Listen to hear Sharon Lechter discuss how she impacts others to improve their financial IQ. Sharon is the Co-Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and 15 books within the Rich Dad Poor Dad series. She's also involved with The Napoleon Hill Foundation. Two amazing book collections! Her books have been sold to over 32 million people in over 100 countries! Sharon has a heart for helping and impacting others. She's a true inspiration!
Table of Contents:
- Where To Listen To The Podcast
- Sharon Lechter Is the Lady of Financial IQ
- What Defines Your Financial IQ?
- Know the Value You Bring to the Table
- The Definiteness of Purpose
- What Is Success?
- How to Reach Sharon Lechter
- Join These Multifamily Conferences In 2021
Sharon Lechter Is the Lady of Financial IQ
Darin: Sharon Lechter lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona with Michael, her husband of 40 years. A big shout out to the two of them for 40 years of marriage. Sharon is co-author of 15 books in the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and works with the Napoleon Hill foundation, two amazing book collections. Her books have been sold in over 100 countries, to over 32 million people. Sharon has a way of making financial concepts easy to understand. And she has a heart for helping and impacting others.
Sharon so here's a little bit on how I know Sharon. I've attended several Secret Knock events with Greg Reid, and Sharon has been a speaker at a number of these events. She is the best selling author and focused really on the financial space in terms of bettering your financial IQ.
So I felt like bringing Sharon on was a complete honor. And also, it was an ability to have her share her wisdom with the listeners because there's a lot of real estate investors that listen to this. A lot of syndicators listen to this. And a lot of people are looking to invest passively, or get started in the real estate world. So, Sharon thanks again for coming on. I usually ask people how many properties they own and how many units, but I'm going to ask you, how many books have you written, and how many copies have you sold?
Sharon: Well, I've written 25 books. So that's over the last 20 plus years, 25 books. And the last count, probably well over 32 million, probably closer to 35 million.
Abundance Mindset Is Key to Better Financial IQ
Darin: And it's all over the world too.
Sharon: Over 100 countries, I think. 110 countries and over 50 languages.
Darin: That is crazy, what a run. So one of the things that your mantra has is impacting others to improve their financial IQ. Can you talk to that and what your philosophy is there? What are you trying to achieve by helping others with their financial IQ?
Sharon: Well certainly. We're not teaching our children about money in school. None of us were taught about money in school. So we're raised in households where we hear things, money doesn't grow on trees, pinch your pennies, save for a rainy day. All those things are negative. So we grow up hearing money negative, money negative, money negative. No wonder we end up with this mindset of scarcity. And so, we are afraid we're never going to have enough money. We have this fear around money, and then when we become successful, we're afraid we're going to lose it.
And so, my goal is to help people get the knowledge they need to understand how to buy, build, and invest in income-producing assets. I say assets are sexy, my favorite word on earth, assets.
Assets are sexy because that's what determines financial freedom, not income.
People are chasing wages, they're chasing commissions. Let's chase the assets that generate the income because they become economic engines for you. That's why real estate investing is perfect when you talk about buying, building, or creating an asset.
Imagine a rental property, right. Your tenants paying you $1,000 in rent, your mortgage is 500 plus expenses. Maybe, you're clearing 300 a month. That's an income-producing asset. And how many of those can you have? As many as you could get, right.
Meeting Robert Kiyosaki
Darin: Exactly. And I grew up in that world that you were talking about. I'm 50 years old now, and I just got involved in the real estate world about three years ago. I grew up with that mentality of climbing the corporate ladder, putting some money aside, and stock markets going to grow to this big nest egg. And when I got involved with real estate, about three years ago, I surrounded myself with a new set of people, like-minded people, that opened my eyes to exactly what you're talking about. It's not as important to build up a nest egg to draw down from, but instead, buy assets that produce cash flow. And that cash flow pays for your living expenses, and your fun. So, that's fantastic.
You are an incredible inspiration. There are so many real estate investors that when you ask them, what was the catalyst, what was the one thing that got you started in real estate investing? And so many people will point to the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and you are one of the co-authors of that book. So, that is an incredible inspiration. How did you and Robert come together, and how did that book come together?
Sharon: Well, back in 1992 our oldest son went off to college and got into credit card debt. I was pretty devastated. And I was mad at him, but I was more mad at myself. That was December of '92. And that's really when I dedicated the rest of my career to financial literacy, financial education, entrepreneurial education. Started working with the school systems, and then moved. Fast forward, a few years, I got a call from my husband.
The Call That Started It All
Sharon: Mike is an intellectual property attorney, well known. And we've been married 40 years. But he gave me a call one day and said he'd met this guy that has what I've been looking for. So I always tell women when I say that, what would you do if your husband called you and said I met a man that has what you've been looking for? I still remember where I was too.
