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What to say when you meet someone you admire

When you're meeting someone you admire, it's best not to be a weirdo. Here's how to make a great first impression on your heroes.

Ramit Sethi

People Shaking Hands Over Coffee

Read below to find out exactly what to say when you meet someone you admire.

This week, we’re talking about mastery.

Maybe you want to be better at cooking or fashion or writing. Please god don’t tell me you want to improve your skills at tax-loss harvesting. I have enough nerds for readers.

So here’s a question: What do you do when you meet someone you admire?

I’ve stood there before tongue-tied. Or I just said, “Hi, I’m a big fan” (then came up with 20 amazingly clever sayings two hours later).

Instead, use this great question when you meet someone you admire:

“I’m a big fan and I’m curious: Who do you learn from?”

See, whenever I meet someone admire, I want to know who inspires them, which books they read, and who their mentors are.

When you ask people this question, they LOVE it.

People who are the best at what they do — masters of their craft — know that they wouldn’t have achieved the success they have if it weren’t for their mentors along the way.

And so, tomorrow, I get the very special opportunity to introduce you to one of my mentors — someone who’s had a transformational influence on my personal and professional life.

I bought his $10 book and was leafing through it when one of his paragraphs (in the first 2 chapters) caught my eye. I stopped cold, pulled out a pen, and started writing.

Within one month, that idea generated over $100,000 for me. More importantly, it actually made my business more fun to run.

I’ve told this story a couple times. The #1 question I get is — “RAMIT, WHAT BOOK WAS THAT?” And I’ll tell you the exact book, tomorrow.

But there are lots of books out there that have helped people make more money, improve their relationships, get healthier, etc.

It’s not just the information that matters. 

It’s about finding the right material and APPLYING it to your situation. (More on this tomorrow, too.)

Bonus: Want more ways to build healthy habits? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Habits.

So I read this book. It helped me make 6 figures in a month. Obviously, I was hooked, so I got on the author’s email list. I ended up joining his in-person course for over $20,000. Over the course of a year, he helped me double my business.

In my experience, it’s rare to meet someone who helps you see there are games being played around you that you didn’t even know existed.

Maybe your parents helped you see this. Or an especially influential professor in college. Some of us, unfortunately, have never met someone like this.

That’s about to change. Because tomorrow, I get the very special privilege of introducing you to one of my mentors who’s had the biggest impact on me.

TODAY, I want you to share your story about one particularly influential person in your life.

  • Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years?
  • What was your life like BEFORE you met this person?
  • What was your life like AFTER? How did they help you change yourself? Be specific!

Share your story about someone who’s made a huge change in your life in the comments below. And tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to my mentor, with a very special opportunity.

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  1. avatar

    I bet you a trip to Hawaii that this mentor is…Jay Abraham?

    Unfortunately, I’m in Canada so if I’m right (and, I’m 100% sure) donate the tickets.

    Great question, will be using it next chance I get.

  2. avatar

    Rick Cooper: He taught me that there is no “I” in team. Up to that point I had been extremely self-centred, now I am just mildly self-centred.

  3. avatar

    Tim Ferriss . I have reduced my WFH time from 0 to 100% in 3 months and laid down some very simple rules for myself about when, where I will and won’t work.

    Life changing is an understatement.

  4. avatar

    Ha ha, this came just in time. I’m seeing Ryan Holiday at a talk in a few weeks in London, and I’m nervous about what to ask him. Although, guy keeps a freaking book list a mile long, so I kind of know what he reads already, better than anyone else!

    Tell you what: Mark Horstman.

    Before I met him, I was suspicious of “playing politics” and making an effort in the work environment that wasn’t directly doing my job.

    After I met him, I understood the importance of doing favours, understanding politics (who likes who, who can I count on for buy-in, etc), speaking to people in the way they like speaking, all kinds of stuff like that.

    I’m far, far from a master at it, but especially meeting him in person (and seeing what a genuinely warm guy he is, and seeing him practice what he preaches, in terms of his communication style), gave me a real goal to reach for in terms of who I want to be as a working professional. Generous and friendly, but unafraid to be assertive too.

