20 Unforgettable Lessons I Learned from the Steve Harvey Act Like A Success Conference

20 Unforgettable Lessons I Learned from the Steve Harvey Act Like A Success Conference
10 Apr 2017

I attended the Steve Harvey Act Like a Success Conference in Atlanta the weekend of March 31-April 2, 2017, and as the third annual conference, I could see why it was completely sold out. The event teaches entrepreneurs and professionals the principles of success as well as provides insights, tools and strategies attendees can apply immediately to their own situations.

There were so many great lessons that I’m going to break this article up into two posts. I hope they bless you just as much as they did me.


1. Write the vision and make it plain
In his keynote speech, Steve Harvey drove this point home when he shared some of the images, affirmations, quotes and scriptures he keeps on his phone and looks at every day. It was a powerful moment during the conference when he shared how clear he was about his vision and how he keeps it in front of him on a regular basis as a reminder of those things he wants to accomplish. If you haven’t yet written down your vision or created some kind of visual of what you want in your life, then you’re missing a critical component of what it takes to realize your dreams.

write the vision and make it plain


2. Focus on your GIFT
With his past two books on personal development and success—Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success and Jump—Steve Harvey has continuously spoken about identifying your gift and using it as the key to achieving everything you want in life. During his lunch speech, he urged attendees:

“[Your Bible] says your gift will make room for you. Until you identify the gift, you are fighting upstream. You’ll save yourself so much pain, so many heartaches, if you would just do what you’re gifted at. Just do what God gifted you to do. He gave you a gift at birth. You all have it. If you’re playing that gift off, you’re killing yourself. You’ll be struggling forever…your gift is critical.”

3. Stop trying to figure the whole thing out
So often, when we are setting a vision for our lives, we decide we’re going to leave nothing to chance and try to figure and plan out every single detail. However, success is never a straight line. The image below illustrates this perfectly. If we focus more on the destination more than we do on exactly how we’re going to get there, we’ll probably enjoy the journey more.

what success really looks like



4. Never give up
For any successful person you speak to, they will almost always have a major turning point in their journey where they almost gave up. Steve Harvey told the story of being homeless and having to use hotel bathrooms to wash up. He would go to the fancier hotels because the bathrooms were bigger and they had towels he could use. But the thing was that he had to go back and forth in and out of the bathroom stall when he was washing up in order to use the sink. It had never been an issue until one day he had just finished lathering up in the stall and was about to run back out to wet more towels for wiping off all the soap. Right when he was about to go back out, he heard voices come in the bathroom.

Turns out, there was a conference going on at the hotel. And while he was sitting all cold, shivering, wet and soapy on top of the toilet, listening to people come in and out of the bathroom, waiting for them to leave, he cursed. He cursed and told God he couldn’t hold on much longer. Something had to give. This wasn’t the way he had seen his career going. But somehow, some way, Harvey found the strength to hold on and try just one more time. Seeing where his career is now, there is something to be said for holding on and never, never, never giving up on your dreams.

never give up

One of the images Steve Harvey keeps on his phone



5. Be consistent
Whatever business you’re looking to build or are already in the process of building, just remember that there’s no such thing as “overnight success.” It may just seem like some businesses blow up overnight but by the time you hear about them, they’ve been grinding for 10 years+. Steve Harvey started his comedy career in 1985. His first show, he made $50. His second $75. His first year in comedy, he made a whopping $2000. His second year, $3000. But he stuck with it, and now, he doesn’t step on stage for less than $100,000. As Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Indeed, consistency is one of the greatest keys to success.


6. Find joy in the journey.
If you know Steve Harvey’s story, then you probably know that he was homeless for three years while pursuing his comedy career. One of the questions I have always wanted to ask him was how did he hold on to his dream and keep the faith all those years while he was homeless. He ended up answering that very question during his talk during the VIP luncheon. The way he was able to keep pursuing his vision despite not having anything but his car to sleep in was the realization that he was just happy to be doing the thing he loved most—comedy! He wasn’t focused on what he didn’t have because he found joy in the journey.

joy in the journey

Learn to find joy in your journey


7. Be willing to start from the bottom.
Gerald Washington is Steve Harvey’s business manager. Looking at him now, you would think his life has always been the picture of success. A sharp dresser, brilliant mind, and savvy businessman, you would never know that at one point in his professional life, Gerald was working at Taco Bell for less than $9/hour. Him and his wife, Patrice, had just lost everything they had during the recession of 2009 and had gone from making more than $2 million/year to scraping together change just to get by. All this with a new baby to care for. It just so happened that Patrice used to work for Steve Harvey as an intern and had maintained her connection with her superstar mentor.

