What Success Formulas Do Successful People Have?

August 10, 2023
August 10, 2023 Terkel

What Success Formulas Do Successful People Have?

In search of the elusive success formula, we’ve gathered insights from twelve accomplished individuals, including founders and top-level executives. Their responses range from harnessing negative visualization to the importance of goal, strategy, and actionable commitment. Dive into these diverse perspectives to discover your own path to success.

  • Harness Negative Visualization
  • Combine Passion, People, and Technology
  • Set High Goals and Prioritize Tasks
  • Work with the Best People
  • Be a Perpetual Student
  • Build Strong Teams and Mentorships
  • Extract Benefit from Errors
  • Empower Employees
  • Prioritize Focus and Resilience
  • Learn Emotional Intelligence
  • Focus on Skill, Work, Luck
  • Make a Commitment

Harness Negative Visualization for Success

Negative visualization is a pivotal tool in my journey as a fintech leader. It was introduced to me through the writings of Dreiser and Marcus Aurelius, and it enabled me to foresee challenges and not merely view them as threats.

This mental exercise saw me through tough times like the 2008 recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and even recent inflationary patterns. When I thought ahead about problems, I learned to react well and transform tough times into chances for success. This way of thinking made me strong and adaptable, vital traits in our fast-paced tech world. It taught me the value of not just surviving, but truly thriving, in any situation.

Fred WincharFred Winchar
Founder, Certified HR Professional, MaxCash

Combine Passion, People, and Technology

As someone who was a programmer before starting a hybrid workforce-management solution business, I truly believe that passion, people, and technology are the three building blocks of my own success. I was always passionate about flexible work environments, something that’s been much more prevalent in the tech sphere than in most other industries for a long time, and I try to bring that same passion to my interactions with my team and my clients.

Finding the right people who also share the passion for making ways of working more flexible is equally as important, as you need to share the vision to act as a cohesive unit. Technology is what ties it all together—it gives us a way to make those ideas a reality.

Dragos BadeaDragos Badea
CEO, Yarooms

Set High Goals and Prioritize Tasks

As a solopreneur in the IT field, my success recipe comes straight from the book Amp It Up.

From day one, I set high goals for myself. Raising my standards not only makes my work better, it also gives me a boost of energy. To stay on track, I focus on one or two top priorities. Instead of juggling many tasks, I do one thing really well before moving on to the next. This helps me work quickly and stay excited about my work.

My approach isn’t just about doing a job—it’s about constantly pushing myself to do better, work faster, and keep growing.

Lucas WylandLucas Wyland
Founder, Steambase

Work with the Best People

My success formula is to work with the best people, instead of hiring them as full-time employees. The traditional corporate pyramid model is fading, and a more agile approach, akin to a movie project, is becoming the norm. Collaborating with specialist freelancers allows for flexibility and agility, reducing unnecessary administrative and overhead costs.

The key lies in finding the best and most reliable freelancers who can deliver exceptional results. By forming a network of skilled professionals, we tap into a diverse pool of expertise while maintaining cost-effectiveness.

Moreover, this model encourages continuous learning and growth as we interact with diverse talents and gain insights from various industries. The sum of these specialized parts creates synergy, where “1 plus 1 can be bigger than 2.”

Sarah PolitiSarah Politi
Founder and Managing Director, Jade & Sterling

Be a Perpetual Student

Success in anything looks something like this: read a lot. Learn a new skill for dealing with people that is useful in both business and personal life. Now, I use the thing I am learning too much and push it too far. Then, I back it off too much.

Finally, I find the happy medium where it is maximally useful, and I am no longer forcing it to be useful. I repeat the process until I can find that balance each time I perform a task. This applies to any idea that improves dealing with people at any level.

What I am trying to say is that success is a direct result of being a perpetual student, and learning anything always takes trial, error, and accumulation of experience.

Rick BerresRick Berres
Owner, Honey-Doers

Build Strong Teams and Mentorships

My success formula centers around building strong teams and investing in mentorship programs. I believe that nurturing talent through guidance and support creates a culture of growth and excellence. Empowering employees and fostering a growth-and-learning environment are key to our success!