  5. avatar

    the biggest change in my life happened when I met a guy at a random lounge. we talked for a while, exchanged numbers and agreed to meet the following week. it was not until I returned to the lounge few days that I learned who he was! let’s just say it was a jaw dropping moment for me!

    prior to our meeting I have been struggling with the death of my husband. before even turning 30, when my peers plan their life, I had to overcome not only the death of my spouse but to find a way to reorganize my life again. all I knew was the I have two choices either I allow myself to slowly die or continue to live life to the fullest!

    after our meeting I felt encouraged to return to school, finish my art management studies and finally start my own business that I wanted to do for so long. he has become a mentor, a friend and so much more and without meeting him on a random Tuesday night in New York I have no clue where I would be today!

    BTW did I mention that my random strange happened to be an ambassador to on of the richest countries in the world. As they say ONLY in NEW YORK!

  6. avatar

    The person that has influenced me the most in life is Deepak Chopra. (Given I’m an IWT fan, you could probably safely assume I like smart Indian/ Americans!) I’ve only spent about 1 minute with him personally when he signed a book for me at a conference years ago, but I’ve read about 20 of his 50 books (I actually re-read one of them almost non-stop for almost 5 years). Plus I’ve listened to some of his audio books for probably hundreds of hours. His insights on quantum physics, enlightenment and coincidences, have me intrigued.

  7. avatar

    Sorry- specifically, how did they help me? Taught me the ability to clear my mind & access the gap between thoughts (where everything infinite dwells). Educated me in wisdom, enlightenment and to better understand the crazy mysteries of the universe.

  8. avatar

    The founder who flew me out to Miami for eMerge Americas. I’ve met more people in any 2 hour period than in the last four months.

    And, as suck-upy as it sounds, Ramit. Earn1k changed and continues to change my life. (People seem generally enthused when I call myself a “Consumer psychology consultant”, as if nobody had ever heard of that before. A hell of a lot catchier than marketer!)

  9. avatar

    I’m going to sound like a huge kiss-ass, but it’s true: the most influential person I’ve interacted with in the last three years is Ramit. I was directed to the IWT book, and just that little section on finances (60/20/10/10) changed my finances for the better. The simple (so to speak) straight talk about business has been a big boost, as well.

  10. avatar
    Jonathan Dolezal

    Keith Ferrazzi hands down. Since reading his books on relationship building and networking I have scheduled a meeting with one person a day to get to know them better.
    I recently had my story posted to his blog and social media pages with hopes to getting a virtual lunch with him.
    My story can be found here:
    If you are interested in building meaningful relationships with anyone read his books Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back!

  11. avatar

    I am a speech pathologist who works with kids, teens and adults with social challenges. For years I did traditional social skills work with my groups but never saw lasting change and improvement. In 2000 I went to a presentation by Michelle Garcia Winner, an SLP who created the social thinking approach. The whole day was one huge light bulb moment for me! She taught me that we have to teach people the thinking behind our social interactions before we ever start working on skills and behaviors. Completely changed the course of my professional career…I mentored with her, went to every conference she put on and opened my private practice using her model. She is constantly innovating and remains a huge inspiration for me.

  12. avatar

    Unfortunately I am one of those people that have never met someone like what you describe.

    Perhaps that is why I am stuck in mediocrity.

  13. avatar

    I haven’t met this person but she did change my life in last 1 year:

    The person is Kelly Mcgonigal and I read her book “Will Power Instinct”
    If I could read only one book in my entire life, this would be it.
    She helped me –
    exercise daily
    Develop good habits
    Gave me a roadmap to follow to change the rest of my life
    Steered me to read more books in that genre, and get even better understanding of myself

    I truly would like to meet her and thank her for that gem of a book.

  14. avatar

    The biggest impact/helpful influence for me (other than my partner’s support) for the last few years is David Schlossberg (, my music director in a few small local shows and now dear friend. He was completely trashed by a drunk drive ten years back at age 21, and since then has come back very well from spinal cord injury, even making a charming album of piano originals that he wrote while recovering (available at his site and actually really worth listening to). He’s helped me become a much better singer and aspiring musical director through his playing and coaching, and is an inspiration for me in my recovering from brain damage and related injuries from having gotten electrocuted a few years back. Plus, he is always ready with the worst jokes ever, for any occasion, and has helped drive me to stay active in some of the local musical groups. He’s great and plays piano for nine separate groups, including seniors and religious groups, often for modest fees or pro bono. Before we got to be friends, I was very isolated in the new community we had moved to, due to health issues and lack of transportation, and now I am active with three different community musical groups, including as assistant director and “in-house therapist”. We have all benefitted. It’s been great learning with him.

