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8 People Who Possess the X-Factor of Success

Learn from those who are in the trenches

Passion is a unique quality. Some people say you either have it or you don’t. I disagree. While it can’t be faked, it can be fostered. Starting out my career as an English teacher, every time a new student walked through my classroom door, I would always think to myself, “Do they have what it takes? Do they have the x-factor?”

Learning a language is hard. For years I struggled in Spanish class. Considering how some of my classmates picked it up so easily, I truly felt that languages just weren’t in my genes. I found out I was wrong when I came to Japan on a study abroad program. I learned firsthand what the single greatest determining factor in mastering a language is – passion.

In James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, he talks about how one day he asked an elite coach “What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else?” His answer is revealing. “At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day.” Pro-tennis players strike hundreds of thousands of balls over the course of their career. Swimmers swim thousands of miles. Success comes at a price in time and energy. Passion is what keeps most people going.

Over the past year, on a mentor’s urging, I’ve managed to accumulate over 13,000 followers on LinkedIn. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of observing and talking to a few people that I feel truly embody what it means to have passion. They aren’t household names like Gary Vee, Tony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki, yet. However, their passion is undeniable and they’re in the trenches every day.  

Connector

Cory Warfield – Everyone I connect with on LinkedIn seems to know Cory. That’s by design. Cory is the CEO of ShedWool and decided to focus on LinkedIn as his platform of choice. He targeted some of the bigger names and shared, commented and did everything he could to put himself on their radar. It worked. Once he had traction, he’s used his influence to help people in his network to one-another and in return helped gain even more exposure. Despite his success, Cory remains one of the most approachable people I know.

Education

Ai Addyson-Zhang – I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ai when she visited Osaka, and we discussed a number of different topics. The one thing we share is our passionate for education. Ai believes, as I do, that education is the key to a better tomorrow. She’s all over Instagram as of late and has recently been accepted as a beta tester for LinkedIn Live. She’s also been invited to give talks in Korea, Japan and Jamaica. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about her in the years to come.

Management

Andy Kaufman – Andy is an author, executive coach and President of the Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development Inc. He’s delivered keynotes and workshops to tens of thousands of people around the world and it shows in his videos. He hosts The People and Projects Podcasts which are filled with practical insights on leading and delivering. If you’re looking for ideas on delivering projects, team building and leadership, Andy’s your guy.

Resilience

Devina Kaur – Devina’s been through a lot in the last couple of years – divorce, an eating disorder, homelessness and depression. However, if you had a chance to watch any of her videos you wouldn’t be able to tell. She’s got a smile that can light up the room and is the author of the upcoming book, Too Fat Too Loud Too Ambitious. She’s all about empowering people to overcome hardship and live happier lives.

Engagement

Caroline Cares Fernandes – Creating videos isn’t that tough, just whip out your smartphone and hit record. Getting engagement though is a whole other ball game. Caroline is a behavioral and mindset strategist and is one of the few people that’s figured out engagement on LinkedIn. Even some bigger names don’t get the same kind of results. How did she do it? Her answer, “I pay attention through listening – after all, social media is an extension of who we are, and how well we relate to others.” Reach out to her if you’re looking to take your LinkedIn videos to the next level.

Wine

Scott Krauger – Scott is the CEO of Best Bottle and has over 25 years’ experience in the industry. As he likes to say, “Good friends, good food and good wine.” When he’s not busy exploring vineyards in exotic destinations or setting up joint ventures, he’s investigating new technology for the betterment of wineries such as Agrosonics and Hive Energy Storage. If there’s one thing Scott knows, it’s wine.

Podcasts

Mark Metry – Mark is the host of Humans 2.0 where he interviews successful and influential people. Mark Manson, James Clear, Kevin Cruse, Chris Widener, John Lee Dumas, and Seth Godin are just a few of the people that have appeared on his show. Mark’s thirst for knowledge allowed his podcast to rank in the top charts of iTunes under the most competitive category – self-help and technology – within six months.

Speaking

Davide Di Giorgio – I recently got to know Davide though another speaker who I had the pleasure of interviewing, James Malinchak. Davide started out in theatre, but now is the author of the international bestselling book, Being Unapologetic, and speaks to thousands on how to share their experiences and get their message out to the world.

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