So when times got tough, she reached out to Harvey’s company to ask for a job and got hired as an assistant for $1000/month. A little less than a year later, her husband was also hired as a production assistant in one of Steve Harvey’s companies making $40,000/year. After more than four years and several promotions, Gerald was eventually promoted to his current position as President of Steve Harvey World Group. The person you see today had to go through some tough times before he could become the businessman he now is. And it may never have happened had he not been humble enough and willing to start from the bottom (Taco Bell!) and work his way up.


8. Stay humble.
Gerald and Patrice Washington are what you would call a “Power Couple.” Patrice is America’s Money Maven, a best-selling author, regular contributor on the Steve Harvey Morning Show and talk show, as well as a sought-after money and business coach. On any given week, you will find one or both of them zig-zagging across the country handling their business(es). They’re busy. However, the thing that struck me, and most attendees at this conference was how willing they were to be transparent and pour into others the lessons they had learned on their own respective journeys.

They kept it very real and admitted that losing everything and having to start all over again had literally and figuratively brought them to their knees and gave them an empathy for others that they may not have had before. That humility was evident as, after their presentation on stage, they stayed and spoke to every single attendee that lined up to speak to them (easily 70+ people). It’s not often you see high profile individuals so willing to share and make themselves available to others who are seeking to learn from them. I believe that that humility and that willingness to give back to others is one of the reasons why they continue to grow and soar in their careers.

Gerald & Patrice Washington telling their story at Act Like A Success 2017

Gerald & Patrice Washington telling their story at Act Like A Success 2017


9. Practice gratitude daily.
We’ve often heard that gratitude is one of the most important keys to success. But hearing how successful people put this principle into practice is always a great opportunity to learn. For Steve Harvey, gratitude is at the heart of all he does. Every day, one of the first things he does before he gets out of bed is give thanks for his many blessings. In fact, he has a list of about 65 things he keeps on his phone that he thanks God for every day. It’s no wonder he keeps attracting new opportunities into his life. That regular practice of expressing gratitude is one we should all consider adding to our daily routine.

the power of gratitude


10. The energy you give out is the energy you will receive back.
During the conference, there was a gentleman who was part of the audio/visual crew who interacted with many of the attendees. Most attendees I spoke to agreed that the energy at this conference was unlike any they had ever experienced at similar events—which says a great deal about the leadership of Act Like A Success. The positive vibes and high energy impacted just about everyone—including this particular cameraman. As myself and about 7 old and new friends sat in the hotel restaurant having fun getting to know one another over drinks and shrimp and grits, the cameraman came over to our table and let us know he had taken care of our entire tab! He had had such a great experience that he was paying it forward just because. That generous gesture encapsulated much of what I had experienced and tried to practice myself at the conference: if you put out positivity and generosity, you will receive it back in unexpected ways.

There were so many lessons that I couldn’t fit them all into this one post, so stay tuned for a Part II.

I hope this message has blessed you and would love to hear about any aha’s you’ve gotten from this post. Share with us and let us know how you’re going to implement one of these lessons in your own life.


Julian B. Kiganda

I hope you enjoyed this post! A little about me: I’m the founder of Bold & Fearless and a Transformational Brand Strategist. My gifting is in helping purpose-driven women transform and build million-dollar brands. I’m also an author, transformational speaker and multi-passionate entrepreneur. In 2014, I published my first highly-acclaimed book co-authored with my sister: Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. To learn more about how you can connect or work with me, visit www.julianbkiganda.com.


  1. Michelle Walters-Johnson Says: April 14, 2017 at 5:25 am

    This is absolutely AWESOME!!!

  2. Tanya Barnett Says: April 12, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Julian these 1st 10 are so good. I need this as a daily reminder!

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: April 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Me too sis! I’ll be posting the next 10 this weekend. Thanks for your comment and stay tuned…

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