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Three South Floridians Share Their Secrets Of Success

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Have you ever wondered how the rich get richer and how the successful stay in such high esteem? Can their secrets of success pay off for you?  Three of South Florida's most prosperous entrepreneurs spoke to CBS4's Brian Andrews about their secrets for success.

John Gay, a Miami Gardens Certified Public Accountant and CEO of said it's about following a patient path to your dreams.

"The money will come, especially if you have a passion for what you are doing," he said.

Real Estate Broker and CEO of One Southeby's Realty, Mayi de la Vega, said it's about paying your dues. "There are no short cuts in life. You've got to work hard," she said.

Norman Braman, well-known for his work in the automotive business, real estate, and philanthropy, said it's all about protecting your reputation. "Your name is everything and that's what you should guard for the rest of your life," he said.

Boston CPA Thomas Corley has written a book called "Rich Habits." Based on our CBS4 interviews, it's clear our three South Florida success stories have them.

"I found a large percentage of the wealthy exercised aerobically, between 30 and 40 minutes more a day, 4 days a week," he said.

At 81, Norman Braman said his exercise routine includes spinning and lifting weights early in the morning. "On a day I don't exercise, I honestly feel the difference," he said.

Mayi de la Vega said she starts working long before she gets to the gym. "There's a time difference in London or Europe so I start those calls early and then put on my gym clothes and go spinning," she explained.

John Gay said he makes it a point to go boxing several times a week. "I spend a lot of time with my family as well as with myself."  Gay said taking time to walk on the beach, turn off the smart phone, and watch a sunset, is just as important as your work out time and time in the office.   He added family comes first. "I take my daughter to school each morning.  That's one of the top things on my to do list as a CEO," he said with a smile.

Another habit of the successful, exercise for your brain.

"If you can spend 2 or 3 hours a day educating yourself on what you do for a living, you're going to be successful, no doubt about it," said Corley.

Mayi de la Vega is always on her iPad reading the latest news from a number of different international sources. "You've got to be well versed in current events around the world."

Norman Braman always watches the news, but he's also an avid non-fiction reader. "I probably read a good 20 books a year," he said.

In the book, Rich Habits, Author Thomas Corley said his research found the wealthy are disciplined when it comes to putting aside money. The poor are not," he said.

Mayi de la Vega said the last real estate bust caused her to have many sleepless nights over the balance in her ledger. "It taught me you have to save for a rainy day."

John Gay tells all of his clients that saving may be tough, but it's the only way you will be able to dig yourself out of a financial hole.  "You want to have at least 2 rents or 2 to 3 mortgages saved up just in case something happens," he said.

Successful people tend to be extremely organized.  Often, they are major list makers.

John Gay is constantly keeping "to do" lists in his smart phone.

Mayi de la Vega keeps an pad and pencil by her bed to write down things she needs to accomplish the next day.

While it's great if you can get everything on your list done, Corley said it's probably not realistic.  "You should plan to try to hit at least 70-percent on what you have on them each day."

Corley believes taking long lunches or being off task for several hours during your work day isn't going to help you succeed. "Unless you are networking," he explained.

"You never know who you are going to meet and what that person is going to represent for you down the road," said Mayi de la Vega.

How you present yourself in public is also a cornerstone of success.  "You have to look the part," said CEO John Gay.  "Don't be afraid to dress accordingly. You must present yourself as a superior product at all times," he said.

Mayi explained every woman likes to look like a knock out, but it doesn't always work for the office, nor is it realistic if you have a jam packed day.  "I try to dress in basic colors so I don't have to think about what I'm going to wear.  I just change the accessories so I can go from morning to night."

Norman Braman believes the level of success you achieve depends on how hard you are willing to work for it. "I think reaching a level as far as ones career is concerned can be defined by the effort one puts into it."   Braman went on to say that philanthropy and giving back to the community has more value to him than a major business contract.  "If we can affect the life of one person, it's the greatest blessing that one can possibly have. I believe that and I practice that."

John Gay said the principle is Biblical. "If you're a good spirited person, good things are going to happen to you.  What you give, you will receive."

Mayi also believes in giving back.  She volunteers on several local boards, and works with an international charity to promote young artists in Latin America.  "As we give, the universe has a way of reciprocating!"

CPA Corley believes making people feel good and helping them to change their lives for the better leads to happiness.  "I lot of wealthy people are very happy," he said.  He adds the successful tend to shy away from office gossip.  They also limit the amount of time they waste each day looking at material on line.  "In my research on the habits of the rich, I found they spend less than a half hour a day on the internet, limiting their time on social media, so they can focus that precious time on their business and making meaningful relationships that will lead them to success in their business.

John Gay's best advice for those wishing to achieve major success is to go after your passion with passion.  "Don't take no for an answer. You cannot tell me I cannot do something.  After you succeed, it's like second nature."   John, who said he was let go from positions at least three times early on in his career, pushed him into a path of success.  "I'm a half full type of guy.  Everything I see, I believe is God's purpose.  If you don't go through certain things how would you deal with those same issues in the future? Sometimes you are pushed into greatness. I started in my family's garage. Now, I have offices in Atlanta, New York, and several in South Florida.

Norman Braman explained his father was a barber who didn't make a lot of money.  His dad taught him the value of protecting your name and reputation.  Braman recalled being a young boy and walking with his Dad down a street in Philadelphia. "My father pointed to an automobile. It was a Cadillac. And my father said to me, 'Someday, if you have an education, and work really hard, maybe someday you'll have a car like that'. Nothing is more important than your name and that name should be closely guarded because once you lose it, it will be very hard to regain."

Mayi de la Vega agreed. "You can't buy integrity, you can't buy loyalty, you can't buy those things. For me those values are far more important than the money you make."

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