TV network to a coveted interview, or Enver launching a school in a country before anyone else. Don’t play with time.

 

3) Be Gritty

Ask any 10 people to describe Oprah and Enver, and I bet words like “tenacious” and “relentless” top the lists. Billionaires don’t let obstacles or pitfalls keep them from achieving their goals. Just because you fail 100 times, doesn’t mean you can’t succeed on the 101st try . The key is not just having the stomach for failure, but having the strength to face what feels like an endless amount of resistance… and still move forward.

 

4) Develop Great Oratory Skills

I’ve never seen better live speakers than my previous bosses. Coincidence? I think not. If you can’t articulate your ideas and your vision (in a compelling way) you can’t galvanize the support required to make things happen. This concept was underscored in a recent interview I did with one of the word’s leading public speaking experts, Marshawn Evans. She stated, “the more effectively you speak, the higher your chances of career success.”

 

5) Grow Thick, Armor-Plated Skin

The higher your heights, the greater number of detractors you will have AND the sharper their attacks will be. This is a basic truth for everyone, but literally watching thousands of people hurl insults at my bosses (without impact) made me realize they possessed an extraordinary layer of emotional resilience. I recall when we filmed the opening scene of Lovetown U.S.A. (and Oprah arrives on a Naval vessel), while thousands cheered, hundreds complained (and ridiculed) her for wasting tax dollars by using a military vehicle.  Developing a “shield” is critical . First Lady Michelle Obama said it best: “never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so, when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

 

6) Connect with People Outside Your Community

Your ability to be of influence within your community is directly related to your ability to make connections outside of your community.  The technical phrase for this is called “bridging structural holes,” and is eloquently written about in this research by professor Ronald Burt. Both Oprah and Enver possess tremendous bridging capital. They spend a disproportionate amount of their time gathering information from communities of people outside of their core (different age groups, different social class, different ethnicity, different education levels, different careers, etc) and then they share that information within their community. This is where their ability to influence and have power comes from.

 

7) Over-Communicate Your Message

It’s not just about speaking loudly, it’s about speaking often.  I learned this from my favorite professor at the illustrious McDonough School of Business (shout out: Hoya Saxas!). He floated this concept in class one day and it stuck with me. Don’t make people guess or assume, make sure your community understands your message, precisely. Given the abundance of content produced in today’s world, this concept has taken on even more relevance (Note: more content is published in 48-hours now than was published from the beginning of time until 2003. Amazing, right?!). Watch Oprah or Enver closely when they speak for a short or extended period of time. Their format is always the same. They begin by: telling you what they’re going to tell you, then they tell you, then they summarize by telling you what you just heard. We live in a noisy landscape and repetition, repetition, repetition is necessary.

 

8) Learn to Laugh at Yourself

Most of us know from experience that having a sense of humor about things can make life a little easier. And, there’s science to back that up: being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and it might even improve your mood. Humor has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience. “If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself,” says Rev. Susan Sparks. “And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.” You can’t go more than 2 minutes in a conversation with either Oprah or Enver without them smiling and belting out a laugh (typically at their expense).

 

9) Be Great at One Thing, First

By focusing on one passion or strength, you can actually be more innovative. The deeper understanding you gain by doing one thing opens up creative new ideas. Ironically, limitations can lead to liberation.  As I mentioned in Part 1, billionaires like Oprah and Enver aren’t necessarily great at many things, but they’re damn good at (at least) one.

 

10) Know a Higher Power

Developing a relationship with a Higher Power will provide you with guidance for making decisions and solving problems. When you connect with a higher power, you can draw upon greater wisdom to help you resolve your problems.  I find it fascinating in my analysis of Oprah and Enver, that while they practice different religions, they possess an unwavering faith. I believe that faith is why they strive to have a positive impact on people and society, value integrity and hold high ethical standards for themselves and their organizations.

 

I sincerely hope Parts 1 and 2 of 20 Successful Habits have helped and will continue to help you blaze your own trail of accomplishments. Putting these things to work in my life has yielded not only more success than I ever dreamed, but more happiness and fulfillment, as well. If you’re ready to learn even more about making your dreams a reality, read this. And remember, dreams don’t work unless you do!

How are you putting these successful habits to work? Let’s talk about it!

