After retiring from the practice of law, one of the first things I did was to set out on a mission to discover the mindset of wealthy people and how can I, and others acquire that mindset. I needed to carefully articulate a concept of wealth that comprehensively defines wealth. I noticed that with this mission, one of the first things I had to do was to enlighten people on the very significant difference between ‘success’ and ‘wealth’. I fully realized that the greatest confusion in the lives of most people is the ability to properly situate these two very fundamental aspirations in their proper places as they journey through life. Thankfully, I have also learned a lot as I set out on my own journey to create Women of Wealth magazine as the vehicle for my crusade.
At Women of Wealth Magazine, we celebrate wealth because it can give us many pleasant experiences. But, we also celebrate wealth and the wealthy, not because wealth is an end unto itself—there being other important parameters that guarantee a successful life, but because one of our greatest possessions on this earthly plane is freedom, and wealth can give us this freedom. We believe that it will be good for people to experience this freedom, for with it, many an illusion they labor under will dissipate into thin air, allowing them to see more of the beauty in their world each day of their life.
Defining the Wealthy Mindset
Now, if we say that acquiring wealth requires a certain type of mindset, we need to identify what type of mindset that is. But first, let me talk briefly about myself. I practiced as a full-time lawyer for over thirty years. Then, the time came for me to retire and do something else. I began to look around to see what it was that I could do. That came with its own peculiar challenges. I had been a lawyer most of my life, and I had to pray hard about fashioning out a new identity for myself. The prospect of stepping back and following a leader was not a very attractive one for me and it required me to sincerely identify what it was that I would want to do if I could do it at all. I acknowledged that I loved to read and that I love to write. I had been told that I was a good writer, so why not start there? That was how and why I eventually figured that I would create a magazine, and I did. I came to that decision in 2009; that would be about ten years ago. So, my journey into magazine publishing started at that time, and here I am today. The magazine is currently enjoying wide distribution at airports all around the nation, and outside this nation as well as in national bookstore chains.
The Multi-Dimensional Me
In many respects, I’m a multifaceted personality, and because of that, chapter two of the book of my life might be talking about the three phases or the three dimensions of Dr. Lei Lewis’ life. Yet, that might still prove to be an inaccurate proposition. I will explain. There is Dr. Lei Lewis the minister, Dr. Lei Lewis, the retired lawyer, and now we have Dr. Lei Lewis the writer and publisher. But, does that sufficiently describe my odyssey? I would say it does not. If it were that easy to lock my life into three dimensions or three phases, where would you place Dr. Lewis the mother, Dr. Lewis the CEO and business owner, Dr. Lewis the mentor, and the military woman? Yes, I served in the military. And, believe it or not, there is the wife. Yes, I tried the ‘wife project’ a couple of times. That did not work out. In the final analysis, I am probably in error by trying to constrain my journey so far into three phases. In truth, my life has been a multi-faceted one. I have played so many roles that it is now difficult for me to fit snugly into any one compartment of description. Ultimately, I can only safely describe myself as a multi-dimensional person. Yes, that is so very true depending on who I’m relating with, and God knows I have been so many things to so many different people.
The Carrot Chasers
I would say that wealth is like a carrot. As human beings, we are seemingly traveling on our individual roads trying to catch up with the carrot which is speeding in front, and just ahead of us. Sometimes–thinking that we are so close to it, we reach out and make a triumphant attempt to touch it. However, the moment we stretch out our hand to grasp it; it’s almost as if the carrot picks up speed, and the next instant it is once more that much farther out of our reach. From a broad point of view, it’s as if the world is divided into different categories of people when it comes to wealth. We have those who were born into wealth however; they are constantly chasing after more of it. In fact, although they already have it, it is never enough, and the more of it they have, the more of it they want. We also have the ‘carrot chasers,’ and these are the ones who seem to be consistently on the chase of elusive wealth. The carrot chasers seem to be always looking out the window and trying to see how they can be of benefit to the world, even while their eyes are on the elusive carrot, just ahead. I recognized these paradoxes as I set out on my own journey to find wealth.
Mentorship Is Vital In Acquiring a Wealthy Mindset
Along my journey, I also discovered something else. As a woman involved in the car ride, and who like most other people was chasing my carrot, I knew I should expect to find men and women in front of me blocking the carrot I was chasing, and that was exactly what happened. Women, especially, were always there, in between one’s car and the carrot speeding ahead. Sadly enough, what I continually experienced was just that. Difficult as it is to explain, women seem to have a hard time helping other women. What I also discovered was that, generally, women are inclined to lead their fellow women to believe that they are willing to help them in some way or the other, only to eventually leave them stranded in the ocean of their forlorn hopes.
Mentorship is very important. Few people achieve their ambitions and aspirations in life without mentorship of some kind or other. Such a mentor could be anyone. A mentor could be a parent or even a total stranger. You need someone other than yourself to help you in the race to catch that carrot you call wealth. Mentors tend to know things that you don’t. Additionally, they are more likely to have gone through certain experiences that are totally alien to you. Some of them have already been down the path you are just about to tread, and they know the exact location of all the potholes, craters, and sinister bends on that road. The one special privilege they have, and which they are qualified to avail you of, is to help you in saving invaluable time and avoidable trouble by sounding that crucial note of warning that you should not go down a certain road. However, mentorship is a two-way street. It is one thing to be mentored; it is an entirely different proposition to receive mentorship, humbly and in good faith.
To benefit from mentorship, you must have a teachable mindset, or call it a mentor mindset, if you will. But, that is still not all that it takes. You need to always find a way to remain in the company of women who are already so far ahead of you. The truth is that there is little or no benefit in walking with women who are of the same status as you. The blind cannot lead the blind.
