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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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156 comments
John Coultrip
John Coultrip

This is great!  Really and truly appreciate you sharing...very inspiring piece with great merit!

YNK
YNK

Mr. Brunson, thank you for sharing this truly inspirational an well written piece. I enjoyed reading it but I need to express my doubts about your choice of example figures. Mr. Yucel could hardly serve as my role model. He is a rather controversial entrepreneur being scrutinized about the lack of transparency, administrative impropriety and involvement of powerful financial groups with shady interests in his global schools network.



ThadLucken
ThadLucken

onassis said if he lost everything 'he would buy a suit and take a rich man to dinner'. 

mjtdesign
mjtdesign

I spent the afternoon taking notes on this. Thank you for some solid wisdom through experience going into 2015.

Krystal Grant
Krystal Grant

This is an extraordinary piece. There are so many takeaways here....much that will be included on my vision board for 2015. 

JD
JD

1-20 great stuff for everyday use. i think 20 governs the rest, great insight.

Vera Barker
Vera Barker

I am going to read 1-19 until it is becomes second nature. 


I do recognize 20 will be very important to those who are religious, but not for those, like me, who are not. I believe that one should be optional. I do not believe I am without integrity or high ethical values. These are extremely important to me and I did not need a higher power to guide me to these traits. All I needed was a strong sense of the kind of person I wanted to be. I want to be a person who always does what is right and it is, by far, one of the most critical values in my arsenal of values. It is worth repeating that I never needed a higher power to influence me in this direction. I merely saw the injustices of our world and wanted to do what I could to not repeat them and stop them if in my power to do so. If not in my power, then to find a way to make it so, regardless. 


Paul C. Brunson, you have inspired me to be an even better version of myself, and that is priceless. Thank you!  Much success and happiness to you!

Tracy Wakins
Tracy Wakins

WOW,  @Paul C. Brunson words to live by. Thank you for reiterating some very important habits in an easy to follow and understand manner. They are timeless. I plan to put them in action as I make 2015 a successful year for my business Kai's Kookies & More, www.kaiskookies.com

SandyShihadeh
SandyShihadeh

@Paul C. Brunson thanx alot i found that very interesting specially that i have this idea that i was trying to accomplish and i just kept leaving it for latter thinking that im still not ready for it yet, soo i guess now im gona get going, but about this part that i should do what i know best and leave the rest for some one who knows better about it, thats why i thought im not ready yet i was trying to do it all by my self soo there is alot to learn and i think its gona take sooo much time but on the other side im a afraid of sharing the idea so no one could use it for his or her benefit loolz so what do you think i should do in this case.


Umama
Umama

Well written and truly motivating points!! It will help me for sure. Thank you 

JahmadKelly
JahmadKelly

I am going to read this everyday in 2015, I am going to keep that commitment. There are so many great Ideas that I have. There are so many ventures I want to pursue. This will give me that constant inspiration that I need. Thank You @Paul Carrick Brunson I really needed this.

Daniel Goldfarb
Daniel Goldfarb

I appreciate you taking the time to synthesize anecdotal learnings, but tip 10 feels incredibly prescriptive and a bit small minded. Having faith is not required to have high integrity, values, or be a humanist. 


C0SM0S
C0SM0S

Number 10 is unnecessary. Many billionaires do without a make-believe friend.

djones39
djones39

@C0SM0S Despite what you call the higher power, it is the aspect of possessing an unfaltering faith that is key. Some call it listening to our intuition, having confidence in ourselves, or realizing that we are all part of the whole. 

Johnboy
Johnboy

Nicely done. Professors could make a course out of this and call it Career Self Sufficiency.

kmbrlybrntt844
kmbrlybrntt844

@Johnboy name them. And I mean that very literally; no use putting forth an argument without  support. It makes your rebuttal baseless/shallow 

justvisiting
justvisiting

I think you missed the word *could.. to me it seemed he was offering a compliment and not am argument.

hemsingh8
hemsingh8

Glad to read it and find it an sensible approach without insinuating people to change themselves in rat race. Not sure if these 20 points can make a billionaire or not but sure will make a better person out of anyone. 


Many Thanks Mate.

erin jo
erin jo

Awesome! But how come nobody asks who Enver Yucel is. One google search shows that he is basically a shady figure, making very dubious "billions" by very shady businesses he passes as "education".