So I met Robert at the first beta test. Michael helped him patent the board game Cashflow, I helped him commercialize it. With my background in the talking book industry and doing games, I had the connections. I helped him fine-tune the game. And in really finalizing the Cashflow game, he told me he wanted to charge $200 for it. I said, "hmm, that's kind of pricey. Maybe you should write a brochure that explains the philosophy behind this so that it would encourage people to invest in that $200." And that's when he asked me to be his partner. We were partners for 10 years and the brochure that we wrote for the game was Rich Dad Poor Dad.
And that started a 10-year partnership. We founded the cash flow technology companies together, and grew it over that period, ending up writing 15 books together. Originally, we did not expect to be a publishing book company. But that's exactly what we came along with, audio products and other games. And, it was the right message at the right time. It truly is a story in viral marketing before Amazon, and before the internet.
Darin: That is amazing. I didn't know that story. So, you wrote the book Rich Dad Poor Dad as a lead generator for the game?
Read to Improve Your Financial IQ
Sharon: That's exactly right. We didn't go to a major publisher because they wanted to own the copyright. And so we wanted to maintain control of it, so we could give the book away if we wanted to. And so in the back of the book, there's a place where people can respond. Way back then, we wanted to get people's names and addresses. So you could fill out the last page of the book and send it in, and we'd send you a good old fashioned cassette tape. That's how we were able to build the database. Way back in the late 90s, so. And that's really how we started creating the viral marketing piece. Today even now, when people say, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, it opened my eyes. I go, who told you about it? And that's usually mother, brother, father, business partner.
Darin: Yes, absolutely. I mean, typically, I bought it for my kids. My son is now a sophomore in college, my daughter is a senior in high school. But, I think when I had them read it they were probably both in middle. I think my son was a freshman in high school, my daughter was in seventh grade. But, it had a big impact on my son and his financial IQ, and he ended up starting his own little company reselling sneakers, as a 16-year-old, which I'd never thought he would have done that. The book had a big, big impact on the way he looked at things, and I think it's amazing. It should be required reading. So what was your role versus Roberts's role in that book?
Sharon: Well, the 15 books we wrote together, each one was somewhat different.
You Control Your Financial IQ
Sharon: But my background was, I was a CPA for over 35 years, so I had an accounting background, I had a publishing background. I had started and sold a woman's magazine, and then I had started the talking book industry for children, with the inventor of the first talking book. So I had a combined background in publishing and accounting and running companies. And so we came together, I was the CEO of the company and helped grow it, we were equal partners. But in writing the book, everyone was a little different, but each book was a team effort. I pretty much did most of the final writing and got it ready to publish.
Darin: So, he shared the story of his upbringing, and then you took it and made it very understandable and relatable to the everyday person, which has changed many lives. I'm telling you, I have met a lot of people that say that that book changed their life. Because it put them on a different course, they met different people, they started to invest differently, and their wealth grew exponentially.
Sharon: I have a lot of people who said that to me, and I always stop them because I want them to own what they did. I go, "I'm glad that Rich Dad Poor Dad inspired you to make changes in your life, but if your life changed it was because you made the decision." There's a lot of people out there that read the book, and never did anything. So, I always like people to own the fact that they read it, it inspired them, and they took the action to change their own lives.
What Defines Your Financial IQ?
Darin: I talk about that on this show a lot. There's a thing about getting into the real estate investing world where it's very important to get educated. So read books, listen to podcasts, meet other people, and better your financial IQ. But at some point, you have to pull the trigger. And that's a scary notion for a lot of people. As much as you get educated, at some point, you're not going to have 100% of the information and you're going to have to take the chance. That's a good point, that some people read the book and they didn't do anything.
Here's a quote from you, "It's not what you do for your paycheck that matters, it's what you do with your paycheck that matters." Talk about that.
Sharon: Yes, well most of us were trained in school to become an employee. We think that's the end for us, and we're giving up control of our own financial life to our employer.
As I say, it's not what you do for your paycheck, it's what you do with your paycheck. Because you're getting paid to make your employer rich. That's what you're being paid to do. Yes, you're working hard and you're getting that paycheck. But what you do with every penny that hits your hand is going to determine your financial future.
Are you taking that paycheck? And are you spending it? Letting it just kind of go away. Or are you taking it and investing it in your future? That's the essence of changing the mindset. Every time you get a raise, every time you get a bonus, instead of spending that, invest it in income-producing assets, and start seeing your financial future become brighter right away.
That Thing Called Arbitrage
Darin: Yes, I mean that's huge. Some other people have opened my eyes to other places to find money to invest. I had no idea that you could take retirement funds and invest them in real estate assets. So, I got educated, I transferred money from an IRA. Well, I did a solo 401k, but you could do a self-directed IRA also. And then invested in, as a passive investor, with other syndicators in large multifamily properties, and I didn't know I could do that.
I don't know your view on this but, people talk to me about your house. I had the mindset of pay down your mortgage, pay down your mortgage, pay down your mortgage. Well then, people talked to me about, "Well look, Darin, you have all this dead equity in your house. Your house is appreciating by a certain percentage every year, regardless of what you owe on it.
If you end up pulling some money out, some equity out, invest, and invest in income-producing properties, then you have your house that's appreciating, and you have that income-producing property that's appreciating. And as long as the cash flow from that income-producing property is greater than the interest owed on that portion of the loan, then it makes sense to leverage it in that way."
