The Magic Formula for Success

A Leader always tries to figure out how to win. No matter what the situation.” Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Earvin Magic Johnson was the Keynote speaker for SuperZoo 2016, and he delivered one of the best speeches on success that I’ve ever heard. The best part was that it was all based on his personal experiences, which is what made it so incredibly unique and valuable.

What if there was a “Magic” formula to success?

Well, there is! I know it because I got it from the best source possible – Magic Johnson! Now I have the pleasure of sharing his “Magic” formula with you 🙂

The thing that made Magic Johnson such a great basketball player was that he always made everyone around him better.

The summer before he started high school he called all the players on the basketball team together in order to practice before the school year started. Can you imagine? He hasn’t even started his Freshman year in high school and here he is getting all the upperclass students together to practice everyday during the summer break! There’s no question that Johnson was a natural born leader. He had confidence in himself and his abilities. The kind of confidence that can only come from hard work and determination.

It was that leadership quality in him that led him to the NCAA Championship game against Indiana St. in 1979. Magic was only in his sophomore year in college. Indiana State had a perfect 33-0 record. They also had a star player named Larry Bird, and they were the clear favorite to win that year. Magic Johnson and the Michigan Spartans beat them to win the championship that year! He said, “It’s my work ethic and my discipline. That’s why I’m successful! It all started on the basketball court.”

When Johnson was drafted to the Lakers, they hadn’t won a championship in 10 years. He would show up to practice 3 hours before everyone else, and after 3 days of doing this his coach made everyone else on the team come in 3 hours early too! Some of the players did not like this too much, but Johnson said, “If you’re not winning, you’ve got to take some extra time to work on your skills.”

There were so many more amazing moments in his life that he shared, but I’m eager to get to the Magic formula for success that I learned from Magic Johnson himself. Here it is:

  1. Keep a Positive Attitude
  2. Give the Best Customer Service Possible
  3. Work Harder Than Your Competition
  4. Over-Deliver to Your Customers

“It takes discipline to stay focused on your grind. You have to have passion! A fire inside of you that motivates you to out work the ‘Big Boys.’ Don’t worry so much about the ‘Big Boys’ or what others are doing. Focus on your strengths, your customers, and take care of them to the best of your ability.” Earvin Magic Johnson

After Johnson sold the Lakers and his Starbucks locations all at the same time, he paid $2 billion for the LA Dodgers. At the time of purchase the Dodgers were #17 in attendance, but for the past 3 years they’ve been #1 in attendance.

He turned the team around by taking the time to understand what was missing: the fan experience. He started asking the fans for feedback, and they told him that parking was too expensive. So he lowered the parking prices. He made upgrades to the stadium to increase the experience of the game for the fans. He listened to the fans and they came back! That’s why they were #1 in attendance for the past 3 years.

“Make your business all about your customers. This is what it’s all about. Always striving to serve others better. If it’s not right for the customers, I don’t do it. You have to stay disciplined.” Earvin Magic Johnson

He also told us how he landed a very coveted contract with Disney World to serve all the food for the theme park. They originally got the Disney Land contract, but the one he really wanted was with Disney World. For 3 years his company worked to over-deliver to Disney Land so that when the contract for Disney World came up, he was the one who got the call for the contract. He over-delivered to make an investment in his own success.

“Understand your business, know your customers (know what they want), and always over-deliver.” Earl Magic Johnson

The Magic Formula for Sucess, once again: 1) Keep a Positive Attitude  2) Give the Best Customer Service Possible  3) Work Harder than Your Competition  4) Over-Deliver to Your Customers

“It’s not about the money. It’s about seeing how much you can do to help others.” Earvin Magic Johnson




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