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There has been so much written about success over the last 50 years that I hesitate to add my two cents to the subject.   However, as I was working out last week, deep in thought about the contributors to success, several words stood out to me as key factors to success as I have evaluated others and reviewed my own life.  These 4 Ps have been a part of my life, both in business and on a personal level, since as far back as I can remember.  While I have certainly not mastered them, I do recognize the role each of them have played when I got them “right” so to speak.  So let’s review each of them more closely.


Principles have been key in my life and I would dare say in the life of any successful person.  By “principles” I mean a set of virtuous core-values, ideals or truths that guide a person and influence or determine his behavior.  I have written previously that a leader in business must lead from their principles or they will be someone who struggles with uncertainty and double mindedness.  But the key result of the definition above is that principles determine behavior.  And that behavior in turn contributes to success.  A person devoid of virtuous principles may achieve “success” if one defines it as simply achieving one’s goals.  But if the success we seek is upright and virtuous, then our principles must be such as well.

So do you want success?  Identify and affirm the virtuous principles that are your core values and always honor and uphold those principles in your life and business.


[imageframe lightbox=”yes” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” bordercolor=”#f7f7f7″ bordersize=”15px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”right” link=”” linktarget=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””]A great man shows his greatness by how he treats little man[/imageframe]People are a key to one’s success.  For one to succeed it cannot be done in a vacuum, or without the contributions of others.  This concept is understood universally.  However, I’d like to pursue a different angle to this truth.  To truly succeed in life, it’s important that we not only honor the virtuous principles in our lives, but it’s also critical that we honor the people in our life.

I heard it once said that “a great man shows his greatness by how he treats ‘little’ men.”  Mistreat, belittle, disrespect or devalue the people that have been brought into your life and the success that could be yours will never materialize.  While a person may still achieve some level or degree of success as modern culture may measure it (wealth, possessions, prestige, etc.), such achievement will fall short when compared to what could have been attained.


Patience is a trait that I have struggled with throughout my life.  If you are a person focused on achieving you may grapple with this as well.  Being task and goal oriented too often results in pushing hard to achieve with very little patience for delays or shortfalls.  As I grow older though, I have come to realize that patience is a key ingredient to success.  When we consider patience we often think of it in the context of dealing with people, deadlines or circumstances.

[imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” bordercolor=”#f7f7f7″ bordersize=”15px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”left” link=”” linktarget=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][/imageframe]But there’s another angle I’d like to point out.  Oftentimes the delays in our lives are actually blessings in disguise.  I think back to one of the company’s I co-founded with my business partner that started on the back of a napkin.  Within three years of the company’s founding, we received a Letter of Intent (LOI) from an investor to buy us out for $100 million.  However, it took only a couple months for the deal to fall through, to our great dismay at the time.

But fast forward seven years later and we once again received a LOI, this time for more than $100 million from the largest public company in our industry.  And this time the deal closed.

However, here’s where patience comes in.  Those last seven years were some of the most difficult years of my life.  While we were growing, we were also encountering challenges nearly every step of the way, some that threatened our very survival.  But as we faced those challenges, the lessons we learned during those last seven years were ultimately blessings in disguise and they would never have been experienced had the company been sold within the first three years.

So patience also relates to the lessons learned while we wait for success to run it’s course.  Know this:  the lessons we gain on the road to success will never be experienced if success is immediate.  When one recognizes this truth, he will begin to embrace patience, knowing that patience produces great strength.


Our forefathers, through their writings and our nation’s foundational documents, often acknowledged their reliance on “Providence.” In so doing, they signified not only their faith in God but they also affirmed their belief that their futures were often determined by Someone greater than themselves.

In my own personal experience, both in business and life in general, I too have recognized this truth.  There are just too many variables in business to be able to control all of them.  Many entrepreneurs are control-freaks and they seek to not only calculate outcomes but to also predict and influence them.  However, if you’ve been around the block more than once, you know that ultimately this is impossible.  Things are just too complex and our knowledge is too limited to be able to control every variable.

But as someone who has embraced a higher cause and I understand that God is the one who ultimately directs my steps, I take great comfort in Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

It seems our founding fathers understood this truth as they regularly referred to the Lord (Providence) and we can see the outcome of their belief from these last 240 years.  Likewise, I have seen my paths directed time and time again by Providence, and it’s Him to whom I ultimately attribute any success I have had in life.


Throughout this discussion I have ignored one of the obvious requisites for success, and that is offering a product that the market desires and embraces.  I take this as a given so it’s not the focus of my writing today.

But, taking the product as a given assumption, the end result of embracing and valuing the four P’s above (Principles, People, Patience, and Providence) will result in earning the profit that every business seeks.  And as you realize profit in your business, you will be affirming what Ken Blanchard affirmed when he said:

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So be sure to follow your virtuous Principles, respect People, embrace Patience and trust Providence and you most certainly will achieve the success you seek.

Have you found success in your life to be related to these 4 “P’s”?  Share in the comments below.