Sharon: Yes, it comes back down to something called arbitrage. If you're spending 6% on your house mortgage, and hopefully today it's closer to two or 3%, right. 2% on your home mortgage, and you're able to invest it and get a six to seven to 10% return on your money, then you're better off investing in that percentage because you've got the arbitrage.
Sharon: The difference between three and 10% is a 7% gain. We look at all our investments that way. On a regular quarterly basis, are we still ahead of the game in the arbitrage?
Darin: Yes, so you've got the arbitrage but you also have a second asset that has reached appreciation potential. So it's the two. Let's talk about what you've been up to since you left and went your own way. When I think of books, and if somebody is going to ask me, "Hey Darin, where should I get started?" I'm going to point them to Rich Dad Poor Dad, and I'm going to point them to Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. You were a part of the Rich Dad Poor Dad writing series, you said 15 books for 10 years. Then you get involved with the Napoleon Hill Foundation, so talk about that. I mean, two amazing, amazing literary groups.
Sharon: It was pretty awesome Darin. Having built the largest personal finance brand, to be asked to step into the largest personal development brand. I read Think and Grow Rich when I was 19. Probably didn't realize the impact it would have on my life until I was in my 30s. But it was an incredible opportunity. And sometimes you have to close a door in your life for other doors to open. I did not know what was in my future when I left Rich Dad, but I made that decision because it was the right decision for me at the time. And then to get that phone call in March of 2008 from Don Green. And we know what happened to the economy then.
Enriching Your Financial IQ
Sharon: And he says, we need to reinvigorate the teachings of Napoleon Hill, given what's happened in the world. Because so many people at that time didn't know who he was and did not know anything about Think and Grow Rich.
What an incredible opportunity to step in and start working with them. The first book, Three Feet from Gold, which I co-authored with Greg Reid, who you mentioned earlier. And he and I just released another book together called Success and Something Greater. And then to be asked to release Outwitting the Devil, which was a huge impact book, and Think and Grow Rich for Women. It's been an incredible relationship. And I highly value Don Green, Executive Director of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. And it's just been an incredible opportunity to be able to share and get the messages that need to be heard with today's modern audience.
Darin: Yes, that's a great point. So, in Think and Grow Rich, one of the big things that sticks in my mind from reading that book that is, is the idea of the Mastermind. And the idea that if you surround yourself with other like-minded people, more than one person comes together to discuss a challenge, that two is much greater than one. And typically, you're going to find much better solutions.
So, helping each other through Mastermind type of associations is fantastic. And I'm part of a Monday morning men's group, which, Christian Bible study. And so we're studying the Bible, but we're also providing advice and counsel to each other on just life. Part of that is financial, part of that is relationships with your wives, and your children, and whatnot.
Know the Value You Bring to the Table
Darin: I see the value in that. To your point, when I first read Think and Grow Rich, I didn't understand the value of the Mastermind, but I do now.
Sharon: Well, it's hugely important. I say one plus one is 11, not two. And when Napoleon Hill first wrote about the Mastermind. He coined the phrase, and so everybody uses it today, but it originated with Napoleon Hill. And if you think about it, the school teaches us to be lone ranger's, to work on our own. And that's when we wrote Three Feet from Gold, sharing the personal success equation. That's your passion and your talent, and that's all about you, what you're bringing to the table.
But true success comes from times A, power of association, times A taking action, and then plus F, having faith in yourself.
And so many times people need help in that association area, and their self-confidence. And they usually go hand in hand, because when you're surrounding yourself with people like you just shared, they just bolster you, so you feel better because you're not alone. So that power of association is so important, and I would attribute almost all of my success to knowing the right people to hang out with and the right people to reach out to, to combine efforts.
Darin: That's massive. And I completely agree with you. I think those two things go hand in hand. And I think that some people have the fear of trying to break into a new association with a different group, and they have all this knowledge and I don't. I couldn't believe it, and maybe different industries are different, but in the real estate industry, I couldn't believe how open and sharing people were.
Always Lend a Helping Hand
Darin: And some people have way more properties, and way more experience than me that spent time encouraging me and pointing me in the right direction. And then, they're going after and trying to work with people that have double the amount of properties that they have.
So, you have one hand that you're trying to reach up and grab the next guy to help you. And then you got one hand that you're reaching down to the next guy that's coming up behind you. So it's fantastic. The other thing it does is when you start surrounding yourself with these other people. I don't know if your experience is this, but this is mine. So you start looking and you're like, you know what, they're just people. But they saw how to do something, and they followed the lead of somebody else that had already done something they wanted to do. And they just kind of replicate that. But it's not like there's somebody different that is so much greater intelligence than you. You can learn from other people and they're willing to share that.
Sharon: Well, I think you'll find that most successful people are very generous, and they're accessible. And they want to support you. That's something that I think is so important for all of us to realize. We have the opportunity to succeed if we take action. And by taking action, surround yourself with people who are successful with what you want to do. They're going to open ideas, they're going to open doors for you, they're going to trigger the opportunities. We want to be creative and curious again, and by being around truly successful people you become curious.
