Gain An Edge
He arrived in the USA from Ireland with ninety-two dollars. He’s since founded a successful business training company and is a leading business expert. Brian Buffini shares his success formula in his new book, The Emigrant Edge: How to Make It Big in America.
Brian’s focus in on emigrants, but the success principles are universal. I recently asked him about his new book.
“The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” –William James
You outline the characteristics of successful emigrants and argue that these can be mastered by anyone seeking success. Tell us about your story. Is the approach different as an emigrant?
I’m Irish, and where I come from emigration is a very big deal. I moved to this great country as a nineteen-year-old with ninety-two dollars in my pocket, and now I’m a wealthy businessman. I’m the classic American rags-to-riches story. But I haven’t just acquired material wealth since I came here. I also possess a priceless internal fulfillment that no amount of money can buy. Why have I succeeded when people who are born and raised here haven’t? I believe I have the Emigrant Edge – a special mix of qualities that have given me a head start over native-born Americans. My life’s work has been dedicated to teaching people how to live the American Dream. I believe no matter where you’re from, you too can adopt these traits in your own life and attain success beyond your wildest dreams. I hope my new book THE EMIGRANT EDGE will help people live the American Dream.
7 Traits of Success from Brian Buffini
- A voracious desire to learn.
- A do whatever it takes mind-set
- A willingness to outwork others
- A heartfelt spirit of gratitude
- A boldness to invest
- A commitment to delay gratification
- An appreciation of where they came from
Turn off the TV and turn on learning
It is easy to lose yourself in mindless TV or spend hours on social media. However, you need to stay focused on things that help you grow. You need to upgrade your input – and that includes what you read, watch, and listen to. Continuing professional development is also vital. You need to invest in your learning. If you lack the skills needed for today’s market, the market will quickly render you redundant. Part of the secret is finding accountability partners – it could be a good friend, a mentor, or a coach – to help you stay focused and reach out of your comfort zone. Finally, you need to apply what you have learned. Listening is never enough – you must apply the teaching if you want your life to change.
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” –Bill Bradley
How can people develop a Do-Whatever-It-Takes Mindset?
This is one of the key traits for success that I write about in THE EMIGRANT EDGE. Having a do-whatever-it-takes mindset is important, but unless you also have a solid action plan based on a set of written goals, you’ll get nowhere. You need to set short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. This creates three advantages: it clarifies what you really want, creates objectives on which to focus your energy, and – when you encounter challenges or obstacles – acts like a lighthouse in the storm guiding you safely to shore. When you know what you should be focusing on, then you can be relentless in your pursuit of your objectives.
“Everywhere immigrants have enriches and strengthens the fabric of American life.” –John F. Kennedy
Develop a willingness to outwork others
A pure love of working, and outworking others is a critical component of your success formula. Is this something that can be taught or acquired, or is it something you’re born with?
A willingness to outwork others is something that can be learned, but it requires having the discipline to be consistent, the ambition to become exceptional, and the intelligence to leverage the rest-run cycle. When you are consistent in your dealings with clients and customers, they learn they can rely on you. Once you’ve done that, then you want to wow people by being exceptional. Finally, in the midst of going as hard and as fast as you can, you need to recuperate and recharge so you can consistently perform at top capacity.
Appreciate those closest to you
What’s the role of gratitude?
For people who have gratitude, it colors their attitude to everything and gives them an edge in business and life. You need to appreciate those closest to you and let them know. We must concentrate on being thankful for the small things – for they are actually the big things. It means noticing when people do things right and deeply and sincerely thanking them – whether they go out of their way or just do a good job. This also means taking the time to write a note of thanks. Personal notes expressing gratitude have incredible power. In this high-tech, social-media-driven world, personal notes are even more powerful and better received than ever before. You never know what a word of gratitude or appreciation will do for the recipient.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” –Brian Tracy
You talk about boldness to invest. Some call it being “all-in.” How is it key to an entrepreneurial mind-set and how does it fuel success?
When I talk about acquiring the boldness to invest, I’m talking about investing in growth for your future. If you want to thrive, you need to sow the seeds of self-development. Over the years we’ve had many guests speak at our live events – and time and time again their message shores up the philosophy that if you want to take your business to the next level, you must adopt a mindset for growth and a commitment to personal development. You need to overcome your fears, find discipline and motivation, lean on the support of others, and have self-awareness – to discover who you are and who you want to be. If you do these things, you will find your purpose, you will get inspired, and you will start living the life you want to live. We often look at others and wonder how they got to where they are so quickly, but their so-called overnight success was actually the result of years of unseen work. That’s why you need to “tend to the tree.” Life just isn’t that straightforward. You need to be steadfast and persistent, even when you’re not seeing results. Developing your roots will make you stronger in the long run. Doing so can result in phenomenal growth.
“Do everything with character and integrity and practice persistent consistency in everything you do.” –Tom Ziglar
Learn to delay gratification
Delayed gratification. I love this one and talk about this often to young people. It’s not something that we in our “right now” society are used to anymore. How do you cultivate this?
Most of us are naturally wired to want to do what is fun and easy in life. However, the inability to delay gratification is one of the main causes of economic and personal failure in life. I understand that saying no doesn’t come naturally and denying yourself pleasure is hard. But if you always say yes to life’s shortcuts, then you never get the big payoff down the road. One of the best ways that I’ve found to keep myself in check is to just say no, then smile. It’s very simple but extremely effective because people don’t take offense and you stay in control. Once you start, it gets easier. When you are in high school, all you want to do is fit in with your peers. However, you then need to learn how to swim against the stream. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, for example, when eating out you can’t automatically go for the sugary, fatty foods. The good news is, when you swim against the stream, you develop muscles, you build strength, and you become healthier and stronger than ever.
Talk about the link between humility and success and why we must appreciate our roots.
Remembering where you came from gives you perspective, reminds you to be grateful, and keeps you humble. In this culture of celebrity, it’s not easy to stay grounded. But when you come from nothing, staying grounded is absolutely vital to maintaining your very identity. Most of us have a natural interest in our family’s past. I believe it’s very important to research your genealogy. It’s one thing to know your family’s roots. It’s another to actually do something with this information. What lessons can you learn from your predecessors? Some of them may have made mistakes or taken wrong turns, but what are the strengths that have been passed down to you through the generations? What qualities of grit and determination are reflected in you now? Knowing someone in your bloodline once had resilience, drive, and ambition can unleash inspiration and drive in you today, both grounding and empowering you.
“If you want to thrive, you need to sow the seeds of self-development.” -Brian Buffini
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For more information, see The Emigrant Edge:How to Make It Big in America.