Whenever I meet new people, after delivering a speech or simply along my travels, I often hear how “lucky” I am. While I understand that it’s meant well, the word “lucky” rubs me the wrong way somewhat, as if I danced through life with few sacrifices or few challenges. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Achieving anything great requires sacrifice (for me, it’s missing out on more time with my family) and challenges (add all those neigh-sayers to that growing list).

There are hundreds of great quotes regarding success, but I think the one that really rings true is one that comes from my friend Aimee. Well, it’s actually from Reba McEntire, and it goes, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.” She hit it right on the head. Let’s deconstruct this to get the most out of it:

DREAM – To wish, one needs to be able to dream (not to be confused with the dreams of sleep).  Giving serious thought to what would make you not just happy, but fulfilled, allows you to dream BIG. Such thinking allows you to acquire the unobtainable instead of allowing overly realistic thoughts to hinder your cognitive progress.

COURAGE – If I had a dollar for everyone with a great book or show idea, I’d be living in Fiji right now. The fact is that many people have amazing ideas but it’s the follow-through that hinders them. It takes real courage to stand up for an idea or belief, especially when others, particularly those closer to the top, do not agree. Having a strong backbone allows you to fight for your voice to be heard.

HUMOR – I’ve had my share of quality show ideas that never made it past their pilot script. And when I turn on the TV and see what resides in that time slot, it’s at times laughable. Things don’t make sense, but if you take them too seriously, you’ll end up a bitter and angry person. I think it’s fair to say that as we get older, the world gets a tad crazier. Do what you do best and take a more lighthearted approach to the things that you have no control over. And remember, nothing spells success better than happiness.