The Wealthy Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has long been the proven path to wealth – great wealth in fact. For decades we’ve heard the rags-to-riches stories about men and women who have had an idea and built a successful company around it. I don’t need to cite these examples because you have already heard them over and over. Normal, ordinary people have become billionaires and centimillionaires through their entrepreneurial endeavors. But I want to focus on wealth differently in this blog.

Early in my career my focus was on making a lot of money. I don’t think I was a whole lot different than many other young, driven, Type A people. I went about my business always checking my bank balance and trying to figure out how to add another zero or two. And the harder I tried, the more elusive the result seemed to become. I scrimped and saved and eventually enjoyed a nice material lifestyle – but the big dollars that I coveted never seemed to come.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when the shift occurred or what triggered it, but one day I found myself less obsessed with the end result (a large net worth) and more focused on the process of what I was doing and the joy it brought me. The money and wealth accumulation became secondary to actually building the business with my partners. Once I did this, the dollar rewards appeared – and sometimes in ways I’d never dreamed. There’s a constellation in the night sky that illustrates this perfectly. When we try and look directly at the Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) it’s hard to see all the stars. But when we focus on a nearby star or constellation, the Pleiades can be vividly seen in our peripheral vision. In other words, trying to see the Seven Sisters head-on is frustrating and nearly impossible with the naked eye. But when our focus is elsewhere, the star cluster comes into view with greater clarity. This became a perfect metaphor for my situation.

Along the way I have discovered there are many more elements to wealth than simply money. The entrepreneur who thinks that life is only about making tons of money is going to miss many opportunities to become fabulously wealthy in other ways. Let’s explore some of these possibilities.

At this stage of my life I value the relationships with which I’m blessed as much as the dollars that come my way. I’ve long believed in collecting as many relationships over the course of my life as possible for the purpose of serving others. These relationships have been developed without quid pro quo. In other words, I serve my relationships without any expectation of something in return. The results have been incredible with countless friends and acquaintances whose lives I have hopefully impacted in a positive way. I consider myself wealthy beyond my wildest dreams through the knowledge that I am helping so many others.

Another aspect of wealth for me is the pride of accomplishment. Yes, I’m extremely proud of all that I’ve accomplished whether it be in my career, civic activities or avocations. This pride is not something for which I need to be recognized outwardly. Instead, it comes from the satisfaction of knowing that I succeeded at something – often something very difficult. Over the years, this success adds to my overall wealth of being.

I am a very wealthy man when it comes to the diverse and active life I’ve led. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a day where I’ve been bored. My waking hours are filled with creativity and new experiences. I always see life in full and glorious color. There is no such thing as monotony in what I do. Also, my health is my wealth. I was adopted and have no idea my genetic history. So, I have worked very hard to maintain great health as though I am constantly at risk. Exercise, eating right, maintaining an optimal weight level, and regular consultations with medical professionals has enabled me to remain vibrant and physically fit.

Finally, my family is a huge source of my wealth. I’m blessed to have had a nearly 50-year relationship with my wife; two amazing and talented daughters and a son-in-law; three beautiful grandchildren, and a host of cousins and in-laws. Unfortunately, both sets of our parents are gone, but we had wonderful relationships with them while they were alive. Love abounds every single day and has generated pleasant memories that will last a lifetime.

Truly, I believe that I fit the definition of the Wealthy Entrepreneur. Money is a part of the equation but there’s so much more including relationships with friends and acquaintances, pride of accomplishment, a diverse and active life, great health and an incredible family. I hope that you too can enjoy such bountiful wealth!

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

The Entrepreneur’s Team of Superheroes

Who is on your team? I don’t mean your work team . . . who is always in your corner and supporting you every step of the way? Smart entrepreneurs understand how important it is to assemble such a team. It can be very lonely at times in our line of work. It seems as though we always have to be “on” and acting as a role model. We must stay calm and never show that we might be worried about something (making payroll, lawsuits, competition – you name it). The stress that we can experience will manifest in negative ways if we don’t manage it successfully.

Many years ago, I found that creating Powerful Personal Partnerships can become the team we need to help us lead balanced and productive lives. If we give short shrift to any of these partnerships that balance can be interrupted to our peril. The Powerful Personal Partnerships to which I refer are composed of Superheroes that are vitally important to my success and my sanity.

Here’s how I got started with this idea. First, I identified seven central elements of my life. They included Family, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Physical, Financial and Business. My theory was that if I could maintain a healthy balance in all seven of these areas, my life would flourish and be complete. And that is exactly what has happened over many years. But the balancing act has not happened without many other people who have been there to support me. I realized early on that neglecting one or more of these elements could result in hiccups in my life – some minor and others of much more consequence. Maintaining the balance was the obvious antidote for eliminating as many of the speed bumps as possible.

To maintain the balance, we must ultimately focus equally on these areas. This doesn’t mean that we must spend the same amount of time in all areas at once. However, when we spend more time in business for example, at some point we need to amp up our focus on the other areas or we do end up neglecting them. To accomplish this, I created partnerships with people who I could always count on. Starting with Family, I began seeing my wife and daughters as partners. This resulted in more moments of sharing of information and gratitude. I wrote love letters to each one of them and worked harder to build more meaningful relationships.

Intellectual stimulation is necessary for me to feel fulfilled. I became involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors including serving on boards and as a mentor to other entrepreneurs through a formalized mentoring program. This has enabled me to cast a wide net across a vast array of subject matter than energizes me including aviation, politics, education and science.

On the Emotional front, I found that the relationships I built and maintained for philanthropic purposes were helpful in maintaining balance. Likewise, my circle of friends was instrumental in this regard as well.

Spiritually, I connected regularly with my minister as well as other select members of my church. Organized religion is in a transformational state at the present time. Finding a spiritual balance doesn’t require participating in a church though it can be helpful. But we do need to identify others on the spiritual journey with whom we can ponder our essence.

On the Physical plane, I partner with my doctor, a blood chemistry specialist and an orthopedic expert – and I ask them all to compare notes to make certain they are in agreement on my wellness and how to treat health issues that arise. I also have worked for years with a personal trainer to improve my fitness.

A big part of our lives is the Financial aspect. I have partnered with wealth advisors, tax professionals and bankers to ensure that we are financially secure now and in the future.

And finally, I have a number of partners in my Business life including individuals who run the various business units, partners in ownership as well as investors and lenders.

Over the years I’ve assembled a team of Superheroes that support me. But here’s the thing. It’s a two-way street. I’ve found that it’s not just about them supporting me – I also will do whatever I can to support them. After all, that’s what partnering is all about. It’s a symbiotic relationship. I think the most profound aspect of the concept of Powerful Personal Partnerships is the intentionality of it. I am actively working every day to make sure I’m focusing on each of the seven elements and not neglecting any of them.

Each of us needs our own team of Superheroes who are invested in our success just as we are invested in theirs. Creating Powerful Personal Partnerships can help us find and maintain a healthy balance in our lives that will ultimately propel us to success.

You can also listen to a weekly audio podcast of my blog. What you hear will be different than what you read in this blog. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also click on this link – Click here to listen to Audio Episode 135 – Driven or Driving?

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.