(AKA what started Step Out of the Race!)
Well, truth be told I don’t personally know any billionaires, but I did have personal relationships with two unrelated people who had well over $500 million dollars, and believe it or not, you can be happier than they are.
You should be shocked reading that.
I was certainly shocked when I found out.
I was between my first and second year of my MBA at Harvard Business School and through a mutual friend was able to get a meeting with an individual who had made over $500 million dollars by taking his company public.
He was young, single, dating a model, driving a Ferrari, flying in a corporate jet, and racing an amazing sailboat. So, as I looked out of his glass office high in a sky scraper, I asked the only question I could think to ask of someone in this position:
“So, how does it feel to have achieved this? I mean, this is it; you’ve done what every student at Harvard wants to do. This is success. How does it feel?”
And his answer surprised me and changed the way I approach my life.
He told me that he was happier when this was a small company with three guys in a small office smoking cigars and trying to create something new that he was passionate about.
He told me he didn’t know who his friends were anymore, with the exception of a couple people who were wealthier and didn’t need him for his money.
In short, he had lost his passion for his work and his relationships weren’t where he wanted them to be. He wasn’t happy.
This was a single guy, dating a model, driving a Ferrari, who owned a jet.
How could this be?
So, I went back to business school and did an independent study on life satisfaction and happiness and worked with some of the leaders in the field.
I learned a tremendous amount of about the research on happiness, and have worked to apply it to my life both personally and professionally.
Step Out of the Race all stems from that one experience with a very wealthy individual and the desire to help as many other people as possible thrive in their personal and professional lives… without needing to become a billionaire.