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Shaquille O'Neal Reveals His 3 Secrets to Success Discover how Shaq balances his health, family and businesses.

By Terry Rice

Michael Reaves | Getty Images

As a father of four, I'm used to juggling responsibilities on a daily basis. To my surprise, those experiences prepared me for my interview with Shaquille O'Neal. Here's why.

I was given a predetermined time slot to connect with Shaq. However, I was leading not one, but two keynote presentations for the University at Buffalo on that same day. So, my schedule was as follows:

My first keynote ended at 11 am, my interview with Shaq took place at 11:15 am and I had to be back on stage by 11:45 am. Challenging? Yes. Possible? Absolutely.

Once I started chatting with Shaq, all my plans went out the window. Instead of me interviewing him, he started asking me questions. His first question was, "how old are you?" I then asked him to guess and he was off by about 17 years. So, follow me if you want to learn more about my skincare routine.

And you can check out my Instagram Reel to hear my initial response, but what followed was light banter that included a Jerry Rice reference and immediately made me realize why Shaq is so loved around the world. He has a genuine desire to connect with people and make them feel seen. Beyond that, he does his best to share the lessons he's learned through his life experiences. That's exactly what he did during the most recent episode of the Launch Your Business Podcast. I'll share some of my favorite takeaways below.

Picking partners carefully

When it comes to choosing who to partner with and which brands to represent, Shaquille said that it comes down to two core questions:

  1. Do I believe what the company's representatives are saying?
  2. Does the product actually work?

"Being raised by a drill sergeant, you're really brought up with the honesty and the integrity thing," Shaquille said, referencing the time when — much to his agents' chagrin — he turned down a Wheaties sponsorship offer early in his career.

"I don't know what Wheaties taste like," he told his agents at the time. "I'm from the hood. Get me in contact with Frosted Flakes." It took 20 years, but he did eventually get the deal with Frosted Flakes. And in the meantime, he worked with companies and products that he believed worked. "If I don't respect your product, I can't take your money," Shaq said.

Practice strategic patience

Shaq said that as a younger man, he fell for get-rich-quick schemes – the sort of thing where you invest and triple your money in under a year.

Now, he thinks long term, contrasting the "get rich quick" attitude with the Bezos strategy: Building a service that changes people's lives.

To Shaquille, it doesn't have to be a big change to count — it can be as simple as solving the difficulty of keeping your printer stocked with ink cartridges that fit so you can print something any time you want to.

"So that's been my new strategy. It's not that I'm an expert, I just take my time."

Delegate to increase productivity

At the close of our time together, I asked Shaquille what question people should be asking him, but don't think to ask. Here's what he said: "They should ask me how I do so much. And the answer is delegation."

Shaq said that the key is hiring people you trust to make good decisions, and then to delegate – not micromanage. "That's how I own a bunch of things, and be here in my country estate," Shaquille said. "And I don't worry about anything. I do a check every Friday. You know, the important part about delegation is you have to be educated to know what's going on."

Another key factor here is hiring people who are smarter than you, so you can rely on their knowledge and expertise. It's worth investing in the right people — so be ready to make an offer they can't refuse (a tip that Shaquille said he picked up from The Godfather).

What's next?

Terry Rice

Entrepreneur Staff

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Terry Rice is the Business Development Expert-in-Residence at Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Growth & Partnerships at Good People Digital; an agency that provides marketing and monetization solutions for entrepreneurs. He writes a newsletter about how to build your business and personal resilience and personal brand in just 5 minutes per week and created a revenue optimization checklist to help you multiply your income potential. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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