Entrepreneurs Are Not Normal

by Darren Hardy

Click here to order the November 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


An excerpt from Darren Hardy’s upcoming book, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster

NOTE: Darren Hardy’s new book, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster,explores the passion and determination behind the entrepreneurial experience. Direct selling companies are often started by lone entrepreneurs who build their ideas into large companies which attract even more entrepreneurs as direct sellers of their products and services. We think you’ll enjoy this excerpt.


You’re a freak.

That’s right. A freak. And so am I. Don’t be offended—it’s a compliment. Let’s define freak.

freak |freek| noun: a person who is obsessed with or unusually enthusiastic about a specified interest.

If that’s not a definition for an entrepreneur, I don’t know what is. No doubt you have to be “unusually enthusiastic” and pretty freaky to get on this roller coaster. Most don’t have the courage to even step into the car of this thrill ride. But you do, and that is exactly why they will call you a freak.

Not only are you rare in your courage, but it turns out you’re unusual for even wanting to ride in the first place—only about 10% of people are entrepreneurs. That means the other 90% are “normal.”

Let’s define normal.

normal |nawr-muhl| adjective: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual.

Yuck! The “usual,” “common type,” or “standard” societal normal (that big, herd-like 90 percent) don’t like it when a “freak” steps out of line. That kind of nonconformity threatens them. It challenges their choices and identity. Rather than step out themselves, it’s safer for them to scorn your choices and attack you, in hopes of dragging you back into the herd so they can feel better about themselves.

So, yes. They will call you freak. They will call you crazy.

And that is good.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” —Apple Inc. ad, 1997 after Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

So hello, crazy one! Welcome to the freak show! The good news is you don’t have to catch cannonballs, swallow swords, or breathe fire in order to join this freak show. (Unless, of course, your business actually is running a circus.)

The bad news is that being a freak can be painful at first.

Beware the Crabs

I was once told about a type of crab that cannot be caught—it is agile and clever enough to get out of any crab trap. Yet these crabs are caught by the thousands every day, thanks to a particular human trait they possess.

The trap itself is simple: a wire cage with a hole at the top. Bait is placed in the cage, and lowered into the water. A crab comes along, enters the cage, and begins munching on the bait. A second crab sees the first crab and joins him. Then a third. For a time, it’s crab Thanksgiving. Eventually, though, all the bait is gone.

At this point the crabs could easily climb up the side of the cage and leave through the hole. But they don’t. They stay in the cage. And long after the bait is gone, even more crabs continue to climb inside the trap. Not one leaves.

Why? Because if one crab realizes there’s nothing keeping him in the trap and tries to leave, the other crabs will do anything they can to stop him. They will repeatedly pull him from the side of the cage. If he is persistent, the others will tear off his claws to keep him from climbing. If he persists still, they will kill him.

The crabs—by the power of the herd—stay together in the cage. All the fisherman needs is a tiny bit of bait. The rest is easy. Then the cage is hauled up, and it’s dinnertime on the pier.

When you chose to become an entrepreneur—to be different—and walk out on that 90 percent, something strange happens. Instead of encouraging and supporting you, your friends, family, and colleagues become crabby and start trying to drag you back down into the “trap.”

But why do they do it? Many of these people love you. Why would they want to hurt you (emotionally) and kill your hopes, dreams, and desire for something more?

There are two key reasons … Read the rest of the article at Direct Selling News

 

 


Author NameDarren Hardy is a successful entrepreneur, publisher of SUCCESS magazine, and New York Times bestselling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals. His latest book isThe Entrepreneur Roller Coaster. Find out more at: www.rollercoasterbook.com.

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10 Steps to a Healthier You

These 10 straightforward tips make it easy to feel and look great.

Paige Fowler

SUCCESS combed through studies and spoke to experts to identify the definitive 10 no-frills, real-deal tips you need to become your healthiest self yet. No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s really easy to put these steps into action every single day. No ifs, ands or buts.

1. Eat breakfast.

You already know it’s the most important meal of the day—it jump-starts your metabolism, delivers sustained energy and can help keep cravings in check. Sorry, doughnut lovers, but all breakfasts are not created equal. To put your best nutritional foot forward, the star players are protein and fiber.

In a University of Missouri study, women who ate a 300-calorie high-protein breakfast including eggs experienced less hunger throughout the morning and consumed fewer calories at lunch compared to those who ate a low-protein breakfast or none at all.

When you don’t have time to scramble eggs in the a.m., opt for oatmeal. After eating a bowl of oatmeal, participants felt fuller longer, as compared to when they downed the same number of calories from cold cereal and milk, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Nutrition. Credit beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber in oats that slows how quickly food moves through your digestive system and keeps you satisfied for hours.

