The millionaire mystique: How to develop one

Leaders actively seek and develop business mentors
Build social capital and a winning personality in order to get ahead.
According to recent data from the World Economic Forum, women will not receive equal pay to men in G20 countries until 2075. Even in a workforce of highly talented, motivated women, only a small percentage reach high levels of success. But what of those who do?
I am a self-made millionaire who decided to discover what sets millionaire women apart from the rest of us. First, I found that they didn’t generally have privileged upbringings: they had made their own way. But after rigorous research into the lives and workstyles of 200 other self-made millionaires, I have uncovered other certain qualities, character traits and work strategies that I call the “millionaire mystique”. Here are some of my findings, and they should be relevant to all.


First, I’ve found that the millionaire personality, regardless of gender, is friendly, authentic, has a team orientation, and a curiosity about the world in general. The millionaire may have problems, but they can leave their worries at the door when they go to work. All of these traits make the millionaire personality interesting to co-workers and one that others want to follow.


According to my findings, the millionaire most often does not grow up in a family of wealth and has, on average, two serious childhood events, whether family illness, alcoholic parents, abuse, or poverty. So the millionaire develops coping skills at an early age that help them on their career trajectory later in life. They see failure as part of eventual success, and keep on moving forward in spite of problems. This makes them a stabilising force during transitions at work.


The millionaire spends time and effort building a positive network of co-workers and colleagues. They are good at using their connections to make things happen, and adjust their communication style to fit whoever they are talking with. The millionaire focuses intently on the person they are speaking with in order to form solid relationships, but are not afraid to argue a point when needed. When they leave work, however, they also leave the stress of the “good fight” behind. It is just a part of the job.


Millionaires are conscientious and pay close attention to detail. They are passionate, articulate, focused, organised, and gain operational experience. They also develop their network and find mentors. As leaders, they do not focus on prestige and power, but on helping others get the job done. The most successful leaders use a transformational style – they motivate employees with a shared sense of mission. Millionaire leaders motivate others by role modelling desirable behaviours.


The most important decision you can make in your career is to choose a partner who is willing to share in the “second shift”. Millionaires recommend having a highly organised work and family schedule, where each individual knows what they are responsible for – right up to the most specific details.
Jude Miller Burke is author of The Millionaire Mystique, published on 27 November.

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