20 Successful Habits I Learnt Working For 2 Billionaires (Part 2)

Dec 11, 2015 1 Min Read


In the previous article, we looked at general lessons I learnt working for billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Enver Yucel.

In Part 2, I provide deeper insights of successful habits – specifically for business-minded readers seeking to understand how extraordinarily successful people reach the top of their fields.

1. Recognise the value of simple ideas

Winfrey, Yucel, and most of the world’s billionaires became rich not from a complex idea, but from a very simple one. Sure, there are several billionaires who do something technical – like create complex hedge funds.

But, most of them figure out how to take something we all like to do, simplify it, and bring more value to the bottom line. So, the next time someone asks you to invest in a lemonade stand, don’t dismiss it so easily.

2. Be patiently impatient

Billionaires are aware that nothing happens overnight. 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 often what makes the difference between success and failure.

Think about Winfrey often beating a competing TV network to secure a coveted interview, or Yucel launching a school in a country before anyone else. One should never play with time.

3. Be gritty

Ask any 10 people to describe Winfrey and Yucel, and I bet words like “tenacious” and “relentless” would top the list. Billionaires don’t let obstacles or pitfalls keep them from achieving their goals.

Just because you fail 100 times, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed on the 101st try. The key is not just about 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 galvanise the support required to make things happen.

This concept was underscored in a recent interview I did with one of the world’s leading public speaking experts, Marshawn Evans. She said, “The more effectively you speak, the higher your chances of career success.”

5. Grow thick, armour-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 realise that they possessed an extraordinary layer of emotional resilience.

I recall when we filmed the opening scene of Lovetown U.S.A., a reality television series about finding true love (and Winfrey arrives on a Naval vessel), while thousands cheered on, 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 by Ronald S Burt in his research paper The Social Capital of Structural Holes.

Both Winfrey and Yucel possess tremendous bridging capital. They spend a disproportionate amount of their time gathering information from communities of people outside of their core circle of people (different age groups, social class, ethnicity, education level, careers, etc.) and they then share that information to their own community. This is where their power and ability to influence come from.

7. Over-communicate your message

It’s not just about speaking loudly, it’s about speaking often. I learnt this from my favourite professor at the illustrious McDonough School of Business.

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.

Watch Winfrey or Yucel closely when they speak for a short or extended period of time. Their format is always the same. They begin by first telling you what they’re going to tell you, then they tell you, and finally they summarise by telling you what you have just heard.

We live in a noisy landscape and repetition is necessary.

8. Learn to laugh at yourself

Most of us know from experience that having a sense of humour about things can make life a little easier. In fact, there’s science to back this up: being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and it might even improve your mood.

Humour has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience.

Reverend Susan Sparks says, “If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself. If you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.”

You can’t go more than two minutes in a conversation with either Winfrey or Yucel 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 Winfrey and Yucel aren’t necessarily great at many things, but they’re exceptionally good at (at least) one thing.

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 Winfrey and Yucel, that while they practise 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 organisations.

How are you putting these successful habits to work?

To read Part 1 of the article, please click here.

Paul C Brunson’s insights and unique understanding of relationships and personal development have made him a sought-after expert on self-actualisation and entrepreneurship, having appeared in over 180 major media outlets around the world. To keep updated, follow him on Twitter @PaulCBrunson. This article is copyrighted material that belongs to Paul C Brunson, 2013 and all rights are reserved. This article was originally published at www.paulcbrunson.com. For more Career Advice articles, click here. 

Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.

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Prethiba is passionate about impacting people through the written word. She believes that our lives are solely written by us, and thus the power to change for the better lies with us.

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