The Making of Outwitting the Devil
Darin: Talk about the book Outwitting the Devil, by Napoleon Hill. Tell the story behind that, because that's a pretty incredible story.
Sharon: Well, I mentioned earlier about the phone call I got from my husband. I say every phone call can change your life. Well, when I got the call from the foundation asking me to help them reinvigorate Napoleon Hill's teachings, that was another turning point for me. Then the month we released Three Feet from Gold, Don called me again and said "Sharon, I have this manuscript. I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It's been hidden away for 73 years."
Darin: What do you mean by hidden away?
Sharon: The story goes that Napoleon Hill just spent 25 years writing Think and Grow Rich, he released it in 1937. And when he released it, he was frustrated because he says, even though people know what they're supposed to do to become successful, they don't do it. I'm sure a few people listening to this may feel a little busted on that. We know what we're supposed to do, we just don't do it. And he says it's fear. And so we added that last chapter in Think and Grow Rich, the six ghosts of fear. But he says, I still feel I need to delve into this.
And so he sat down, and in a few short months he wrote a new manuscript. Literally, in a few months, and he titled it Outwitting the Devil. And it is an interrogation of the devil. And he says, "You can believe I'm talking to the real devil or an imaginary devil. The question is whether you will derive any benefit from what I share."
How Fear Affects Your Financial IQ
Sharon: Well, the title scared his wife to death. She worked for the Presbyterian college and she forbid it from being published. So it got locked into a vault. He died in 1970, she died in the 90s. Her sister died earlier in this century, and that's when it came into the possession of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. And so Don asked me for my opinion.
I still remember having the same initial reaction, "Oh my gosh, my daughter is a minister,” and she's, "Mom I need to pray over you." But I went over to San Diego where I do most of my writing and sat down. And just a few couples of hours of reading this manuscript. And it was typed on an old typewriter. It had handwritten notes from Napoleon Hill. It was awesome, awesome. And it just transformed the way I think about how to support people, how to help people, how to find those pain points where fear holds us back.
And in the book, he talks about how fear stifles us. He talks about lots of different kinds of fear. And I said this has to get out. So I had the honor to annotate it, which meant, as I went through the book I would add different sections, different type fonts. So diehard Hill fans can read it without my stuff. But again, comparing 1938, when this was written, to what's happening today. It's amazing how incredibly ahead of his time Napoleon Hill was. In that, it allows people to see how fear holds us back. And he takes on every taboo, sex, politics, religion, education, our diet, all of them, and talks about how we are our own worst enemy, we hold ourselves back.
Sharon: On page 61 of the book, he talks about, at some point during man's life, he's going to combine the fear of poverty and the fear of death to bring us to our knees. Well hello, 2020, when we think about the pandemic. And it gave me goosebumps when I reread that. So, but yes, I had the incredible honor to bring that out. And it has made a huge difference for the younger generation because it's a little in your face. It's a little irreverent. And then the audiobook. I had the company hire two different actors, one plays the role of the devil, and the other one Napoleon Hill. And the devil has this grovelly voice, it's amazing. So, I'm very proud of it and the impact that it's having.
Darin: That's awesome. I went and bought the book after meeting you at the Secret Knock event. You were kind enough to sign a copy of the book for my daughter. The Think and Grow Rich for Women book. But one of the things that kind of stood out in my mind from that book, Outwitting the Devil, was the idea of being able to control your mind. And he talked about it in a different facet, I forget how he phrased it.
Sharon: Drifting. He talks about drifting.
Darin: Drifting. So, you talk about it earlier, that so many of us know what we need to do, but we don't do it. And with that, we know we should be putting positive thoughts in our head and keep the negative thoughts out. But at times, it's difficult once that negative thought comes into your mind. To be able to shift it back over into the positive.
The Definiteness of Purpose
Darin: And that's something that, for me I've continued to think about, like what can I do to shove this out of my head. Because, sometimes you don't want to think about it, but it makes you think about it more, right.
And I don't know if you meditate. I've read a lot of books on it, and somebody told me, "Darin, you got to try meditation." So I'm about 10 days in. Three days ago, a week ago, I'm laying down, and all of a sudden I had a negative thought come into my mind, and I just focused on breathing. All of a sudden next thing you know I was out. And I was out of that negative thought and I was like, you know what, if meditation could do that for me, maybe I need to do some more of it. But that's a huge piece, is your mind.
Sharon: A lot of it. And then in the book Outwitting the Devil, he talks about the definiteness of purpose. Which is having a goal, what you want, what you're passionate about. And then, self-discipline, which is a huge issue in today's world. And then, learning from adversity. But, the two most powerful ones I think, in what you're talking about, is the power of your environment. Controlling your environment. Who are you hanging out with? What are you listening to? What are you letting into your subconscious mind? And then also controlling your time. When it comes to time are you spending your time, or are you investing your time?
