Sharon Lechter on Overcoming Fears, Changing Career Paths, and Educating Women on Financial Literacy
“Failure is man-made circumstance. It is never real until accepted by man as permanent”, Napoleon Hill wrote in 1938. The fear of failing is paralyzing then and it still is now, 78 years after he wrote the book Outwitting The Devil, his follow-up to the widely acclaimed Think And Grow Rich. Sharon Lechter, co-author of the finance and investment best-seller Rich Dad Poor Dad book, annotated Napoleon Hill’s work. How the opportunity of reinvigorating Hill’s work knocked on Sharon’s door is a different story.
Career Change in the Midst of Success When Sharon left the Rich Dad Poor Dad brand, it was at its peak, extremely successful, and lucrative. She was miserable. She knew that her life’s mission was to teach financial literacy and help people take charge of their personal success. Sharon shares that she made the decision to step away after she no longer agreed with the direction the company was going and the business stopped being congruent to who she was. She decided to leave the company that she and co-founded, built and worked hard for over ten years. “Sometimes you have to close one door for other doors of opportunity to open”, Sharon shares in hindsight. Months after she left Rich Dad Poor Dad, she received a call asking her to be on President George Bush’s first President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.
A few months later, Sharon got another phone call from Don Green, CEO of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, asking her to co-author Three Feet From Gold which started a long-term relationship with the Foundation which resulted in her doing the annotation for Outwitting The Devil, as well as writing Think and Grow Rich for Women All these were not part of her original plan. Addressing Fears Leaving a profitable business, making the decision to stand in your own space, and staying true to yourself is a huge undertaking that can instigate fear even in the most experienced individuals. However, had Sharon stayed in her previous company, these opportunities would not have come her way.
Sharon says that the phone calls came at the perfect time – as she was going through the motions of separating from Rich Dad Poor Dad. Her experience helped prepare her for annotating Outwitting the Devil. The book goes straight into recognizing fear and getting rid of it. Sharon has this to say about the book, “… it helps you recognize those issues holding you back and it’s all about what’s happening inside you. It’s not about what’s happening outside, not the people, not your circumstances, it’s the choices that you’re making.” Addressing her fears proved to be life-changing. Five years after the first printing, Outwitting The Devil is still on the best-sellers list and has ongoing discussions with two companies offering movie deals.
Sharon is currently working on 4 book projects, with 3 books related to Think and Grow Rich (for millennials, for kids, and The Magic Key – a compilation of CEO stories), and a collaboration on a business book with her husband. Sharon has written 22 books to date. Promoting Financial Literacy In writing the Think and Grow Rich for the Next Generation, Sharon does a lot of research and interviews with millennials. Aside from mentoring, Sharon goes around the country for speaking engagements to spread and share her experiences in financial literacy, consequently inspiring more individuals to apply what they’ve learned to their lives and careers. She conducts Money talks to a wide audience: men, women, parents, students, entrepreneurs, employees, everyone from all walks of life who want to learn about handling their finances. If you want to train your teens early on to make the right financial choices, Sharon recommends the game ThriveTime For Teens, a fun board game replicating real-life financial decisions. Driven by what she has learned in her life, Sharon created a practical curriculum relevant to both personal and business finance aspects of an individual. This curriculum was voted as the number 1 in 2015 and Sharon was also named as the number 1 financial educator for the same year.
Sharon knows that financial literacy is a key part of empowering women. Many women are afraid of money and women who learn about money also gain more confidence both in their lives and in business. Thus, the Money School was born. What makes Money School ideal for busy women is its online component. Resources are available online and women can access any time that their schedule permits. Money School students are also part of a private Facebook group where they can ask questions, discuss the week’s lessons, and support other women through an exchange of ideas. This brilliant combination of online education and the sense of community has created a safe environment where women can share experiences and learn from each other, without the intimidation and the competition that normally dominates a discussion. “Financial education is the gift of the lifetime”, says Sharon and yes, that’s one thing that both men and women agree on.
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For information on Money School, go to: http://ebw2020.com/money-school/