#1 Trait Needed to Build A $200M Business (Or, A Successful Career)

Peter LeSaffre, CEO  Fusion Worldwide
Photo by J.T. O'DonnellPeter LeSaffre, CEO of Fusion WorldWide

You've met these people before - they're highly successful (i.e. run their own companies, or have six-figure careers), and naturally get a lot of attention. You admire their success, but don't like the idea of being labeled:


Something about their swagger makes you hold back from trying to be more like them.

What Do These Traits Have In Common?

All of the above are positioned in our culture as bad characteristics to exhibit. From an early age, most of us are raised to be the opposite of these traits. We are told to be nice, kind, respectful, humble, tactful, helpful, etc. Being a good person is a wonderful thing. But, it doesn't always get us the career results we want. Yet, that doesn't explain why so many people who buck these teachings manage to become so successful?

One Trait Is Needed Above All Of These!

Those with enormous success all share an additional trait that drives them to the top: extreme confidence. They believe 110% in their ability to achieve their goals. They feel in control because they take control. They aren't scared of failure. Why? Their desire to succeed is so powerful, it drives them to work hard, take risks, and learn from their mistakes. They don't have time to worry about what people think of them. They're too busy making things happen. They find happiness not in the approval of others, but in producing results. And results, lead to success.

Meet Peter LeSaffre. He's Built a $200M Company (Twice!)

Peter LeSaffre was in his early 20s when he came home to his seven-month pregnant wife and said,"I'm going to start a company and we need to put the house up as collateral." When I asked Peter what gave him the confidence to take that risk he said,

I'd always been confident. A few people called me cocky. But, it wasn't that. I knew the company we could build would be better than the one I was working for. I knew it would be hard work and that we'd make plenty of mistakes, but I also felt I didn't have a choice. I couldn't stay working for a company that couldn't see the potential of what was ahead. It was at the time IBM introduced the first PC to the world. I knew it needed to be done for all those customers.

Can you see the difference? Peter didn't let what other people thought of him hold him back from creating the business he believed he could build. He put his blinders on, rolled up his sleeves, and went to work. Had he stopped to worry about how he was perceived, I doubt highly he would have been able to achieve his goal.

Confidence Must Be Fed

When Peter sold his company, he had a 2-year non-compete. He had to sit out and wait before he could start another company in his industry. When I asked Peter what those two years were like he said, "Terrible. I went out of my mind." You'd think a guy who just made a lot of money selling his company would want to sit back and relax, but that shows how important the confidence trait really is. When a confident person isn't doing something that allows them to feed that confidence, they're unhappy. It shouldn't surprise you that Peter immediately started another company after the two year break and still runs it today. Fusion Worldwide a $300M operation based in Boston with offices all over the world. Like many confident people, Peter is happiest when he is working. "This is what I love to do. It's where I feel successful."

FACT: CEOs, Like Peter, Love To Hire Confident Professionals

Peter is always looking for top salespeople. They need to be true hunters. He calls them "fighter pilots" because they need to be able to perform like a top gun on the job. Those aren't easy to find. Peter points out, "Most people don't have the confidence needed to succeed." That's why he isn't afraid to hire salespeople who have extreme confidence. Furthermore, he taps into that confidence by giving them a huge incentive: "My salespeople have no cap on their earnings. Unlike other places, there's no limit to how much you can make here. It's designed that way to ensure we get the most confident people who are driven to be the best and earn the most. When they're successful, the company is successful." Peter's top salespeople earn between $150-300K/year. I met one salesperson at Fusion Worldwide who closed a deal and got a $130K commission in one month. He was extremely confident in his abilities. Peter said he was happy to write the check, "When you see someone on your team close a deal like that, you know what it took and I respect that."

Want To Build A Company, Or Make More Money? 3 Steps You'll Need To Take

While I'm not suggesting you change who you are, I am telling you this: If you want to achieve more in life, it starts with increasing your confidence. Here's an article where I break down in detail how I built up my confidence. Everyone is born into this world with the same capacity to believe in themselves. It's up to you to make the most of it. Here are three tips to getting started:

Step #1 - Ask yourself, "What am I afraid of and why am I letting it hold me back?" You must address the fears and the negative self talk head-on.

Step #2 - Get a mentor. You need someone who motivates you. Someone who will hold you accountable.

Step #3 - Build up your GRIT. That stands for: Guts, Resilience, Innovation and Tenacity. You need to work hard and remind yourself that the more you step into the limelight, make mistakes, struggle, and learn from the experience, the stronger you'll become.

PS - Don't Be Afraid To Be Ambitious

Think of what you could do for others if you were more successful? It's not a bad thing to be confident. You will not become all those negative traits just because you want more for yourself. Why not give it a try? A happier life could be yours if you are willing to tap into your confidence!

If you enjoyed the above post.... My name is J.T. O'Donnell and I'd love to have you check out CAREEREALISM, the free career advice site my company runs. And, if you need career help, please visit CareerHMO, where we offer elite-level coaching at affordable prices.