2. Put whole foods front and center.

Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and dairy is the surest way to consume a wide variety of important nutrients your body needs. “These are the foods that make up a balanced diet, prevent disease and give you the lasting energy you’re looking for,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, director and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants in New York  City.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guide, MyPlate, is a very effective visual guide to every meal. Here’s how it works: Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill one half with fruits and vegetables. Divide the other side in half once more. Put protein such as fish, chicken or beans in one section and add a serving of whole grains, such as brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, in the other. Have a serving of dairy, such as a glass of milk, a cup of yogurt or some cheese with each meal to meet your calcium quota. “Dairy contains a beautiful combination of protein and carbohydrates along with blood-pressure-lowering potassium,” Taub-Dix says.

3. Make friends with healthy fats.

Unsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds can reduce your cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. A recent study in the journal PLOS ONE found that people who eat tree nuts—almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pistachios—are less likely to be obese than those who don’t. Because nuts can also be high in calories, just have about handful a day.

Healthy fats can also make foods more filling. Researchers found that adding half an avocado to lunch significantly decreased hunger over the next three hours, according to a Nutrition Journal study. Slice avocado into salads and soups, or spread it on a sandwich instead of mayo.

4. Pick the right packaged foods.

Eating a predominantly whole-foods diet doesn’t have to mean swearing off packaged foods entirely. “Processed isn’t always a negative word, and as long as you read nutrition labels you can identify processed foods that are actually really good for you,” says Taub-Dix, author of the book Read It Before You Eat It.

Scan nutrition labels to ensure that foods you choose contain some fiber and protein—to help keep you full—and very little sugar and sodium. Check the ingredients, and if the words partially hydrogenated oil appear, place it back on the shelf because it means the food contains artery-clogging transfats. If you’re searching for a snack, Taub-Dix suggests including a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat for lasting energy. For example, have a few whole-grain crackers with slices of Mini Babybel cheese or baby carrots with hummus.

5. Keep your portions in check.

In a perfect world, you’d prepare all your meals at home so you could control exactly what goes into them. But you live in the real world, where business lunches and networking dinners are the norm. So you easily take in excess calories without even realizing it.

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that fast-food joints aren’t the only ones to blame. Researchers studied smaller Mexican, American, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants and found the average restaurant meal contains 1,327 calories, or 66 percent of the average person’s allotment of 2,000 calories per day.

For portion control, start with a broth-based soup like minestrone, which helps fill you up on fewer calories before your entrée arrives. When eating at home, serve your meal on a salad plate instead of a larger dinner plate and leave the serving platters on the kitchen counter instead of on the dining table. Research shows you are less likely to go for an extra helping if it’s more than an arm’s length away.

6. Stay hydrated.

Feeling sluggish? Don’t head to the vending machine for a sugar buzz. Instead, try downing a glass or two of water. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy and ability to think clearly, and may also contribute to anxiety and tension, according to University of Connecticut researchers. They found that people experienced the same effects of mild dehydration whether they were sitting or walking on a treadmill for 40 minutes. So even if you spend most of your day planted in front of a computer, it’s crucial to keep a water bottle nearby.

Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of H2O per day. When possible, choose water over sugary drinks, which pile on calories, deliver zero nutrition and can set the stage for diabetes. Diet soda has its drawbacks, too. A recent Johns Hopkins study found that people who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food.

7. Do something you love.

It’s called working out for a reason. It’s work. That’s why Rachel Cosgrove, a certified strength and conditioning specialist who owns Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif., suggests experimenting until you find exercise you actually like.

“When you find something you truly enjoy, you’ll be more likely to do it, stick with it and experience all of the benefits that come from a more active lifestyle,” she says. Among those benefits: improved focus and productivity. A Swedish study found that when people built exercise into their workday, they accomplished more at work, were able to take on more responsibilities, and were sick less often.

You may discover that running, cycling or swimming is your thing. Or perhaps you enjoy power yoga, or spin classes… playing basketball or racquetball. Discover what kinds of physical activity rev your engine; instead of avoiding exercise you’ll find yourself looking for opportunities to do it.

8. Maximize your workouts.

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym each day to build a leaner, healthier body. “The key is working at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time,” Cosgrove says. She recommends two to three 30-minute strength-training sessions that get your heart rate up per week (you can also separate your cardio and weight-training sessions).

The Busy Body Workout

Strength and conditioning specialist Rachel Cosgrove developed this exercise program specifically for SUCCESS readers who are short on time. It targets every major muscle group over two separate workouts. Keep your rest periods short—about 30 seconds between exercises, so your heart rate stays elevated the entire time. After completing all four exercises, rest for two minutes and do a second set.

Day One

• Plank, 30 seconds

• Squats holding dumbbells, eight to
10 repetitions

• Bent-over dumbbell rows, eight to 10  reps

• Step-ups (place right foot flat on a step, step left foot up to meet it, lower left foot back down), eight to 10 reps
each side

Day Two

• Side plank, 30 seconds each side

• Lateral lunge, eight to 10 reps each side

• Rotating T-Stabilization Push-up (after a push-up, turn your body to face the side so you’re balancing on one arm and reach the opposite arm toward the ceiling to form a “T”), four to five reps each side

• Romanian Deadlift (hold dumbbells in each hand, bend at the waist until torso is parallel with the floor and stand back up), eight to 10 reps

9. Get out of your chair.

You may want to read this standing up: Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and death. A University of Leicester study found this sad reality holds true even if you exercise regularly. The harmful effects of desk jockeying are due to more than just the fact that sitting burns few calories (though that certainly plays a role).

