A New York Times bestseller explains how he came to America with nothing and built a coaching empire.
Brian Buffini has lived the classic rags-to-riches American success story. He left Ireland as a 19-year-old with $92 in his pocket. Today, he runs a top real estate coaching empire. Buffini & Company is one of the largest coaching and training companies in North America, and has trained three million professionals around the world.
In his New York Times bestseller, The Emigrant Edge, Buffini reveals the seven traits of success often shared by immigrants who make it in America. The good news is that anyone can adopt the traits if they have a strong desire to win.
Here they are:
1. A voracious openness to learn.
Buffini calls the desire for constant improvement, “The number one prerequisite for success.” Successful people go out of their way to “meet others, have new experiences, and learn about different aspects of life.”
I read about two books a week to keep learning. But recently I’ve met two leaders who read more than I do. One is the CEO of a large real-estate company; the other is a Navy Admiral and former NATO Supreme Commander.
Both leaders are avid readers and lifelong learners. They realize that in a world of constant disruption and rising complexity, those who know more than their peers about a particular subject will stand out.
2. A do-whatever-it-takes mindset.
“Life favors the persistent and the willing,” writes Buffini. Successful people experience failure, but they learn from their mistakes and continue to take risks.
They have what Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset–they make mistakes, learn from their errors and move on. People with a “fixed mindset” perceive failure as catastrophic, which prevents them from trying again.
3. A willingness to outwork others.
“Those who come to this country with little more than hope to their name know that to get what they want they must work harder and longer than anyone else,” writes Buffini. This trait reminds me of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s winning attitude.
An immigrant from Belarus, Vaynerchuk seems determined to outwork everyone. He often writes social media posts on weekends, early mornings or late nights to point out that he’s working while others are kicking back. People who come from lack have an almost obsessive desire to make up for lost time.
4. A heartfelt spirit of gratitude.
I know a successful CEO who begins the day by writing down three things for which he’s grateful. Buffini also recommends making a daily list of things to be thankful for.
According to Buffini, “If you focus on what you’re thankful for, you tend to concentrate on how much you have versus what you don’t…petty molehills don’t become mountains, and small irritations don’t build up and damage or destroy valuable relationships.”
5. A boldness to invest.
Quoting billionaire Warren Buffett, Buffini writes, “Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best think you can do.” How many times have you passed up a class, an event or a learning opportunity because “my company won’t pay for it?”
Successful people set aside money or time to invest in learning more about their craft or profession. They know it’s the one thing no one can take away from them.
6. A commitment to delay gratification.
This trait is increasingly difficult to practice in today’s fast-paced world. According to recruiters, young professionals want leadership titles before earning it and are unwilling to do jobs that might mean less money now, but valuable experience for the future.”
Buffini agrees that delaying gratification is an important skill to cultivate. “Worthwhile accomplishments require time,” he writes.
7. An appreciation of where they came from.
Many immigrants I speak to tell me exactly how much money they had when they arrived in America. My father, an Italian immigrant, had $20. The Voice executive producer Mark Burnett told me he had $200 in his pocket.
Buffini had $92. “Successful immigrants don’t want to go back to where they began–that place of lack–so they don’t allow themselves to forget what life was like before,” writes Buffini.
Each of these seven traits are tied together by one overarching attitude: successful people see opportunities where others see problems. Buffini is a living example of what someone can achieve when they have the mindset of a winner.
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