Grace at the Top – Five Attributes of Brilliantly Successful People

gracious leaderI continue to be amazed by the graciousness of well known leaders.  I am writing a book called Transforming Success into Serenity and am interviewing influential leaders. Many of them are high profile people who are often ‘in the news’.  As the interviews have progressed I have noticed some common themes and pleasant surprises:


Every person I have asked to interview has said yes.  They have generously agreed to meet with me and share what their view from the top is like as well as what has shaped and defined their success.  There have been almost no barriers to access to an interview and they shared openly and candidly with little or no reservation.

Humble Background

Most of these people have come from middle class to lower income families. Some were raised in ‘housing projects’.  One college President was homeless much of his childhood.  It was this very backdrop of ‘less than’ and ‘not enough’ that birthed in them the desire to be and have more.

Personal Cheerleader

Someone believed in them and said “you can do this – you can do and be anything you want”.  Those raised in dire poverty often had someone who said “I want you to have more than I can provide for you” and worked several jobs to provide the resources or education for them to grow beyond their earliest beginnings.  Someone held a bigger dream for them than they personally enjoyed.

Luck was a Factor

To a person, everyone said some version of ”I was lucky, I was in the right place at the right time, things fell my way.”  They all considered a large portion of their success was due to favorable circumstances that they did not create but simply reaped the benefits of good timing.

Admitted Weakness or Failures

There was not an air of superiority about these people. If anything, it was the reverse.  They appeared truly humble and appreciative that I would be interested in their story and were honored to be of service to help or inspire others desiring to be future leaders.  These are not an ego-centric group of people who thrive on constant adulation. Instead they are more interested in making a difference than making money and achieving fame.

The Biggest Trait of All?

There are several people who stood out in my dozens of interviews and what they did was so significant I will devote the next blog to this trait alone.  It’s something we can all learn from and be transformed by.

We often think successful, influential, high profile people as unapproachable and arrogant.  My experience with these successful people has been the complete opposite   They have worked hard to achieve the success they now enjoy and recall often and intimately from whence they came.  They are honored to share their story in hopes of making a difference.

How about you?  What has shaped your definition of success?  Are you writing your own lifescript rather than reading and living one that someone wrote for you?  Are you kind and gracious to the people in your life?  Brilliance is an inside job that is reflected in outer expressions — how’s your brilliance factor?

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