I’m fascinated by people who have succeeded. What was their path? Did it come easy for them? Did they lose it all before making it all back? Had they been in the same situation(s) that I have found myself? What are their patterns? How can I learn from them? How can I share the information they share with me?

So few months ago I started my “Success Series.” I’ve been interviewing the most successful people I know. I’m also pulling together their wisdom, and including it all in my next book. Stay tuned.

Here are 9 Powerful lessons they’ve taught me.

Lesson #1 Keep it Simple 

Dave Kerpen

Dave Kerpen

Chris Dessi: Dave, currently as I write this, your most popular post on Linkedin has over 2.7million views. What is it about your writing that you feel resonates with the Linkedin community?

Dave Kerpen: I try to write simply and concisely, and I like to tell stories. If my kids can read a LinkedIn post of mine, that’s a good thing.

Lesson # 2 Failure is Not a Sin

Jim Treacy

James Treacy, former chief operating officer of recruitment services giant Monster Worldwide Inc. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Chris Dessi: I have two young daughters. What advice can you give them that if I share this with them in 10 years you think will translate to their success?

Jim Treacy: Failure is not a sin; failing due to lack of preparation or effort is. Whatever you want in life, whatever challenge you take on, give it everything you’ve got. If you know you couldn’t have prepared any harder, given an ounce more energy in the drive to the goal, you’ll be fine. In fact, that maximum effort, more often than not, will generate success. On the odd occasion where you truly prepared, gave top effort and still failed I guarantee a valuable life lesson will reveal itself. It’ll sting but, if you embrace it, you’ll become smarter and stronger for the next challenge.

Lesson # 3 Put in Your 10,000 Hours

Jeffrey Hayzlett

Jeffrey Hayzlett

Chris Dessi: What advice can you give my readers who want to be successful public speakers like yourself?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: The biggest free advice I can give is to practice, practice, practice. This can be applied to any job, task or profession. My second piece of advice is to watch those who are the very best at their craft. Not to steal their ideas, if you’re stealing ideas you’re only cheating yourself, but to learn how the masters work. I was recently inducted into the speaker’s Hall of Fame and I am now listed among some of the greatest speakers in the world. I grew up watching and learning from those speakers. My last piece of advice is to be genuine. You can tell a great and authentic speaker because it just oozes out of every word, every movement, every story and that’s what helps make them great. Being in business can be tough.

Lesson # 4 Nobody is Perfect.

Chris Dessi success Dr. Raj

Dr. Roshini Raj

Chris Dessi:  At first blush you seem to have it all.  Loving family, new business, thriving medical practice, a book, and you’re regularly on the most popular television shows. What has that journey been like? We know the highs – but tell me about the lows – where there bumps along the way?

Roshini Raj MD: Nobody’s life is perfect. We all have lows and challenges. I think being raised as a Buddhist has really helped me cope with those challenges. In Buddhism we acknowledge that life is full of suffering – whether it is illness, death, a break up, divorce. Once you accept that some lows are inevitable you learn to cope with them and focus on what is positive in your life. And I am very grateful that I have so many wonderful things in my life to focus on.

Lesson #5 Get Introspective

Chris Guerrero CrossFit

Chris Guerrero

Chris Dessi: What can you point to as your best habits that have led to the success of your business?

Chris Guerrero: Discipline, work ethic, and self reflection. The discipline to get stuff done no matter how tired I am. The work ethic to understand that being lazy will only affect me and my bottom line. I know I have to be a go getter. Finally, realizing that I have a staff of people that are much better than me at certain things, and not being scared to admit it and use them where they are strong.

Lesson # 6 Be Yourself!

Rosanna Scotto

Rosanna Scotto

Chris Dessi: More than anyone I’ve seen on TV (other than your co-host Greg Kelly) people who see you on TV get the sense that they know you. You have a way of fully being yourself on air. Many are drawn to you. Does that come naturally to you? Or did you learn that somewhere along the line?  What I mean is – when did you first say, “I just need to be myself” and this whole thing will click.

Rosanna Scotto: My bosses always told me to be myself. That is actually one of the hardest things to do. It took me years to be comfortable with myself, and to be willing to show the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was afraid to make mistakes and afraid to really let the Brooklyn accent come through. It wasn’t until I let loose did I actually see a change in the way people respond to me on the street. They like that I’m not perfect. Thank GOD!

Lesson #7 Create Your Own Reality

Oren Klaff

Oren Klaff

Chris Dessi: Right – they skip steps. In the book you touch on it but you don’t go to those steps. Is that why you have the webinars? Or is there a followup book in the works –  with tactical steps?

Oren Klaff: No, no. So here’s the thing: the book is my vision. It’s like that scene in The Matrix with the key maker – you open one door and it’s an ice landscape. Close it and open it again, and it’s like a summer spring mountain Germany castle view. Close it and open it again, and it’s an interstellar night sky. The job of the book is to let you know that there’s a matrix out there. That 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.

Before, you could say, (meekly) “Hey, thank you so much for having me here at your business; I’m so excited to present you our material today. I hope you choose us as your vendor and if you do I’ll work extra hard and the customers are always right and we’ll bend over backwards to make you happy. Here’s my pager number, here’s my cell phone, here’s my fax machine. I’ll always be available all week and just choose us and we will do whatever it takes to make you happy.”

That’s sort of how people believe you should behave in front to of a buyer. So, if you open this door to the matrix and believe that, (confidently) “Hey guys, can you get the boss in here cause it’s time to roll. I’m super busy and I have to get somewhere else in an hour from now. We have a lot to cover; grab your guys, I have my guys, lets roll. I got an agenda. Let’s go through it,” is the only thing you can say.

Lesson #8 Seek Out a Mentor

Lew Leone

Lew Leone

Chris Dessi: Is this always what you wanted to do? If so, who did you want to emulate? Did you have a mentor?

Lew Leone: When I started at WABC-TV in 1985 I thought it would be pretty cool to be the GM of a New York City TV Station but since by definition there are only a handful of those jobs I knew it would be a longshot. Throughout my career I’ve had many different opportunities but somehow I kept getting pulled back to local television. Dennis Swanson was clearly one of the all-time great TV Station General Managers. He is the guy who put WLS-TV the ABC owned station in Chicago on the map by launching Oprah Winfrey’s career and playing Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in the prime access time period. He followed that up by taking WNBC to the number one position in New York. Dennis is well known for his integrity, work ethic, tenacity and desire to win. He values loyalty and family. He has been a great mentor to me.

Lesson #9 Understand What REAL Success Is

Chris Maloney

Chris Maloney

Chris Dessi: You’ve seen military success. Now business success. What do you consider your biggest success thus far? What else do you want to do?

Chris Maloney: Biggest success was playing a small part in helping everyone in our company (Kilo Company, 3rdBattalion 7th Marines) come home alive from Afghanistan in 2010. We were blessed with some incredible leadership and some very aggressive, but smart, Marines and Sailors.

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My name is Chris Dessi. I’m the founder and CEO of Silverback Social.  I’m also the founder of the Westchester Digital Summit, and the author of Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything and How You Need to Change With It.  

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@chrisdessi

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24 Ways Ordinary People Have Achieved Extraordinary Success