Inactivity may reduce levels of an enzyme your muscles produce called lipoprotein lipase. Insufficient levels of this enzyme are associated with decreased HDL (good) cholesterol and heart disease. What’s more, when you don’t move around enough your muscles are less effective at gobbling up glucose, which can put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Seek out ways to incorporate more motion into your daily life. Set a cellphone reminder to stand and move around for a few minutes every hour. Take your phone calls on your feet. And you may also want to consider investing in a standing desk, or even a treadmill desk.

10. Sleep more soundly.

When your schedule gets full, sleep is often the first thing to go (giving up sleep is the only way to build more hours into your day), but the opposite should be true. ZZZ-time helps you feel rested so you can face the challenges of your day with a clearer, fresher mind. Plus inadequate rest can affect appetite-related hormones: Participants consumed 22 percent more calories when they snoozed for only four hours compared to those who clocked eight hours between the sheets, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Keeping a consistent bedtime is also key—people who sleep and wake around the same time every day have less body fat than those whose sleep schedules vary more widely.

One of the best things you can do to improve your sleep quality: Power down. The more you use your smartphone after 9 p.m., the less you sleep, the worse your sleep quality, and the more mentally fatigued you feel the next day, according to Michigan State University researchers.

About an hour before bed, turn off all those glowing rectangles and unwind with a warm shower, calming music and a book (not an e-book). Two hours of exposure to light from a tablet reduces concentrations of melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep, by about 22 percent, according to a study in Applied Ergonomics.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/10-steps-to-a-healthier-you#sthash.FvNS9urS.dpuf

Creating The Perfect Day: 7 Principles For Priority Living – Passion, Potential and Procrastination

 

Todd Duncan is the author of High Trust Selling, sought-after speaker and personal development expert.

Todd Duncan

@toddstweets

Priority living occurs when your business and life work together. The patterns of execution that cause you to be a successful originator also cause you to be a successful father, mother, husband or wife. Priority living is a 360 degree approach to living on purpose and doing business on purpose. Ultimately, by following these principles, you will do what’s necessary to earn more money in less time with less stress. Let’s review the first three principles now:PRINCIPLE #1: Increase Your Passion!

Passion is what success is all about. You have to love this business. Be excited by the prospect of having a perfect day, of going home 100% fulfilled every day, of knowing that you can double your income and time off while living your dreams and your purpose.

PRINCIPLE #2: Reduce Your Procrastination! You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.

Take action now. Don’t let fear stop you. Run to the customer that’s upset, the Realtor ® you feel you won’t get an appointment with, the business model you know you want to create, or the assistant you’ve thought about hiring. When you have faith in the future, the knowledge and skills to do what you need to do, and momentum from repeating an action until it is a new habit, then there will be no need to procrastinate.

PRINCIPLE #3: Unlock Your Potential!

You have more potential than you think. As Norman Vincent Peale says, “Anybody can do just about anything with himself that he really wants to and makes up his mind to do. We are all capable of greater things than we realize.”

Coming soon: four more principles of priority living that are also crucial to creating your perfect day.


For more on creating the perfect day, Todd Duncan expands on the idea of building a desirable life his MP3, Life Mastery: Living Life by Design, available at the SUCCESS Store.

Related Articles

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/creating-the-perfect-day-7-principles-for-priority-living-passion-potential-and-procrastination#sthash.ZdYO6C27.dpuf

Why You Should Start Your Own Business Today

SUCCESS

Six reasons to become an entrepreneur

John was 53 when the bad news hit: His department was being moved offshore. Since joining the company eight years earlier, he had worked his way up to a solid position in middle management with a decent salary and great benefits. Now, he was out of a job.

Having spent his entire adult life in corporate positions, he knew he could go job hunting. But this was the fifth time he’d had a “secure” position shot out from under him, whether through downsizing, restructuring or other

Entrepreneurship

reorganization. With a wife and two teenagers to clothe and feed, he was no longerwilling to trust his future to this game of corporate roulette. It was time to go into business for himself.

The Great Migration

Across the country and around the world, legions of people are abandoning their dependence on big business and seeking independence through their own enterprises. Every month, about 1 million Americans go through some type of job change or loss, and increasingly they are deciding to start their own businesses.

In a recent report titled Work, Entrepreneurship and Opportunity in 21st Century America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “Millions of Americans are embracing entrepreneurship by running their own small businesses, through independent contracting or direct selling.” The report also cited a recent Gallup poll finding that 61 percent of Americans now say they prefer to be their own bosses.

