A couple days ago I was listening to a CD by one of the most successful speakers in the industry. He has been around for many years and is considered one of the greats. He is also considered to be somewhat off the beaten path. As much as he is admired and respected by many, he is judged by just as many. The segment I found most intriguing was one about how others often say to him, “I would give anything to be a successful speaker and author just like you.” His response is, “No you wouldn’t. What you want is the end result, but you’re probably not willing to do what it takes to achieve the level of success I have achieved.” Arrogant? Maybe. Harsh? Perhaps. Truthful? Most definitely. Anyone who has achieved a relatively high level of success in their industry has probably had the same statement directed to them. “I would give anything to be a successful ________ just like you.” Truth be told, achieving a level of success others will want to emulate is something most people are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices for. Sure, they want the end result, but are they willing to step out from the crowd and do what it takes to achieve their dream? Are they willing to go through the inevitable ups and downs? Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty incredible people. Folks who have achieved more than most could only dream of. Individuals who others will look at and think, “I would be willing to do anything to achieve that level of success.” Sadly, that is about as far as many people get with their desire to accomplish what they want out of life. They talk about it, but don’t do what is necessary to achieve it. I’m not referring simply to monetary success. I am referring to contribution to community, personal success, physical success, or virtually anything that would signify a complete life. In last month’s column I mentioned the book I am co-authoring. Why Be Different? Success Secrets for Selling the Unsellable is a book about how one can set themselves apart from the competition in such a way that they literally become leaders in their industry. Much of the book will be based on interviews conducted with people from a variety of industries such as real estate, healthcare, accounting, hospitality and more. Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you are the biggest. It means that you are the one others look to when determining standards of success within an industry. As I have been gathering information, what I find interesting is some of the similarities with the people we are featuring in the book. Each person has been through some incredible ups and downs on their road to success. Each has gone through experiences that would make someone else quickly throw in the towel. They didn’t let the roadblocks stop them; they just kept moving forward in order to reach their goals. What I find most intriguing is their powerful belief in having a vision of what is possible. All are also very flexible in their approach to life. They knew what they wanted to achieve and if one thing didn’t work they tried something else. If that didn’t work, they tried yet something else. They kept at it until they achieved their goals. The words “no” and “can’t” are almost nonexistent in their vocabulary. Also evident is their generosity to their community and their clients. Rather than putting a price tag on everything, they often make contributions without expecting anything in return. They do it because it makes others feel good and it is simply the right thing to do. With each person, a love of what they are doing is essential. Although they work very hard, they have such an incredible passion for what they are doing that when the tough times hit, they are virtually unstoppable. People who are not incredibly passionate about what they are doing give up when they are presented with roadblocks to their success. Don’t just be another person saying, “I’d do anything…” Keep your vision, your passion and jump over your roadblocks.