R. Shawn McBride recently spoke to James Nowlin about his new book, The Powerful Millionaire.
Hey everyone, Shawn McBride with you here. I’m live with James Nowlin, who just had a book come out, The Purposeful Millionaire. Exciting, I’m looking forward to getting my copy and reading it. Why don’t you tell folks a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write the book, and I’ll let some people on Facebook know that we’re out here?
James: Yeah, Shawn, thanks so much for connecting with me today. The Purposeful Millionaire went live last Tuesday. That was our launch day. We had been working on that book for more than two years. Now I can officially say that I’m a best seller. We ended up being the number one hot new release in a couple of different categories on Amazon. It’s just been a super exciting past. But my background is, I’m CEO of Excel Global Partners, a corporate attorney by training. Left the practice as quickly as I could and started my own firm. As a Millennial CEO, I grew the company, and we served in more than 20 states across the United States and in more than 15 countries across the globe with our executive consulting solutions to Fortune companies, to nonprofits, to governmental organizations and so on.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah, you and I had very similar backgrounds in that way. Now you’ve got this book out here to help people, I guess, be more who they are and do the things they want to do.
James: Absolutely. You know, it’s about living your dream. And for me, it took a little while to really figure out what my dream was. You know the history of me going to medical school and quitting medical school and then going to law school and graduating and practicing law very shortly, and then finally realizing that that was not the path that was meant for me. It wasn’t until I tapped into my true authentic self that not only happiness came into my life, but wealth came into my life, as well.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah, and now you’ve got the wealth, you now have a best-selling book. You are living the dream by many standards.
James: I am living the dream. But it certainly takes a lot of work, I’ll tell you that.
R. Shawn McBride: Lightning didn’t just strike one day and all this came to you. You had to do some work along the way.
James: I had to do some work along the way. It’s kind of a 20-year success story. It started back when I was a kid, just dreaming about what I wanted in life. One of the things was, when people asked me, I didn’t necessarily say I wanted to be a firefighter or a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. I basically just said, “I wanna be rich.”
R. Shawn McBride: That’s a goal, right, you know?
James: That’s a goal, yeah.
R. Shawn McBride: It reminds me of that John Lennon thing, the quote that they often ascribe to him, where he’s in school and they ask him what does he wanna be when he grows up. He tells the teacher, “Happy,” and the teacher’s like, “You don’t get that.” “You don’t understand the question.” He’s, like, “You don’t understand life.”
James: You don’t understand life, that’s exactly right. You learn over the years, too, that being wealthy doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. You have a lot of wealthy friends, high net worth and ultra-high net worth, and you realize, you’ve gotta really have a purposeful journey in your life. The book is really the outcome of me having an accident on August 25th, 2012. This year is the fifth anniversary of me surviving a near death accident.
R. Shawn McBride: Wow.
James: I’m coming up on that anniversary. I’m gonna do something special in August. But it is a day that I will never forget. It’s a day that changed my life. It is the day that awakened me because prior to that accident, I was living a relatively unexamined life. On a scale of one to 10 in terms of happiness, I would find myself somewhere between a five and an eight. But now, after the accident, I find myself between an eight and a 10, and sometimes an 11, on my happiness scale on a daily basis. But I’m a survivor of a drowning. A buddy of mine and I went kayaking and a freak storm came out of the middle of nowhere. We didn’t have any life preservers because I’m a former triathlete and he had worked with the Sea Shepherds, you know, fighting for whales across the world, and had been to Antarctica and he was a lifeguard himself. But this freak storm came out of nowhere. It got us into a lot of trouble really quickly with two little rinky-dink kayaks. Eventually, I found myself accidentally inhaling water. My buddy Tyler knew that I was in trouble.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah.
James: Get to shore. I was out there for quite a bit of time. He led the mission to save me. In fact, when he had made it to shore, he was still, “You know, your buddy might not make it. “This is a really bad storm. “We probably can’t find him.” He said, “No, this is not a search mission, “this is a rescue mission. “My buddy is a fighter and we’re going back out there “to find him.” So they went out there and they found my body. I, in essence, had the experience of going to a different place. I was unconscious when they found me. Tyler is a medical doctor, too, so he didn’t think that I was gonna make it or be okay. But I got rushed to the hospital, and I’m alive today. So I’m a living miracle. I had that awakening. The whole goal of the book is to get people to awaken their consciousness, in that they should not have to have a near-death experience like me in order to wake up for all that life has to offer, all of the blessings, the happiness, the love, the joy, the peace, the opportunities for travel. All those things shouldn’t have to come with the disruption like a near death event. I walk people through the book about how to get to that type of consciousness, moving from a poverty consciousness to what I call an abundance consciousness, Shawn.
R. Shawn McBride: I love the message. You and I are very similar. So much of what I do is about helping people with their plans and implementing their plans. But beyond just having a plan to build a company or be wealthy or whatever, there needs to be a higher meaning to that. What’s really the purpose of your life? I think it’s great that you’re bringing that message to people, helping them think through it.
