Monthly Archives: February 2010

Two Lessons on Advocacy from Pedro

Over the weekend I watched Pedro, a biopic based on the short life of Cuban immigrant, AIDS activist, and MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco star Pedro Zamora. Due to its raw inspiration stemming from Zamora’s personal and societal battles with HIV—he was the first HIV positive person to be on television (and in a time of HIV ignorance no less)—this film is a must see. But regardless as to whether you see it or not, I feel compelled to relay two main traits—openness and passion—which Pedro demonstrates as having leveraged success for HIV awareness.

From the first scene on when Zamora is defending to his sister his decision to be honest about having HIV to The Real World we are introduced to how vital openness is to undercutting prejudices. Then by continually being his kind and fun self while also being honest about not only having HIV but also being gay, Zamora helped normalize the once alienated HIV and LGBT communities.

Also, throughout Pedro we see how critical passion is to pushing HIV awareness into mainstream. Even as his own health deteriorated Zamora continued his efforts until he ended up in the hospital, reminding everyone of the towering importance he ascribed to HIV awareness. As is human nature, this fervor spurred people to pick up the ropes. But sixteen years later, with new cases of HIV in the United States hovering at over 50,000 annually—a number that the CDC reports is roughly stable since the late 1990s—Zamora’s successful advocacy tools of openness and passion surely need more use.

Want to take action? Visit AIDS Action.

Need more inspiration? Watch Pedro through Netflix or buy it off Amazon and/or see part one of the tribute on YouTube.



Filed under Advice, Being Unique, Inspiration, Overcoming, Social Justice, Success

Exclusive Audio Featuring Leader Jim Fraser

As promised, I am now posting the audio of experience and insight from leader Jim Fraser, a former president of Levi Strauss and Company, a top 25 realtor, and a councilman. His advice for young strivers is at 3:58, but the entire interview is filled with experience and insight. At under five minutes long, you have so little time to lose from listening and SO much to gain. Plus, this is my first dab into audio editing so feedback is extra appreciated. And if you do feel inspired by Jim, be sure to leave a comment–thank you’s to him  for his time and generosity with his expertise are especially welcome.



Filed under Advice, Audio, Energy, Getting In, Giver, Insider Insight, Interview, Overcoming, Positioning, Rerouting, Success, Working Hard

Insight from Leader Jim Fraser

On Saturday morning I met with Jim Fraser, a former president of Levi Strauss and Company, a top 25 realtor, and a councilman. The audio will be posted very soon, but below is a summation so that you can hit the ground running with five lessons that make him successful.

1)      Be an Energy Giver, Not Taker

Fraser says he believes energy plays a big role in success, and he hypothesizes that there are two types of people: givers and takers. The takers suck your energy by dragging you down with negativity. So what you want to be, Fraser says, is a giver, which is a person who exudes positivity. If you have ever been told you brighten up someone’s day, you are probably already a giver… keep it up! But people who have never earned that compliment should try and become more happy and hopeful. This way you will both emanate attractive energy and cherish more of your own worth.

2)      Get In and Go Vertical

Fraser also says he believes strivers must earn a position in the company leading your field. The idea here is that you want to be around the innovators and industry-setters, not the followers. This is because your objective is to learn from the best—to become the best. And starting at the bottom is actually a common pathway to success because it ensures that you hone your understanding and skills of what is required to excel at each step of the ladder—to most effectively direct it.

3)      Work Hard

It sounds so cliché but Fraser also emphasis hard work as necessary for achieving potentials. In Fraser’s case he is military trained which certainly helped gain that ethic, but with motivation anyone can coach themselves into healthy work habits. Such was the case after his service time when he was earning his business degree at University of Southern California while becoming a top fashion district salesman. His continuous commitment to work secured him a job at Levi’s. Once there, that same dedication then led him to become the President of the Asia Pacific Division.

4)      Opportunity, Not Failure

Everybody has experienced a setback, but instead of letting rejection tarnish your confidence you must remember that striving is breaking barriers but when barriers are not breakable there is still opportunity. Therefore, when you do not reach your anticipated destination ensure that you maintain your work ethic and positive attitude. This way you will continue to radiate alluring energy to help you latch onto the leaders of your field who can teach you the ropes. This is what Fraser did after being rejected from a real estate company (which he applied for as a new licensed agent after a brief time as a retiree from Levi’s). And this rejection led Fraser to a new agency where he grew so successful as a realtor that the firm who previously denied him employment then offered him that dream job.

5)      Follow a Route, but Take Unexpected Turns

The last point strivers should remember is that having goals is important, but you must always be flexible. This lesson also comes from Fraser’s own life, but I have seen it happen time and time again. In Fraser’s case he wanted to be on the Planning Commission, but was instead offered a spot at the Parks and Open Spaces Department. Though it was not his planned route to helping his community, Parks and Open Spaces led him to an environment that he grew with and that watched his strides as well. Members came to believe so strongly in Fraser that they suggested he run for councilman, and from following this unexpected turn he secured a seat with the town of Tiburon in November where his success is again going to shine.

Remember, there is much more to leader Jim Fraser’s interview! To be among the  first to hear the audio of his insider insight, which includes bonus material like advice for young strivers, be sure to subscribe to this blog!


Filed under Advice, Energy, Getting In, Giver, Insider Insight, Interview, Opportunity, Overcoming, Positioning, Rerouting, Rising, Success, Working Hard

Luck in the Realm of Success

I know someone who was out one day, caught the eye of a casting agent, and quickly began a new life of auditions and then a move to Los Angeles. Within a few years she was already appearing on shows like 90210 and last I heard she was even starring in a low budget film. Okay, so she is not at the Emmy’s yet, but likely her talent and beauty will soon earn her star status. And then will it be fair to say luck opened up Hollywood to her?

Yes and no. Destiny, faith, an angel, whatever you want to call it–it only takes you far if you have the goods. And once you actualize your potential in what Abraham Maslow called the Hierarchy of Needs, which is security in physiology, safety, love/belonging, and esteem, then you should unconsciously attract the right kinds of people. And since you are reading this I assume you are a striver, which should make you confident in being yourself. This is because people want to be around goal oriented, detailed, passionate, hard working, and clear communicators—like you. So continually show how you possessing these traits can help fulfill the needs of others. If you are lingering in any of these areas, set an action plan to improve yourself. Include checkpoint days to monitor your progress, and be prepared to ask for advice from people who you feel excel at these capabilities. This will increase your chances of success, along with positioning yourself for lucky encounters.

Another tool for your striving toolkit that people often forget: patterns that are not yielding success should be halted (unless possibly tried under different circumstances). Contrarily, applications that are successful should be repeated. Most of us know this means staying organized and being around positive people, but some of the more specific ingredients are not so obvious. So, again, this commonly requires asking for help, which, again, can leverage you even more benefits due to the increased exposure. For example, consider suggesting  that you and an adviser or boss meet together on a consistent basis to brainstorm effective approaches to learning. More often that not he or she will be flattered for the offer, and will likely say yes because strivers know in meeting together there is much more to gain than to lose. Plus, he or she probably has feedback desires that this environment will nurture… and, of course, maybe he or she just likes the idea of spending more time with you. Whatever the reasons, I am sure you can see how such relationships are critical to success: they increase connection, knowledge, and, suitably, occurrences of luck.

WANT MORE ? Check out this Smart Bear blog post, this Boston Globe article, this Huffington Post piece, and this Career Builder One.

ALSO, what are some strategies helping you earn success? Please share your insight by posting a response.


Filed under Advice, Fame, Goals, Hollywood, Insider Insight, Luck, Opportunity, Rising, Success, Working Hard

We Are Unique

I will be the first to admit that the internet is cluttered with thousands upon thousands of blogs, some which are fabulous and some which are, well, not as popular. So, you may be wondering, “what makes Success Strivers special?”  If that is what you are questioning, then great critical analysis skills (you probably know how important these are  when you are striving to beat the odds and find success) because indeed success takes innovation, and innovation takes deep understanding of what it is you are revolutionizing–whether it is your own life or that of the planet.  So I will get to the point and answer, Success Strivers is different from the rest of the blogosphere because of our unique approach to exploring and linking success. Blog posts here not only end with feedback (or hopes of it), they start with insight–from people like you.

In a nutshell, this means I personally will take the time to unveil things like what makes a leader click and how he or she is such a striver, all the while seeking advice and inspiration for you. When able to I will also share their idols, along with what the role of money is in his or her definition of success, whether he or she is happy, and does he or she feel that success has been achieved? The point to these somewhat personal and seldom publicly revealed answers, among others I may ask, is to inspire and reaffirm success in the striving community because we all have much to offer.

In sum, Success Strivers is worth your time because along with advice I use first-hand views to highlight the different roadmaps and spirits of success, which inevitably leads to personal connections. This is unique because other blog sites commonly discuss issues, and rarely delve into the people moving and shaking resulting decisions, along with how they got there. Plus, this candid approach to discussing striver’s experiences, goals, and insight, together with the networking bridge Success Strivers hopes to be makes this place unique, just like the podium that your striving self deserves.  So basically the logic for staying tuned is simple: with more information–like about success strivers and their approaches, we can decide for ourselves what it is that we are really striving for and which routes are best for us.

For more information please check out the About page, email me at, and/or keep checking back for updates, which I will post weekly.

Also, be sure to check out these other great blogs: Newvine Growing, Actspot, and Adventures in Growing.

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Filed under Being Unique, Success