From self-knowledge to initiative and integrity, award-winning CNBC finance reporter Maria Bartiromo offers insights on the qualities that have helped some of the top leaders find internal and external success in her book, “The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.”
Her interviews with Bill Gates, Charles Schwab, Deepak Chopra, Bono, Goldie Hawn, Condoleezza Rice, and others helped her the identify what really matters in life, especially during hard times, she explains.
“You can’t always control the way you are judged by others, but you can live your life in such a way that you can look at yourself in the mirror and feel content,” Bartiromo insists. “I’ve learned that although the landscape of success changes from era to era, there are fundamental qualities that remain consistent, no matter what is happening in the outside world.”
Following are the 10 qualities that Bartiromo believes make for enduring success:
1. Self-Knowledge: Listen to your heart. “Without this, nothing else is possible. It’s the ability to define for yourself what shape your life will take, and how you will pursue success. Success is not an abstraction. It exists in the context of who you are, where you are, and what you love. It is tangible, but not necessarily monetary. It is a state of being content in your heart.”
2. Vision: Plant your dreams on solid ground. “Vision is the ability to look ahead and see possibility. It is the place where your dreams and your actions come together. Vision may seem like a lofty ideal, but its most important characteristic is focus. The shotgun approach to life and career almost never works. Vision involves looking at the world around you and asking, ‘What am I going to do about it? How am I going to use the precious gift of my one life?’ Without a focused vision, you’re just bouncing off walls.”
3. Initiative: Keep rattling the cage. “Successful people are always thinking about what they can do to move to the next level. Initiative is the drive to do it—to take the first step, and then the next step, and then the next step. You can’t sort of want it. You can’t sit around waiting for it. The great thing about initiative is that it’s free and available to everyone. It’s a matter of doing something instead of not doing something.”
4. Courage: Be bold, smart, and fair. Courage is the inner fortitude that allows you to overcome barriers and to step up and take a chance, even when it seems impossible. The most successful people I know embody the kind of bravery that makes others remark, ‘I can’t believe you did that.’ Courage means you’ll try something if you aren’t certain of the outcome, you’ll take a stand when others are running for cover, you’ll risk failure to get where you want to go. It’s deciding to live in a mindset of possibility instead of fear. It is manifested in everyday actions.”
5. Integrity: Do the right thing. Integrity means doing the right thing. I guarantee you’ll know it. You’ll feel it in your gut. Integrity means looking inside yourself. When you strip everything else away, what kind of person are you? When faced with an ethical dilemma, we all know in our hearts what’s the right thing to do. You can have money and not have integrity. You can have fame and not have integrity. You can have a corner office and not have integrity. But you can never have true success without integrity.”
6. Adaptability: Stay open to change. Adaptability is the opposite of complacency. The survivors are always those who can adapt. That’s been true since the beginning of time, and it’s certainly the case now. Technology has changed so many industries, including the media, with newspapers closing down and information exploding on the Web. The manufacturing sector is faltering as production and jobs are outsourced to cheaper locales. Millions of jobs have been lost, and people are wondering if they’ll ever be recovered. The answer lies in our ability to adapt to change—not to resist it, but to find the openings to new opportunities. There is no question that the people who are bet positioned to survive the financial crisis are those adept at shifting gears.”
7. Humility: Hold on to your humanity. “Some of the greatest people I know are also the most humble. Humility doesn’t mean being wishy-washy, or letting others run over you in their climb to the top. It’s merely the understanding that you’re human. People with humility are extremely appealing. Believe in yourself, but don’t think you’re the center of the universe.”
8. Endurance: Build your stamina. “Since success is fleeting, you can never count on keeping it once you have it. Success is a long march, and you need the tools to endure. Even if you are doing what you love, you can get burned out over time. Endurance requires pacing, discipline, and the ability to sacrifice short-term gains for long-term results. Endurance means measuring success, not as an ultimate goal at the end of the road, but as a daily act of life. The most successful people are those who know how to pave the road with incremental triumphs.”
9. Purpose: Know what matters. “We all have a vocation, which transcends the material factors of job, income, and lifestyle. Many people find they came late to the realization of what really mattered in their lives, and often are awakened by a crisis. Don’t wait for disaster to find your purpose. Deep down, we all long to live lives of meaning and fulfillment.”
10. Resilience: Get up and move on. “Life is a seesaw. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. In your heart of hearts, you know that success is fleeting. It’s possible to lose it all. But at times we see people coming back, almost as if they’re rising from the grave, and that inspires optimism.
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