  15. avatar

    My top three professional influences that have made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in my life over the past two years (post-college grad) are
    1. Ramit (Obviously. Who teaches you how to write bad-ass emails and actually SAVE money like the master)
    2. Kate White’s book “I shouldn’t be telling you this” (Who can teach a fresh college grad who’s read every issue of Cosmo from 2001 – 2014 job / career advice better than the former EIC of Cosmo)
    3. Mandy Stadtmiller, deputy editor of xoJane (who consistently makes me feel less alone in personal things, and gives killer professional advice)

    All three of these mentors I don’t actually KNOW, but career-wise, have helped me do a complete 180. Before ingesting their material, which I stumbled upon simultaneously in early 2013, I was making NO MONEY AT ALL ($300/wk). A year later, I’m salaried and ALL THREE OF THEM have emailed me back when I’ve reached out.

    The funny thing is when my friends ask me what helped me with my job search I say “Read Ramit, Kate and Mandy” but I know they won’t. Ramit wrote a post about a woman who told her friend to eat protein in the morning and the friend responded with “Can I still use butter?” aaaand that’s the type of response I usually elicit when I tell people what helped me get it together.

    But, I will definitely be asking the “Who do you learn from?” question the next time I meet someone incredible.

  16. avatar

    1/ Those who I’ve never met
    Bruce Lee taught me to be honest and true person: no BS.

    Tupac Shakur helped me figure out that there’s a game played around me I didn’t know about.

    Ramit helped me taking action and kicking my own butt while teaching me the art of business psychology.

    2/ Those who I’ve met
    My previous boss : he helped me understand that I have to listen to people before applying techniques.

  17. avatar
    Felipe César

    My biggest mentor was a former president of a nucleo of junior enterprises in a near city.

    He was drunk and started talking with me by a coincidence. He teached my how to improve my networking, how to speak at public and helped me to improve my critical sense. During many time he was always influencing me about my choices in my professional career.

    Thanks to him I achieved good positions in the junior enterprise that I was working and became a great speaker.

  18. avatar
    Citlalli Segovia

    Some years ago, I met this guy at college while studying graphic design, like most of us, he was a fun kid hungry for fun and parties, college was over, and we went on with our lives, but this kid, seemed different than the rest of us, he bought his first car paying in cash, it might not sound so surprising, but in Mexico trust me, that’s a really big deal, specially for a young person like he was at that age.
    Then he decided to get his Master Degree focusing on business and administration, yep, a graphic designer going to business school, again, in Mexico, specially i my hometown, it’s really rare.

    He and I became friends, eventually best friends, and surprise, surprise, we got married one year ago.

    BEFORE I became close friends with him, my life was going basically nowhere, drop out of college, wasting my time in meaningless jobs, without meaning it, he showed me the importance of planning, setting up goals, and work your ass off in order to achieve them, the importance of foreseeing, and to be patient, nothing worthy comes along easily and most of all quickly, work work work, and never quit until you achieve what you dream of.

    AFTER I was really close to him (<3 :3) I decided to sign up to school again, and now, I’m about to obtain my bachelor’s degree on sales management, I work in great place, with people from all around the world, I don’t have any debts, and we have recently started our own business, the future looks really promising.

    Of course I read lots of people like Ramith, who inspires me, from who I learn from, but for all means and purposes Gerardo is the one person who have influenced me and inspired me the most, and luckily I’m married to him. 

  19. avatar

    My current EVP is someone I admire. I began working with her three years ago and she has been incredibly influential in encouraging me, supporting and teaching me how to take control of my career and be an active participant in it. She is the first person I have spoken to (within my company) honestly about my career goals and plans and to advocate (loudly) for myself. Prior to my very open conversation with her, I was hesitant about having these types of conversations with my managers, relegating them to yearly topics vaguely touched upon during my reviews. Now, I’m clear about what I want for my future with my managers and clearly voice to them the direction I see my career taking.

  20. avatar

    The most influential person in my life was my 9th grade history teacher… one day, he stood at the front of the class, stared at us, and announced: “I don’t care what you do – you may be a parent or an athlete or a teacher, but whatever you do, you better be the best. I don’t care if you dig ditches, you better be the best damned ditch digger ever!” I never forgot his face in that moment… his words. To this day, those are the words that go through my mind as I trudge through a work day… hat’s off to you, Mr. Bennie Anderson! (p.s. Mr. Anderson died of cancer March 6, 1985)

  21. avatar

    Tbh, you’re up there Ramit. I got a much greater insight on my psyche after I opted into your mailing list. Understanding my motivations led to me invest in myself. Create systems for my personal life to get from 160lbs to 190lbs of mean muscle; passing the CFA Level 1 exam in 3 weeks – Most people take 4-5 months.

