This article is focused on SUCCESS, and how to achieve it in 2016 by modeling your attributes/behavior after the world’s most successful people.

My Dad jumped out of a plane at Normandy, and came back from World War II to be a shoe salesman at May Company. So although I never lacked for love, financially I started out at zero. No trust fund. No winning lottery ticket. No money. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to know hundreds of high net worth executives and entrepreneurs, which allowed me to observe the behavior that allowed them to climb the corporate ladder or build successful businesses. These are not MY tips and counsel; they come from observing hundreds of successful executives.  Hope you enjoy it!

Let’s define success. Health, family and friends top my personal list for happiness, however most of us would agree that financial comfort is important as well. Anyone that tells you money isn’t important…doesn’t have any. The intent of this article is NOT judge or criticize; simply to communicate the attributes and behaviors I observed in successful people.

The Secret is…HARD WORK – Let’s start with what you REALLY want to know, how to go from ordinary to extraordinary. How to go from comfortable to high net worth. If you don’t care, you can stop reading right now. Here is the SECRET to success: hard work. One in a million have rich parents. One in ten million hit the lottery. For the rest of us, the way to the top is HARD WORK. Contrary to popular belief, most millionaires are self-made. They did not inherit the money or win the lottery. Like me, they may have worked 60 hours a week while attending college at night, then worked 80 hours a week to build a successful business. And when you own the company, if you don’t sell…you don’t eat. So here is the GOOD news. As my Dad used to say, “Most people wouldn’t raise a lick at a snake that was biting them on the butt.” Most people these days want everything given to them. America is infected with an epidemic called “entitlement”. Don’t agree?  Consider that 48% of Americans are on the government dole. Not judging. Not criticizing. The reason I bring it up is because this is great news for those that want to achieve success. You only have to compete against 52% of the people. If you are willing to work hard and TRY, your opportunities are unlimited!

Successful People Spend Less Money Than They Make – Common sense, yes? They why is America plagued by bankruptcies and foreclosures? Did you see the movie The Big Short? During the housing crisis there were Strippers that owned five houses with no money down. No disrespect to Strippers, but does that seem silly to you? My day job is Headhunter to high end gaming and high tech executives. I commonly hear from $300,000 executives that were fired and are a week away from losing their house because they don’t have a dime in the bank. Successful executives keep a six to twelve month rainy day fund on hand in case of tough times. And more importantly, many pay CASH for everything. My Dad used to say, “Son, if you can’t pay cash, you can’t have one.” They may not pay cash for their house, but they put in a substantial down payment. No credit card debt. No car payments. You are welcome to disagree, but it has worked for me personally, and most of the high net worth people I know swear by this principle. Don’t spend money you don’t have!

Take Personal Responsibility for Your Actions and Choices – You are responsible for…YOU.  Here is another American epidemic: “Not my fault”.  It’s my boss’s fault, my company’s fault, my spouse’s fault, my parent’s fault, my dog’s veterinarians fault.  They are too busy blaming everyone around them for their lack of success.  Successful people take responsibility for their actions and choices. And that is all God gives us in life – the ability to make good and bad choices. If you make bad choices, there are consequences. You drink and drive; you might get a DUI. You buy things you can’t afford; you might go bankrupt.  Aren’t you tired of hearing people blame their situation on everyone around them? I interview a thousand executives every year. Do you know how many tell me they were fired? ZERO. Do you know how many actually DID get fired? Most of them. There are bad companies and bad bosses, however in the long-term, most people create their situations. And you will never move forward if you don’t start taking responsibility for your actions. YOU are responsible for YOU…own it!