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Habits of Successful People: Five Traits We Can Model from Millionaires

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Working with high-net worth families, aspiring millionaires and multitudes of successful people, I have had the rare opportunity to ride shotgun taking notes and discovering what makes them who there are.  The amazing guests and experts we have on Money Smart Radio are no different and therefore display many of the similar habits discussed below, if not more.

Growing up in a typical middle-class family in America had not developed me to think and act as a millionaire would.  It wasn’t until I entered the business world, invested in personal coaching and seeking the right mentorship networks, to realize that I was standing in my own way.

There were certain traits, or habits, that highly successful people displayed that I later learned to model and change within my own behavior.  After all, we are creatures of our morning rituals and daily disciplines.  (Or lack of it!)

I have noticed at least ten habits while observing, negotiating, interacting and meeting with millionaires.  I have practiced these habits and began to implement them in my own circumstances.  Over time, it has turned my life around.

My friends, family and colleagues have noticed the differences in the way I approach important meetings, business-building workshops and new joint-venture relationships.

Here we go:

1) Come Early and Stay Late – This one was a difficult one for me.  In Filipino culture, it was called showing up to meetings and starting them on FPT = Filipino People Time.  In other words, due to everyone being late anyway, it was excusable to start later than expected.  Somehow it was thought to be  “fashionable” in being late as somehow people that you got more attention as you walked in apart from everyone else.  Over time, many who are not accustomed to this find it rude that another person cannot honor the time set aside to discuss matters at hand.  Tardiness shows the other party that you did not find this meeting or event important enough.  Coming early allows time to shake hands and build a rapport with the people you will be discussing important matters with.

After important meetings or workshops,  most people will shoot out the door.  However, the quick discussions most people miss right after events or important meetings are some of the most fruitful conversations.  You are able to either agree or surmise the other person’s point of view so that you may prepare for a follow up discussion.  People that leave meetings early lose out on highly beneficial discussions that ultimately lead to successful ventures.  The 5-10 minutes after an event or meeting is where highly successful people can “connect” emotionally and logically with others who can compliment their point of view and cultivate meaningful relationships.

2) Sit Up Front – When I was in school, it was the “cool” kids who sat in the back.  It was a show of independence or rebellion   against “the man”.  This is where most kids either fell asleep in class, shot spitballs at each other or played Tetris on their Nintendo Gameboys (okay, I just dated myself).

My son learning from "The Rookie" - in FRONT!

My son learning from, Jim Morris, whose story is portrayed in the blockbuster movie "The Rookie"

But this isn’t high school anymore.  Business meetings and attending big events are the entrepreneur’s time to shine.  The biggest distraction one can face in a meeting or event, comes from sitting in the back row.  Sitting there, tempts you to losing focus.  You notice people going to the bathroom, getting  up to fill up their coffee mugs or messing with their Blackberry checking email.

In a military formation, leaders are posted up front because that is where they set the example and be the first to approach an important undertaking that motivates subordinates.

For me, it took a conscious decision and working an under-developed muscle to approach the front row or sit closest next to the speaker.  The way I looked at it, was that if I was going to invest a minute of my time, I wanted to be completely focused and therefore connect with who is leading the discussions.

What I discovered by sitting in the front row, is that those who sat up there were just as intent and hungry to succeed as I was.  I experienced different conversations up there than from when I was sitting in back.

3) Make Eye Contact – Nothing tells me more when meeting someone new for the very first time.  It is not only the firmness of their grip, but their ability to look me straight in the eye.  Think about it, when you are deeply passionate, find yourself in an argument or watching the final 60 seconds of a tied up game, your eyes are glued to whatever it is you are paying attention to.

Give the person you are meeting the courtesy of paying attention to what they are saying, fully engaging in the words coming out of their mouth and establishing meaningful rapport and dialogue.  People who have shifty eyes and distracted by other people coming into their field of vision, to me, lack focus and show in their first impression that they will tend to lack the diligence to carry out any task at hand.

I remember our Drill Instructors Sergeant Lewellen and Rosado guiding us with these words of wisdom during our final uniform inspection before graduation. “Answer the questions of the inspecting Battalion Commander with a deep commanding voice and look at him straight in the eyes.  Impress upon him that there is nothing they can do to strip you of the last thirteen weeks of your life in earning the title of United States Marine!”

Don’t let someone else eat your lunch.  If you are continuing to read this, it is because you know that your life is a blessing to others and has a purpose to be fulfilled.

4) Talk Louder – Don’t talk under your breath.  Speak out loud in addressing someone with confidence.  It is not what you have to say, it is how you say it.

Understand that I didn’t say SHOUT.   When you speak from the belly, or the diaphragm, you are able to take a full breath so that during those few seconds you are able to gather your thoughts.

When engaging in conversation, seek to understand the other person, then seek to be understood by them.  Hearing your own voice sound confidently will get the attention of others, attract the right people to you and continue building up your leadership ability.

5) Walk 25% Faster – Put some “pep” in that step!  Walking a little bit faster not only gets you to where you need to be quicker, but communicates that you have somewhere to be and something to do.

Personally, I can’t stand it when someone wants to speak with me and walks at a pace that makes me slows down.  It is also inconsiderate.   “Walk like you have a purpose!” says John Pham, one of the first CEOs I had the pleasure of working under.

One of my friends asks me if this is NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programming).  I am not sure, sounds a little too fancy for me.  What I know is that the mind, the internal communication we have with our selves (known as “self-talk”)  carry over into our physical performance.

Think About This

The way I look at it…if you look good…you feel good.  If you feel good…you DO good.  And my friends…that’s ALL GOOD!

Here’s the cool part.  If we are not happy with our existing circumstances, whether in our personal relationships, our economic or financial situation, we have the power to change.  And the first area to start is discovering our existing habits!

If you change your habits…your change your life!  For an example of this in action, listen to the guests we have on Money Smart Radio.  There is a unique difference in their voices than most…you can hear it!

Ok, come back to Money Smart Radio for the next five traits that we can model from millionaires, in a future blog post !  In the meantime, please post your own successful traits!

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AFaquir says:

    I agree with 1-4. I use all of them and look for all of them in others. I disagree with 5. It may be my slow paced Southern upbringing, but walking fast like you have somewhere to be or something to do is a little too “fake it to make it” for my liking. I don’t disagree that if you are walking with a boss or someone like that, you walk at their pace, but the rest of the time walk at your own. To me walking slower shows a more in control sense of self and leadership. If my boss was always flying around the office, I would look at him like he wasn’t on top of his stuff. That’s just this mans feelings about it though.

  2. LOL @AFaquir! I appreciate your viewpoint and opinion…thanks for stopping by! I love the “it may be my slow paced Southern upbringing…”…that was great. Come back again for my next five habits of millionaires, I ‘ll post ’em soon!

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