    I always knew I was intelligent and capable, but it was the frameworks and insights you provided that allowed me to get shit done.

    Thank you 🙂

  22. avatar

    My biggest influence is my life coach, who is there for me every Monday. She is incredibly busy but because she lives her life on purpose, its energizing for her and she accomplishes so much every year, and still has time for coaching me. She has helped me to trust myself more, to believe that I have value to offer, helped me take my illustration work from a hobby to quality paying jobs, to learn when to say no and yes, and so much more. I look forward to our calls and the clarity I get on anything and everything after bouncing ideas of her. She’s Mary Malinski from

  23. avatar
    Michael Nelson

    I don’t have one single person, but many, and through the below mentioned people I am now working my dream job.

    A little over a year ago my sister-in-law Cambra (you rock) shared the link to your interview on Chase Jarvis Live. I watched the video, purchased your book, (IWTYTBR) got on your email list and now am a full-time photographer. The journey started with you and now includes CreativeLive, Tim Ferriss, Chase Jarvis, Lori Nordstrom, Blair Phillips, Spencer Boerup, Sal Cincotta and Nate @stickyalbums to name a few.

    Before these influencers: Life was work hard make other people rich.
    Now: I work for myself, choose and qualify my clients and love it.

  24. avatar
    Dodie Jacobi

    Tim’s my person too. He gave credibility to what I was seeking and knew to be possible. I used some of his material to take the first steps, and inform what has become my own personal credo: I will settle for nothing less than doing work I love to earn what supports my ideal quality of life. I immediately began pursuit, barely tapping yet all that I’ve learned and imagine. In the first year, I earned 30% more, and 40% atop that last year – all doing work I really really really love – and in 1.5 weeks/month. Yay for us.

  25. avatar

    I’ve had a few mentors, and the details are not nearly as important as one core thread among them: They’ve all believed in me, and most importantly: helped me to believe in myself.

    I believe the specific actions to achieve your dreams are secondary to the actual belief that you can achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. These influencers always encourage me to dream bigger, then believe in myself to realize those dreams. This alone is enough to take whatever action is necessary (and action IS necessary, but if you have the belief, the action will follow).

  26. avatar
    Christine Rose Elle

    Sue Bryce is a portrait photographer. I saw her videos on Creative Live and her talent and wisdom blew me away. What was most impressive, beside of course her obvious creative talent, is her willingness to be vulnerable, say silly things, and get past her fears.

    Sue calls people on their crap and excuses about why they aren’t charging more for their work, and digging deep for their potential. She uncovers such beauty in her subjects too.

    Because of her I finally learned how to use my camera. I let reading the freaking manual stop me from creating beauty.

    I would love to met her in person someday, and if I do, I will ask her who she learns from.

    Thanks Ramit.

  27. avatar

    Well this might sound cheesy but my boyfriend (now together for 14years) had the most Impact in my life. Before I meet him i was kind of stuck up and very judgemental. He showed me to take people for who they are and be open to everyone. I dont think I would have been very successfull im my working career without him. I get a lot of comments that I’m always smiling and in a good mood. I learned to choose my attitude and that from him. Now I know so many different kind of people and I’m very open. Thanks honey

  28. avatar

    I’ve been friends with my buddy Dan since we were in grade school. Between us and a select few friends we have our own little ‘Brain Trust’. On some level I’m sure that all friends do. When negotiating for my salary with my new (current) job, Dan helped me craft a negotiation email that made me over $8k more than what they were initially offering, which was more than $20k above my old position. That is a huge difference in my everyday life! Not to mention our sharing of informative and interesting websites and books. Dan actually told me about you, Ramit, about 5 years ago, and that has made a difference in every job and interview I’ve had since. As well as my banking & savings choice.

  29. avatar

    I would say that person was Nassim Taleb for me.

    I am a Software Engineer and was lured into joining Startups after Startups, chasing that big pay day; which of-course never arrived (Yeah “The social Network” effect). After reading Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan; I understood that the big pay day is a Black Swan event; and I rather follow the path of consulting to make more than chasing that Black Swan.

    I got a jump of around 80K per annum by following this line of thinking.

