Brendon Burchard (Courtesy of The Experts Academy)
This month, I had one of the most eye-opening and enlivening interviews I’ve ever experienced with a personality in the expert industry. The interviewee was Brendon Burchard, New York Times best-selling author of The Millionaire Messenger and Founder of Experts Academy. After reading The Millionaire Messenger, I felt compelled to connect with Brendon to get a first-hand glimpse of his fresh and motivating perspectives on how experts can achieve tremendous financial success while sharing their special messages with the world – something so many experts want to do but can’t seem to discover how.
Brendon’s story is a compelling one – of narrowly surviving a car accident at age 19 on a dark and steamy Caribbean night, and standing bleeding atop the crumpled hood of his wrecked car faced with the concept of mortality. In that one moment between life and death, he discovered that at the end of our lives we will all ask, “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”
Since that night, Brendon has lived a fully charged life, and he’s dedicated to helping millions of people transform their lives and feel more alive, engaged, and fulfilled. There’s something about Brendon when you speak with him – he “vibrates” at a level that’s different from others, and it feels to me like he has messages we all need to hear but most of us resist.
For me, the biggest takeaway from my time with Brendon was his view of the one most critical success success trait for anyone in the expert industry. Our discussion of this ultimate success factor truly rocked me, because it touched on something that I, candidly speaking, fall short on. I realize now the importance of this quality and behavior and that without it, your “expert” business will surely stumble if not quickly die on the vine.
What is the most important ingredient to fantastic success as an expert? Sincere humility and deep respect for every single individual you meet.
Before I explore the power of humility, I’d like to share the story of how Brendon learned about this trait – from his beloved father, whom he cherishes deeply and views as a vibrant role model.
“We lost my dad in 2009 to leukemia. He taught me everything I know and I love him very much. My dad lived a good life. He was a simple guy. His family had been poor, and he joined the marines to be able to send money home to his mom and dad and brothers and sisters. He genuinely had the intention to live a good life and to respect other people. When he was diagnosed with leukemia, the doctor said he had only 7 days to live (in actuality, he lived 59 days after his diagnosis). At that time, I was doing a seminar and talking about recording top industry experts to add their voices to the conversation. I thought – why don’t I interview Dad? So I called him and recorded the conversation. I’m so glad I did. I said, “Dad, what one message would you want us to always know and think about, to be successful good people?” In a nutshell, his advice was:
‘Be yourself, be honest, do your best, take care of your family, treat people with respect, be a good citizen, and follow your dreams.’
My father worked for Department of Motor Vehicles in Montana, and you know how people feel about the DMV – they hate going. Every day in that job, people would disrespect my dad. But here he was – a man who did three tours in Vietnam, a marine of 20 years and worked for the state of Montana 20 years – and people would be downright hateful and mean to him. But he never took it in. He’d transform that, and they’d leave the DMV changed, happy. He always felt that we must respect others and be open to learning and accepting each and every person you meet. I now hold this to be the highest truth and the most powerful gift to the world besides our creative contributions.”
About Brendon’s multi-million dollar business
“My new New York Times bestseller The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive is about this way of thinking. I know that if I were less respectful in my business, if I didn’t value each and every customer, client and colleague as I do, my business would die tomorrow.
I have incredible respect for customers and peers – my curriculum is very strong because I was taught by my clients’ reactions to my work. My promotions and my NYT bestsellers became successful because I listened to what people told me about the aspects of the work that resonated most with them. I’m constantly learning. The secret of my success is that I deeply respect and learn from my peers and customers.
I have to laugh when I receive newsletters from major personalities and when you hit reply, you get a – “do-not-reply” address. It’s ridiculous! Don’t you want your customers to reply to you?
Here at Experts Academy we want folks to call and write, and everyone on my team replies back within 24 hours. Millions of people are watching our stuff but it’s a priority to us that we care about them, and we want to learn about what our audience and customers have to say. These wonderful folks are paying my mortgage and allowing me to share my messages with the world, and have the lifestyle I enjoy.”
“I’ve seen that phenomenally successful people believe they can learn something from everybody. I call them ‘mavericks with mentors.’ Richard Branson, for instance, is a total maverick but he surrounds himself with incredibly successful, smart people and he listens to them.
The expert is a student first. There is zero ego there. Sure, I can create some results over and over, but some I can’t. The top exerts in the world are ardent students. The day you stop learning, you’re definitely not an expert. You need to be a ‘servant-driven expert’ and think, ‘Wow, I want to keep pace with this and I’m committed to that.’
Many people on the expert industry just insulate – that’s the biggest danger in the expert space. Thousands of top “guru’s” in personal development arena push other people or whole segments of the industry away, and think about others’ work, ‘Wow, this is total junk.’ But in the world’s history, never once has discrimination led to success. When you say “All coaches are less skilled than me,” for instance – you’re discriminating against a huge swath of people you don’t know, and that won’t serve you.
This comes from the ego within us. Our brain is self-protective assumes everyone else is an idiot. We believe our perspective is right. My life truly changed and my business took off to the million dollar level when I realized that every person I meet is someone who carries an important message from the universe for me. I don’t know what it is but I will honor them as a person and honor their voice and even if I don’t think it may be as intelligently informed as mine.
My best mentor is a mechanic – and he never left the sixth grade. By any competency measure, he doesn’t have it. But the perspective he brings to me and my life is, bar none, the most helpful.
In the end, really successful people believe they can learn something from everybody, and they do.”
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Brendon’s messages can be viewed as spiritual and loving, or full of terrifically powerful business savvy, or both. Any way you look at it, it’s humility that sets Brendon’s work apart from the thousands of other “gurus” in the expert industry space. As one who wants to spread my own messages widely and be of service in career transformation, I know that I’ll follow Brendon’s advice to the letter – it’s time to release my inner narcissistic and start honoring and learning from everyone I meet.
Are you insulating and pushing away your customers and peers? Are you ready to embrace that you can learn something important from every single person you meet?