5 Mindsets of a Highly Successful Person

Can you believe it? Including today, we have 3 more Wednesdays until we are exiting 2020 and entering into 2021. It just does not seem possible 2020 is coming to a close. Yet, I am sure you are more than ready to put this year in the rearview mirror as we journey towards the future. 

I want to end this year strong by spending the next three Wednesdays discussing “mindset.” This is an important topic to discuss as we are exiting a bear of a year and heading into the vast unknown. If you are like me, normally this time of year brings you a great deal of excitement. After all, it is Christmas with everything this time of year brings to us. The sights, the sounds, the food, the celebrations and making new memories with those we love. Following Christmas Eve and Christmas Day comes the anticipation of New Year’s Eve, setting new goals and writing out new resolutions. Then January 1 comes, we take a deep breath and march with anticipation into the New Year expecting greater success, greater effectiveness, greater profitability and greater impact. We whisper proudly to ourselves, “This year will be even greater than last year.” 

These are the actions we take in a normal year. 

Yet, as you know, this is far from a normal year. 

The pandemic. Social unrest. An election season that, quite frankly, left few people enthused (no matter what side you are on). 

As of this week – the week of December 13, 2020 – the Coronavirus vaccine is making its way to cities across America but widespread distribution will not happen until Spring 2021. The term “recession” is thrown around with little caution. There are pundits who believe 2021 will be a successful year economically. Other pundits believe we have not seen the worst of it. No one really knows. 

And so, we are walking out of a shaky year into another shaky year leaving this Christmas season with a little less joy and expectation as we would normally experience. 

If I am honest, I woke up this morning and realized I, personally, needed a mindset shift. Typically, when I meditate (as I do first thing every morning) I try and be aware of my thoughts. Sometimes – and I know you are not supposed to do this – I will have a notebook next to me to write down my thoughts as they pass through my mind. This helps me to remember important upcoming events, tasks I need to accomplish and pressing concerns I need to handle. 

Well, today, halfway through my meditation, I looked down at my notebook filling up with tasks and to-dos and thought to myself, “Wow. I definitely need a mindset shift.” Everything filling up the page in my notebook was minutiae… little things. Things of very little consequence. Do this. Take care of that. Text this person. Call that person. Just a whole bunch of little… Well, I’ll mind my words here. 

You get the idea. 

I knew immediately, in that moment, it was time for a mindset shift. 

So, this blog post/podcast episode is for you… and for me. (Maybe a little more for me than you!) But maybe, you are like me. While you pride yourself on being great leader with a high-level mindset, possibly this year has caused some breakdown in how you are thinking and what you are thinking about. I want you to join me today in shifting your mindset as we exit 2020. Walking into the unknown – as we all are – is no time to be suffering from, what I call, a mediocre mindset. 

So, again, over the next three Wednesdays, we will be discussing mindset. The mindset of the highly successful person, the highly successful executive leader and the highly successful organizational manager. 

Let’s begin today by discussing the 5 Mindsets of a Highly Successful Person. 

Note: When using the word “successful” I mean “impactful.” The word “success” has so many connotations, some positive, others negative. By referring to “impact” when using the term “success” I am referring to the person who is using the balance of their time, talent and treasure to make a meaningful and measurable mark on the world around them. They could be very rich, but they don’t have to be. Success comes in all flavors, but one thing all highly successful people have in common is the impact they have on the people and community around them. 

So, let’s dig in…


You’ve heard of the great Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” 

You can tell the mindset of a person by the topic of their conversation. The perpetual gossip? Small-minded. The person who is always talking about the details, the one who can get your staff meetings lost in the weeds? This the average mind. 

The person who is consistently talking about ideas, who possibly has their head in the clouds? This is the great mind. Watch Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan Podcast… you will witness a truly great mind in action. 

Sure, we all have moments where we move from one mindset to another. The question is, where is most of your mindset spent? Talking about other people, talking about events or talking about ideas? 

I have been fortunate enough to sit at the table with some very “big” people in my life. The kind of people who are consistently talking about the big things… how to change communities, how to transform businesses, how to pass legislation, how to make families stronger, how to bring education to the masses, how to create and innovate products, etc. I know from my time with these people, great minds are focused on adding value to as many people as possible. 


What do I mean by this? Successful people know their own future is in their hands. They know they have the power to create and the power to destroy. They do not wait for other people or make excuses when they miss they mark. They understand every day is a gift in which they move forward, backwards or stall. 

For two years, I had the privilege of partnering with the Los Angeles Chargers football team in traveling to several different youth detention facilities and speaking to incarcerated teens. The one saying I repeated often where these words, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” I wanted these amazing young men and women to grasp these words. No matter where they came from or whatever circumstances they crawled out of, their future was in their own hands (at least here in the United States). Would it mean hard work? Yes. Would it mean personal transformation? Yes. Would it mean changing locations? Quite possibly. Would it mean making different choices moving forward? Most definitely. However, these young men and women had the power within themselves to move towards the lives they always wanted. 

The successful person understands this. Life is truly what you decide to make of it. You have the agency to set goals and work towards them every day. 


Highly successful people think in terms of achievement. They think about big goals, how to get after them and the potential rewards that will follow. Finishing is key. 

Here is what I mean: Highly successful people do not focus on failure or what could go wrong. They know that with every decision their comes inherent risk. Your project may fail. Your product may not go to market. Your presentation may bomb. Your idea may get shot down. Highly successful people never allow thoughts of “what if” to deter them from moving towards their goals. They understand that there may be setbacks, yet they remained focused on both the journey and the outcome. 

An achievement mindset is about remaining positive in the face of the unknown. 


There is no such thing as the “mountaintop” in the mindset of the highly successful person. They are not content to just be content. 

You know you are talking to an average mindset person when they begin talking about contentment or being “satisfied” with what you have or where you are in life. You know the sound, “Why can’t you just be happy?” Or, my favorite one, “You will never find what you are looking for out there.” 

The highly successful mindset is not “searching” for anything. They are simply on a continuous quest to reach their full and highest potential. They understand there is always more out there to learn, more to experience, more people to add value to. They refuse to stop. 

Truly great people refuse to stop. 

They understand inertia leads to mediocrity. The one way to be average is to stop moving. Watch Netflix. Rot in front of the television. Scroll through social media all day. Stay still. 

Not the highly successful person. They are always moving forward. Always learning. Always growing. Always evolving. There is no such thing as the mountaintop or the finish line. As long as the Earth is rotating and evolving, there will always be more work to be done. 


Highly successful people come to every morning, every person, every meeting, every opportunity and any new information with open hands. The only thought that drives them is: “What can I learn from this?” 

Small and average-minded people have closed minds. There is no new information for them. They know all there is to know. They do not listen to people who think or believe differently from how they think or believe. They only surround themselves with like-minded people. 

A highly successful person shows an appreciate for life and for the people who make up the broader community. They value diversity of thought, opinion, belief, appearance, worldview and way of life. They listen to and learn from everyone. They may not agree…but they are open to new information. 

Because they are open to new information, they never stop growing, they never stop evolving. 

This morning, I knew I needed a mindset shift. If it is true that “what you focus on expands,” I knew I did not want more details expanding in my life. More small issues to keep my mindset from being focused on the bigger issues. 

What about you? What are you focused on? Where is your mindset heading into 2021? Are you focused the big things, big ideas? Are you soaring with the eagles or clucking with the chickens? 

Get your mindset right and watch how the journey unfolds before you. 

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