  30. avatar
    Nathalie Lussier

    In the last 3 years, Marie Forleo has had the biggest impact, and also Laura Hames Franklin. Between the two of them, I’ve gone from a tiny business to now a multi-six-figure company and I’m able to tap into my creativity on new levels like never before. I’m also a lot more confident, and I’m doing things I could only have imagined…

    Like putting on my 2nd live conference here in NYC called Off The Charts, and also taking my private mastermind group to an amazing retreat in Italy. Just beyond what I would have thought possible 3 years ago.

  31. avatar
    Martha Louise Hunter

    My publisher. He took a chance on me. He has an indie company & that he would put their own financial future on the line with me speaks volumes. I am so grateful
    Before he came into my life I was a frustrated writer who had beat my head against the wall trying to get a publisher. This new person is changing martha louise hunter’s identity from “writer” to “author.”

  32. avatar

    I have an aunt and uncle who helped me redefine my self confidence after a break-up and showed me what being prepared really means. Before I found myself in their kitchen with a pot of tea I had the knack of getting myself involved in doomed love affairs. Having been dumped by phone internationally, I made my way to their house. Tea was made and the preparation began. For the next 3 (!) hours they asked questions challenging me to question my own motives, desires, expectations, beliefs about myself, about relationships, about love. Once that was addressed the next part focused on what I was going to do about the boy, why and how. Every possible scenario was examined with almost military precision and always going back to the insights established earlier in the evening. The experience was mindboggling, at times excruciatingly painful and life changing. Since then the doomed love affairs were history because I had a better understanding of my motives, desires, expectations, fears and beliefs. I’ve become quite good at looking at situations from many different angles, taking charge and taking action.

  33. avatar

    In the last three years is tough. I have fallen far since then. My biggest influence was so negative it actually forced me to make a drastic change in myself that has altered my path, hopefully for the better.

    A manager I had in retail recently had the impact of almost extinguishing all the experience and positive influence I had gained in the previous nine years if retail management. The methods were the same as positive motivation; daily talks and follow up, measurable results, reminders and check ins. But the difference was, the emphasis was never what success I had or understanding what I was doing and why. It was a daily and sometimes many times daily barrage of insults and degrading comments about my ineptitude and inference to my not working for the company any longer.

    I had spent three years there with great success and was brought so low in three months. My family was in danger of homelessness based on my potential job loss. I had lost a job previously for standing up to an executive who was mistreating employees, so I felt powerless to stop her.

    My depression hurt every aspect of my life and I became physically ill to the extent my doctor and HR Representative said I needed to leave work. So I did. Since then I have used the knowledge I knew I had, the abilities I could leverage to secure a new position with another company for 20% higher pay plus commissions!

    The light in the darkness that pulled me forward to securing a better life was Ramit, and his no nonsense accountability of life. No cuddle time to recoup (that’s for my wife). I needed to prove I was better than my old a manger believed.

    I now know I was being targeted by her for her own personal reasons. I don’t know if I should go back and confront her. I know I should thank her with a smug grin, but fear I would punch her in the face and call her bad names for trying to make my family destitute.

    Prior to that, I had many positive influences and was always able to glean information in this way. When you show interest into how someone is successful, and they are truly happy and successful personally and professionally, they will always pass in their good advice. Always take it in context and apply it.

  34. avatar

    John Demartini. Before taking his Breakthrough Experience I would have huge ups and downs based on what happened around me/to me. Since taking his class, I focus on the events/plans as opposed to the emotions attached to them. It has made a world of difference in how I look at my life and business.

  35. avatar
    Andrew Dao

    Monica Ortiz, life coach and author of Universe 101: Learn Grow Evolve

    Before I met her I was stuck in the trap of a prestigious lifestyle that I lived to impress others. I killed myself on the inside through compromise after compromise to look good on the outside, desperately trying not to appear desperate and instead cool with the job I had, the lifestyle I lived, and the way I acted. I wanted to impress people, make friends, sleep with women who would love me, and yet in many ways I didn’t love myself (which was why I was desperate to get their validation in the first place… kind of a positive feedback loop that keeps you stuck in a vicious downward spiral).

    After I read her book (which gave me spine tingles about every other page for 90 pages), I was floored. I started to acknowledge my real desires a bit more honestly, and started to consider that maybe the way I was living my life wasn’t really the way I wanted to live it. Meeting Monica helped me realize I didn’t like myself–that in fact I loathed myself at times. And it saved my life.

