Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010


What can you learn from billionaires and other extremely wealthy people?  What do they have in common? 


Rick Sapio, CEO of Mutual Capital Alliance, hung out with 23 extremely wealthy people including Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet, and others including the Dalai Lama.  Wealth is defined broadly to include financial, spiritual, or other measures of prosperity. Nine of the participants were self-made billionaires with a financial net worth well beyond $1 billion and many others were worth in the hundreds of millions. 


Here are some of the insights Sapio shared at the recent Fortune Small Business Conference sponsored by Gazelles International in Dallas, TX.


Guiding Principles.  The wealthy have clarity of purpose.  They know why they are here.  They are gracious, grateful, and generous.  Most did not do it for the money—they were pursuing a passionate purpose.


Character and Core Values.  The wealthy have strong values.  Integrity was one of the most important.  They cared about their reputation and the trail they leave behind.  On a continuum of from having a ‘serving ego’ to having a ‘selfish ego,’ they have a unique and strong serving ego to help others.


Tactical Attributes.  Here are the tactics upon which they operate.

  1. Have a long-term horizon.  They keep their purpose in front on them and make decisions for the long run.
  2. Leverage a single entity.  They tend to run things simply. It is important to be leveraged in order to produce more results.
  3. Solid assistant or partner.  They have a ‘rock’ next to them, who is a person that lives to make them great.
  4. Work out.  They carve time out to exercise and stay healthy.
  5. Legacy.  They want to live a long time and to leave a legacy.
  6. Luck.  They look to the bright side of things and take advantage of luck.
  7. Say No in order to say Yes.  Without a clear vision and values, you can not differentiate opportunities and distractions.  They have laser focus and are very careful about what/who gets into their life.  However, they think BIG and don’t get bogged down in details.
  8. Resilience.  Many have come back from the brink of disaster.


Warren Buffet’s Wisdom.  Sapio suggests you buy one share of Berkshire Hathaway stock and then go to the shareholder meetings.  You can hear Warren Buffet share wisdom for hours. Sapio explains one part of Warren Buffet’s formula for success is simple:  1.  Don’t lose money.  2.  Remember number 1. 


Practical Pointers for Acquiring the Billionaire Mindset.  Discern your values.  Define your passionate purpose.  Pursue it with determination.  Surround yourself with the proper people and partners.  Focus, finish, and fly.  You too can be as wealthy as you desire.


Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


Copyright © 2010 Theresa M. Szczurek. All Rights Reserved.


Verne Harnish summarized it in his recent "Verne's Insights" blog, "Frank Rich at the NY Times, beat me to the label (I added the word "big"), but in reflecting on the last decade, it felt like one big con job! 9/11, Wall Street, Big Pharma, the Government; plus Madoff, Woods, and the space-balloon fiasco -- I've never felt more lied to and deceived than in this last decade, though the increased transparency provided by the internet likely means the big cons are just being exposed more."

What can you do to protect yourself going forward from the big cons and other ethical misconduct?  Here are some practical pointers:

* Establish a code of ethics.  Does your firm have a code.  If not, create one.  If so, post it and review it with your people.  As a member of the Institute of Management Consultants, I pledge to abide by the IMC Code of Ethics (

* Surround yourself with ethical people.  Make sure you hire people people who live up to your standards.  Include such a pledge in their employment contract. Are you a member of a professional organization with a solid code of ethics?  You should be. 

*  Sharpen your ethics knowledge.  Recently I prepared for, took, and passed an ethics exam from the IMC.  I thought I knew a lot about ethical behavior, since integrity is my highest core value.  I learned a lot in the process.  What can you do to explore and learn from ethical dilemna?

*    Attend the Friday 1/15/2010 "Ethics and Business Success" IMC breakfast in Denver.  Dr. Kevin O'Brien, ethics expert, will lead an interesting program at the Denver Athletic Club from 7-9am.  Learn more and register at www.imcusa/coevents

Avoid the Big Con in 2010.  Take action to protect yourself and your company from ethical misconduct.  You will reap more rewards and results in your pursuit of passionate purpose.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and

@2010.  All Rights Reserved.



Job satisfaction is at an all time low.  The labor market is not good.  People are holding on to jobs that they would like to leave. What to do about it?

"The Conference Board research group recently reported job satisfaction has fallen to a record low of 45 percent, the lowest level ever recorded in 22 years of surveys! Extrapolating from that number, more than half (55 percent) of US workers state that they are "dissatisfied" with their jobs. It is also logical that the most dissatisfied group is workers under the age of 25---64 percent of whom said they are unhappy in their jobs," summarized the Herman Trend Alerts (

Ben Stein, actor, writer, and politcal/economic commentator had  dinner recently with Warren Buffet.  Take a look at what Buffet says about the market, economy, trains, and passion.  It is well worth 3 minutes of your time.

"Buffett said that he did not see a good labor market for some time to come. Nevertheless, he said, he advised young people to "follow their passion" and do what they loved. If that did not provide a living, they should try something else."

In "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose:  Success Strategies for a Successful Personal and Business Life," there are many suggestions on how to follow your passion (

Are you following your passion?  Easier said than done. Here are some Practical Pointers to help you.

1.  Figure out what your passion is.  If you don't know, explore internally and read, journal, meditate, and more.

2.  Explore externally. Talk to people and learn.

3.  Find the courage to commit to try something else.

4.  Find a mentor, peer advisor, or coach -- get some inputs to help you.

Life is short!  Begin again and set new trends in 2010!

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and

@2010 copyright  All Rights Reserved.