And if you invest your time, that means you're focused on what you want to create in the future.
Control Over Your Financial IQ
Sharon: And that's, at the end of the day, the drifting concept. The devil said, 98% of humanity are drifters, which means they go with the flow. They follow someone else. And they say, "well whatever." Or somebody asks you to dinner, "oh, I don't care." You're not in control of your mind.
Versus non-drifters. Which the devil says he doesn't even mess with them, because they have control of their mind and their thoughts, and they're focused on what they want to accomplish, and the impact they want to have in the world. And so that's the whole concept of the book, Outwitting the Devil, is how to take control of your thoughts. And a big one of those is controlling your environment, and controlling how you invest your time.
Darin: That's huge. A lot of people that I've interviewed, I've asked them, what sacrifices did you have to make to achieve your success? And a number of the responses come back as, well, after the kids went to bed, I would end up having to underwrite deals late at night or read books to educate myself or whatever. And, they talked about that as a sacrifice. But, the term that you just used is probably more applicable, is that they chose to invest their time. It wasn't necessarily a sacrifice, it was an investment.
Sharon: That's right. And I think a lot of that is a mental attitude, having a positive mental attitude, and how you look at things. Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? I mean, I looked at it as it was a real opportunity for me. A pleasure that I could be with my children. Put them to bed, and then work on the things that need to get done.
Turn Every Sacrifice to Opportunity
Sharon: I didn't consider that a sacrifice, I considered that an opportunity so that I could do it all. I mean, in the book Think and Grow Rich for Women, the last chapter is one big life. Because too many people kind of focus on the negative of work-life balance. And I go, well, there's a lot more than just work and life. We have our spiritual life, we have our financial life, we have our physical life. We have community, our children, our work, all of those things create who we are. So, think about, if you didn't spend enough time with your kids yesterday, just make a different choice today.
Too many people waste time today worrying about stuff that happened yesterday, or about things that are going to happen in the future.
And my definition of worry is, to worry is to pray for what you do not want.
So when you're focusing on negative outcomes, you attract more negativity. And so, I happen to be a champion worrier. My mother was the queen of worries.
Darin: You are? You know you shouldn't worry and you still do it.
Sharon: But I catch myself now with that definition. It helped me. Because I catch it and I go, "Okay, Sharon instead of concentrating on what I don't want to have happened, reframe my thoughts and concentrate on what I do want to have happen." And it's helped me immensely. That's why I share it because what you think about comes about. And so, if you can catch yourself and get rid of the negative thoughts and transform them into positive ones, you'll have positive results.
Darin: That's great. It's funny, with the worrying thing.
The Making of Exit Rich
Darin: I think of a story when I was in college, and it was a big exam the next day. I had studied a ton for it and I was as prepared as I was going to be. And so, I'm turning on a movie, to watch a movie and relax. Somebody comes into my room and says, "Darin what are you doing? We got this exam tomorrow. Why aren't you studying?" And I'm like, "Well, what are you doing? Well, I don't know." The person was all worried, and all worked up. And I'm like, either go study and invest your time in that or go do something you enjoy. Worrying isn't going to do anything for you. But, that's great that you've learned to be able to reframe, to move your mind from worrying about being positive.
You mentioned that you have a new book that's going to be coming out in January. Can you talk about that?
Sharon: I'm so excited about it. Yes, it's been picked up by Inc Magazine. So, the book is called Exit Rich. And it's fundamentally how you build value into your business, and how to build processes and strength into your business. So we want you to not just have a successful business, but to have a sustainable, scalable, and eventually saleable if you want. Or, set it up to create generational wealth. And my co-author is Michelle Seiler Tucker, who's the top female business broker in the country, and a specialist in mergers and acquisitions.
It's a team effort where she talks about tactics. I go into strategies as both a mentor and an investor, about how you focus on your business. As the people, processes, profits, proprietary information, or how to build value into your company.
Different Perspectives of Improving Your Financial IQ
Sharon: I'm very excited about it. it's going to be released at the end of January. But we're making it available to people now, so if you are pre-order, you can get the digital download right away, and then we'll send you the hard copy in January. Because I don't want to hold back the information, because it's what people need right now. A lot of businesses are struggling, want to help them find ways to add value, and build value into their business. So you can go to exitrichbook.com/buy to get a copy of the book right away, and we'll send you the actual hard copy when it comes out.
Darin: It sounds like it's similar to what you did with the Rich Dad Poor Dad series. That you partnered with somebody that gave you a story. Then you brought your background and your writing skills, and you can make it relatable. This takes it from the personal level. The personal investing level and the personal balance sheet level to the business side. And you partnered with somebody that is an expert in M&A. And it sounds exciting, so I'm looking forward to reading that one.
Sharon: Well, I'm proud of it, because it does have different perspectives. People can find value in every single chapter and I bring in information. My husband and I created a course called Essential Components of a Successful Business, and you can find that at sharonlechter.com. We've taken elements of that to add value. In this one book, you've got a tremendous amount of value from a team of experts. And people that have been through. If it's just between Michelle and me, we probably have close to 70 years of experience in hundreds of companies that we've helped build, sell, buy.