    I later went on to meet her over the phone and in-person a few months later. I took her on as my teacher and life coach, and later on became her business partner. And throughout the entire time she’s been in my life, she’s taught me how to be honest with myself, effectively know my wants/needs and communicate them, live a lifestyle that’s aligned on the inside and outside, and love myself.

    She taught me how to love myself, and therefore love my life, and therefore love the people in my life. And that’s been absolutely life-changing. I can never sing her praises enough.

  36. avatar
    Mike Barnes

    I took a course with a person I’d rather not mention. He ended up being a scammer but he said something that rocked my world. He said “Mike, you’re the biggest guy in this room but the most forgettable”. That statement really pissed me off but then I realized he had a point. Opportunities aren’t going to fall in my lap being a wallflower. I need to break out of my shell and chase what I want…I’ll never forget that douche.

  37. avatar

    This is two fold, the first is you, Ramit, for everything finances. BEFORE – I never had 4 digit numbers in my savings and retirement throughout my 20’s. AFTER – Now I have multiple sub savings accounts and automatic money systems. Through adding value and acting like a top performer, I was also able to negotiate a 20% raise in my first 7 months with my employer.

    Second – Chase Jarvis. BEFORE – I didn’t understand how to make a living as a creative mind and move at a fun pace. AFTER – His visionary mindset is at the forefront of the creative and artist world. Im getting more done with less effort. And I also work for him now and the energy is contagious.

  38. avatar

    I discovered her just days ago. She is impressive!

  39. avatar
    JC Avila

    Great post Ramit, i’m wondering who this misterious mentor of yours is.

    Regarding the one person that has had a great influence in my life in the past three years, actually there are two persons, one is a guy named Berto Pena, he writes a productivity blog called “think wasabi”, since I found Berto’s blog, I’ve changed the way I think about my personal time and the time I spend working. The other person that has had a great influence in the way I think it’s an Indian guy named Ramit Sethi, since I found your material I’ve changed my relationship with money and the ways that I earned it, I’m always looking for some way to increase my revenue and I’ve learned that if you want something you have to take action to attain it. Thanks Ramit and Berto!

  40. avatar

    I’d have to say that my journalism professor has had the biggest impact on me, personally and professionally, over the past 3 years.

    Before I took her reporting class during my sophomore year of college, I was an ambitious student, but a little too anxious and for some reason expected everything handed to me. (Seriously–what is with my generation and our entitlement issues?)
    After taking two of her classes during my undergraduate career and completing two, large-scale multimedia projects for her, I was able to see almost everything I had previously known in a different light. She taught me that if I wanted something, I had to get off my lazy butt and go get it. She also taught me exactly how to get there–through hard-work, persistence, and from knowing how to ask the right questions.

  41. avatar
    Jen Turrell

    Dr. Kristen Byra BCBA-D. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who I hired to start working with my kids (both on the autism spectrum) in 2010. Before her I had never really thought at all about the science of behavior. Since then between learning so much from her about my own kids and reading books on behavioral science, and your blog as well Ramit, my world has really drastically changed. I have been able to get myself exercising, eating better, I have written a book, launched a new website and a business (which I am hoping to improve greatly via ZTL). Changing my daily habits for the better, as well as the way I interact with my children, my husband,and most other people I come into contact with, that has been how much my life has changed since 2010.

  42. avatar

    Darren Hardy- I haven’t met him yet, but his work & The Compound Effect have really impacted my life.

  43. avatar
    Van Nguyen

    It’s been more than three years since I met one of my mentors, but he still continues to teach me and impact my life. His name is Lance Middleton. I met him in undergrad and we worked together in the same pharmaceutical company before he got accepted to the MD/PhD program at Stanford. Before I met him, I was simply going through the motions of undergrad, not really giving a damn about what to do afterwards. After I met him, he’s invested a lot of time in me by involving me in his startup student organization, getting me a job at the previously mentioned pharmaceutical company, and played a massive role in my application–and subsequent acceptance–into medical school, not to mention all the mindset changes he instilled in me.

    To this day, with his background in cancer research and his academic accomplishments, he’s a remarkably insightful person and merely talking to him reminds me to stay curious, stay humble, and don’t accept less than my best. He’s also a funny son of a bitch, to boot.