6 Benefits of Entrepreneurship

1. Job Security. Only a generation or two ago, going into business for yourself was considered risky, and the safest route was to get a good job in a large firm. Now, working for a traditional corporation has become the risky option. Working for yourself has become the new job security. “If I’m working for someone else, I’m trading time for money, but I’m not building any equity,” says Duncan MacPherson, co-founder and co-CEO of Pareto Systems, a consulting firm. “As an entrepreneur, I’m the master of my own destiny.

2. Freedom. People love the benefits of working for themselves and enjoy the freedom they gain from designing their own prosperity. You get to choose when you work, how you work and with whom you work. Best of all, you don’t have to make the agonizing choice between time for family and time for business.

3. Flexibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a big city or small town. Entrepreneurship is an equal-opportunity employer. E-mail, cheap teleconferencing and a new generation of Web tools make it possible to run a fully competitive business from a home desktop. As a home-based businessperson, you can expand your business to Chicago, San Francisco, Hong Kong and London—and still make the soccer game.

4. Make More Money. There is far greater opportunity to make money by building your own business than by working for someone else’s. “Everyone has heard the phrase, ‘The American Dream.’ I look at it as ‘The American Reality,’ ” says Jeffrey Gitomer, best-selling author of the Little Red Book of Selling and the Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude. “When you’re in business for yourself, you write your own history, you write your own success story, you write your own legacy and most important, you write your own paycheck. Being in business for yourself gives you the opportunity to work your heart out for something you love.”

5. A Life of Greater Impact. In the Decipher study, 84 percent of respondents said they would be more passionate about their work if they owned their own business. The No. 1 reason they gave for wanting to work for themselves: “to be more passionate about my work life.”

6. A Second Career. The nation’s 78 million baby boomers are just starting to reach retirement age, yet they’re realizing that they can’t afford to retire. What’s more, they don’t want to. Dr. Mary Furlong, author of Turning Silver into Gold, says, “Boomers are looking for ways to give back. They are taking the reins of their own futures and redefining their lives. They want work that reflects their values and identity; they want to make a difference.” A landmark study by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures found that 50 percent of Americans in their 50s and 60s want to do work “that matters.”

Taking the Plunge

“Leaving the rat race is not as daunting as it may seem,” says author Dan Clements in his guide to worklife balance, Escape 101. “You’ll look back in later years and marvel at how easy it was and how much you gained for so little cost.”

So what does it take? First, let’s look at what it doesn’t take. You don’t need an MBA or high-powered business background, and you don’t need to be rich or to take a second mortgage on your home. Some self-owned business opportunities require expertise, such as consulting, or can take significant capital investment and possibly training, such as real estate investing and franchises; some can be started on a shoestring and prove quite lucrative, including direct selling and online opportunities. Many of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time began with no advanced degrees and hardly any startup capital.

But make no mistake about it: What you save in cash capital you will make up for in sweat equity and passion. The major investment in most self-owned businesses is investment of one’s self in the form of time, focus and persistence. You don’t need to be a genius at negotiation or a whiz at numbers. You need a burning desire and determination fueled by a strong dose of passion!

See original article here on SUCCESS.com

Launch Your Business with Instant Success

Launch Your Business with Instant SuccessBuild buzz and demand in five steps

When you’re about to launch your new product or service it can really go one of two ways. You can start off with a massive bang and get instant momentum and sales or you can start off slow and then fade away from there. I think I know which scenario you would favor.

If you’ve ever wondered about the power of a well-executed product launch, just look at the way Apple introduces its new products. It develops a carefully engineered process that builds momentum over several months… and it ends with crowds lined up outside its stores, salivating over the next iWhatever.

Of course, you and I don’t have the resources and media reach Apple has. But if you know how to leverage the power and interactivity of the Internet, you can create your own massively successful product launch. This isn’t theoretical; over the last 16 years I’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs execute more than $400 million in product launches. After all these years, I’ve literally boiled this down to a formula… and here are the key steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Turn Your Marketing into an Event

The first mistake most people make is they don’t actually plan their launch. Instead, they rely on what I call “Hope Marketing,” where they work really hard to get their product ready and then simply release it. They say, “Here I am world, come and buy my stuff.” This is the old “build it and they will come” method. The only problem is that this almost never works; instead, the world doesn’t notice that you exist, and you slowly fade into oblivion.

So you want to create a well-executed product launch that engineers your success. You do this by publishing some really powerful prelaunch content that creates anticipation and gets people excited to buy from you… before you even release your product. When you do this, you turn your marketing into an event (which makes you instantly stand out from every would-be competitor) and you tap into the amazing power of anticipation.

Step 2: Use a Prelaunch Sequence to Build Anticipation

Your prelaunch sequence is the secret sauce in this recipe. This is a series of free prelaunch content pieces you release over a period of seven to 10 days. You typically want three pieces of prelaunch content—they can be PDF reports or audios or videos. These days, video is so easy and fast to create that it tends to be the medium of choice during prelaunch.

