What’s the secret of success? We’re all in search of this magic sauce.

8 To Be Great by Richard St. John

8 To Be Great by Richard St. John

Yesterday, I watched a TED talk, one of my favorite sites for intellectual stimulation, given by Richard St. John. He’s a passionate entrepreneur who founded the St. John Group. He’s experienced lots of success:

  • Achieved corporate success as ten-year member of scientific staff at Nortel’s R&D labs
  • Won highest awards in business communications. 
  • Became a millionaire.
  • Has a black belt in judo.
  • Cycled halfway around the world on a ten-speed bike.
  • Ran over 50 marathons on all seven continents.
  • Climbed two of the world’s seven summits.

In his speech at TED, “Success Is A Continuous Journey,” Richard described how he built a wonderful company, became an awful manager, bought a fast car, made a ton of cash, and was miserable. Then, everything went south.

Slowly but surely, he stopped paying attention to his customers. Eventually, customers reciprocated by taking their business to other firms. I always say, if they’re not talking to you, they’re talking to someone else.

Richard’s company went under, all of the employees went away, and he had to start from scratch. He was ecstatic! Especially about the fact, he didn’t have to manage people anymore. Richard said himself, he was a terrible manager.

Richard St. John got back to doing the thing he loves most. Working on innovative projects. It took seven for years for he and his partner to rebuild the company. In the end, they were in a stronger position then the first climb up the success ladder.

He wrote a book called “8 To Be Great – The 8 Traits Successful People Have In Common.” Richard’s findings took seven years and 500 interviews. I haven’t read the book yet, but here is Richard’s list:

  1. Passion
  2. Work
  3. Focus
  4. Persist
  5. Ideas
  6. Good
  7. Push
  8. Serve

When you look at Richard’s “8 To Be Great,” what’s your first thought? I don’t know about you, but I said to myself “Nothing new here.”

It’s not a matter of doing everything on the aforementioned list.

What matters is doing all eight consistently.

As an executive and leadership coach, I partner with clients on having number 3 be bigger and brighter on their radar screen. Focus. AKA the “F” word.

Focus is the most important because my clients lead very busy professional lives. They’re CEO’s, entrepreneurs, leaders, high potentials, or sales professionals. They’re simultaneously cooking a half dozen meals at the same time. Plus, they’ve got hundreds of ingredients and ideas they’re looking to whip up and serve.

Once the client has focus, they can zero in on the other 7.

As Richard St. John points out, the list of eight is a continuous journey. It’s never ending. The magic sauce?

Success is a do loop.

What do you think is the most important on the list and why?

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