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Characteristics of Successful People

Lately I have been thinking a lot  about my life and where I want to be in it. There are a lot of things that I want to accomplish in my life, and although I have accomplished a great deal of those things, there is still more that I want to do. Chief among them, I still want to own my own media entertainment company. I have been asking myself lately, how can I make it happen? What do I need to do to get where I want to be and create the kind of life that I want?

I look at the people whom I consider my mentors within the industry and try to analyze their characteristics in an effort to deconstruct how they got to where they are. My five mentors are: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton, and Prince. The biggest things that they have in common are that they all are in complete control of everything that they do and they all run highly successful media companies that not only entertain, but that provide food for thought as well.

How did they get to that point? What do they have within them that got them to where they are?

Some of the things that I have theorized are:

1. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I am a hard worker and dedicated to whatever it is that I am doing. So much so, that I often put my own personal needs on the back burner to ensure that my job gets done and the people who depend on me get what they need from me.

2. It takes creativity. I have a lot of good ideas and creativity, I just don't have a good way to implement everything that I keep in my head at the moment.

3. It takes ambition. I have that in spades. I want to be hugely successful. My biggest competitor has always been myself. I approach each new task with an attitude that it will be 1000 times better than the task that came before it.

4. It takes time. This one I am running out of patience with. I already feel like I have wasted too many years and I am still not where I want to be in my life. I am tired of waiting. I am ready to share myself with the world. I am tired of feeling like I have wasted all of the gifts and ideas that I have

Now, I am opening this up to you, the folks on my friends list and anybody else who might find this. Help me out with this. Give me some things to think about. Particularly, I want to know what YOU think are the characteristics of a successful leader. What do the people who are at the top of their fields do to get themselves there, and how do they stay on top once they have reached it?

I'm listening.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
A leader is a good listener.

Leaders may be confident and ambitious about their goals, but a leader needs someone to lead. People are far more loyal to those who treat them like they matter.

A leader is decisive.

While a leader listens, s/he doesn't have to go along with everything everyone says. When given multiple points of view, a leader makes the ultimate decision confidently and directly, and moves forward. Deliberation should not be endless.

A leader gives credit where credit is due, and shares the wealth.

A leader leads a team. The five mentors you have named are certainly well-known, and we don't know, necessarily, who their support teams are. But those individuals are known in their industries, and they've made a lot of money by being associated with successful projects.

A leader - or successful person - knows how to invest in other projects and be charitable.

We know each of these mentors of yours for their own projects, but they wouldn't have the wealth and indulgence they enjoy if they didn't invest their money wisely. Spielberg started Dreamworks SKG, Lucas has Industrial Light & Magic, Oprah has Harpo, her magazine, and the Oxygen Network, and Prince and Dolly Parton have both written and produced songs and albums for other artists. They also give back to their communities, from education to community centers to the Holocaust Museum.

And keep in mind about #4 - time. Robert Loggia did not start acting professionally until he was 38, and some of our favorite and successful character actors were even older. All of your mentors may not have started when they were of significant age, but they all worked for someone else until they amassed enough of their own resources and contacts and reputation to strike out on their own. It was about love of the work and love of the art first, and they just happened to amass a fortune out of it.
Apr. 27th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Good things to remember. Especially the points about love of the work and art. I'm afraid that over the years, I have let some of my passion for film slowly die. I still love it, but it is not as easy for me to write stuff as it once was.

Thanks for the input.
Apr. 26th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
I wish I knew. I think I am a leader. The only problem is the people you mention is the difference in generations. I think it was a lot easier for those people to stand out a long time ago. Now, not so much. That's just my opinion though.
Apr. 27th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
That's a good point about the difference in generations. These days everybody and their grandmother is a "celebrity" whether they deserve it or have worked for it or not.


Apr. 27th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
Well, take Anderson Cooper, for example. I'm sure he's intelligent. Yes, he went to Yale and is on CNN. But if his mother wasn't a Vanderbilt, would he have had any of that? No one can work their way up from the bottom anymore.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )