This is not about becoming the CEO, the COO, or the President of a senior living organization. It is about your ability to achieve the success you want for your life

By Steve Moran

A few weeks ago, while at the SMASH/SHINE conference in Chicago, I was invited to join a very small group (maybe 20 people) of high-powered senior living leaders for dinner. We were sitting their breaking bread, sharing stories and . . . this is going to sound really sappy, but I got a little teary eyed at how cool it was to be hanging out with these people that I admire so much.  

I recently came across this very powerful article published at INC titled “Why Most People Will Never Be Successful.” I actually like my title better because his title suggests most people who are reading his article are not successful. I don’t think that is true for most INC readers and I am sure it is not true for most readers of Senior Housing Forum.

All The Success You Want

This is not about becoming the CEO, the COO, or the President of a senior living organization. It is about your ability to achieve the success you want for your life. I would suggest that for most people it includes the following three components:

  1. Making enough money to live a nice life

  2. Making enough money to save for a nice retirement

  3. Having a job that provides meaning and satisfaction

Getting to that point requires a combination of doing certain things and not doing other things. In the INC article, he makes the point that if you don’t care about success you will eat whatever you want whenever you want. However, if caring about success, you will make sure you don’t eat too much and you will make sure what you do eat is largely good for you.

If you want success, you will get some physical exercise and if you don’t care, you won’t.

The Most Important of All

There was one thing in the article that really hit home. YOU NEED TO BE HANGING OUT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. He goes on to suggest that if you don’t really care about success then it doesn’t matter who you hang out with. But if you care about success hanging out with bright successful people has to be the first step toward success.

Don’t get me wrong, it is hard. Here is why. Successful people like hanging out with successful people. They don’t so much like hanging out with mediocre people (none of my readers I am sure).  So how do you do it?

  1. Most successful people are really nice people and friendly people, but they are both busy and in demand, which means they have to guard their time and energy carefully to stay successful. Don’t get me wrong, there are some jerks out there who are successful . . . **coughDonaldTrumpcough**  In the senior living industry, I have met way more nice leaders than jerks (though I do have a very short list of jerks in my head . . . but way less than a dozen . . . and I know a lot of people).

  1. Every time you go to a conference, pick out one or two successful people that you want to meet. An ideal way to do this is to scan the presentations you are going to attend and pick the ones where you want to meet one or more of the presenters.  

  1. Sit in the front and after the presentation get to that person first . . . before they get off the stage. There is an art to making a first good impression that will lead to more conversation . . . and maybe even a friendship.   

    Figure out an interesting question or observation about something that person said. The comment can even be a disagreement if it is interesting. While everyone likes it when you compliment them or say great job they won’t remember you.  

  1. Be willing to accept that it takes time. Do it over and over again. There is a national figure that I introduced myself too and I was sure he should know who I was and he was clueless. It took several more times before we became friends.

    Right now I am working on a relationship with someone who is bigger than senior living . . . well actually a couple of people and it is slow hard work, multiple little contacts.

  1. Don’t be afraid to drop names . . . with the cavat that you need to be 100% sure the person whose name you drop will be completely okay with them name dropping. The best way to do that is to ask permission, or better yet ask for an introduction.   

    This next week while in Nashville at AHCA I am going to meet with an author of an amazing book on storytelling. It only happened because I asked for an introduction.   

    When it comes to asking for intro’s though, please understand what it means to ask that. It is never a trivial request. I will tell you that I am once or twice asked for an introduction by a vendor to a provider where I have no relationship with the vendor except maybe a LinkedIn connection or they are a reader. When that happens I say NO. It is an unfair and unreasonable request.  

    And yet . . . for people who I have relationships with, I make probably 200-300 introductions a year.

  1. This is the single most import rule of all. Don’t be a jerk. Be content to have a very brief introduction. Maybe ask to have a follow-up conversation, but don’t dominate . . . unless the person you are talking with becomes chatty . . then let them rock.

Go meet some amazing people this month.

The other way to meet some highly successful people is to become a part of the online Senior Living Leadership Community Senior Living Leadership Hub.