Long before Steve Harvey made a career out of comedy, wrote a best-selling book, hosted a talk show or won an Emmy, he was a college dropout who drifted from one dead-end job to another. He has been homeless, struggling and desperate, but, today, at 57, he's a great success. During his uphill battle to make something of his life, Harvey has learned several key lessons about what it really takes to achieve, one of which he emphasizes during his appearance on "Oprah's Lifeclass."
As Harvey explains in the above video, years ago, the late Butch Lewis taught him a lesson that helped him visualize what the road to success looks like.
"When you are a person who is success-minded, you have a wagon that you are pulling uphill. Attached to this wagon is this very thick rope... You have a rope on your back and you are pulling this wagon uphill at all times," Harvey says. "You are totally responsible for your wagon. You are the only one on the rope."
What's inside the wagon, however, can determine how quickly you can reach success -- or whether you'll reach it at all. It comes down to the people around you, Harvey says.
"In order for the wagon to go up the hill, you have to have people -- like-minded people. People on your staff, employees, people who you partner with," he explains. "As you pull this rope up the hill, you have to make sure that everybody that's on the wagon is doing something to get the wagon up the hill."
In the wagon analogy, Harvey says that everyone must play a role in the uphill climb, whether it's hanging a foot out and helping to push, or moving rocks out of the way of the wheels. The danger, he cautions, is when someone in your wagon does absolutely nothing except weigh it down.
"You've got to be careful. There are people who will get on your wagon and have no value," Harvey says. "All of a sudden, their feet are off the ground. They're just on the wagon, riding."
Everyone has this type of person in their life, and it's not always a professional colleague. It could be your parent, child or close friend. "You all got somebody in your wagon that's doing nothing!" Harvey tells the "Lifeclass" audience. "You must now shed yourself of this dead weight. If you don't, your climb with your rope will be agonizing."
Then, Harvey offers practical advice for everyone in search of success.
"You've got to make a list of everybody in your life and what they provide for you," he says. "This is a hard list to make. But you've got to come to the conclusion of who is a benefit to you in your life and who is a detraction in your life."