Self-made millionaire: This is the No. 1 thing you have to do to succeed—and you can do it

The number one rule in creating success is to show up. Just show up, folks.

Ever known someone who got lucky a lot? You know what they did? They showed up. You can't get lucky if you don't show up, so suit up and show up. All highly successful people know they have to show up — and that's what they do. They just keep doing it.

What does showing up even mean? It means simply getting up out of bed every morning. Sometimes when you don't want to get up out of bed you just have to get up out of bed. Nothing comes to somebody that sleeps except a little rest and a few nightmares.

Get out of bed in the morning. Put your clothes on, take a shower first, go to your place of work, make the phone call you need to make. You know there's a call sitting there right now that you need to make and you're wondering what you should say. Just make the call; you'll figure it out. A call comes in? Take the call. A customer walks up? Address the customer. You have an appointment coming in? Show up for the appointment. Be there. Be early.

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There's a girl you want to call? Pick up the phone and call her. There's a guy you want to call, pick up the phone and find out what's going on with him. You want to surf? Hit the ocean. "I don't know how to surf?" You don't need to know how to surf — get the board first. Get a board and hit the ocean and you'll figure it out. You always figure it out.

Life has been around a long time, a lot longer than you or I have been here. You and me are life. We are designed to survive. You've survived everything that's happened to you in this life. You always have and always will. So show up. If I throw you in the ocean you'll figure out how to swim, you'll probably figure out how to float. You'll fight the water for a little while until you figure it out.

Or you can sit on the beach and say, "Man, that ocean looks scary." You can put your toes in and say how cold it is, but you'll never conquer what you don't move towards. Show up. The only way you can't survive is to not show up.

"You'll never conquer what you don't move towards."

People worry about failing. You're going to fail. The more you fail the more you've shown up. The more you show up the more you'll succeed. The only way to fail is to not show up, to not take an action. If you don't move forward you're not going to survive. I don't mean survive just to get by, I mean survive to move to greater and greater levels in your life. You see, the greatest sin a person can commit is to not show up. The greatest mistake you can make is to not show up and not do. It requires a little faith, some persistence to show up again and again and again, but what it creates is discipline.

When you don't make the move you'll tend to spiral downward. You become stagnant and unmotivated. When you keep showing up you feel highly motivated. When you're standing still, you're spiraling downward. You either go upward or downward — you don't stay the same. So show up.

Too many people spend too much time planning and organizing, all in the name of not showing up and putting off the inevitable. No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much you know and how organized you are, you have to show up and do the task. It's my estimation that most people are over-prepared, losing their native instincts, losing their natural abilities, their spontaneity, those things that come natural to all human beings. There's a guy working with me who says he needs some brochures: "I can't call on these clients until I have these brochures."

I told him people don't buy brochures. People respond to people who show up and take action.

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The highest producing person in your office is the person who shows up the most, makes the most phone calls, takes the most phone calls, makes the most appointments, and shows up the most. What they've done is shown up over and over again — and then they've figured it out. Luck will take place, failures will take place, and you will learn. You'll make adjustments. You will learn to swim only when you hit the water. You can only learn to ride a bike when you get on a bike. To be successful you have to show up.

Showing up requires trust, it requires you to have some level of faith. The faith of a mustard seed — you ever hear that? Showing up is an extension of having faith. Showing up is a manifestation of your spirit, of who you are. The more spirit you have the ore you'll show up. You see, I have a lot of spirit, and the more I show up the larger my spirit grows.

The more you choose to survive to move upward, the more you'll show up. It's like this cycle: I show up, I get there and something good happens to me and BANG, I want to show up again. This is what this is about, how do you stay highly motivated 24/7? First rule: Show up. The more you show up, the more you put action in your life, the more your native talents and skills, spontaneity, and brilliance will show themselves. Have the faith of a mustard seed and show up.

Faith without showing up results in nothing. You can have faith and stay in bed. Nothing will happen to a person who stays in bed. You'll get rest, your back will start hurting, your body will become lethargic, you'll wake up and wonder what happened to your day. You don't need to know how to surf. Get the board first. The more you show up the more you will succeed.

"Nothing happens to a person who stays in bed."

The only way to guarantee failure is to NOT show up. No matter how much you plan, think about, and organize, sooner or later you will have to show up. You can only learn to swim when you hit the water. You can go sit on top of a mountain top and meditate all day, but you're not going to change the world on a mountain top. You're going to change the world by showing up. You must take action by showing up in your life if you want success.

Showing up takes faith. Faith without showing up results in nothing. Nothing good will happen to someone who stays in bed all day.

When I moved to California I was 35 years old and I didn't know how to surf. Everybody around me was surfing. I was in a group one day and talking to some men and said, "I really want to learn how to surf." A guy came to me at the end of the meeting and said, "Let's go get a board."

I told him I didn't know how to surf, and he replied, "You don't need to know how to surf, you need a board first." I knew that was right.

First I had to get the board. Then I had to put it in the car. The third thing I had to do was drive to the ocean with this guy. I went into waves 10-or-12 feet tall. He asked me, "You think you can do this?" and I said, "I don't know, I've never done this before," but I hit the water. I went out and I didn't catch a wave that day. I got wrecked all day. But having 25 minutes of surf behind me in double overheads, waves twice the size of my body, gave me the confidence and motivation to get back into the ocean.

Had I not done that — first, shown up to the meeting; second, to the store to pick up the board; third, to the ocean — then I would've never learned to surf.

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone.
Courtesy of Grant Cardone
Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone.

Showing up has created as much success and joy in my life as anything I've ever done.

When I was building my seminar business, my twin brother asked me when I was actually going to sell tickets. I had planned, organized, and written the material. I was ready, but I wouldn't show up and get in front of a customer. He said to me, "Grant, when are you going to do this?" I finally did it after 18 months of waiting. Once I showed up, it was easier than I thought.

And that's when I started learning what it would take to succeed in the business. Only when I showed up did I learn — not when I wrote the material, not when I organized, not when I planned, it was when I showed up in front of a customer and went for it. You cannot have success without showing up. You can't even learn about success without showing up.

Without showing up nothing else matters. Your intelligence doesn't matter, your enthusiasm doesn't matter, your ability doesn't matter. Nothing else matters if you don't show up first. You can't win a lottery until you get the ticket. A guy once told me I was lucky to live on a nice house by the beach in San Diego. I got that house by showing up over and over and over again.

Make a list of all the areas in your life where you aren't showing up. Where do you need to show up? What have you been retreating from? Where do you need to move forward?

Show up today. Maybe you need to make a phone call you're resisting. Make the move. Go for it, fail, and show up again. Fail, and show up yet again. You'll figure it out. Just consider all the situations in your life you've already survived. You were born into the world and survived, and you knew nothing when you got here. Look at what it took to create you, and you are here.

Remember your first day at school you survived that. Falling off a bike, learning how to walk, to eat, the first time you got a bruise — you healed. The first time your heart was broken or you had financial loss, you lost a deal, all the disappointments you've survived them all. So show up, take action, and show up again.

Grant Cardone is a highly successful entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and sales training expert.

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