Stedman Graham Steps Out of Oprah’s Shadow, Shares Secret to His Success

Stedman Graham Steps Out of Oprah’s Shadow, Shares Secret to His Success
Stedman Graham shared his nine-step plan for 
success at MasterControl's Masters Summit.
Stedman Graham, CEO of S. Graham and Associates and a best-selling author of motivational books, shared the secret to his success. No, it’s not Oprah, though he’s widely known for his long-time relationship with one of the world’s most famous media personalities. 

During his keynote speech at the Masters Summit, MasterControl’s premier educational conference for customers, Graham said, “When I think of MasterControl, I think of leadership.”(1) He posed a challenge to the standing-room-only crowd: “Can you be the master of your own development? Can you master your own life? Can you co-create with the world?”

Graham, an accomplished educator and entrepreneur, talked about the secret to his success—identity development or knowing oneself and shaping one’s destiny based on that knowledge.

He had a tough childhood in a poor, black community in New Jersey. Two of his five siblings were disabled. He struggled with insults, labels, and a low self-esteem. “Every day I woke up thinking I couldn’t make it because of the color of my skin,” he said. “Then one day it hit me. It wasn’t about race. It was about me not knowing who I was.”

As a young man, Graham’s greatest assets were his height (he’s 6’6”) and athletic skills. He won scholarships to play basketball at Hardin-Simmons University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in social work, and at Ball State University, where he earned a master’s degree in education.

Today he’s the head of S. Graham and Associates, a management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in the corporate and educational markets. He’s the author of 11 books, including the best-selling “You Can Make it Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success.” 

Nine-Step Process

Graham’s training program and nine-step process are based on his concept of identity development. The steps constitute a learning management process designed to organize your life. They are:

1. Check Your ID. Find out who you are and what you’re passionate about because success depends on self-awareness.

2. Define Your Vision. Define your vision and make realistic goals based on it. “Without a vision, you’ll perish,” said Graham. 

3. Develop Your Plan. What are your talents? What makes you special? Develop a plan based on your strengths. Move forward using the plan.

4. Stay Positive. Certain characteristics, such as determination, persistence, and diligence, will keep you on track. A positive mindset is key. “Attitude is altitude. Whatever you put out comes back to you,” he said.

5. Overcome Your Fear. Deal with your fear and get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. 

6. Adapt to Change. How strong are you in the face of change? “Only the strong will survive,” he said.

7. Build Your Dream Team. Seek supportive people. Build a network of mentors and peers who can help you move toward your goals.

8. Leverage Information. Having and using the right information will help you make the right decisions, which in turn will help you succeed.

9. Stick to Your Vision. The road to success is rocky. When you’re tempted to quit, focus on your passions. “Winning is no more than to rise each time you fall,” he said. “You all keep rising.”

Cindy Fazzi is the editor of MasterControl Insider, a monthly publication for MasterControl users. She writes about the life science industry and other regulated environments. Her two decades of experience as a news reporter, writer, and editor includes working for the Associated Press in Ohio and New York. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

Reference: (1) Nearly 400 people attended the seventh Masters Summit, held on Oct. 8-9, 2014, at the Snowbird Resort in Utah.