So what goes in your prelaunch content? First, you want to deliver serious value. The higher the quality of the free prelaunch content, the easier it is to make the sale when it comes to launch day.

In general, the first piece of prelaunch content is about “the opportunity.” For instance, if you’re teaching people an easy method to learn to play songs on the guitar, then the opportunity would revolve around how easy it is to master that first set of simple songs. Always focus on the transformation that your product will create for your clients. How will their lives be different (both immediately and in the future) once they buy your product?

Your second piece of prelaunch content should do some serious teaching. Remember to keep giving people the good stuff, because the more you give, the more you will get when it comes time to ask for the sale. Lots of times people will worry that they’re giving away too much free content, but in my experience, that almost never happens.

Your third piece of prelaunch content should continue to teach and also start to deliver some of the “ownership experience”—give your prospects a feel for what it would be like to own your product. Toward the end of this third piece, be sure to let people know you’ve got a special offer coming to them.

Step 3: Leverage the Power of Conversation

Conversations are a lot more interesting than monologues. When you shift your marketing from a lecture or monologue and start engaging your prospects in a conversation, you instantly become more intriguing. And the good news is it’s easy to have those conversations in social media and on your blog. Be sure to answer questions and comments as they come in.

Step 4: Tap into Joint Venture Partners

One of the fastest ways to turbocharge your business is to tap into the power of “other people’s lists”; in other words, find joint venture partners who already have compiled a list of people who would be interested in your product or service.

So if you’re selling a product about yoga, you might find someone who has a list of people interested in a related market, such as massage, and see if they would be interested in promoting your product. They would send an email to the people on their list that directed them to your cool prelaunch content. Then you track the sales you made to those visitors, and you pay your joint venture partner a commission on those sales.

Sales tracking is easy to do with affiliate software such as 1ShoppingCart.com and OfficeAutoPilot.com. These types of promotions can be a real win for everyone involved.

Step 5: Opening and Closing Your Launch

Of course, the whole point of your launch is to make sales. Your prelaunch content leads into the “open cart,” which is when you open your shopping cart up for orders. And when you follow this process, the rush of orders can be breathtaking.

Of course, your work doesn’t end there. During the “open cart,” you keep communicating to your list, and count down to the end of the launch. It’s important to have some type of deadline—you need to give people a reason to act. There’s always a launch special (special offer or special pricing) that goes away at the end of the launch. In general, the special launch offer is available for five to seven days, and it’s not unusual to see half the sales come in during the last 24 hours or so.

Is it all worth it? Well, my goal for my clients is for them to make as many sales in launch week as they would normally make in a full year. Of course, that’s just a goal… sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But after doing literally dozens of these launches, I’m still blown away by the power of this model. The instant rush of sales when you open cart is literally impossible to describe. But once you do it, the biggest thing on your mind is, “When am I going to do my next launch?”

 

Read more from Jeff Walker and his “16 Rules of Internet Success.”

Katie Couric is America’s… Adrenaline Junkie?!

Katie Couric is America's... Adrenaline Junkie?!

Well-Being / Overcoming Obstacles

Katie Couric is America’s… Adrenaline Junkie?!

In her latest career tweak, Katie Couric hosts a talk show and busts through yet another comfort zone

For many talk-show hosts, a studio audience is an invitation to navel-gaze—to share every blip of the hosts’ weekends, love lives and moments with their adorable, talented offspring. But not for Katie Couric. “People want me to reveal things about myself in the course of the hour,” she acknowledges by phone, sitting in her dressing room on the set of her new show, Katie. “But even though I’m a major ham, I’m also a little hesitant about oversharing. I think that can be really off-putting. So I’ve had to be really balanced about revealing a little bit about me or my background that isn’t too much.”

While she has aired some personal issues during Katie’s first weeks—most notably a struggle with bulimia in her late teens and early 20s—she has done so with brevity that would baffle the likes of Kelly Ripa.

Her modesty is refreshing, but it’s also dialed a bit high, considering Couric is that rare celebrity whose story has plenty to teach the rest of us. Not only has she forged an enviable broadcasting career, with high-powered jobs at all three major TV networks, but she also has raised two daughters (who do, in fact, seem adorable and talented); survived the loss of her husband, a sister and her father with optimism seemingly intact; overcome that eating disorder; and weathered the sniping and scrutiny that have driven other celebrities to public, camera-smashing hissy fits.

How has Couric done it?

By many accounts—hers, friends’, colleagues’—the answer begins with Couric’s childhood in Arlington, Va. As she writes in her 2011 book The Best Advice I Ever Got, it was a Leave It to Beaver-style upbringing filled with track meets, cheerleading and piano lessons, plus the support of her parents and three siblings. And underpinning it were beliefs and values that, Couric and friends agree, guide her to this day:

Be brave.

