During the past few weeks, as part of my virtual 2015 Art of Mindful Wealth Summit, I've had an amazing opportunity. I've interviewed 28 thought-leading entrepreneurs from around the world. What they collectively taught me has blown my mind. Even if you haven't participated, this is powerful information you won't want to be without.
1. You are the only person who can create the life you want.
If there was one defining thread that kept coming up over and over throughout the interviews, it was this. If you're an adult who is able to make your own decisions, there is no one -- not your parents, your partner, your boss, or anyone else -- who is responsible for how your life turns out.
If you don't like your job, stop complaining about your boss. Get a new one. If your parents were unfair to you, talk to them about it, try practicing forgiveness. If you still can't work it out, let it go and move on. If you're having trouble with your partner, find a counselor. If you continue to see hardship as something that is happening to you and is beyond your control, you'll remain stuck. To open up the limitless possibilities available to you, you need to recognize that it's you who is ultimately the creator of the life you want to live.
2. Do what makes you happy.
The ultimate secret is to pick a path you love, and then focus 100 percent of your energy on it, said T. Harv Eker, author of "The Millionaire Mind" and founder of the Millionaire Intensive personal development courses. In the end, he said, the only reason to trade your life energy for money is because you believe that, at some point in the future, that money will make you happier. "If what you do to create money makes you unhappy, then what's the point?" he asked.
3. Rely on the advice of experts.
Having the opportunity to interview so many inspirational thought leaders has shown me how much I can learn from the experiences of others. It's akin to a fast track to excellence -- kind of like an MBA of practical business experience. You'll never know what you don't know. Posing questions of others can open up a vast new world of possibility and help you expand your business with fewer growing pains.
CEO of accountability think tank Sam Silverstein Inc., and author of "Non-Negotiable: The Story of Happy State Bank & the Power of Accountability," Sam Silverstein recently wrote a book that chronicled the leap another organization took after learning to define what Same calls non-negotiables, avoid distractions, and create a culture that promotes accountability. He took the powerful lessons learned through that journey and applied them to his own business. By applying the lessons he learned from another business leader, he dramatically enhanced his life, both professionally and personally.
4. You don't have to do it all yourself.
Building a business from scratch can be grinding work. That's what serial entrepreneur and author of "Virtual Freedom" Chris Ducker learned after three and a half years of 15-hour work days landed him in the hospital for a week and a half, suffering from a severe physical breakdown.
The experience was a wake-up call for Chris. He ultimately set a one-year plan in place to remove himself from ground-level operations. Each month came with a distinct goal that allowed him to disengage further. He learned the power of outsourcing and the advantages of working with virtual assistants. Ultimately, as others started asking for advice, he launched a blog, book, and new business venture, all centered on how to become a "virtual CEO."
5. Use money as a tool to help you get what you want.
It's easy to get so caught up in the pursuit of money that we forget why we started collecting the greenbacks in the first place. Perhaps we started earning to create emotional freedom, so we could spend more time with family, or so we'd have enough to launch a new business venture. Whatever the reason, money is simply the tool we use within our society to achieve what we want. Nothing more than that.
"Money is a necessity in order to deliver the vision that I have. So, in order to do what I want to do, I have to make money," Experiential Life Coach Belanie Dishong said. "The problem is that we make money mean so much more than it really is."
6. Be you.
Every single person has their own unique experiences, perspectives, and personalities to bring to their businesses. In fact, the thing that makes you You, said Kelly O'Neil, best-selling author, speaker, and business coach, is exactly the thing that will make your business stand out. "I want everyone to put their own unique thumb print on whatever it is they're doing - because there's only one you," she said.
7. Shatter the income ceiling.
The secret to building wealth lies in the creation of an income strategy that has no upper limit, Harv told me. If you work for someone else, or you provide a one-on-one service, he said, the hours you can work are limited. That limits your income potential. Instead, to create wealth, consider seeking an audience that is unlimited in scope.
8. Don't be afraid to accept help... even the paid kind.
All of our answers do not have to come from within. We live in a global age where it's easier than ever before to hire a coach who can help us uncover our blind spots learn new skills. Belanie told me she had held off on hiring a coach because she feared the move would make it seem like she didn't know what she was doing. Even so, she ultimately realized that belief was holding her - and her business -- back. She later hired a coach who was able to help her launch her slow-growing business into the seven-figure stratosphere.
9. Don't be held back by the fear of others.
There are plenty of people who want to share their advice for how you should run your life and your business. When Kelly launched her first business, her father suggested she stay put in what he saw as a "cushy" job. Later, she realized that advice wasn't necessarily about her - it was about him. "A lot of times when people tell you not to do something, it's because they wouldn't do it," she told me. "It's not within their comfort zone. It's not about you. It's about them and their own fears."
10. Cultivate the right mindset. Then, anything is possible.
Pretty much everyone I interviewed told me of the challenges they had to face before ultimately achieving success. Resoundingly, they all shared the idea that what got them through the tough times was their ability to hold on to their vision - even when it felt there wasn't a lot to hold on to.
Still, Harv cautions against expecting too much, too soon. He suggested an entrepreneur should allow three to five years for a business to become successful. To expect results too soon could set one up for disappointment and possibly even failure.
There's still time to learn from the dozens of industry-leading and thought-provoking entrepreneurs I spoke with as part of my 2015 Art of Mindful Wealth Summit. Check it out!