To a packed room last night at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper East side I spoke about The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, why I was donating all royalties that night to this well deserving charity as well as my book, “Opportunity Knocking”. I love taking questions from the audience after because its a way of getting instant feedback on my presentation. Two questions in particular struck a chord with me. The first came from a high school senior who had a stack of trig books next to him. He asked what is the one weakness I see in leaders that take them down. Without hesitating, I said, “Arrogance”. When you start believing in your own hype and you think you are all that you will go down. Arrogance can cloud your judgement. You need to be humble. Never forget where you came from. All the successful employees, entrepreneurs, CEOs and billionaires I know have humility. They all give back. In fact, here’s a page from my notebooks in Opportunity Knocking where you will see that theme is throughout:
(copyright Lori Ann LaRocco)
A Page from My Notebook: David Rubenstein
Words to Live By
Hard work and perseverance—which means long
hours—will generally enable me to achieve my
desired goals, and may help to overcome other
personal deficiencies or weaknesses.
· Skills of communicating well, through written
or spoken means, are rarer than they should be;
therefore, spending time on trying to communicate
well will usually help with the achievement of
· Having a fair degree of humility, as well as sharing
credit and rewards, will help enormously in achieving
professional and personal objectives.
· I try to remember where I came from—a family of
modest means and educational attainment—to
make certain I stay grounded; and I try to understand
where others come from to better understand their
likely motivations, ambitions, and needs.
· If good fortune should strike, it is important to give
back much of that good fortune to help others in
one’s community or society; to help them reach their
own objectives and to achieve some measure of
good fortune as well.
· I try to remember that hard work and good fortune
aside, luck is an important part of life, and those who
have had good luck are not necessarily better people
than those who have had bad luck.
Work hard; keep your ego in check; give back; and try to make
the world a better place than you found it.
· Courtesies to other people will always be
remembered and appreciated.
· A person’s greatest asset is his or her reputation.
· Hard work and perseverance are generally rewarded,
but a little luck doesn’t hurt.
· Conventional wisdom is almost always wrong.
· A focus on long-term goals will produce far greater
benefits than a focus on short-term goals.
· Little can be accomplished by one person; a team is
needed for real success and accomplishments.
· Money is ephemeral; do not let chasing it distort
higher goals and priorities.
ALL of his codes he lives by are surrounded by honesty, integrity, humility and respect. You need to give back in life. I was the first child in my family to go to four year college. My knowledge and passion has enabled me to give back. I love to giving my time and energy to organizations like Rose Brucia as well as mentor young people.
You don’t leave this world with a hearse full of material things. What you leave behind is a piece of you. Your legacy in life is in essence your world domination. Remember as I say in my book success isn’t attached to a price tag. It’s attached to happiness and the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and smile- you did it!!
The second question I was asked was about my self confidence, how did I develop it? I went back to how I relate to Harold Hamm thoughts on the path to success:
“I never gave up. Sometimes things don’t go your way, but they can be the life-shapers to be able to take on the next challenge. It is necessary
for survival. Hardship sometimes is just as necessary as accomplishments. If it is too easy, you don’t learn the skills you need in order not
to give up and achieve success.”
Over the course of my career I have experienced wonderful highs such as at the age of 22 having my video of the 10th Mountain Division deploying to Haiti on CBS News with Dan Rather, to the lows of a belligerent news director where staff members quit left and right because of his treatment to them (half the staff left during my time there). I’ve overcome the caddy co-workers who are jealous and try to bring you down. I rise above- staying away from the negativity. You know why? Because I’m worth it! Yes, I am worth more than that. I learn from the negative on what not to do. Life is too short to be surrounded by such negativity. You are worth it too.
While signing books, I met one audience member who said she is leaving her Wall Street job to start her own career and her family did not support her. I told her the advice I give to all aspiring entrepreneurs and the story of Ron Kruszewski of Stifel who over came the naysayers at the company. If you respect those naysayers, hear them out but in the end its YOUR life. YOUR dreams. YOU have to look at yourself in the mirror. Her face brightened and then I said for her to speak with Elisa Camahort Page and Lisa Stone.. two of the founders of BlogHer who had been there not too long ago. I was so lucky to have some of those who I interviewed like Elisa and Lisa there to sign along with me. After all, it’s their stories that are the essence of “Opportunity Knocking”.
We sold 5,100 copies of the book Monday. I am filled with joy that the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is receiving such a wonderful sum from both Barnes and Noble and myself. With this money, they will be able to complete the remaining three elementary school grade videos and curriculum.
Just remember as we journey through life there will be hills and valleys, your belief in yourself and your love for yourself is your secret to perseverance. Don’t let arrogance be your downfall!
Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.