You're Here for a Reason
Sharon: It's something that allows you to see how to do it right. We share a lot of stories about how companies have done it right, and probably more importantly a lot of stories about how people have done it wrong.
Darin: Well, we can learn from their trials and tribulations, right? Talk about, you have something on your website that talks about the Play Big Movement, what is that all about?
Sharon: Well, thank you for asking, yes. About eight years ago, my husband and I lost our youngest son.
Darin: I'm sorry.
Sharon: Thank you. I don't wish that on anyone. But, it threw me into what I called, living life in neutral. Numb, the area of numbness. Before that, I'd always played big. In the talking book industry, we worked with Disney, Warner Brothers, Sesame Street. Rich Dad, I worked with Time Live Warner Books, we always looked for that bigger player that could help us exponentially scale the business.
Well, when this happened I kind of went within myself. I was still working, but I just wasn't playing big anymore. And in fact, I almost thought about retiring about four years ago. I got a lot of pushback from family and friends. I think I even heard my son say, "Get over it mom, there's more for you to do."
And I realized, a lot of us have things that stop us in our tracks. 2020 has exponentially increased that. But, we've had either death, or a divorce, or a financial setback, illness and it's hard to get out of that. So, I wanted to encourage people to realize that you're still here for a reason. You survived, you're still here. And what you went through can help other people.
To Be Able to Give Back Is a Gift
Sharon: I launched the Play Big Movement because I decided to get back in the game. And it's like taking blinders off because the opportunities are there. You're just not recognizing them because you've got your eyes closed to whatever you're hiding. And once you realize that you have every opportunity to create success and open your eyes, you can see these opportunities, and they start coming to you. That's certainly what happened to me.
I was highlighted in the Think and Grow Rich legacy movie. And I was highlighted earlier this year in the world's greatest motivator's television series. Those things came to me because I made myself open to them. I started playing a bigger game. But I said, I don't want to just do that for me. I want to share it with others.
So I launched the Play Big Movement, which is a private Facebook group open to anyone, there's no fee. Sharing the things that I'm doing so that others can see it and do it as well in their life. This is to create the success and the life that they deserve. I do weekly broadcasts. We have people in there supporting each other, helping each other. And it's been a tremendous opportunity for me to see the level of creativity and entrepreneurship that is alive and well in our world today.
Darin: Wow. And you didn't have to do that, right? You were already wealthy. And you were already financially free but you were probably deep in a hole. And giving to others is probably the biggest gift we can all have on this earth. Somehow you got the courage, and you got the energy to pick yourself up and figure out a way to come back.
No Matter the Financial IQ, We All Go Through Tough Times
Darin: And again, it wasn't for financial reasons. A lot of other people are not in the same position that you are in. And a lot of other people have to pick themselves up because they had to put food on the table. They have to provide for their family. But, think about if you didn't do that, Napoleon Hill Foundation would never have called you. Outwitting the Devil may not have even come out. All the other books that you've been involved in, and the movements that you've been involved in. So thank you for having the courage to do that. There are some tragedies in life, and that's probably the biggest one that you could ever imagine for anybody.
I talk from a little bit of experience because my brother and his wife had their son passed at seven years old about seven years ago. And I remember being at his house. I'm Christian, and all the people, family, and friends were there, and it was a sad time. And I remember I got a beer and I went for a walk. I walked down the road, and I sat down on the sidewalk, and it was in South Florida and there were huge lightning storms. The lightning storms that just shoot from left to right, and just light up the sky. But then there was no rain. And I'm looking up, and I'm talking to God, and I'm saying, "Look how powerful you are. You talk about having good happen from bad circumstances, and I can't see any good coming from this."
And I was mad. I was angry and I couldn't see any, any, any good coming from it. And I walked back in.
Faith Saves Us
Darin: And at times I've had God kind of gives me a little bit of whisper, and he was silent. I was like, I went back in. And it was the next day, all of a sudden, my daughter came over to me and said "You know what Meg just said? And I said "What?" She said she's going to start a foundation called Little Hugs, to have stuffed animals given as donations as a memory to Ryan. And at that point, I felt like, wow, there's the one good that could come out of it. When a kid gets that donation of that stuffed animal, and they smile, that is good.
And what you did by having the courage of getting up and coming back. It's a lot of work to write a lot of books. I've never done it. Write books and get yourself out there, and motivate people. Thank you for coming back and for sharing with others.
Sharon: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that and it is. A lot of times we don't understand and our faith helps us through it. It also gives us pause to question why and, bad things happen to good people. It's hard to figure it out. And it's not for us to be able to answer the why. But, at the end of the day, our faith tells us God has a plan.
And, my son died the same day as the elementary school Sandy Hook disaster. He was a marine, and one of his marine buddies sent me an email that day and said "Sharon, God knew he needed a marine to help shepherd those baby souls to heaven."
What Is Success?
