I spent a weekend with uber successful people and I learned some habits and common character traits they all share.
First, a little about me. I didn’t rub elbows around “successful” people in the way we tend to think of “success”. (More on that later.)
Here’s Me: ↓
Here’s the house I grew up in: ↓
Currently 77% of students attending the school district I grew up in are on free or reduced lunch with test scores far below the nationwide average. (Hence-my inability to spell.)
Poverty was pervasive, but my positivity propelled me forward.
Here’s me ↓ on my 21st birthday exposed to the “high life”:
Here’s me now ↓: (On a good day…with photoshop.)
I went to college. Did well. Went through some challenges. Almost died a bunch. Now I do some crazy things far beyond what I ever thought was possible.
However, you can see from the above photos, “success” was not handed to me. It often feels like a foreign concept.
What is success anyway?
I define success as living a life that is congruent to who you are as an individual. That’s a fancy way of saying living a life that makes you happy because it embraces who you are and what matters to you. This looks different for all types of people and I admire that.
I’ve sat with people in their doublewide trailers who were happy. They were successful in living a life that honored them and their families. I’ve also sat in many multi-million dollar mansions and experienced the same. We’re all human. We’re all trying to figure this “life” thing out. Success looks different for all of us.
However, for today’s purposes, I’m defining success as those who have done well in their businesses and careers.
I’ve met a lot of successful people in my life. Celebrities. Writers. Athletes. This past weekend was jam packed full of them. I’ve noticed a difference in habits and character traits of those who are successful in their business compared to many who I grew up with.
Here’s 10 things I’ve learned from hanging out with successful people:
1. Successful People are Really Really Good at What They Do.
Here’s me ↓ last weekend with successful person #1, Michelle Robinson.
Michelle has written a gajillion books and runs a top-notch marketing company. She’s also a freaking genius when it comes to publishing. She’s not just good at what she does-she’s REALLY good.
Successful athletes, business owners, speakers, etc., aren’t satisfied with being mediocre. They don’t rely on their natural talent alone. They take their natural talent and push themselves to be better.
Successful people are on a continuous journey of learning followed by putting what they’ve learned into practice. This constant state of striving for improvement means they’re not just good- they’re excellent at what they do.
2. Successful People Under-Promise and Over-Deliver.
Michelle was scheduled to spend three hours with me. She spent seven. She way over-delivered. Now DON’T go hiring her and expecting her to do the same for you. I’m sharing that because I find truly successful people put the customer first. They genuinely care about the customer’s outcome over their own pocket-book.
Are you over-delivering in your business? If not, what areas can you begin to deliver more value than promised that won’t overtax you? What area can you over deliver that makes you, your customer, and your overall business better?
3. Successful People Have Fun!
Jeff and I with successful person, Michelle, and successful person #2, Michelle’s husband-Kevin, singing Karaoke. ↓
Burnout sucks. I’ve been there. Many successful people have been there, too. They’ve pushed their businesses to the point of personal break down.
Because of this, successful people make time to enjoy THOSE they love and doing WHAT they love outside of their business.
You can, in fact, work yourself to death. Success is not about a high profit company. Success is about being a whole person in ALL ways.
4. Successful People Have Overcome.
Every successful person I’ve met has a story. That story is usually not a positive one. Successful people have failed. Lost money. Lost marriages. Lost relationships with their kids. Lost their identity. Lost hope.
Yet, they’ve learned to overcome. Something happened where they were able flip the switch from flat on their face to rising to first place.
This makes success sweeter. Which is why:
5. Successful People Appreciate What They Have Even When They’re Striving for More.
6. Successful People Have LOTS of Energy.
After a full day of business and fun, I spent the next morning teaching speaking skills to a group of highly successful people. (I forgot to take a picture.) They fully encapsulate the habits and character traits I share.
Next, we were off to a lunch with successful person #15. (3-14 were in the speaking class.) Successful person #15 Esther Spina.
Here’s me ↓with Esther…I looked and felt rough.
I like this ↓ highly filtered picture better.
I will not share Esther’s age. Let me just say-it makes Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lopez look like child’s play. You would NEVER guess her age. Not only because of the way she looks-but because of her energy.
