What ‘Whitney Houston Live’ Greatest Hits Tells us About Making it in Any Business


In what league would you put Whitney Houston? Clive Davis believes she’s among the top three greatest songbirds of all times. He also included Aretha Franklin in that number. Davis recently worked to produce concept albums for both. So what does ‘Whitney Houston Live’ tell us about making it in any business?

Houston was discovered by Davis at a local NY club. He convinced her to sign with his record company. This led to an illustrious career that began with an appearance on the Merv Griffin Show. Over time people fell in love with Houston not just for her teenage charm but for her incredible voice.

The greatest hits album features some of her best-ever performances. The signature of Houston’s body of work is that she ‘owned’ her voice. That’s a simple distinction that made Houston rise to the occasion. Whether it’s singing or some other talent/gifting, making it in any business rides on ‘owning our voice.’


Once Davis took Houston under his wings her career began to fly. Most people will point to a mentor or facilitator who played a major role in their exposure. Having the talent, training or capability is one thing. But it helps in getting a lift or related lessons from someone in the game, with elevating your name.

There’re many recording artists who started out as background singers. There many business executives who started out as company regulars. Many individuals helped pave the way for those who would rise to their own greatness. Plus each person had to do everything in their power to embrace their dream.

The music business has seen a lot of change in recent times. We’ve gone from cassette to vinyl to CD to streaming music. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the song structure. That usually follows the pattern of verse, chorus and bridge. The verse might be simple, the rhythm groovy and the chorus catchy.

The bridge is about taking the song to another level. Becoming a hit beyond the music business involves a bridge too. It could be a bridge from setback to comeback. It could be a bridge from underdog to top-dog. That’s how getting to the next level as an artist or in any other career field includes a bridge.

Taylor Swift made news for her recent album with platinum sales in the first week. While she takes a stand against music streaming services, she’s someone who’s made it big at a young age. Swift reminds us of Houston for how she has owned her voice, embraced her dream and can ‘take it to the bridge.’

Footnote: Every ‘greatest hit’ song has a bridge and every successful person has a game-changing moment for taking it to the next level.

Steve Harvey Believes the Right Dream Comes With the Right Love Connection


‘Act Like a Success’ Book Notes and Reader Commentary (part 6 of 6)

How many times do we read stories of ‘first loves’ becoming true love? We hear about high-school sweethearts who became lifetime partners. But there’re those who ditched their first love for their true love later in life. Steve Harvey believes the right dream comes with the right love connection.

His recent TV special gave a snapshot of some significant ‘dates’ on his rise to the big times. Harvey shared how he didn’t make it past his junior year in college. He dropped out and went to sell insurance. Because of his physical height, he thought his ticket to success would have been playing ball in the NBA.

They say passion is doing something you love. Many of us pursue careers that are ‘first loves.’ But we later find out success that fulfills is more than the luck of the draw. Some might say it’s the draw of love around our gift. This way our ‘true love’ achievements lead to success experiences at greater heights.

As with any romantic relationship there’s a love dimension. That means there’s something eye-catching, heart-grabbing or more deeply and mutually felt. This is also true with having the right dream. The trick is figuring out whether the draw of our dream is about a love to compete, to create or to connect.

It’s safe to say that most pro athletes have a love to compete. Their juices get going as the drive to win gets flowing. Even though Harvey’s dreams didn’t take him to the basketball court, he’s still showing the gamesmanship of a winner. His talk show Emmy award and NY Times Bestsellers speak for themselves.

There’s creative genius waiting to be unleashed by our dreams. This could mean taking something from nothing to becoming many things. Harvey describes his gift as taking-in information and turning it into many things. He’s taken his comedic ‘first love’ and gifting into unchartered territory of higher earnings.

Harvey doesn’t mince words about his true love. Beyond the Creator who’s the ‘shot caller’ in his life, he also gives props to his wife. Maybe the draw of our dream is about a love to connect. That’s why social media and networking are valuable parts of building dreams. They feed-off connecting and collaborating.

Whether as first love or true love Harvey says “never be afraid to reinvent yourself.” He’s had to shift gears personally and professionally. His success is less about being self-made and more about a love connection. Plus, it helps to have the right dream with the right love starting out from an ‘audience of one.’

Footnote: The love in our passion is the draw to our careers. The love in our gift is the draw to our dreams. Put them together and we get to experience success at greater heights.

#ActLikeaSuccess Book Notes and Reader Commentary (part 5)


What standard do successful people hold themselves to? Well, it might depend on how they’re judged in their professional game. Athletes might look at their box scores. CEOs might look at their balance sheet. In the case of media professionals, they as well as advertisers will look at the Nielsen results.

Steve Harvey is doing the same. He wants to bump his ratings and raise his grade to the next level by increasing his Nielsen numbers in the millions. Without getting too technical, he wants to increase his average daily viewers by almost a full percentage point. This will put his talk show in a higher ad bracket.

He did give hints of one or two actions he’d take. If this were us, the usual response that we might have is ‘work smarter not just harder.’ Beyond that there’s a bigger picture success-minded people use for motivation that brings more ‘joy and juice’ as a result of applying imagination, insight and instinct.

It’s like how our kids might play video games. After powering-up the console they grab a chair and put their hands to the wheel or joy stick. As the game unfolds their skill-set is more engaged and attuned to the degree of difficulty. They eventually get in a groove to keep the score climbing and adrenalin rushing.

Boosting their video game score takes a sense of imagination. They see things not just for what they are but for what they can become. As they grow in skill they gain new insights about how to beat the enemy or avoid making mistakes. But they also see gains in advancement by playing the game out of instinct.

Most of us might not be video game gurus but the same is true for boosting our career ratings or taking our dreams to the next level. This means adding a sense of imagination to the situation. We might also fine-tune our game with winning insight. We’ll get to the point of operating ‘in the zone’ based on instinct.

Not only will our performance rating rise but we’ll also get to reap the benefits at the next level. It’s a lot like what happens when breakout scores are achieved on the video game. New games become unlocked or new features become unsealed. Professionally, new skills are unlocked and new perks unsealed.

So at the end of day which comes first, ‘acting like a success or thinking like a success?” Maybe that’s for the ‘Ask Steve’ segment. Walt Disney used imagination for his wildest dreams. Stephen Covey turned ‘7 Habits’ into universal insight. And Bishop TD Jakes says instinct is how we roll to our unlocked potential.

Footnote: Imagination is a ramp to our wildest dreams. Insight is a highway on our road to greatness.  And instinct is how we roll to the next level of our unlocked potential.