You need to have mentors that are so far ahead of you within the context of whatever meaning you ascribe to wealth; whether that meaning is money; whether it is optimal health and wellness; whether it is your emotional well-being, whether it is success in some rare platform of human endeavor. Great is the man or woman who will sit at the feet of another and tap from his wisdom. Great is that person who puts himself at the disposal of another’s superior knowledge and wisdom. Indeed, when the pupil is ready, the master materializes! For, in truth, no man is wise enough by himself. Doesn’t the Book of Life proclaim that no servant is greater than his master, nor can a messenger be greater than the one who sent him? For, what (after all) is wisdom if not to learn all one can, and then have the humility to realize that one does not know it all? He who teaches himself has a fool for a master. Indeed, wise is he who will humbly sit at the feet of someone more successful. For, his superior wisdom will flow down to the pupil, as if propelled by some form of spiritual gravity.
So, I urge you to partake of the fellowship of wisdom and knowledge that exists amongst those who are traveling between you and your carrot. To fly the way the eagle flies, you must perch on his back, and spread out the way he spreads his wings. Wealth is an acquired mindset. The acquisition of true wealth, in whatever form, is the fulfillment of a certain dream. Speaking of women; I think we almost owe to ourselves to feel obliged to help other women—if for no other reason than that we know how hard the struggle can be. If we possess the ability and the power to assist, then we should do so.
Permit me to explain something of a crucial nature. A wealthy woman with influence can pick up the phone and introduce you to someone who can and probably will make a tremendous impact on your life. My tragic discovery is that many women can do this but will not do so. My sincere cry is for women to help other women. Speaking from my own experience on this journey, one of my greatest challenges has been, keeping the communication doors open with some of the wealthy women with influence that I met on this journey; for I understood they were reluctant to help me enlarge my territory or to acquire a wealthy mindset.
Now, what else have I experienced along my journey? I noticed this. Those who are extremely wealthy love God. They know that there is a God who does it for them. Most of them would tell you,” I don’t want to do anything until I have thanked God. I honor God by giving back. I honor God by hiring, not for me personally, but for my business. In some of my challenges, I know there’s a God because I felt God intercede in what I was going through at that particular time.”
One woman comes to my mind, and I feel compelled to share her story. She said, “You know, Dr. Lei, I’m a five-time cancer survivor!” I was stunned because she looked so good. For most of us, we can only imagine what it means to be diagnosed with cancer. Someone once told me it’s like being in hell, and that the trick is to go through it so quickly that people don’t even realize that you have been through it and back. Life is like a theatrical stage in which we are all playing different roles. The key is not so much the role we are playing, but how we effectively go through that role. If we walk with dignity, and with faith, and remain firm in our belief until we can come out looking so good that other people— being totally baffled will look at us and say, “I thought something was going on with you, but you don’t look like you’ve been through anything!” Your simple response would be, “You know, we can only thank God!”
The Right Attitude is in The Wealth Mindset
So, attitude matters a great deal. Attitude is a big part of the wealthy mindset. Sometimes, however, we get stuck in a difficult place in which it becomes tough to wheel ourselves out of the situation we find ourselves in. It is all part of the struggle in the ‘chasing the carrot’ stage of our evolution. Yet, when this happens, and we get stuck in that unfortunate place, it becomes all about the mindset that we need to help us out. When we get stuck in that manner we must be able to reach down into our innermost being and turn the wheel of progress in order to get back on track. It is also at such times that we need someone to help us to get through it; to help us get unstuck. May I suggest a mentor?
My own experience is that I’ve had to continually encourage myself. One of the first things we need to do is pray unceasingly for strength, and for intestinal- fortitude in the face of adversity. This isn’t easy and can be quite heart-wrenching. As I once told someone, a mentor can be someone you have never even met yet. The beauty and utility of present-day technology is that the Internet allows you to know anyone you wish to know. You can also meet a potential mentor through her book. Read all about her struggles, and her successes. Examine her attitude critically. This is called ‘virtual mentoring.’
A mentor, of course, can be male or female. My good friend and mentor Dr. Yomi Garnett once told me that, apart from a mentor he calls the Sage, he has met not even one of the other people who have been his greatest teachers. He said to me, “You know, Dr. Lei, my teachers are all great American motivational speakers and spiritual authors. Yet, I have never met one of these people.” Get yourself a mentor. Find out what meeting that virtual mentor of yours will be appearing next. Find a way to attend the meeting. It could turn out to be a rare opportunity to meet him or her. It’s all part of your car ride ‘chasing your carrot’. Learn to re-listen for what you’re not hearing properly.
I can remember life being so awful when I lost my mother at the tender age of 13. I felt like my heart had been ripped out. It was a terrible situation, and it was so horrible because I was not there when she was killed. I never got the opportunity to say goodbye to her. Let me share an enduring secret with you. Your environment does matter. DNA does matters. Let no one tell you otherwise. These are the factors that keep propelling you to victory; to fulfill your mission and to become the person you are destined to become.
Having lost both parents at the age of thirteen, my siblings and I were now faced with the harrowing prospect of teenagers trying to raise teenagers. But we had great DNA from our mother on the inside of us, and we were able to merge that with our mindset. All nine of us achieved success. What we went through without a mother or father can only be imagined. The nightmare that could have easily incapacitated my siblings and me for the rest of our childhood was the horrible fact that my father killed my mother. I encourage you to buy the book on Amazon, “Icons of the Boardroom” and read the rest of my compelling Journey that has brought me to this place called Now!