Thoughts on Leadership: Habits for Wealth

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels first found me in Northern California, specifically in Cupertino having my Saturday morning breakfast with my good friend Johnnie Johnson (former All-Pro defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams) and we were joined by another good friend of ours, NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. (We were tackling life … and our hearty breakfasts … and thankfully, nobody tackled me.) Together, we reminisced about our beloved friend Dwight Clark, who is deeply missed by us all.

Next it was off to Southern California to our HSF Affiliates headquarters office for meetings with prospective franchisees, a leadership meeting and Town Hall with the team. During the Town Hall, I delivered a presentation based on Tom Corley’s book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Corley spent years studying the difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. On the rich side, he analyzed the habits of those with annual gross income north of $160,000 and net liquid assets of $3.2 million or more.

Today for our weekly blog post, I’d like to share 16 habits gleaned from this wealthy population, and, as the best-selling author says, they will help you reach and maintain your wealth potential:

  1. Live within your means. Wealthy people don’t overspend and always save. On average, they save 20% of their net income and live on the remaining 80%.
  2. Don’t gamble. Wealthy people don’t rely on random luck for success like playing the lottery or visiting a casino. “[Rich people] create their own luck,” Corley says.
  3. Read every day. Reading, as I say, allows you to see old things in new ways. Increasing your knowledge will make you more valuable in business and life. Among the wealthy people Corley studied, 88% read more than 30 minutes or more each day. And famously, Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying he reads about 200 books per year. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow for reading, listen to audio books while commuting or in between meetings. There’s always time to learn … if you commit to it!
  4. Spend less time watching TV and surfing the web. Corley says two-thirds of wealthy people surveyed watch less than an hour of TV a day and 63% spend less than an hour a day on the internet unless it’s job related.
  5. Control your emotions. Remember, not every emotion needs to be expressed. Sometimes, when you speak whatever is on your mind, you risk hurting others’ feelings and tarnishing important connections. A full 94% of wealthy people filter their emotions, says Corley. One of the most important emotions to control—and one that can have the most negative impact on your leadership ability—is fear. Overcome fear and do not allow it to hold you back!
  6. Network and volunteer regularly. Networking and volunteering will allow you to build invaluable relationships, strengthened through the altruism and feel-good vibes of giving back to others. Almost three-quarters of wealthy people network and volunteer at least five hours a month. And if you’re looking for a charity to support, the Sunshine Kids is an amazing one!
  7. Go above and beyond in work and business. Wealthy individuals, as Corley describes, “make themselves invaluable to their employers or customers.” They never avoid a task because it’s simply not in their job description. Write articles for your business, speak at industry events … do more than what you think is in your job description, never less.
  8. Set goals, not wishes. Corley says 70% of wealthy people pursue at least one major goal or WIG. Remember, you can’t control the outcome of a wish but you can execute on and accomplish a goal.
  9. Avoid procrastination. As Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
  10. Talk less and listen more. (In the spirit of this habit, I’ll just go on to the next one …)
  11. Avoid toxic people. We are as successful as those we surround ourselves with. Of wealthy, successful people Corley studied, 86% associate with other successful people.
  12. Don’t give up. Corley writes, “Those who are successful in life have three things in common: focus, persistence and patience. They simply do not quit chasing their big goals.”
  13. Set aside the self-limiting beliefs holding you back. A self-limiting belief like “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not good enough” will restrain you from accomplishing your goals and finding success. Each morning as part of your daily routine, read positive affirmations to create a positive mindset.
  14. Get a mentor. Here’s an astounding statistic: Among the wealthy Corley studied, 93% had a mentor. Find someone who is going to regularly and actively participate in your growth and most importantly, will not put up with your excuses for why something wasn’t done. As I’ve written before, Mike Ferry was a mentor of mine who would not let me get complacent. Mike simply didn’t stand for it.
  15. Eliminate “bad luck” from your vocabulary. Sometimes when people struggle financially, they credit bad luck for their troubles. As Corley writes, bad habits repeated again and again “are like snowflakes on a mountainside. In time, these snowflakes build up until the inevitable avalanche.”
  16. Know your main purpose. When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work. (I say I love what I do largely because of who I get to do it with but it’s also because I genuinely believe my work is also my passion – helping people achieve their goals faster than they would in my absence.) If you love what you do and it’s your life’s main purpose, you’ll happily devote more time to it and in turn, accomplish, earn more and feel more fulfilled.

So, what’s the message? Wealth doesn’t happen by accident. Often, it’s the result of positive, sustainable habits repeated over time that when aggregated together, form the foundation for a healthy, wealthy and most importantly, happy life.

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