Loren HowardLoren Howard
Founder, Prime Plus Mortgages

Extract Benefit from Errors

Most people define success by personal, emotional, or physical metrics.

As a first-generation immigrant, I started from humble beginnings. Now, 30 years later, I have become a cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and skydiver.  

My personal success formula hinges on what I call “extracting the benefit from error.” This involves the process of learning and improving from mistakes. Instead of viewing errors as failures, I see them as opportunities for growth and understanding. It involves analyzing the error, understanding why it happened, and then applying that knowledge to prevent the same mistake from occurring in the future.

When my parachute failed to open after a skydive, I followed the emergency procedures and opened the reserve parachute. On the ground, I learned the error was in how I packed my parachute. Analyzing the error once safely on the ground not only made me a better skydiver but also empowered me to be more successful personally and professionally.

Alexandra KharaziAlexandra Kharazi
Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Southern California Surgical

Empower Employees

The key to success is empowering employees. Always look for new ways to grow market share, operate more efficiently, and boost brand reputation. No matter how hard one works at it personally, there will always be some things that are missed. This is why the focus is on giving all employees big-picture goals and giving them the flexibility to reach them in the way that works best for them.


It’s always impressive what the moving teams come up with. Some of the core customer-service practices, like sending photos throughout the process, came from people whose formal job description is loading a truck.

Nick ValentinoNick Valentino
VP of Market Operations, Bellhop

Prioritize Focus and Resilience

My success formula is simple: focus and resilience. To maintain my focus, I make sure to leave my technology behind when I take time away from work or school tasks—this means no laptops or cell phones when vacationing!

By leaving these distractions at home and immersing myself in the experience, it boosts creativity and productivity upon returning to those tasks. Resilience is just as key for sustaining long-term success; whenever emotions flare up, I actively seek strategies to bounce back quickly from any perceived setbacks.

This combination of setting boundaries for yourself and possessing the strength to carry on, come what may, cultivates a mindset that helps me stay productive despite life’s challenges.

Julia KellyJulia Kelly
Managing Partner, Rigits

Learn Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence has been the key to my success and well-being. Understanding and managing emotions, both mine and others’, has improved my communication, decision-making, and leadership skills. It’s led to stronger relationships, better workplace dynamics, and a more balanced approach to life’s challenges.


To enhance my emotional intelligence, I engaged in self-reflection, practiced mindfulness, and sought feedback from others to gain insights into my emotional strengths and areas for growth. Empathy and active listening skills were also developed through engaging in open and compassionate conversations with others.

Brian HardestyBrian Hardesty
Owner, On Display Signs

Focus on Skill, Work, and Luck

Achieving success is difficult, and it’s never guaranteed. The formula for success involves three things: skill, work, and luck. Success in the long run requires real skill and domain expertise. Closely related to this is hard work. Talent alone is not enough without actual effort. The third part is the most frustrating. True success needs a good measure of luck. By luck, it means finding oneself in advantageous circumstances beyond one’s control.

It’s crucial to do the work to be ready for this lucky break, but the reality is that sometimes all the skill and hard work in the world won’t be enough if one doesn’t happen to be at the right place at the right time.

Temmo KinoshitaTemmo Kinoshita
Co-Founder, Lindenwood Marketing

Make a Commitment

When I boil it down, I consider success to be the combination of these three factors: a goal, a strategy, and actionable commitment.

It all starts with your overarching goal. What do you hope to achieve? If you don’t first solidify this, you can’t have success, because your goal is going to be your marker of success. Then, once you have a goal, you have to develop a strategy to take you from Point A to Point B. How are you going to get from here to your end goal?

Your strategy outlines the action you will take to accomplish your goal, which brings us to the last factor of the equation: actionable commitment. Having a strategy is great, but unless you actually commit yourself to putting that plan into motion, nothing will come of it. Your actionable commitment is what brings your strategy into fruition, and it’s what takes you across the finish line of success.

Brittany MendezBrittany Mendez
CMO, FloridaPanhandle.com

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