It’s no coincidence that one of the first guests on Katie was Brené Brown, author of the book Daring Greatly. “When it comes to going for a job, a promotion or just about anything in life, I’m pretty convinced that the meek will not inherit the earth,” Couric writes in The Best Advice. She recommends finding a way to “stand out from the pack”—burning your résumé into a baseball bat when applying for a job with a baseball team, say, or choosing a personal “trademark,” à la chef Mario Batali’s orange clogs. “Whether you call it chutzpah, cojones… or one of my dad’s favorite words, moxie, it’s an essential ingredient for success.”

Even as a newly minted college grad, with her only professional experience a series of radio internships, Couric suffered no shortage of pluck. After cold calls and mailed résumés failed to land a TV job, Couric recounts in The Best Advice, she put on a blazer and turned up at the ABC News bureau in Washington, D.C. She phoned the operator from the waiting area and boldly asked to be connected to the executive producer of World News Tonight. After he answered, she parlayed a distant family connection into an invitation to come see him in the newsroom. The producer then led her to the office of the deputy bureau chief—and a few weeks later she was hired as a desk assistant by ABC.

Other gutsy moments have included Couric’s famously no-holds-barred interview with Sarah Palin in 2008, and in 1992, an impromptu 19 minutes with the first President Bush for Today. Couric had been finishing a White House interview with his wife, Barbara, when the president (who had declined Today’s request to speak with him) happened by. Couric promptly sprang into hard-news mode, grilling Bush on the Iran-Contra issue and other subjects despite his protests. “I think a lot of people would have been afraid to do that,” says weatherman Al Roker, who worked with Couric for 10 years on Today. The interview proved so compelling that executive producer Jeff Zucker aired the whole thing live, dropping planned segments of the show. “She was like a dog with a bone,” Roker says.

Such moments can give Couric the jitters—but within reason, she says, that’s a good thing. “Tony Bennett tells artists who come in to record a duet with him that if they weren’t a little nervous or afraid, it would mean they didn’t care,” she explains. “I have high standards, particularly for myself, and of course the possibility of not meeting them is scary. I just feel all your senses are heightened when you’ve got a case of the nerves—adrenaline, for me, makes me perform better.”

Nevertheless, nervous energy is just part of her secret.

Be prepared.

Former Girl Scout that she is, Couric believes that to make the most of opportunities—from spur-of-the-moment interviews to planned tête-à-têtes—she must do lots of homework. “She’s always very prepared to take advantage of what happens,” Roker says. “She was prepared for George Bush; she was prepared for Sarah Palin. She gives off this aura of being kind of scattered, ‘Aren’t I kind of wacky?’—but the fact is she’s very focused, very smart.”

At Katie, preparation means constant rounds of meetings, rehearsals, voice-overs, promo spots, and reading materials by and about her guests. It means doing a phone interview from her hair-and-makeup chair, flanked by stacks of newspapers, between a confab with her producers and a fitting for clothes to wear on the show. Small wonder that throughout Katie’s early weeks, she tended to sound a bit hoarse.

“She’s a very hard worker, no nonsense—she’s boom-boom-boom,” says fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo, who has collaborated with Couric on cancer-awareness events. He has seen her among colleagues doing “a thousand things at once,” firm but smiling, not wasting a moment on second guesses. Case in point: When Couric chooses some of his dresses for future events. “She’ll say, ‘This is the White House dinner; this is the Met gala; this is the wedding in Virginia.’… She doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands.”

As you might expect, all that boom-boom-boom demands good fuel and a strong body. Fortunately, as Couric told the Associated Press in September, a therapist helped end her bulimic binge-purge cycle three decades ago. She has “learned how to have a much healthier relationship with food, and how to enjoy my life without obsessing about food.” Colleagues say Couric favors wholesome meals—tomato sandwiches, veggies from her garden. And she’s big on spinning classes, in which gym-goers pedal furiously on stationary bicycles. “It’s one of those exercise routines where you can’t kind of stop and say, ‘I’m tired,’ ” she told actress and social activist Marlo Thomas during a video chat.

Try something new.

After a career like Couric’s, many people would be tired. And if they had her kind of money (she made $15 million a year at CBS), they understandably might retire to a sunny island, tomato sandwich in hand.

Couric, naturally, is having none of that. Launching Katie in September, at age 55, was her latest in a string of leaps into the relative unknown—and her latest reason for being seen, in media circles, as a wiz at reinventing herself.

“I think I get more credit for reinvention than I really deserve,” Couric demurs. She has spent her whole working life in journalism, after all. “It’s not as if I was a teacher and one day I became a pharmaceuticals account executive and the next day an artist.” She has consistently chosen work that suits her “skill set” and fits in her “wheelhouse.”

Of course, that wheelhouse is big enough to steer an ocean liner. After her first desk-assistant job, Couric became a reporter in Washington and Miami, an editor at CNN, and a deputy Pentagon correspondent. She spent 15 years as (roll cliché) “America’s sweetheart” on NBC’s Today. She worked nearly five years at CBS, serving as the country’s first woman to anchor an evening news show, solo, as well as a correspondent for 60 Minutes—then left to develop Katie and become a special correspondent for ABC News. In October she debuted as a columnist for Woman’s Day magazine. Along the way, Couric has tweeted, blogged, Facebooked and webcast her way into our laptops and cellphones—all technologies she embraced before many of her TV counterparts.

