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This week my travels found me at home, starting off with my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had the Berkshire Hathaway Energy President’s Meeting and the end of year HomeServices of America CEO leadership virtual meeting and on Wednesday I presented 4DX to the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties then filmed a few videos for the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention 2021 and presented Mindset Leadership Amid COVID-19 to the team at Intero South County. Today, I had the HomeServices of America corporate team virtual holiday gathering and Iowa Realty’s employee service recognition virtual event. In between, I hosted six CEO reviews.

It was a long and busy week, filled with interactions among leaders I admire and respect. Famed self-help and business author Napoleon Hill once said: “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others succeed.”

And yes, it’s true. Not only helping others succeed but also being around successful leaders will in turn inspire and motivate your success. (As the title of this blog post suggests, success leaves clues — a famous idea put forth by Jim Rohn then later, by Anthony Robbins, who actually worked for Jim Rohn promoting his seminars at the age of 17.) This is the very reason we form mastermind groups, to surround ourselves with like-minded leaders who can provide unbiased feedback that will help us grow.

There are “17 major principles of success,” Hill writes in “The Path to Personal Power,” the most important one being “the principle of Definiteness of Purpose.” In other words, the most successful people know exactly what they want.

Hill is often credited as the creator of the mastermind concept, which was first popularized by Hill in his 1928 book “The Law of Success.” The idea was further discussed and expanded in his 1937 masterpiece “Think and Grow Rich,” in which he defined a mastermind as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in a spirit of harmony.” He also wrote: “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible, intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.” This “third mind” is what we now call the “mastermind.”

Hill also came up with the “law of attraction” whereby if you focus on what you want, you’ll attract those things your way, a popular philosophy adopted by none other than Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Anthony Robbins and countless others.

But finding success through melding the minds of masters was never a concept Hill came up with on his own. Instead, he was inspired by his connection with some of the 20th century’s most successful business leaders.

Let’s rewind all the way back to 1908. Hill is a young reporter allegedly conducting a series of interviews with Andrew Carnegie, a man who arrived in America without a penny to his name and from nothing created an immense fortune through his Carnegie Steel Company. Let me put his fortune in perspective for you in 2020 dollars: It’s estimated that today, Carnegie would occupy the top spot among the richest people in the world with a net worth of $419.8 billion. This is more than Jeff Bezos’, Elon Musk’s and Warren Buffett’s net worth combined.

As the story goes, during Hill’s conversations with Carnegie, the idea began to form in Hill’s mind that professional success at such a massive scale didn’t happen in isolation or by accident. This kind of success required a group of leaders working in harmony together and with synergistic determination to reach solutions that produced mutually beneficial outcomes for all.

To complete his book though, Hill didn’t just converse with Carnegie. He studied more than 500 self-made millionaires over the course of 20 years, including Henry Ford and Charles M. Schwab. These studies led him to the idea that success can be copied and duplicated, if we only identify what others who have carved the way did before us. Hill writes: “Study any person who is known to be a permanent success and you will find that [they have] a Definite Major Goal; [they have] a plan for the attainment of this goal; [they devote] the major portion of [their] thoughts and [their] efforts to the attainment of this purpose.”

So, what’s the message? The people you surround yourself with will define the person you will become. The leadership examples in your life become prototypes — good or bad — for the path you’ll follow. Naturally, if you want to follow a path of achievement, you’ll walk side by side with those who have achieved. As Anthony Robbins once said: “Success leaves clues. Proximity is power. Love your family, choose your peers.”

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America

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