Recently I sat down with Bob Guiney, made famous after becoming The Bachelor on season 4. He's tall, handsome, happy-go-lucky, and extremely successful. In 1999 he and his partner launched a successful mortgage company despite the fact that Guiney had zero experience in the mortgage business. Fame has done nothing but fuel his taste for entrepreneurship. He stays busy with his own radio show on Playboy Radio and he is a regular guest spokesman on several shows including The Today Show, HGTV's Showhouse Showdown, Game Show Network's GSN LIVE and GSN's Bingo Blitz and TLC's Date My House. Bob has a passion for real estate and, in the bit of spare time he has, he's been known to flip a property or an apartment building or two. As if that's not enough, Guiney is a big-time philanthropist. By the way - he's the kind of philanthropist that doesn't talk about it - he just gives money and time at every opportunity. How do I know? A little research and a good conversation with his mom, who spilled the beans on Bob's success.
When you get the rare opportunity to interview someone who has built an amazing life, you don't' waste it. I asked Bob straight out, "What's your secret to success?" His answer will very likely surprise you as much as it did me.
I have interviewed hundreds of amazingly successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, business owners, movie stars, and celebrities. Never once did anyone so blatantly offer credit over to their mom, like Guiney did. As Guiney explained, he grew up in an environment where he was told he could be anyone he wanted to be. In fact his mom would make him and his sister, Deanne, recite affirmations in the mirror each morning, including "I am tremendous!"
Whatever Mrs. Guiney did, it worked. She raised a man that is hard working, driven, and philanthropic. As a mom and as an entrepreneur I wanted to know her secret to raising a man like that. I wanted to dig deeper to learn about the success behind Bob Guiney's success and that lead me to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and a conversation with the awe-inspiring Nora Guiney.
Nora Guiney, in her sixties, works for a yearbook sales company. In her capacity, she travels throughout Michigan speaking to students about the importance of having a yearbook. Bob told me she's a motivational speaker who sales yearbooks, which to me sounded unusual, but totally made sense once I spoke to her. Nora Guiney didn't just raise a successful young man, she raised a successful family. In fact Bob's sister Deanne is equally accomplished. What's interesting is that Nora's job was not complete in raising just an amazing family - she's raising better communities through her work. More on that later. Here are the five secrets shared by Nora Guiney to perpetuating success throughout your life - be it your own business, your own family, or the entire community:
1. Hugs: Nora Guiney spends her days speaking to school children. She believes that everyone is put on earth for a reason and that the reason she was put here is to let each person know that their life is valuable. Everyone is special in their own way. After her motivational speeches, Nora explains that it is customary that kids line up to talk to her and to get a hug from her. She exudes love and compassion. This brings me to the first lesson I learned from Mrs. Guiney about propagating success in others and that is, give lots of hugs. She explained that one of the reasons her kids turned out so successful is that they lived in a household full of hugs. She explained that her kids would never wait in line to get a hug from someone they didn't know because there was plenty of love at home. Want to have a child that grows up to become an amazing person, give hugs!
2. You are Tremendous!: Yes, Nora, admits, she made her children look in the mirror every day and say to themselves, "I AM TREMENDOUS, I REALLY AM TREMENDOUS AND I WILL DO TREMENDOUS THINGS.....I DON'T JUST THINK IT, I KNOW IT, I BELIEVE.....I'M GOOD!!! WOO!!" She said that this affirmation repeated over time instilled into them a sense that they were each in control of their own destiny. Nobody in the world could tell them what they could or couldn't do with their lives because they knew how special they were. By the way, Nora said that she does this herself each day. She said that as humans, we get the distinct honor of deciding if we are going to have a great day or a lousy one. She said that every single day she chooses to have a great day and it begins by giving herself a pat on the back before heading off into the world.
How could Nora know the importance of instilling this amazing sense of self-worth in her kids? She explained that when she was in fourth grade, her family moved from South Carolina to Michigan. She was uprooted from her friends and she felt like a misfit in her new school. That is until her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Augustus, pulled her aside one day and said, "Nora. You are so special! But you have to learn to believe in you!" This was a pivotal milestone in Nora Guiney's life, one that would change the trajectory of not just her life, but that of her children, grand-children, and hundreds of thousands of kids she speaks to regularly. Ms. Augustus handed Nora a poem and instructed her to read it to herself over and over each day until she internalized it. Nora read the poem to me from memory.
by Edgar Guest
I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don't want to dress myself up in sham.
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to think as I come and go
That I'm for bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself -- and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
3. Watch for Windows of Opportunity: In the affirmation above, you'll note there is a "WOO!" at the end. That's not just a WOO as in "WOOHOO I'm Awesome!" No "WOO" stands for Windows of Opportunities. Mrs. Guiney taught her kids to always be looking for Windows of Opportunity. As she explained, most people spend their days just getting by rather than seeking out opportunities. WOO! In every affirmation was there to make sure no day ever passed by her children without acknowledging out loud the opportunities all around them.
4. Don't Look at the Clock: This was one of my favorites. Nora Guiney never, never, never looks at a clock before going to bed. She doesn't want to taint her tomorrow by acknowledging she stayed up too late. For example, she said that most people always check the time when they go to bed. When they go to bed later than usual they wake up and mentally prepare themselves for being tired. Nora said that success in life requires proper mental programming and as such she never allows herself to be tainted by time. She wakes up every day re-charged and raring to take on her business and the world with a great attitude, no matter what time she ended up dosing off the night before.
5. Find the Positive in Everything: Of course, not everything in life goes perfectly all the time, acknowledges Mrs. Guiney. She further recognizes that if you wait long enough you will always fine the bright side of any situation. Here's an example. When Nora Guiney was in High School she badly wanted to be homecoming queen for her school. Five of them were being selected. She waited with baited breath to find out if her name would be announced as one of them. Four names were called, none of them was hers. Then, the fifth name announced was Nora's. She was elated! She ran home to tell her mom the exciting news. It was then that her mother reminded Nora she would need a date for the homecoming dance. Nora had just dumped her boyfriend and she had no prospect of finding someone to take her to the dance. Nora's mom insisted that she attend the Dance. Back then, it was unheard of to attend alone. Her mom found her a date. She convinced Nora's older brother Andy to come home from college to take her to the dance and he did just that.
While at the dance having a wonderful time, Nora's rival snapped a photo of her dancing with her brother. That photo ended up in the school yearbook that year with a caption underneath saying "Nora Without a Date Dances with Her Brother." Of course, that rival was only trying to get under her skin but Nora was already away at college by the time the yearbook came out. She was un-phased by the photo or the caption.
For her ten and twenty year school reunions, Nora waited to confront the girl who took that picture and wrote that caption in the yearbook. Nora was rightfully a bit angry. Then, on her 30th high school reunion her rival showed up. Nora confronted her alright. She thanked her for taking that photo. Why? Because, Nora's big brother passed away and that photo was the only good photo she had with her big brother. "You see," said Nora. "If you wait long enough, there's always a bright side."
In closing, it's always exciting when a conversation or even just a question takes you on a journey. When I asked The Bachelor his thoughts on success I never imagined the voyage his answer would take me on. The truth is, success is not a solo voyage, it's a collaboration, of people near and far who shape your journey.