“I think I’ve always tended to be a pretty forward-thinking person,” Couric says. Independent-thinking, too. While anchoring the news at CBS, she helped pioneer changes to the program—more interaction with correspondents and commentary from outsiders, for example. Though some were ultimately scrapped by the network, it seems clear that they helped prepare Couric to run a show of her own. “One of the reasons why doing this talk show appealed to me was… there were no rules,” she says. “My least favorite expression is ‘because that’s the way we’ve always done it here.’ [At Katie] we can do it the way we think best, not because it’s steeped in tradition.”

Finding her own way is demanding, and Couric likes that. “Working is my definition of ‘enjoying life,’ ” she writes in her first Woman’s Day column. “Most of the time, I feel like a 27-year-old in a 55-year-old’s body.” Leaving your comfort zone is scary, she writes, but trying something new “gives you the chance to surprise yourself and to find out what you’re made of.”

How has Couric surprised herself since starting Katie?

“I’ve learned that I have more stamina than I thought I would at this age!” Couric says. “And that I really, truly enjoy people. I had to travel a lot and talk about our goals in doing this show and though I sometimes dreaded it, I always ended up having so much fun. I really have learned you get from the world what you give out. And I’ve learned that I still have a great deal of curiosity about people, issues and the world. I’ve also realized that no matter what you’re doing, you can still learn a lot from people around you—and although it might be easier, it’s just impossible for everyone to like you.”

Keep your chin up.

Couric has faced more than her share of detractors, especially as CBS anchor. Media critics, and even some colleagues, griped about everything from her paycheck there to her manner of delivering the news. Her predecessor Dan Rather claimed CBS had hired her to “dumb down [the Evening News], tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience.”

But Couric is too competitive to let naysayers have the last word, close associates say. “That kind of [criticism] makes her stronger and more determined,” says Katie’s co-executive producer Michael Bass, who has worked with Couric on and off for two decades. “She went out and worked her butt off and did a much better show” at CBS, helping the network win prestigious journalism awards in the process. (Couric’s competitive streak could be seen more recently during a Katie segment in which she played pingpong against actress Susan Sarandon, Bass says. “Susan was probably being very nice to Katie, but Katie was very determined.”)

Her sense of humor helps, too. Colleagues agree that Couric’s wit keeps everyone’s spirits up—as does her penchant for pranks. On the Today set, Roker recalls, she was always ready if a co-worker forgot to log off a computer. “Katie would come in and send off wacky messages to the head of NBC news under your login—‘I’m really in the mood for brownies today!’ ” he says.

More than once, Couric has countered media complaints about her lack of gravitas by saying that “gravitas” is a “Latin word for ‘testicles.’ ” Not that she always laughs off insults, she admits. Some of the negative press “has hurt—but I think I’m comforted by the fact that most people who have achieved something in this world have faced the same things. Everybody gets their time in a barrel.… It’s in the fine print of being a successful person.”

Speaking of print, Couric has decided she has better things to do than sit around reading nasty comments about her. “I try to spend my life doing constructive things. It’s a great way to live. I highly recommend it.”

Does she mean that as a rebuke to her detractors?

“You can read between the lines,” Couric says with a chuckle.

Be generous.

One of Couric’s favorite constructive things is her charity work. Since her husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998 at age 42, she has thrown herself into educating people about colorectal cancer and helped raise millions of dollars toward finding a cure. (Her famous on-air colonoscopy is credited with boosting colon screenings 20 percent.) She also has promoted awareness and treatment of pancreatic cancer, which killed her sister Emily in 2001; Parkinson’s disease, which led to her father’s death last year; and other illnesses including breast cancer.

Couric’s volunteering doesn’t just help others, she says. “It’s made a world of difference to me,” restoring her sense of purpose and optimism when life seemed bleakest. “In fact, when I meet other widows or people who’ve experienced the loss of somebody, I often say, ‘Do something. Organize something—a walk in your neighborhood. If you have kids, have a bake sale or raise money for cancer research or ALS or whatever.’ ” Her activism doesn’t keep her from missing Monahan, says Couric, who still thinks about her husband “all the time” and imagines how it would have been to raise their daughters together. But helping others does provide a healthy sense of partial control, she says. Plus, Couric believes a generous life is far more fulfilling and meaningful than a “self-focused” one. “You don’t have to try to cure cancer,” she says. “It could be helping a friend or making sure someone you love is OK if they’ve had an operation. There are big and small ways that your heart can be open to other people.”