Posted on: Feb 6, 2014

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121 comments
 Butterfly Alkeema
Butterfly Alkeema

After reading your 20 successful quotes, I ate it like  I was hungry for food.  I am just now at the age of 55, I am beginning to start my own business.  I am doing it now part time and I am employed fulltime.  I took in all that you said, some of it we basically know already, but we fail to really use it in our lives.  I feel very blessed in my life at this time of my life to getting all this information.  Thank you so much.

aJ
aJ

Wonderful read! Truly inspiring! 

owenhemsath
owenhemsath

Really great series Paul. I have a small video marketing company with big goals and this last Sunday i had two of my teeth knocked out. This ongoing trial has been challenging for my pysche and this article has helped to put some things in perspective. Thanks.

Jesse York
Jesse York

Great read! I am extremely thankful to have come across this resource. Mr. Brunson I look forward to continually reading about your path through life and where it leads you! thank you. It has further inspired me to make a path where there once wasn't one. 

Ahmad Ahnaf
Ahmad Ahnaf

Hi, great advice.. I really appreciate it.. I love to hear more about your experience working with these two amazing individuals.. Thanks for the article..

JoanieGionisKorbos
JoanieGionisKorbos

Great advise ! I have always looked to those who no more than myself and absorb there knowledge and advise in order to better my own life, personal as well as professional. 

Thank you for the great advise.

Joanie

Rich Smith
Rich Smith

I read part 1, loved it, tweeted it, then excitedly and immediately dove right into part 2. You had me all the way up until your last point about knowing a higher power.


My intentions aren't to detract from the point, because to those whom it applies, it can be a very powerful thing. However, you don't *have* to have faith to be driven to make a positive impact on people and society, and I say that from experience.


I happen to be an atheist, but I systematically do generous things for people while asking for nothing in return. I volunteer with 2 non-profit organizations outside of my full-time job, and somehow still find a way to help my friends and family whenever they need it. In my circles, I'm known as a dependable, honest and caring person who can be called on and relied on in moments of need. Knowing that I'm making an impactful difference is payment and motivation enough for me to continue.


I happen to draw my ethics and morality from sources other than religion, but it's entirely possible to be a good (non-religious) person. Not all atheists are hellions destined for hell, failure or both. I also feel like there's a right way to be religious and a wrong way to be religious, but that's a different conversation entirely.


At any rate, excellent articles, and thanks for sharing. I definitely learned a lot.

Wil
Wil

Very nice article. Thanks Paul.

David Mullings
David Mullings

Perseverance is critical! Thomas Edison is the best example of sticktoitiveness.

Kahlilah TheChameleon Saleem
Kahlilah TheChameleon Saleem

And Money!!!!! Money can keep a roof over your head when positivity only keeps you smiling while your being evicted

KaliAshura
KaliAshura

Sometimes struggle with over communicating. Am I giving too much? Can never give too much when being authentic, playful and passionate.

Marcia E Brown
Marcia E Brown

Endless amount of resistance......yep, that's the one.

HarrisonGrimwood
HarrisonGrimwood

If your dream is for a billion dollars, you need to re-think your priorities.

gailphillip
gailphillip

Thank you for always being an inspiration!!! 

Bajan Queen
Bajan Queen

Amen u have to work for your dreams and be prepared for the struggles that will come but as long as u believe in god and yourself have confidence and are determine and never let set backs and obstacles stop u your dreams will become reality .

Claudette Dinnall
Claudette Dinnall

You know what! I LOVE seeing Oprah chilling with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. She is the legacy continued from pioneers like Madame C J Walker. I realize what else these 3 have in common, besides being wealthy, that is the key to their success... the are givers - true philanthropists.

Jstntothecrry
Jstntothecrry

@Rich Smith everything you say is great, BUT even though you're not religious, you believe in the same came concept. "us" religious people just put a label on it and call it something like Christian, or Muslim, God, faith, spirit, etc. I think "atheists" who don't believe in religion but believe in "something" call it other things "humanly natural" things like energy, force, earth, positive energy, negative energy, etc etc...I blabbering but i think people, mostly atheist, get annoyed of religion because it's labeled and boxed in so to speak...anywayssss, we all believe in the same concept i think...just an opinoin 

PaulCBrunson
PaulCBrunson

@edavis2011 I truly appreciate that. If you have any questions while reading it, I'm here for you!