The very first potluck I ever went to with successful people was VERY different from the country church potlucks I grew up with. There were no “Ms. Fanny’s Baked Beans”, “Aunt Helen’s Butter Mac & Cheese”, or a slew of desserts topped with good ‘ol Cool Whip.
Instead, there was a variety of fruits, vegetables, salads, humus, fish (sushi), nuts, a little whiskey and wine and that about sums it up.
Successful people take care of their bodies through diet and exercise-not simply to look a part-but to keep their energy levels up. They know that diet and exercise affects their performance level just like an athlete.
Most successful people I know are avid runners, bicyclists, skiers, golfers, or travelers. (I know because I see their Facebook posts from my couch.) They do so to keep sharp, de-stress, and be at their best.
7. Successful People Are All About Relationships.
They say it’s “who you know” and there is truth to that. However, not in the way you may think.
Most successful people I’ve met have wanted to introduce me to someone they felt could help my business. Successful people are connectors.
Rarely, if ever, do successful people become successful completely on their own. They had mentors, teachers, etc., who helped guide them. They love doing the same for others.
It absolute thrills me when I get to connect people knowing they’re a great fit for each other’s businesses.
There is a HUGE difference between USING people to get ahead vs. VALUING relationships. (Key word: “value”.)
8. Successful People Are Givers.
The next morning my husband and I headed out to spend the day with successful people #’s 16 – A LOT. Including someone I deeply admire – THE Jeanne Robertson.
Jeanne was having a show in Denver.
My Husband and I ↓
Backstage with ↓ good friends AND Jeanne.
Scott Friedman (the successful nice guy in the yellow) had thrown Jeanne a birthday party the night before. Jeanne (as legend told) performed at her own birthday party and then proceeded to give advice on the speaking business to those who came to celebrate her. She is a giver.
Scott is a giver-he gave me the tickets to her show!
While backstage, Jeanne explained to us what stories she would share and why, and mentored/gave advice on her business. She did this up until they told her she HAD to get changed because the show was going to start.
Highly successful people give willingly and freely the wisdom they have learned through their own trials and success.
The two key elements that have brought me to a certain level of success is: 1. I have always valued and taken advice. 2. I’ve given back freely to whoever I could.
9. Successful People Are Positive Open-Minded Thinkers.
After the show, we went to dinner. I sat with a famous athlete, a New York Times best seller, and someone who runs a trophy worthy non-profit that does a whole lot of good in this world. I forgot to take a picture…
Casual conversation can be interesting between successful people. The two things that are consistently prevalent are positivity and an unusually amount of open-mindedness.
Successful people are open to new ways of thinking or doing. They also consistently believe the best is yet to come. Instead of concentrating on protecting what they have out of the belief someone is out to the get them. (i.e. the government, other businesses, people with different views in general) they focus on possibilities.
Conversations center around new business ideas, technologies, family, or goals for the upcoming year.
If controversial topics come up, such as the dreaded conversation/relationship killer-politics-there’s a genuine desire to hear from the other person’s point of view. I like this trait.
Then they strive to learn about it from others.
10. Success is a Lifestyle.
We’ve all heard of those who have won the lottery or received a huge settlement and then, sadly, a few years later have lost it. Perhaps this is because success appears to be a lifestyle not a place of arrival.
Age does not seem to dictate when a successful person ends their career. Rather it’s a time and place for new possibilities. I hear it over and over again in conversations with successful people. They’re starting new businesses, creating new goals, making shifts, but they have zero desire to quit living in the way they’ve lived. This doesn’t mean financially, this means in their day to day life.
Striving for improvement, consistently learning, trying new things, taking time for fun, valuing relationships, taking care of one’s body, navigating new challenges, being grateful, being open-minded, being a generous person are all lifestyle related. It has nothing to do with numbers.
Here’s the kicker:
Studies show the above character traits are key elements to becoming a happier person. These same traits also lower stress. By adopting the above, you have the potential of creating and running a successful business AND living a happier, less stressed, life. Who doesn’t want that?
If you choose to adopt the above traits and habits you’ll be the next successful person I’ll have the pleasure of being around. (You’ll have to remind me to take a selfie with you. I always forget.)
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker. She’s almost died a bunch. She loves to be hired for events, so….if you’ve got one-click HERE: