Last week I was asked to interview Gerry who is a 45 year old CEO of a large multinational organisation in the City of London. A tall, well dressed man with a quite striking appearance with slightly greying hair, he is married to a doctor with two teenage children. Gerry works very hard at his work-life balance and succeeds in many ways. As I sit with him, I ask him as to what he thinks are the character traits of being a successful businessman and husband and I thought that his response would be of interest.

These are my questions to him and his responses:

Carole: Do you think it is possible for anyone to become successful?

Gerry: Certainly so but people have to programme their brains to respond differently to situations it was previously blocking out and they have to start visualising themselves as being successful.

Carole: What type of people do successful people want to have around them?

That is easy - only positive people! I myself am a very positive and optimistic person and always see the glass half full rather than half empty and I am told that people want to be around me because they feel good when they are in my presence.

Carole: Do successful people investigate and research new ways of working?

Gerry: Absolutely. They would usually take every opportunity they can, and very often see opportunities where others don’t. I would think they are often drawn to situations that they see as challenges.

Carole: What do you do when things go wrong?

Gerry: Firstly, I don’t complain. The situation has happened and I certainly don’t go into ‘victim’ mode and cry about it. I take the learning that has come from the situation for another time, and then move on.

Carole: You are known for your philanthropic work. How does that makes you feel?

Gerry: I count myself as fortunate to be able to give to others, although everyone can do so in their own way. I don’t necessarily mean with money but the most precious thing of all is to give of one’s time, and everyone can do that.

Carole: You are known for your good listening skills? Are they a part of your DNA or were you taught?

Gerry: I have always admired people who can get the most out of people and the way to do that is by listening attentively to what others say. Everyone has something to offer and everyone has something of value to say and it is a matter of making the time to listen.

Carole: Should successful people ever admit to being wrong?

Gerry: Of course and they should have no problem in doing so. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes rather than carry them with you. We don’t necessarily get everything right the first time. Not making the grade is an integral part of success and successful people may fall short many times before they attain their goals.

Carole: Do you spend time on developing yourself?

Gerry: Naturally. Life is a journey and there is always something to learn from something or somebody.

Carole: Does a successful person multi-task or focus on one task at a time?

Gerry: I think it is a fallacy that multi-tasking is a great thing to do but, of course, there are times when we all have to do it. However, I know that I am more productive when I am concentrating on one task at a time and focus is vital to attaining my goals. Furthermore, I don’t like to be distracted when I am working.

Carole: Is being open minded a character trait of the successful person?

Gerry: Yes and one needs eyes wide open at the same time! Successful people need to be one step ahead and keep an open mind about new ways of working, new ideas and the mindset to embrace change.

Carole: Is tenacity one of the keys to success?

Gerry: If you want to see results, you have to be persistent. Successful businesses as well as successful people are not built overnight!

Carole: Can I have a few key learning points for my audience?

Gerry: Believe in yourself and your actions. Give time and passion to your goals. Never give up!

Here ends the lesson for today!