A Simple Formula For Success

We’re approaching 150 interviews in the On Leadership podcast series. Three years of weekly conversations with remarkable people. So remarkable that I’m authoring a new book for FranklinCovey based on the podcast series published by HarperCollins in September 2021. Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds will become an annual volume from FranklinCovey highlighting some of the key takeaways from the podcast series. Stay tuned, more information on this book to come!

In this week’s conversation with Alain Hunkins, author of Cracking the Leadership Code, he reminded me of some of the commonalities nearly all our guests share. This may be one of those “duh” moments, but there are several similarities I’ve noticed across so many of the On Leadership guests. Two I’d like to highlight here. What’s most interesting to me is that the two characteristics cross so many different circumstances and varied people, all with different expertise and passions. Marie Forleo, John Maxwell, Stephen M.R. Covey, Ed Mylett, Matthew McConaughey, David Rubenstein, Rachel Hollis, Leena Rinne, Jon Gordon, Jamie Kern Lima, Chris Hogan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Gray, Jack Canfield, Dr. Daniel Amen, Liz Wiseman, Donald Miller, Nancy Duarte, Joel Peterson, Stedman Graham, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Nely Galán, Stephanie McMahon, Bobby Herrera, Nick Vujicic, Anne Chow, BJ Fogg, Dave Hollis, Ryan Holiday, Carly Fiorina—the list is nearly all-encompassing of our total guest list.

Okay, I’m over my celebrity crush list—here are the two commonalities I’d like to share:

  • All of these influencers are models of abundance. They possess what Dr. Stephen R. Covey calls an “Abundance Mentality.” They are naturally, subconsciously focused on sharing, pollinating, supporting, lifting, and connecting others. It’s second nature to them. They don’t have a scarce bone in their body. The thought of hoarding information, resources, or credit isn’t even an option for them. They are outwardly focused on others both in their thoughts as well as their actions. And it’s palpable in every encounter. Highly effective people are abundant, not scarce.


  • They work their tails off. Nonstop it seems. I wouldn’t call them workaholics per se (I’m not sure how even to define that). These people lead balanced lives, but also recognize that in life, there are seasons of balance and imbalance. It’s common to hear they are focused on a project intensely for 18 months, 100 hours a week, and then they check out for 3 months to recover/repair. Now I know not everyone has that luxury (I do now as a self-employed entrepreneur, but certainly didn’t for the past 30 years as a salaried employee of a company). These people develop a product, create a course, organize a conference, author a book, develop a solution, and then when it’s launched, they don’t head to Maui. They triple down and go all in to market it. Seth Godin once told me he was a guest on 125 separate podcasts for the launch of his book This Is Marketing, which is just one of the 20 bestsellers he has written. Jack Canfield, the co-author of The Chicken Soup For The Soul series that has sold over 500,000,000 copies, is a guest on multiple programs and podcasts weekly, and he’s still authoring, hosting, and launching new businesses simultaneously. He certainly doesn’t need to, if you do the royalty math on those five hundred million books sold, but he’s clearly not driven any longer by money. John Gray of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus fame? The same. Nancy Duarte? Same. Nely Galán? Same. Dr. Daniel Amen? Same.

It’s interesting, as it seems the more success and influence these people achieve, the harder they work. The more dedicated they become. I don’t think it’s fame-driven. I don’t think it’s an obsession. I know many of these people personally, and they are certainly driven, but very much mission driven. They are simply maximizing their time on this earth—helping others.

Perhaps that’s the key insight from these 150 people. No offense to any of them (and many of them are reading this blog), but I don’t think they are any smarter than you or me. They just resist scarce thoughts and they work hard. Harder than most. Perhaps harder than you and me.

Exercising an Abundance Mentality and Hard Work is a simple, but winning formula. Something each of us can do starting today.

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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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