Here’s a response I’ve always found baffling – someone sells their company for a small fortune, and the immediate reaction is to comment on how ‘lucky’ they were, as though that person stumbled upon their success.
In their book The One Minute Millionaire, Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen teach, simply and brilliantly, that those with wealth and financial freedom have acquired it through a certain mindset- the Enlightened Millionaire Mindset, if you will. If it had not been this project or that idea that garnered their success, it would have surely been another. These people are destined for greatness because of the way they think and operate. They are also, as it turns out, very willing to share their wisdom and experience with those who wish to learn from it. See, the beautiful thing about ‘a mindset’ is that it is completely transferable; it’s simply a matter of conditioning. Try to surround yourself with like minded individuals–or ideally those who have a mindset you want to emulate. Which is not to say you need to ditch your friends, cut yourself off from your family and join a commune. Instead, you can start with a lunch.
The Big Idea:
Take a Millionaire to Lunch
The idea is simple, really – find a millionaire, ask them politely if they’d mind sharing an hour with you to answer a few questions, and then arrange to meet them for lunch somewhere.
Easier said than done, right? When I first read The One Minute Millionaire, my reaction to the idea of taking a millionaire to lunch was mixed. It made sense in theory, and I was excited at the prospect, but my first thought was “Well that’s fantastic for the people who already know a millionaire or two.” I was not one of them. (My second thought was that even if I could track one down, there was no way I could afford the type of restaurant they’d be accustomed to!)
Both these thoughts were mistaken.
My first lunch was in a sports bar, my second in a Tim Horton’s, and my third at a greasy spoon diner just off the highway. Yup, I had three of these meetings within a month of reading the book. What was grossly wrong with my first assumption (that I didn’t know any millionaires) was based solely on my understanding of what it meant to be a “Millionaire”. I pictured fast cars, and huge houses. I imagined weekend trips to Paris, diamonds the size of golf balls and women in furs saying ‘dahling’ with grand flourishes. I had the movie version of a millionaire securely in mind – celluloid delusions of grandeur. Many of you are ahead of my early understanding of wealth at this point – you probably know that most millionaires in this country (and the one to the south) wear blue jeans on the weekends, drive domestic cars, take their kids to hockey practice, and yes – even frequent the local Tim Horton’s.
The point is that there are millionaires all around you, you just need to make it known to the world that you’re looking for them… and be sure to clarify why. Tell everyone – tell your friends, family, hairdresser, bus driver, cafeteria staff, librarian, bank teller, mechanic, babysitter and teacher. If you make it known to the world that you have a desire to better yourself, and are on a quest to learn the meaning of The Enlightened Millionaire, the world will make the path available to you. And for those of you realists out there, who struggle with the idea of divine intervention or global connection, think about it this way – you give enough people enough reason to want to help you out, one of them is going to have the resources to do so.
And then what? Once you have a millionaire or three in your sights, you get in touch with them. Through e-mail, fax, phone, text, page or carrier pigeon, you make it known to them that you would love nothing more than the opportunity to sit down with them over a cup of coffee and pick their brains. What needs to be absolutely clear to your target lunch date is the fact that you don’t want anything other than their time and reflections. One of the reasons we (or I did, anyway) live under the impression that millionaires are far too busy to spend time with a stranger, is because of the constant demands they receive from their community for freebies – handouts for this, donations for that, blah, blah, blah – the list goes on and on. And so we assume that they’ve been hounded enough. But what you need to understand is that these people, especially the ones that built their wealth themselves are entrepreneurs, and nothing excites them more than the thought of someone proactively wanting to better themselves and seeking guidance. And they WILL offer that guidance. If you ask them nicely.
SO! You get a hold of them – fax, phone, e-mail, etc. What do you say? Try the truth!! (Novel concept, I know.) Let them know who you are, how you’re connected to them, and that you would love the opportunity to buy them a cup of coffee and ask them a few questions about how they got to where they are, and what they’ve learned along the way. Hot thought – millionaires are typically leaders, leaders are typically at the top of an organization, and the top, as they say, is a lonely place to be. They want to talk. Give them an opportunity and an excuse to do so. (As a side note – I didn’t have this come up, but if you run into someone who IS in fact too busy to meet in person, they can of course answer the questions via e-mail at their convenience. I do want to stress though that every person it was suggested I call was willing to meet with me for at least a coffee. Every one, without fail. That’s just the type of people they are. Have fun with it, these are great people to spend your time with.)
The One Minute Millionaire has twelve questions it suggests you ask. It recommends you take notes on their answers. Some of the pre-designed questions include –
“How did you make your first million?”
“How long did it take you?”
“How long would it take you today?”
“What would you recommend that I do to become a millionaire?”
“What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?”
“What is the legacy you want to leave?”
“What’s your most important habit?”
The One Minute Millionaire, pp146-148
Truth be told, I didn’t ask my millionaires all of the suggested questions, nor did I take notes on the lunches either. I would recommend doing both, or neither. Really, I think it comes down to what you want to get out of these encounters. For me, (although I didn’t realize it at the time), it was about finding what makes these people tick. What gets them out of bed in the morning, and how do they react to the world around them? The answer that came back to me with resounding impact, was passion. These are people who feel strongly about the world and their role in it. These are people who have a desire to leave the world a better place than they found it, and to make a real impact. It makes sense then that they would want to help like-minded individuals find their own paths to success.
I’ve now had six of these meetings, and every one has been unique and yet similar. Each of these individuals has taken wildly different paths to achieve their success, but each has done it with the same high level of integrity, passion and drive. They have shared their stories with me not because they felt obligated or forced into it, but because they genuinely wanted to be of assistance. It’s in their blood.
I look forward to hearing stories of your millionaire meetings, and all that you learn from those who have set the path before you. In the meantime, enjoy your lunch.