Dr. Kevin Prine is the president and CEO of Outreach International, an organization that has been permanently abolishing poverty for more than three decades. Previously, he was a director and partner at Tradebot Systems and Tradebot Ventures, one of the largest and most successful trading firms in the world.
He was also an entrepreneurship and business strategy professor for almost 20 years, with the typical list of publications and atypical top 1% national student evaluations. During that time, he also built and led a Students in Free Enterprise (now Enactus) team that won the USA National Championship (out of 500 competing universities) and placed second (out of 34 countries) at the World Cup in Paris, France.
1. How do you define success?
The full expression of the potential of the self in combination with magnifying the potential of others.
2. What is the key to success?
The ability to focus on the actions that bring about joyful personal outcomes, rather than activities that temporarily eliminate boredom/sadness/pain.
3. Did you always know you would be successful?
“Successful” is a dynamic path, rather than a static destination. I continue to try to make progress and enjoy my surroundings and companions on that path, but I’ve never thought of myself as having achieved success.
4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The illumination from the lanterns held by others.
5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
A = (G + D + T) L
Humans can achieve Anything, but that achievement is largely a function of Genetics (and epigenetics), Drive, and Time. Additionally, for reasons we don’t seem to understand or be able to control, a periodic Luck factor intervenes.
And so, for example, even if I am not blessed with the perfect genetics to be an outstanding athlete, with enough drive and time, I’m still able to become world class. Too often, we forget about this important combination of factors, or, we focus on only one of those elements, including praying for a miracle during final exams.
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Making measurable progress in at least a couple of areas (for example, investments or physical challenges), balanced with being mindfully present.
7. What makes a great leader?
Traditional intelligence. Emotional intelligence. Strategic intelligence. Finding oneself in the right place at the right time.
8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Consistently put yourself in situations where you can over-deliver on the expectations of others.
This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.