James: Are you wealthy in your heart? Are your mind, your body and your spirit healthy? There’s this beautiful interplay between all of those parts, where I’ve worked on self-mastery. It’s something that I’ll continue to work on for the rest of my life. But there’s certain nuggets and rituals, things that I do on a daily basis and things that you do on a daily basis to keep you on the path to success, because Shawn, you know, I look at your schedule and the demands that you have, and quite frankly, the distance between success and failure is about that far sometimes.
R. Shawn McBride: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
James: We’ve just gotta stay focused, we’ve gotta surround ourselves with great people, we’ve got to make sure that we’re taking care of our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. And that’s what this success game is all about.
R. Shawn McBride: Right, absolutely. It is not for the faint of heart. I mean, the people that are doing great things have put great effort into it. I mean, everything from Olympic athletes who are very focused on a singular goal and prepping for a singular event, to business owners that are really, a lot of us working night and days at different points in our career. And there are certainly times where my singular focus is building the business and doing things. Of course, you got to take some time and recharge. But a lot of us have got that level of focus. But what’s the end game? What are you doing this for? What is the goal?
James: Absolutely. You know, that goal for me is to share this message with as many people as possible, to open up their subconscious and their conscious about what they can be in life, to live more, do more, achieve more, be whatever they wanna be. Quite frankly, if a country where a boy from Virginia, like, me, can not only achieve the wealth component but the happiness component, too, then I wanna share that message with as many people as possible and spread this gospel that we just don’t have to exist or walk lock step through life without having this type of self-awareness and this evaluation and this real examination of what we want out of life and what we can be. Living an examined life is so amazing. Living every day purposefully and wanting to explore one’s natural gifts and to build upon those gifts gives me so much happiness in my life. I think that others can certainly have it, too. It’s not something that’s limited just to a select audience.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah. This is a five-year journey. I mean, you’ve got a lot of lessons and learning that you’ve put into this book. I mean, how did that five-year period go?
James: Quite frankly, Shawn, I’ll be personal with you about this. Having had an experience like that, during which I experienced Nirvana, going to a different place, I came back and I really had a hard time finding my purpose. On a daily basis, I was quite lost. It took me some time to find myself. But there were people who loved me along the way, including my mom and my partner. I’m involved with an organization called The ManKind Project. The ManKind Project was certainly really wonderful and an organization that I’ll be in for the rest of my life because of the love and support that I get from other men on a global level so that we can push each other to be even better men. It was just one of those things where lost in the beginning, led to depression, tried the whole antidepressant thing, decided I didn’t wanna do it. But the pieces of the puzzle came into place with family, with support, with me writing down my vision about what I wanted in life, with me getting over the fact that, “You know what? “I’m still alive. “I could have died, but I’m still alive. “And I’ve got some work to do while I’m here. “So let’s find a purpose “and let’s get some stuff done right now.”
R. Shawn McBride: That’s awesome, yeah. There’s a lot of people who have those kinds of events. I’ve shared with other people that my father had cancer last year. I spent a lot of time with my parents in the fall of last year as he was going through treatment, dealing with that. It changes perspective when people get near death or deal with death. The point is, we’re all going to face that at some point. So we need to understand how it plays into it. You’ve had what is a very unique experience. Not a lot of people go through that path of being that close to death and really having to think about your mortality and your meaning. So now you’re bringing lessons from it, from an experience that many of us don’t get to have. I think it’s great. What do you like people to think about when they’re trying to find their purpose? How does somebody go from where they are now to thinking about what their purpose is and what they really want to do with their life?
James: The first step in that process, Shawn, is to really stop making excuses. I tell people, “First, look in the mirror. “That’s your greatest competition.” It’s not the world, it’s not other people, it’s not your parents, it’s not your friends, it’s not your boss. It’s nothing that has to do with race or politics or gender or any of those isms or any of those things. It is you who can crack this dream. You know, for me, I’m a minority. But if I looked in the mirror every single day and said, “There are limitations out there “and there are certain things that I can and cannot do “and certain things that I can and cannot achieve,” then this life would not have achieved success at this level. So first, look in the mirror, do the self-evaluation and figure out really what’s hanging you up?
R. Shawn McBride: I think that’s true of everybody. We’ve all got barriers. As I do more and more training and as I try to expand my business, almost always the boundary or the thing I’m hitting against is something internal or some preconceived thought about a limitation or what’s possible. As soon as you start letting go of that kind of things and saying, “I’m going to be who I am “and I’m going to do the things I’m capable of doing,” the whole world opens up.
R. Shawn McBride: I’ve seen this with other entrepreneurs, as well.
James: You know, there’s that quote. There’s a great person who once said, “It’s none of my business “what anybody else thinks about me.” And after the accident, I really don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks about me. That’s certainly freed me up and it’s unshackled me. And it’s allowed me to bring my true authentic self to every circumstance, every thing, every opportunity that I have in life. And my clients see that authenticity and they see that genuineness, and it results in more business and it results in a better network of people around me because I like myself. And people like me. And I’m not caught up or hung up in trying to win approval from others. I’m just doing a good job at my job, and I’m being James, his authentic self.