CharlesRoseJr
CharlesRoseJr

Both parts 1 and 2 of this article are amazing Paul! Time for me to get get to work!

Terrell Hamilton
Terrell Hamilton

Thanks Paul, this was very useful information from you on seeing how two inspiring successful people live their lives. Im 25 and very lucky to be working for a fortune 500 company for several years. Also I have been around various successful people but not long enough to gather such information.

I also just completed a program theough work on leader ship and read the book leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell also great read. I have learned the importance of networking and not being afraid to take a chance but I feel stagnet in the position im in at work because im ready for growth and more responsibility. Although im still young, it's never too early to start growing your career and investing in your future.

So I was wondering what advice do you personally have Paul or anyone with advice?

JPLimage
JPLimage

Glad to hear your doing so well at the tender age of 25 where sadly many around your age are still attempting to figure out how to pay the bills and simply survive Mr. Hamilton! The advice that I give to you is what I tell myself so I liken this to speaking to a mirror. A refresher.

If you really care for this position and truly love what you are doing, than naturally have this emanate off of you by doing more than what is asked of you. Allow your work to represent your name and maybe go above and beyond that to create something new that could boost your companies sales or perhaps discover new up and coming companies with the same vision as your company that you could follow and if they fit what you 'think' your looking for, recommend that they converge with your company. Our maybe even look at the current board that manages the bigger decisions within your company or the employee's and annotate their effectiveness. If you find that someone, perhaps even you, can do their job better than them. . Make it happen with your ingenuity.

Or perhaps it is time to venture out of the employee mindset and see what else this wonderfully abundant world has to offer a curious mind like yourself. Go on a trip to a place that falls in line with one of your great interest, network with the people their and disk in the different culture. Like how Steve Jobs traveled to Japan and found the design the Japanese toured at the places he visited to have such an effect on him that he insisted

on having those methods of design incorporated in the early versions of the Apple products.

I recommend you begin the process of thinking bigger than you usually do by subscribing to grayer people's thinking like what was said in the article. Another way of doing this is by reading some of the biographies written by the astute storytelling genius Walter Isaacson, who wrote 'Steve Jobs', 'Thomas Edison', and 'Albert Einstein'. But most of all, follow your heart and never forget we can exist to heal the world from the centuries of built up hate that we still can see today, or we can choose to only look out for ourselves. But just like lovely Jim Rohn used to say: 'If you help enough people get what they want, you'll get everything you want!'

Or that could've been Zig Zigler haha, oh and look up those two names two if and see what you make of those great men and the story of their life.

Good Luck Mr. Hamilton and Grow Big!

- Jean Paul Limage

DannyJoeWheat
DannyJoeWheat

Maybe learn how to spell and use your new found education to communicate your response in a way that doesn't make you sound like a retard.

JPLimage
JPLimage

It's funny how easy it is to judge others under the guise of being a random voice in the Internet. Fool could not just absorb what was said, but had to find fault, with a Human? ! I hope you get on HONY so you could give an amazing on the spot answer that would solve every readers problem as they relate to your life. Besides, by the time I finished editing the time allotted to edit was over. Take it or leave it. Or in your case, cast shade everywhere you walk so when you enter a room all the lights go out. Thank goodness I'm not so negative. Good night

Terrell Hamilton
Terrell Hamilton

Thank you JPLimage I really appreciate it. I will take heed to the information you shared with me as well and likewise with negative people. I don't surround myself around them or their ignorance, for time is too short on this earth and it's a bigger meaning to it all.

JPLimage
JPLimage

Haha glad you found value in it! And yeah.. I already have too many negatives in my family that I was born with. That's enough to last anyone a lifetime already, any number above those unfortunate individuals is a choice I'll never make the mistake again of inviting into my life. I what to be around souls that push me and challenge me, and shock me out of the mistakes I might make. Mhm that sounds about right. I want to only be around people that I love

I'd say it's about time we stop with the idealistic chatter and get to it ya know? But in any case, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance and I hope you enjoy the hell out of your New Years Mr. Hamilton!!

Rstylr Louison
Rstylr Louison

Im so full! This was great for breakfast! Thanks Paul!

Reuben Goodwin
Reuben Goodwin

Thank you! As small business owner this information is helpful and I am going to share it with key staff members.

 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.

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 

Wil
Wil

Very nice article. Thanks Paul.

David Mullings
David Mullings

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