Chris Dessi

I’ve spent the past two years speaking to the most insanely successful people I know. I didn’t just speak  to them. I grilled them about their habits.  I asked them about what has made them so successful.  I turned those interviews into a book. 

Here are thirteen things I learned by writing my book that insanely successful people do every single day.

1. They create their own luck.

Chris Maloney, a former Marine Co-Founder at CauseEngine, Pilot at Marine Corps Reserve. Told me that “If you care enough about something or somebody you’ll find the right opportunity and make luck happen.”

2. They focus on results.

Successful people don’t have time to sugar coat things. They’re all about efficiencies and production. Jim Treacy former COO of Monster Worldwide told me “I speak my mind, sugar-coat nothing and let the chips fall where they may.”

3. They think about how they can help everyone they meet.

When I asked Lew Leone, VP & General Manager at WNYW/WWOR-TV about what he felt his legacy would be he shared that “I think I’ve been able to connect with the community through interaction with many diverse groups. I feel that I always try to help whoever asks.”

4. They trade short term gratification for long term payoff.

Jeffrey Hayzlett former CMO of Eastman Kodak shared with me that “It’s not the lucky who win, but the relentless that succeed in the end.” adding “Never be afraid of hard times, because in your career you’ll face numerous hard times. The key is to realize what’s coming and always be ready to handle the toughest situations. That way when times are good you will succeed faster.”

5. They never mistake being busy for being productive.

When I asked former Marine Chris Maloney about his break-neck work ethic and if it hindered the quality of his work he added “When I find work quality degrading, I know it’s time to stop, re-prioritize, and cut whatever excess exists – then re-attack.” But Chris is always on the attack. That’s the difference maker.

6. They create their own reality.

Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything told me “the world as you know it is not fixed and full of boundaries in the way that you think it is. You can say things and do things, and there are ways to change people’s behaviors that you never thought was were possible.”

7. They never do what they feel like doing – they do what needs to be done.

When I asked Jeffrey Hayzlett former CMO of Eastman Kodak and author of Think Big, Act Bigger if he was a natural born orator, he spoke about how hard he works at his craft. Saying “it’s called hard work because it’s hard.”

8. They never, ever complain.

Dennis Simmons,  CEO at WASC HOLDING LLC told me that his grandson Reese lives with Cerebral Palsy. Adding “No matter what the situation, no matter what he does, there are no obstacles to him. His every action no matter what he chooses to do he is so damn positive, you look at yourself in a mirror on a bad day and say, what do I have to complain about?”

9. They don’t worry about failing, and focus on doing.

Jim Treacy former President & COO of Monster Worldwide told me “Failure is not a sin; failing due to lack of preparation or effort is.”

10. They take care of their health. Sleep, exercise, meditate.

Ray Sanseverino Chair of Real Estate at law firm Loeb & Loeb, LLP. told me ” I wake about 6:30am in order to swim laps in my pool (from May to October) or to work out on my Elliptical machine before going to work. I do not meditate, but I do pray.”

11. They listen actively.

John Dokes, Global Chief Marketing Officer – AccuWeather Inc. & GM AccuWeather Network says that “When I’m at my best I’m listening to the people and breathing in the situation to put myself in position to make the decision or give the best advice I can give to inform the decision.”

12. They love what they do.

Russ Adler, owner of Law Offices of Russell E. Adler PLLC told me that “To be truly successful at something, you have to love it. Continuing  “I see wealthy people who are miserable, so that’s not success in my view.”

13. They believe in themselves.

Todd Marks CEO of Mindgrub believes in himself. But he’s also cautiously optimistic. He recognizes “The current disruptions I see are health tech, the gamification of learning, hyper local location, wayfinding, location-based messaging, and virtual reality.” But added that  “When you’re climbing a cliff, you want to always use a safety rope. So when you’re jumping on one of these disruptions, it’s an opportunity that you want to come into safely and at the right time. Venture into a disruption, but make sure you’re not getting in too early too fast, and you’re not overspending in the market too early.”

Wrapping it all up.

At the end of the day you need to find your own rhythm. Emulating those have been successful before you is great, but only up to a point.

What works for one, may not work for another. Let these habits sink in, think about them each and see what works for you.
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This article was originally published in my column for INC.com

Hi, my name is Chris Dessi. I’m CEO of Silverback Social. I’m also author of the book Remarkable You: Build a Personal Brand and Take Charge of Your Career

If you’d like the first chapter of Remarkable You for free, just head here. 

“I’ve known Chris for a long time and adore his work ethic, standards and passion… I am sure if you are lucky enough to get to know him through this book you will agree.”

 Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO Vayner Media and NYT Bestselling author

“The definitive book on personal brand building that everyone is talking about. Two huge likeable thumbs up!” 

Dave Kerpen, NYT Bestselling Author of The Art of People

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