R. Shawn McBride: I think there’s a peace to that. I struggle. You know, I came up through the big law firm world, which really tries to put everybody in a cookie cutter. I spent 10 years in the large law firms. They really wanted you to behave in a certain way, give a certain persona, really box you in. After I left the big law firm, I spent a lot of time sitting in that box, saying, “This is how it’s supposed to be. “This is the persona I’m supposed to think. “This is what people expect of a lawyer.” And as time progressed, I started to become more myself, you know, speaking, journeying, the other stuff. And man, you just talk about opening doors. When people see authentically who you are, it changes it all.
James: If I could go back to my younger self and give me one bit of advice, I wrote this in the book, too, it is, don’t compete, be unique. But like you, I came up in a law firm culture when you were supposed to talk a certain way and kind of be very poised and very even keeled and not think outside the box. But now, as the leader of an executive consulting firm, I’ve realized that when companies are in trouble and they need financial and operational improvement and ideas to really take that company to the next level, they don’t want dry, ho-hum Joe Off-The-Street just because he has a Harvard degree or a Duke degree or whatever and graduated at the top of his class, he’s dressed in a certain suit or whatever. That’s fine and dandy for a lot of people. But it’s not fine and dandy for a lot of corporations who are in trouble. They need someone who comes with a track record of success as well as a track record of thinking outside the box. When I learned that one of my greatest gifts was my authenticity and embracing James and thinking outside of the box and providing those solutions for clients, they began to really, really latch onto that. That’s when the business just started, vroom, you know, it just gonna continue to grow.
R. Shawn McBride: I think you touched on a point here, you didn’t quite say it in the words that I often say it, which is, there’s an emotional side to business. The classic view is, business is logical, it’s numbers, it’s just business. We’re going to make the logical choice. But there really is an emotional side to business that needs to be tapped into. It sounds like you’re hitting that nerve with your clients. You’re relating to them. They’re struggling and you’re saying, “I understand you and I want to work with you on a plan,” not, “Oh, I’m really smart, I’ll fix your problem. “Here’s a plan.”
James: That’s right. In order to treat or heal the business, you have to connect with the person. Suite executives are so used to consultants or lawyers coming to them who are seemingly dispassionate about certain causes. But at the end of the night, if you’re the owner of a business or you’re a major stakeholder or you’re that CEO, that thing’s your baby. There’s an emotional attachment. And you, quite frankly, don’t want a lot of people who seem disconnected from the future of that business than you are. You want somebody who understands your pain points and you can make a connection with and, quite frankly, receive some empathy from.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think, what was the famous phrase there? It was, “I don’t care how much you know “until I know how much you care,” or something to that effect. That plays out again here, you know. People, they don’t just want knowledge. They want real, applied information that relates to their situation.
James: The other thing that I learned, too, and a mentor told me this, Shawn, and it was really good advice. He said, “When it comes to consulting, “it’s not always about being right. “It’s about treating the organization “and about treating the individual, “working directly with the human.” He said, “I want you to remember one thing “when it comes to this. ” You might have the right answer because of your expertise “and having done the project 100 times before. ” But when you are sharing advice “and people are taking your advice or rejecting your advice, “just remember one thing, and this is gonna lead you “and the success of your firm. “Here’s the question. “Would you rather be right or would you rather be rich? “Your job as a consultant is to not be right all the time “and to tell people how smart you are. “Your job is to provide solutions and options “because at the end of the day, “I am not the complete fiduciary for the person “who has to live with it “when James and his firm is out the door.” I’ve gotta provide a solution that works for that company and for the individual who leads it.
R. Shawn McBride: Absolutely, makes perfect sense. As we wrap up, let people know some of the core themes they can find in your book and then where they could find a copy.
James: Absolutely. The book is broken down into four parts, which is called the Success Formula. Idea plus plan plus execution equals success. That’s something that not all people can master. Lots of people have the ideas all day long, and the ideas sometimes lead to a plan or not. But really the main thing is to get out of the idea paralysis and then move to the execution phase. When you get to the execution phase, the plan can be adjusted. If you focus on that for 90% of your time, in execution, you’re gonna do well. 1% of your time in an idea, 9% of your time in the planning phase, 90% of your time in execution, and maximize their productivity, their focus, their vision for the dream that they wanna achieve, who can become purposeful millionaires. Now, the book itself can be found at www.jamesonamazon.com. That’s the really easy way to get to the book. My name, James, J-A-M-E-S, on Amazon .com. Folks can also sign up for what we have is the Purposeful Millionaire Club, where we just replay motivation to people with quotes, exercises, really positive news about how to work on this thing called self-mastery to get to a higher level of wealth and me, myself and I. So purposefulmillionaire.me.
R. Shawn McBride: I love the message you’re putting out there. Very similar to what I talk about in my Three Laws of Empowerment, about building and plans to do great things with their life and their mission. Shawn McBride, folks. You can check me out at www.mcbrideforbusiness.com. Teach, teach, teach, and then get taught in what somebody really grew your business and James does, too. So grab his book. Let us know how we can help you do more with your business. James, thanks for joining today.
James: Thank you for having me, Shawn. I really appreciate it.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer lourdes mora.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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