Sharon: You don't know why. And, we can knock ourselves out trying to answer why. But at the same time, we're still here, and we're still here for a reason. And the whole Play Big Movement is not just about being number one in your field, but living your legacy. Understanding that your legacy is created every single day with every heart you touch and creating maximum impact.
If you're going to do it, do it so that you can impact the greatest number of people possible.
Darin: That's huge. So talk about success and how you would define success? And if you wouldn't mind, because as we grow, certain things change in our mind, and we have different experiences. Think back to your childhood, and what does success mean for you back then? And what does it mean to you now?
Sharon: I think growing up, I was very driven as a student. So I think success for me was always getting good grades. As I grew up, I realized success. My family was very entrepreneurial, but they were not wealthy. They became wealthy because they were buying, building, and creating assets. I grew up in that environment.
I didn't realize that everybody else didn't. We lived in a small house between my mom's beauty shop and my dad's car lot. And we had rental properties and we had orange groves. It was in my blood. I shunned it and wanted to become a professional. I was the first generation to go to college. Got my degree in accounting and was one of the very first women in public accounting. It didn't take me long though. At age 25 I was working long hours. I'm going, wow, this is crazy.
Financial IQ & Freedom's Contribution to Success
Sharon: All of a sudden my parents looked a lot smarter. I realized if I was going to work that hard I should work for myself. And so, success has always been about a contribution for me. Today, when people ask me about success, like "oh, success is really how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror and has nothing to do with your reflection." My dad would ask me, "Sharon, have you added value to someone's life today Sharon?" And he's been gone for 15 years, but I still ask myself that every night. Have I added value to someone's life today? And to me, that's what success is about, contribution.
Darin: That's a huge contribution. A lot of people think that that term success would be, freedom, financial freedom. And you achieved that a while ago, so you had to have something else motivate you. Some people are extremely wealthy that are extremely generous. Some people don't have much, that are extremely generous. It's really in the makeup of the person and the happiness that comes out of them. I love that you say it's contribution versus financial freedom. Although, you're helping a lot of people get financial freedom through education.
Sharon: Well, financial freedom allows you more opportunities to contribute. There's nothing wrong with being financially successful.
Financial freedom comes when the income from your assets exceeds your monthly expenses.
And so, the quicker you can become financially free, the more generous and more impact you can make. I don't want to imply, I am all about people creating financial success and financial freedom in their life, but do it with the idea of contribution and how you can get back.
Gain From Helping
Darin: I have a friend I was talking to, and he was asking me for advice on growing his business. He's a financial advisor, and he was talking in terms of, "I just need this much." And I'm like, "Well, why don't you think bigger, and blow it out even more?" And he was like, "Well, I don't need that much." And I'm like, "You don't have to put it all in the bank for you or go buy the nicest car. You could take that money and use it for charitable purposes, or another cause. Or get you access to people that you wouldn't have gotten access to. So, it puts you in a position to help more people."
So, when we talk about your childhood, were you a single child, or did you have brothers and sisters?
Sharon: I have one older sister. She's four years older, so it's just the two girls. And she lives in Florida, still there. And that's where I grew up.
Darin: Where in Florida?
Sharon: Well, we grew up in Orlando. She lives in Winter Springs.
Darin: Okay. I still have family in South Florida. And I lived there for quite a bit. Now I'm in Dallas for the last 10 years, but. So, you went from one warm climate to another, so you're in Arizona?
Sharon: By way of Wisconsin.
Darin: Well, that's a little bit different, that's a little bit different. Talk about leverage. And talk about what you would characterize as good debt versus bad debt? Because I think that there are some financial people out there that are just telling everybody to pay off all your debt. And I come from it, there's good debt and bad debt. So, talk to that.
Leveraging Your Financial IQ
Sharon: Well absolutely, there is good debt and bad debt. Good debt is a debt that allows you to scale where your tenants are paying the debt. On the other hand, good debt allows you to expand your net worth and your opportunity to create more success. It allows you to get into assets, assets put money in your pocket. Liabilities take money out of your pocket. Bad debt is simply liabilities.
Going on a shopping spree and putting it on your credit card. Stuff that when the bill comes in, you're no longer using that, but yet, now though you have to pay for it. So there's good debt and there's bad debt. And people have to be honest with themselves about what it is. Good debt allows you to build your wealth, bad debt makes your wealth disappear. Simple as that.
Darin: Leverage can be used with debt. It can also be used in other forms such as other people's money. And your husband wrote a book on that, OPM?
Sharon: That's right. Other People's Money, other people's resources, other people's time. And that's true leverage, where you have the idea, you have through strategic partnerships, through licensing agreements where you can take what you have and leverage it, and expand it, and scale it through other people's resources. Or when we did the talking children's book, right. I didn't want to build my manufacturing facility, so I did a strategic licensing deal with a manufacturing facility, which allowed me to get to the market quicker. And so, who can you help them benefit their audience, that's a strategic partnership.
When I wanted to do coaching for Rich Dad, I went out and found the top coaching company. They already had the systems, they already had the people.