Indeed, Couric’s colleagues say, her kindness comes in all sizes. If you work with her and a loved one is sick, she’ll hook you up with the right doctor. If you’re sad, she’ll lend an ear. If you’re getting back on your feet after an illness, she’ll accompany you to your first spinning class, cheering you all the way.

Though Couric may not be thinking of business with such gestures, they’re a professional boon nonetheless.

“You don’t engender loyalty like she has by shutting yourself off,” Roker says. “She makes herself available. She gives of herself; she makes sure people get their due.”

Stay connected, grateful and open to joy.

Couric has often found herself on the receiving end of generosity as well, she says—especially after losing her husband, sister and father.

“I always ask my friends for help,” Couric says. “I talk to them a lot about everything. When my dad died, I talked a lot to my friend Wendy, who had lost her mom. My sister Kiki and I talked all the time [about] how to help my mom, who is now living without my dad after being married for 67 years…. I have an incredible support system. I hope it’s because I’m a good friend and that’s why I have so many friends who are good to me. I think just having a safe place to unload, a grace period after a tough time personally and professionally, is what’s gotten me through.”

Like many who have suffered big losses, Couric finds herself with a sunnier perspective on what she still has. “I think in everyone’s life a little rain must fall,” she says, “and I think it has made me appreciate when things are good, and the positive things in my life.”

First among the positives: her surviving loved ones. No matter how busy Couric has been over the years, say friends and associates, she has always made time for those closest to her. When her daughters were little and she worked at Today, Roker says, she went to all their games and school assemblies. “You know how Michelle Obama says her main job is being Mom in Chief?” he says. “Katie’s was kind of like Mom Anchor in Chief.” These days, despite her packed schedule, Couric finds time to share meals with her girls or, say, drive her older daughter to college; while traveling for Katie, she has made side trips to visit her mother in Virginia. She goes to museums, lunches with friends, sees plays.

“If anything, Jay’s death and my sister’s death made me realize that, you know, we have to enjoy ourselves while we can,” Couric says—then begins racking her brain. The night before her interview with SUCCESS, she had been reading a book by a friend that began with a motto in Latin. Couric immediately googled it to find out what it meant. “It was something like, ‘When we live, we should really live.’ It sounds so cheesy and weird, but I thought, ‘That’s a good motto for life.’ ”

In this video from Katie, Katie Couric opens up about her next chapter as daytime talk show host, the loss of her husband Jay and raising her two daughters as a single mom.

Out Cool Your Competition

By Darren Hardy, Success Magazine

There’s a guy who reads this blog named Corey Jahnke. Every so often he sends me a Starbucks gift card just to say thank for something he learned on this blog or in SUCCESS.

I think that’s cool, which makes Corey cool.

Now I don’t know if he’s actually cool amongst his friends and peers, but with me he’s cool.

Why?

Because he regularly reaches out with a unique gesture just to say thank you.

Come on, admit it, that’s pretty cool.

This is actually a great demonstration to what Frank Kern was talking about on the SUCCESS CD, bound into this month’s issue of SUCCESS magazine, in how to “out cool” your competition.

This means being the cool guy or gal who gives away more cool stuff to your marketplace.

How about you? Are you cool?

I guarantee you there are tons of assets in your businesses that you either have forgotten about or take for granted but other people (like your customers) would find immensely valuable.

Figure out how you can package up some of that intellectual property and be cool with it… give it away.

This is all about endearing yourself to the marketplace as a valued resource—someone who is giving and contributing value, without it always being attached to an agenda, just for the sake of being cool and offering something for free that might be of value to someone else.

As an example you can see how I do it at InsidersResourcePool.com. It’s a place where I share and give away all sorts of super cool resources, tools and ideas I don’t share publicly. Check it out as an example… and to get cool stuff.

Now I’m not saying deluge people with a big pile of stuff all at once. Be strategic in your coolness. Dispense your gifts one potato chip at a time. Let them savor each chip and be eager for the next one. Too much, too quickly is just, well, too much. It would be like giving someone 20 bowls of chips all at once. They are unlikely to eat that many chips, so they’ll only enjoy a few and leave the rest. Or worse, they may also get tired of chips all together for a very long time. Not good if you sell chips… or stuff that goes with chips.

So here are the action items: 

1. Make an inventory list of all your assets.
Everything that is not your top 5-10 active sellers, figure out ways to use everything else, at least pieces of everything else, and use them to help build your coolness. Consider if there might even be pieces to your top 5-10 top active sellers that could be pulled out and given away. That would be cool.

2. Start giving cool stuff away.
Map out where, when and how often can you give those things away to continue to ingratiate yourself with your marketplace and bolster your profile of cool.

Speaking of cool, and Frank being the cool guy he is, went back into the studio and recorded a special audio segment for us. This is content that is usually only available as a segment in of one of his expensive training programs. It’s called the 5 pillars for Market Selection—how to you select and find a highly profitable market. It’s an extra 20-minute audio, exclusive to you and only here.
Listen to the audio HERE.

Okay, now be cool. Share with us what cool things you do for your marketplace in comments below.