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

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!

Like this post? Join my community to receive updates on the best content of this blog.

About Paul C. Brunson
I'm a husband, father, mentor, and mentee. The host of a weekly syndicated TV show, founder of an award winning matchmaking agency, CEO & Co-Founder of a tech startup, and advisor to several companies. If you couldn't tell from all my jobs, I'm Jamaican. No really, I'm Jamaican :)
191 comments
azme
azme

great elobration.. i like to expand the findings

Brian McLaughlin
Brian McLaughlin

I posted a comment that was not in the mainstream of adoration.  It was not enabled and you will not see it here; apparently my adult take on the article was edited out, since it didn't reflect abject collusion.  Are the rules, 'agree or be silenced.'?

Business Birth
Business Birth

Paul, young man, what is the #1 reason for your success?  There are thousands of people who are as educated as you and who have achieved much less.  Yes, Oprah and Enver are billionaires in dollars, but the three of you are equals in personal wealth.  Your 20 successful habits listed are outstanding but for me, the more interesting story is how this young man from Jamaica developed such personal personality that these billionaires not only hired you they vacationed and dined with you.  As a 57-year-old who helps minority entrepreneurs start their businesses, a conversation with my clients about the success of Oprah and Enver would be extremely helpful and a study of Paul C. Brunson would be extraordinary.      


In fact, we are working the next issue of our Urban Genius Magazine - a magazine about tech entrepreneurs.  You are about winning. You are about winning.  Can we include a story about you - contact us at lioncoe@hotmail.com.  


Kenneth Coe

CEO

Business Birth, The Urban Genius Foundation



solowealth
solowealth

Great lessons. Thanks for sharing.

Jeanette
Jeanette

Great Article, well written and great insight. Thank you for sharing!!!

Jacquelyn Thompson
Jacquelyn Thompson

I loved everything you wrote!  My heart and soul is in agreement with #20. I noticed that it was at the bottom of the list, but in essence, should have been first. First things first.....My higher power is God! I realized some people do not believe in communicating with their higher power, nevertheless, we are all here on this planet to love and to serve others. Not one person can accomplish his or her dreams alone. Therefore, I need you, and you need me. If you are my crutch, so be it. If God is my crutch, God bless me! Thank you for sharing your amazing stories.


Dr. J

Lisa
Lisa

Glad to see the pushback at #20. Belief in oneself does away with the crutch of relying on a "higher power." 

Mary Turner RN
Mary Turner RN

Your article was precise and concise.  It held my attention and I learned some new things while at the same time refreshed my memory on others.  Thank you for sharing!

Sir Marcus
Sir Marcus

Thank you for your valuable share of personal experiences, which will help many to grow and shape their lives for a better, brighter, stronger future.

John Flores
John Flores

People like you makes this world a better place. Thanks for the inspiration!

RelebohileLebata
RelebohileLebata

This is really inspiring, I have read both part 1 and 2. I have hope! A year ago I started my baking business, its been an interesting experience...I can definitely say it has become one of the best years in my 28 years of existence lol! Having read this, I am able to see what I need to improve on...there has been a lot of praying, crying, listening, reading and laughing along this journey....but I can honestly say despite the challenges here and there, in am having joy in baking....and this article has given me the motivation to push forward! Thank so much!


Lebo,South Africa

Fahra
Fahra

" Dreams don't work unless you do"  "be damn good (at least) in one thing" favorite quotes :)

Nordia Burte
Nordia Burte

Thanks for your articles. I am awaken by many points that I came across as I already have these traits never really took them seriously until I read 2 of your articles. Thanks I have written down each tips and will utilize them to build me and my business of course I am open to more tips as I intend and expect to grow a successful business.

M SUMAR
M SUMAR

Thank you for sharing , We all have a long way to go and am sure that the knowledge you parted with us is going to be very 

useful.

Thank you once again ...

CHRISDABAHIA4
CHRISDABAHIA4

Apart from the last one, very good points. If you have all 19, why on Earth would you need a 'higher power'. No thanks. Unnecessary.

GeraldineRamirezCarelse
GeraldineRamirezCarelse

Amazing. Thanks for sharing this information and take us to another level to be able to see the big picture.

chosenroyal
chosenroyal

Paul, I'm waiting for the next article in your writings! They are very informative. Keep them coming. Keep on sharing your wealth of knowledge and you will keep growing up the ladder of wisdom and knowledge! Thank you!

Nnamdi
Nnamdi

I enjoyed your articles and I am persuaded to believe that whoever understands the information you have passed on in the two articles has nobody to blame than himself if he bungles his life and opportunities that come his way.


Thanks for a very good article and wonderful information shared.

carolyn
carolyn

It is great and very effective information, so inspirational. Thank you

Joseph Nwawuba
Joseph Nwawuba

i find your article very interesting and am willing to learn from you if only you could give me time because i like learning no matter who is it coming as longer there is sense in it. 

Imen
Imen

WAW! What an amazing experience you have! This is so inspiring! Thank you


Blaiser8
Blaiser8

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! What a privilege and an amazing experience it must have been working for these two people and learning from them. Priceless! 

McKelleKellzBarksdale
McKelleKellzBarksdale

As an aspiring comedian I found this article extremely enlightening. Constantly trying to be better than yesterday and investing investing thyself/work is what we must strive for.

ViSpaMassage
ViSpaMassage

Hi,


This was a great article. As a self-employed business owner this is information that I need. Development of myself will help to create a successful business owner that I aspire to be. I have learned in my first year as as self employed business owner is that mistakes are common place. It's how we respond to is what makes us grow. I look forward to expounding more on the 20 Successful Habits.

Claude Richard Michel
Claude Richard Michel

Im putting these things to work daily like for one example i use my time effectively daily and ive spent at least Ten years of building myself a Financial foundation which im very happy about.

ranjanjena_ppc
ranjanjena_ppc

Hi Paul,


Thanks Much for this Great Sharing. There is a say, " It's important many times to learn from other mistakes, so that you won't waste the same time learning from your own mistakes." So all your experience and points meant the same to me, and I learned a lot. Esp., a point that is very much connected to my life; 

Be Great at One Thing, First

Abimbola1
Abimbola1

I enjoyed this article. Normally i would skip through, but I read this one. Thanks for writing it. 

dglavas111
dglavas111

Great article, I found myself reading and realizing a voice inside whispering on all of the missed opportunities. From today, adapting a new way of thinking and never reject small opportunities for growth. 

DannielleHolloway
DannielleHolloway

Very insightful information, I am currently on my path of greatness and knowledge is key and I will apply this knowledge in my journey. Thank you!!

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.