Article by Clarissa Burt
Cooperation requires a lot of energy. It is a form of exchange known well by accountant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur Sharon Lechter. In a recent newsletter, she admitted that she feels “exhausted and really excited at the same time.”
Who else feels those two emotions at once? Parents, entrepreneurs, and anyone who is living their life’s mission!
You may know Sharon Lechter as the co-author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books written with Robert Robert Kiyosaki. Children and teens who want to be smart with money, or who aim to become entrepreneurs may know her as the creator of several financial literacy products: ThriveTime for Teens, the YOUTHpreneur Fast Start Package, YOUTHpreneur BIZkit, and the GUIDEit Entrepreneurial Guidebook for Young Entrepreneurs. Appointed as a member of the first U.S. Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, she served under two presidents—George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
With an entire career built on assisting people to create legacies—both financial and personal—Sharon’s dream is still to see that everyone raises their financial IQ.
In 2021, Sharon put yet another “co” in “cooperation” when she co-authored the book Exit Rich: The 6 P Method to Sell Your Business for Huge Profit with Michelle Seiler Tucker. We asked her some questions about exchange, financial literacy, and what it’s like to work so well with others.
ITL: Exit Rich, makes a great point about starting a business with the end in mind.
Sharon Lechter: When business owners start a business, they seldom start it expecting to work until the day they die. Most of them hope to build a successful business that will provide for them and their families financially and give them their time back. Unfortunately, the vast majority of business owners do the first. They build themselves a never-ending job. We were passionate about providing business owners the tools to build strong businesses that become assets working for them so their successful businesses can become sustainable, scalable, and saleable. It starts with following the six Ps outlined in the book: People, Products, Processes, Proprietary, Patrons, and Profits.
ITL: Financial literacy seems to still be part of “the hidden curriculum,” not taught in schools but learned through family interactions, peer-to-peer interactions, and luck. Is there a policy change that needs to occur in our society to teach respect and responsibility for the use of money in exchange?
Sharon Lechter: You have heard the saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” That is because we are not teaching kids about money in school. If we want to level the playing field so that every child has equal opportunity for success in life, we will require that financial education is taught in schools.
ITL: Of all the books you’ve written or co-authored, do you have a favorite—and why?
Sharon Lechter: That is like asking me for my favorite child. However, Outwitting the Devil has tremendous impact for people trying to get out of their own way and shed their fears. Think and Grow Rich for Women is a tremendous resource for women taking control of their lives. And Exit Rich is a fabulous resource for business owners. Steve Forbes called it a “goldmine” for entrepreneurs.
ITL: How do you personally deal with the combined feelings of exhaustion and excitement?
Sharon Lechter: The first step is to recognize when you are feeling both exhausted and excited. Then analyze where the excitement is coming from and recognize your little wins. By taking time to celebrate, you will automatically start feeling better and you will feel new energy fill your system. Taking time to celebrate your little wins allows you to indulge in the self-care you need to overcome the exhaustion.
ITL: The concept of exchange has been a major theme of your life, experiences, and career. What do you feel is the best way you share the deep wisdom you’ve received about it?
Sharon Lechter: The concept of exchange comes from my father asking me each night, “Sharon, have you added value to someone’s life today?” He has been gone for 16 years, but I still ask myself that question each night. Focus on being of service and the return you will receive will be immeasurable. This helps you expand your power of association and through new associations you will grow your network and find new opportunities. All of my success can be attributed to finding and building the right association. But it starts with being of service.
ITL: Is there any other question she feels it is relevant to ask and answer? I sometimes ask a person of note if they’d feel comfortable about sharing something about themselves that no one knows….
Sharon Lechter: I launched the Play Big Movement private Facebook group to encourage others to play a bigger game. I had always played big until December of 2012, when I lost my youngest son. I fell into living my life in neutral…a world of numb. Several years into it, I thought about retiring, but got a lot of pushback from family and friends. In fact, I think I heard my son whispering into my ear, “Get over it, mom. There is more for you to do!” So, I launched the Play Big Movement to share what I was doing and to encourage you to play a bigger game. No matter what has stopped you in your tracks, a death, illness, financial setback, divorce…you are still here for a reason. There is more for you to do. And you survived and can help others going through what you experienced. I invite you to join the Play Big Movement and share your story.