The Power of Association
Sharon: We trained a few of their people in Rich Dad, the phones were answered Rich Dad. But they became our coaching company because they were already boots on the ground with the systems ready to do it, so I could hit the market quicker. That's using other people's resources, other people's people, other people's time.
Darin: Awesome. And earlier you talked about the value of giving value to others. Certain people are not feeling confident in the value that they can give others. I've had a bunch of people reach out to me on Instagram, and have calls with them, they want to get in the real estate space, and they're like, "Well, why would anybody want to partner with me? I don't have any deals yet."
And I'm like, well, "You got to figure out what you do have that you can add value to. Maybe you find a partner that doesn't want to underwrite all the deals, and doesn't want to go out on all the broker meetings and go visit all the properties. And, you go do all that work, and then you bring somebody with experience."
They're like, whoa, okay. But, if you want to get involved with something, you have to figure out what kind of value you can provide to the other partner, and then marry up with that.
Sharon: And a lot of that comes back to that power of association we were talking about. As a brand new real estate agent, find somebody that's experienced in real estate that may be super busy, particularly right now. And, you step in to support them and you learn along the way, to be able to build your self-confidence, to be able to do it on your own.
It's Never Too Late to Improve Your Financial IQ
Darin: So you've written so many books, how do you get the ideas on what to do next?
Sharon: Well, each one is a little different. I may start having sleepless nights over something. Like basically when we wrote Exit Rich. People need to understand why their businesses aren't growing, why they're failing. And so that, it just came out of frustration, most of them do.
Then, I have another book that I started to write that is about real estate. I have another book that's about really losing my son and what I call refire, how to refire your life. Instead of retiring, Refire. A lot of people feel like they have to give up, and I said no, we're all living a lot longer. You're never too old to start something new. So the things that just kind of bubbled to the surface for me in my own life that I say, I need to do something about this.
Darin: That's fantastic. But, being a female especially. And I see it because my son is a sophomore in college, my daughter is a senior in high school. So, I'm at the age where I see a lot of house moms that stayed home with the children. Now the children are at the age where they're either off at college or they're with their friends all the time. The wives have the time to go out, but may not have the confidence, because they've been out of the work world for so long. And what you just said, it's never too late. You're never too old. It's never too early. You could do it at any stage of the game. I mean, that's an inspiration to many.
Owning a Survival Property
Sharon: It's never been easier. And in today's environment with online resources. Somebody's staying at home, they could become an affiliate for a store or company that they believe in their products. And it takes 10 minutes to become an affiliate, you start marketing, you get cash flow. It's not your own business, but it's a way for you to start getting some cash flow while you figure out what it is you want to do on your own.
Darin: That's great. What do you do outside of work that you enjoy doing?
Sharon: Well, I love to read. But my husband and I also own a ranch, cherrycreeklodge.com. It’s a guest ranch. He wanted to have a survival property. As I had mentioned earlier, we've been married 40 years.
Darin: Congratulations. That's a feat in itself.
Sharon: Thank you. Yes, it is. And we found this place, and it was a lot larger than what we're looking for. We're looking for 10 acres somewhere, and we ended up with this 300 acre, plus 40,000 acres of grazing rights. It's in Young Arizona, it's about three hours outside Phoenix. And, we turned it into an asset, so we have cows.
People see the cows, I see assets. And then we built a guest lodge, so people can go there and have family reunions, or they can have business retreats or board meetings. Or just go and escape the world for a little bit. It's totally off the grid. It's all solar power, our well with the best aquifer in the state of Arizona. We have a lake for fishing. Then we have a shooting range, we have horses for horseback riding, and an ATVs. It's a little piece of heaven in the middle of the Tonto National Forest.
Knowing More of Sharon
Sharon: So, I invite everybody to check it out, cherrycreeklodge.com.
Darin: How many guests can be on the property at one point?
Sharon: Well, it depends on how friendly you are. From a family perspective, you can have up to 40 people. But when we do business meetings with corporate executives, it's between 15 and 40.
Darin: Awesome, awesome. Well, I would love to check that out. I'm going to talk to my wife about that one. Sharon, if people want to reach out or get to know you better, what's the best way for them to do that?
Sharon: Well, I'm Sharon Lechter on all media. Author Sharon Lechter Facebook, Sharon Lechter Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. So, info@sharonlechter. You can email me, sharonlechter.com, all of those things are there for you to find. And I welcome everybody to reach out to me, and I invite you because we're going to give away some extra prizes if you go to exitrichbook.com/buy.
Get one of the advanced copies of Exit Rich, and we're going to be talking about some extra bonuses we're putting in there. So exitrichbook.com/buy, and then join me at sharonlechter.com. I have a download there, by the way, Darin, of the personal success equation that I talked about, and how you can walk it through. There's a guide, you go to personalsuccessequation.com, or it's also on sharonlechter.com.
Darin: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for spending the time with us. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed that one. Sharon is amazing, and she's so giving to others, and so glad that she took the time to spend with us today. So, listeners, I hope you enjoyed that one, until next week, signing off.