The Billionaire Mindset: The one thing that changes everything

blog May 16, 2024

By Chris Sonksen

I have had the honor of meeting some incredible people throughout my lifetime. World changers, wealthy people, athletes, entertainers, politicians, authors, speakers and many others who have excelled in their areas of expertise. When the opportunity presents itself, I love to dialogue with these world-class people and learn about their experiences and the journey that brought them to this place in life. I always walk away from these opportunities feeling enriched by the conversation and learning something I had never considered.

A few years ago, one of these types of opportunities presented itself. Forrest and Charlotte Lucas invited my wife and me to attend an Indianapolis Colts game. The Lucas family is the founder of Lucas Oil, and their company sponsors the stadium. They are the only self-made billionaires I have had the honor of meeting. When we walked into the Lucas Oil suite on the 50-yard line, it was the largest sports suite I have ever seen. It was incredible. I remember talking to someone I had never met before, and I said, “So, what do you do for a living?” He responded, “I’m the attorney general.” Talk about feeling embarrassed. I’m asking what this man does for a living, and he’s the attorney general.

Later on in the game, I was sitting next to Mr. Lucas, and we struck up a conversation. A few minutes into it, I started asking him questions about his path to success. In the middle of my questions about his career and journey, he told me something I will never forget. He said, “Chris, when most people want to know how I became a billionaire, they ask me what I did, but no one ever asks me how I think.”

In the minutes that followed, he shared some amazing thinking shifts that must happen for anyone who desires to grow. This conversation, and many others I’ve had, has helped me realize a key characteristic of effective leaders.

Think empowerment, not control. Many leaders are obsessed with finding the right strategy, product or opportunity. The best leaders, however, are obsessed with empowering the right people. The strength of your organization is not a reflection of what you control. The strength of your organization is a reflection of whom you empower. If you are leading a team, empower them to win. When they win, you win.

Think investing, not spending. As your organization grows, time will become your greatest commodity. You must shift from spending to investing. Ask yourself these questions: Where is the best place to invest my time? Whom should I be investing in? Where will my time get the greatest return? You can’t add hours; you can only trade them. So, make sure the trade you make with your time gets you the best results.

Think inspiration, not motivation. Most leaders use the words “motivate” and “inspire” interchangeably. While both are important, there is a difference in these two words. Motivation is external and is often temporary. Inspiration is internal and most often will last longer. As a leader, you must not only motivate, you must inspire. Connect people’s hearts to the vision. Paint the picture of how they fit into that vision. This kind of inspiration will produce much more than motivation could ever give you.

King Solomon once said, “Your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23, GNT). Recognize the power of thinking differently. Realize what it could do for your life and business. It could be the one thing that changes everything!

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