Every once in a while we're guilty of assuming we can't learn something from a particular person.
And almost every single time we're proven wrong.
That happened to us again recently with Eva Longoria Parker, of "Desperate Housewives" TV fame.
She was featured in the the March 2010 edition of Success Magazine and we were genuinely shocked at how much she's already accomplished.
There are multiple lessons in her story and we thought we'd summarize some of what we learned here with you...
At 34 years old she's leveraged her celebrity and growing wealth to start her very own charity, but that's just the beginning.
She's started her own production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, that devlops, writes and creates both film and TV projects.
She co-owns Beso, a 150-seat Hollywood restaurant that includes some of her own unique recipes, and opened a second location in Las Vegas along with a nightclub called Eve.
She's part of The Greenville Project, a real development initiative dedicated to building "green", eco-friendly, retail spaces.
She's a spokesperson for L'Oreal, Pepsi and Heineken Light.
She's founder of Eva's Heroes, a charity that provides after school programs for children with developmental challenges.
Eva is also national spokesperson for PADRES Contra El Cancer, a charity helping Latino children with cancer.
We have to admit, we've always looked at her *ONLY* as a TV actress and the wife of Tony Parker, NBA player extraordinaire.
Bad on us.
Her level of success in Hollywood made us believe she was *only* a celebrity, how wrong we were ... and how very instructive to all of us.
We love the way she sums up her accomplishments and future goals in the article, with one word, "ambition".
There are so many gems of insight into her thinking. And really, that's the thing we're always most interested in.
Check this out...
To quote Eva directly, "Building on success is a conscious approach..."
Everything is a choice.
And here is probably the most interesting and useful quote of all from her...
"Whenever I do something, I want it to be a tent pole for many other businesses. My production company is all about writing, creating, developing film and TV projects. With the restaurants, I've always known it was going to be a franchise, with the tent pole based in Hollywood, but expanded into both big restaurants and smaller venues, and later with food items in stores, a cookbook and other things. And I want my perfume to be my tent pole for a clothing line, home line, bedding, shoes or accessories."
And to think the achieving a certain level of success in one arena, acting, would be good enough for most people. Not Eva.
There's a H-U-G-E point here.
In a recent article we shared how to actually accomplish anything you need to "dream big" and take "concentrated action".
This is a classic example of that.
At some point to realize your dreams you'll have to take focused action in the marketplace.
You'll have to make sales - even if you hate sales.
You'll have to understand accounting - even if you hate it.
You'll have to deal with problems - even when you don't want to.
You'll have to call people and persuade them (with integrity) to rent form you, invest with you, work with you, sell for you, build for you, run for you etc.
Here's the other super insightful point from her quote above.
Did you notice how she mentioned "tent poles" and how one business is a "tent pole" for another.
She has the big picture in mind and is building businesses that compliment and feed each other.
The restaurant leads to a franchise and to a nightclub, and to "Eva" food items in stores.
Her fragrance leads to clothing, bedding, shoes and accessories.
Her acting leads to a production company for writing, creating, developing film and TV projects.
Her "green" initiative leads to eco-friendly real estate developments.
It's interesting how many successful entrepreneurs have built their empires with multiple businesses that all feed off each other.
And this is yet another classic example.
Let us ask you something.
What FOCUSED action can you take to begin building your empire?
What can you do in your life to begin building your "tent poles"?
Can your real estate investing lead to other real estate businesses?
Professional services, property management, education, real estate development, international investments, land acquisition, vacation property, recreational property?
Trump does this exact thing. His developments in Manhattan turn into rental units and hotels after completion. He acquires land and develops them into golf courses and vacation properties. He uses his name to "brand" other developments, products and services.
It's one "tent pole" after another.
Here's what Eva says about time management.
"People have more time than they realize. There is so much wasted time in people's lives. Just plan. And stick to the plan. My lifestyle requires a lot of planning - I wake up with 10,000 things to do. You just go over that hump and you get them done."
Good on her.
And it turns out, after learning more about Eva Longoria Parker, that she's not that desperate at all.