Think like a millionaire

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Two years after launching my sales and business development consulting firm, I was inspired to launch the Millionaire Girls’ Movement, a resource to help women regenerate, grow and sustain their own wealth. We started out small with just three followers (including myself!), a website and a heart-stopping amount of bravado, but I was determined to deliver stories of women who had forged their own path to millionaire status. So I reached out to Jenny Craig and asked her if I could interview her for the site. Much to my surprise, she not only said yes, but thanked me for the work I was doing. Then, with Craig’s interview as leverage, I reached out to more incredible women millionaires who agreed to tell their stories. I wanted to create transparency, education and inspiration for women through storytelling, and that’s exactly what we’ve done — because I believe in this mission and its value to women. 

What I’ve learned from the women we’ve interviewed is that it’s their own beliefs, attitudes and feelings toward money that have propelled them to success. They’ve mastered the millionaire mindset. And you can too. 

If you believe it’s possible and extremely achievable to be a millionaire, you’re right. Once you define the possibility of something, your behavior will follow suit. Yet the opposite is true as well: If you believe you’ll never be able to hit the $1 million mark, then you’re right about that too — and no amount of information or direction will change the outcome. This isn’t to suggest that merely believing money will show up in your life is going to make you wealthy. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) But the first step toward achieving millionaire status is adopting the right mentality. Here’s what millionaires believe. 

Millionaires Believe Money Is Good

As a child who grew up in poverty, I heard messages every day from my family and community about why people with money were selfish, greedy and even evil. This broken belief system suggested there was nobility in poverty and no one should aspire to be more than middle class at best. Being raised in an environment that rebelled against wealth created an incredible challenge to building it. And it wasn’t until I saw money could be of service — not merely a device to accumulate more things — that I was able to generate, sustain and grow my own wealth. 

The truth, of course, is that money has the capacity to do a lot of good in the world — not only for you, but also for those you love and your community. Millionaires know this and believe money is good, and that wanting and acquiring it does not make you inherently bad. Believing otherwise means you’ll likely never reach the $1 million milestone. 

Pay attention to the messages you hear and statements you make about money. If you notice the messaging is negative, challenge your thought process. Ask yourself if what you’re saying is true or a belief. I used to catch myself saying, “Investing is hard. I just don’t understand it.” This gave me permission to avoid learning how to invest. Now I say: “Investing is a skill. You just have to start small.” Write down all of your negative beliefs about money — then rewrite them.

Millionaires Believe In Themselves and Their Capacity to Acquire Wealth

When I was in college, I knew a guy whose family had earned — and lost — millions of dollars over the course of his life, due to the nature of their family business. As someone who came from a poor family, I was stunned at how certain my friend was that he would be able to build a business and create his own wealth. He knew that he was capable of doing what was necessary to earn millions — and I can tell you, 20 years later, indeed he did!

Millionaires and millionaires-on-the-rise don’t believe wealth is insurmountable. They have incredible confidence in their abilities. Some may translate such certainty as arrogance, but I would argue it’s more reflective of conviction. This isn’t to suggest that millionaires are smarter than everyone else. The difference is that millionaires know they’ll be able to find the answers or get the information necessary to be successful. Millionaires are agents of their own success — they create their own luck, fashion their own opportunities and build their own wealth.

Millionaires Are Ferociously Curious

Having met my share of millionaires through the Millionaire Girls’ Movement, speaking around the world and through business, I can tell you — regardless of whether they were formally educated or not — all millionaires are incredibly curious people. They seek answers and solutions, and they’re obsequious observers and lifelong learners with voracious appetites for knowledge. I’ve been to plenty of events where extremely successful people will find a scrap of paper to write down a book, website, TED Talk or a conference to attend that might give them an edge or a little bit of insight — because millionaires aren’t complacent and know that knowledge is never wasted.

If you want to stimulate your curiosity, start asking questions. Interview people. You’d be amazed at what you can learn about business, investing, the job market or technology. Don’t limit your audience. Ask kids about the technology they love — it could be a great stock pick. Ask someone who invests: What should you do if you only have $50 a month to invest? Read, read, read. There are so many people who’ve already made their million. Be a student of their success.

Millionaires Are Resilient

I’ve never read about a millionaire that skyrocketed to success without a single misstep. The millionaire journey is rife with opportunity for financial loss, mistakes and upset. Millionaires have a high tolerance for struggle, and are more likely to ask “what’s next?” than “why me?”

Millionaires aren’t lured into a victim mindset — they know they’re their own best solution and aren’t held hostage by circumstances beyond their control. Cases in point? Steve Jobs was fired from Apple — and Martha Stewart went to prison. Whatever you think of them personally, note how they came back from those challenges and ended up even more successful.

Millionaires Ask For It

The ability to ask with elegance is not merely a nice skill to have; it’s actually tied to wealth. Professionals who ask for opportunity are more likely to advance and earn more; women who negotiate over the course of their careers can earn more than $1 million more than their counterparts; and those who ask for business build a larger book and generate more revenue. 

Whether you’re negotiating to pay less, earn more or for better terms, feeling entitled to ask is crucial to building wealth. Millionaires believe they are entitled to opportunity, good terms and competitive salaries. People who don’t feel worthy fail to advocate for themselves and instead take what is offered without asking for anything better. Ethically and elegantly asking for your value is an expression of a millionaire’s right to pursue her worth.

Ann marie Houghtailing is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and performer who has mastered creating a dollar out of thin air and has dedicated her career to teaching others to do the same. She is the author of “How I Created a Dollar Out of Thin Air” and is producing the documentary Architecting Our Own Glass Ceilings

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