Meeting a 20-Year Overnight Success: Michael Hyatt

To most of his followers, Michael Hyatt is a business expert, investor, and a dragon on CBC’s Dragons Den (Next Gen Den) and weekly business commentator on CBC news. However, there is more to this man than his incredible accolades and achievements. Despite only spending just around two hours with him, I was able to pick up on a few lessons that he was trying to convey to me not only through words but his actions. So not only would I like to share my experience meeting him, but also the lessons I learnt while we walked down Bloor Street in Toronto.

Two months ago, I reached out to Michael introducing myself as a young entrepreneur that wanted to learn more about how he became successful. Given how successful he is, it was no surprise to me that he didn’t reply immediately. However, Michael eventually did reply a month later when I sent a follow-up message. We tried setting up times to meet for about a week and then finally, we decided on November 7, 2016, at 3:15PM outside the Jack Astors. We both arrived on time, and when we met, Michael immediately led with a kind compliment that broke the ice. We decided to go for a walk to various places with his very opinionated dog (9 year old Chihuahua named Chiquita). We first went to a second hand game store, where Michael gave me his first lesson: money has no value compared to relationships. Michael, despite being a wealthy, successful man lived below his means, and spoke passionately about his network. He said he meticulously picks who he wants to associate with, and constantly reflects on the relationships he has made. He wants to be strategic that he is not affiliated to someone who is harming his brand inadvertently. Also, he spoke highly of valuing friends and family above the prospect of making more money. That being said, Michael values money but he believes you can make more if you spend time around people who will challenge you to think harder, and if you constantly give back to your network. My experience with him at the games store proved this. He had a nine year relationship with the store owner, and he was able to get a better discount for a game he wanted. This isn’t to say that Michael only strikes relationships with others to get things in return (it’s quite the opposite actually), but he does believe that one can live a happier and more fruitful life by caring more about others.

As we were walking down Bloor Street and about to enter a high end clothing and accessories store, Michael told me something I won’t forget. He told me he believed he was a 20-year overnight success. This especially resonated with me as it’s aligned with a lesson I have learnt from other notable entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk. Michael like Gary believe that there is no shortcut to success and that the road to success is determined by the level of hardwork and patience a person puts in. Michael also believes that most people when they view success underestimate how much they can do in the long term and overestimate how much they can do in the short term. His advice for making money is to work hard in an occupation you are passionate about, and while you are doing that, invest resources into passive income streams because within ten to twenty years, the dividend drip will be substantial.

After exiting the clothing store due to our inability to get any discounts or holiday deals, Michael and I continued down Bloor Street and we went to a store selling cashmere. It was definitely an expensive store, and we ended up not buying anything, but Michael gave me an insight on his view on money and its utility on the way there. He told me his love was investing in deals (making cash flow), and that beyond that, he viewed money as not necessarily needed for happiness. He wants to have enough money that he does not have to be concerned about money (ie. paying bills). Michael alluded to his childhood and his experience growing up not wealthy as a contributing factor in shaping his mentality.

Michael and I left the cashmere store after spending about five minutes in there. We began to head to Michael’s house, and this part of our walk is probably the most useful advice I have been given; partly because it was aimed at millennials like myself. I asked Michael what he thought about young people like myself believing that sleep needs to be sacrificed in order to become successful. Michael rejected the claim immediately on face value and said that the three aspects of life that he continuously prioritizes are diet, sleep, and exercise. He continued this discussion by pointing out that millennials tend to put too much pressure on themselves to become successful at a very early age. He stated that many people in my generation tend to have an expectation of becoming like Mark Zuckerberg; a 20 year old billionaire that owns a tech company and philanthropic initiatives. I added this to discussion by discussing depression among young CEOs and how over time it’s only gotten worse. Michael believes that if you are 30 years old, that is actually a young age to become a millionaire at.

At Michael’s house, I realized why I wanted to write this article. I picked up on a few lessons along the way, but the biggest lesson was in front of me: Michael himself. Michael truly walks his talk (no pun intended), and his optimistic and long-sighted view towards business is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for his growing success. If someone wants to learn how to be a perfect millionaire, learn from Michael. He is humble, excited to give back to his community, and thus, lives a fulfilling life.

“The rich stay rich because they live like they’re poor, the poor stay poor because they live like they’re rich.” — Anonymous

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