The mindset of millionaires

Why we shouldn’t be afraid to be embarrassed all the way to the bank.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

This column was written at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. I flew to Austin for a business meeting and then attended a popular monthly event Texans call the “Internet Marketing Party.” Some of the best web marketers in the world gathered here to network and hear presentations from industry leaders. It was incredible to hear some of the conversations between attendees about the millions of dollars they have made — in the past month! There were many valuable takeaways, but I wanted to share with you some of the top insights gathered from these industry game change.

  1. First, you need a topnotch mentor. Each speaker talked about the importance of having successful people invested in their success. I have written about “standing on the shoulders of giants,” which means finding people who are the most successful at whatever you want to do, finding a way to add value for them, and then asking for their assistance. The best investment you can make is in yourself. A lot of people tell me they would hire a coach or someone who could help them reach their goals faster but they don’t have the money. That is backward thinking. There is real value in finding the right mentor(s) because it’s an investment that continually pays dividends.
  2. Second, in addition to finding at least one strong mentor, spend time with other people who have reached high levels of success. There is an applicable Jim Rohn quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Evaluate your network, especially those you spend the most time with. Are they pulling you up to higher levels of success or are they dragging you down? Proactively surround yourself with “people of intention” — those you purposely want to grow with.
  3. Finally, be willing to be embarrassed. My favorite speaker of the night was marketing guru Ron Lynch, who helped build the successful GoPro brand. He got on stage and asked, “Who here wants to be embarrassed? Raise your hand.” Not surprisingly, only a handful of people in the packed room raised their hands.

One woman who did was invited to join Lynch on stage, and when she got there he pulled out his wallet, handed her a crisp $100 bill, and said, “One of the most important lessons I have ever learned is that you need to be willing to be embarrassed, to fail, and I mean fail big. The biggest and best opportunities have the biggest risk, but they also have the biggest reward.”



The coolest part is that Lynch is a real life example. When he first started working with GoPro the company spent big on a commercial showing just how cool the product was, noting it could be purchased at Best Buy. The problem? It couldn’t be purchased at Best Buy because it wasn’t yet carried there. GoPro was still a new, unknown brand. Lynch presumed that either one of two things would happen — either Best Buy would file a lawsuit or so many potential customers would go to Best Buy looking to buy the product that the electronics retailer would have no other choice but to place a large order to meet the demand. Of course, the latter happened and in 2016 GoPro is projected to generate between $1.35 and $1.5 billion in sales, according to Business Insider.

What risk are you willing to take that could leave you embarrassed or smiling all the way to the bank? I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at

Jenna Atkinson is the president of CONNECT Madison, a young professionals group offering development, community engagement, and relationship-building opportunities to local business leaders.

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