  44. avatar

    Bruce and Tupac! Love this. PS Ramit mixing it with legends 😉

  45. avatar


    My story is a bit funny, but very exciting. I follow this guy on YouTube Elliot hulse. He is a strength coach. But what was also good about him that he reads a lot. From him I heard about Brian Tracy, and then I read think and grow rich, and many other books. Listened to Tony rober, Sundeep Maheshqari .Then came across your videos and got inspired by you as we’ll. I was a day dreamer before. I was making 35k a year. I made my goal to make 50k per yr before this June. And yes I got a job that pays 52,500. I just changed the way I think, no more fear. Now I want to learn how to make extra 1000 per month from you as soon as I pay all my debt. Thanks

  46. avatar

    Penelope Trunk.

    Before: I was writing for an audience of 5 people, with no idea whether it was even any good.

    After: Self-published a book, won honorable mention & publishing in a contest, increased my audience exponentially thanks to mentions on her site; in short her confidence in me was game-changing. She also helped me find my editor, who is key to my continuing development as a writer.

  47. avatar
    Nathan Strange

    I have had so many impactful people in my life that it is very hard to pick just one. I am a fortunate person, and I know it.

    Most recently, I would have to group all of It was through their stories and support that I was able to put aside my fears and return to school. I won’t be done until I’m 50, but hey, with luck I’m going to be 50 anyway so I might as well be a doctor when I do it. Right?

  48. avatar
    Wendy Reese, whole being inc

    Honestly, I would be a toss up. Rikka Zimmerman had a profound impact on me opening to my gifts. Marie Forleo made me face my limitations. Seth Godin continues to open my mind. Lewis Howe’s inspires me to greatness. But the single greatest influence, the person who got me to leave my friends, move across the country (to the country), who has taught me more about letting go, having fun, communicating, great beer (he’s a brewmaster), the importance of dancing for the sake of dance, and the art of being loved is my partner, Dave. My life before all of them was good before. Each has challenged me out of my comfort zone. While I don’t have the 6 figures in 2 month kind of wealth story, the wealthy I have gained from them is profound and life changing, something money cannot buy. I am deeply honored and humbled to be where I am now because of them.

  49. avatar

    My dear friend and father-figure, Philip. He is wonderful and I love him and admire him so much. As president of a large large non-profit, I have felt so grateful that he is in my life as a mentor. To answer your questions specifically:

    Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years?

    Philip — I can ask him any questions — pertaining to business, professional relationships, personal relationships, and even regarding my private love-interests from a fatherly point of view. I couldn’t be more grateful for his love and advice. And we have to stress, it IS out of love that we are available to each other. We have seen each other through hard medical times, hard personal times, shared our kid’s special moments, shared our professional wins and fails, and shared advice between each other.. he as a mentor to me in all things I have yet to experience, and vice versa. Never discount what you can be to your own mentor, and don’t forget to be actively appreciative to your mentors — they are best friends, even if only in a couple categories of your life.

    What was your life like BEFORE you met this person?

    What was your life like AFTER? How did they help you change yourself? Be specific!
    Perfect with a capitol “P”, He has been there for me as much as I’ve needed him, and I’ve been careful not to take advantage of that.

    Much love to my mentors, there are several more, without I wouldn’t be who I am today!

  50. avatar

    My friend and colleague Donna encouraged me to ask for a raise and get my act together after falling into a slump at work. Her confidence in me and recognition of my talents reawakened my own natural assertiveness and I ended up with a 30K increase, boosted respect from my superiors, and a better wardrobe!

  51. avatar

    Who’s had the biggest impact on you: Ranjan De Silva (NLP trainer)

    What was your life like BEFORE you met this person: Look at the negative, complaining, frustrated,,,,,,

    What was your life like AFTER: earn $6000 within 3 month of training.

  52. avatar

    I think RevRun, Marianne Williamson, Gabrielle Bernstein, Mastin Kipp, and Tony Robbins have all impacted me personally over the past year. Before, I felt very tired and had a negative attitude, always criticizing myself or fearing what other people thought of me. Since reading their books and tweets I have learned to meditate and pray daily, exercise regularly, appreciate abundance and blessings in my life, be more outgoing in social situations, and have found the courage to begin writing again. I’ve finished a first draft of my screenplay and while I still have many more rounds of revisions to make this is a huge step from where I was 3 years ago, let alone 1 year ago! But most importantly I have a more positive, excited attitude every day!

  53. avatar

    My husband and a woman I have never met in person, Heather Sellers, have been my biggest influences these past three years.
    Just under three years ago I found out I was allergic to caffeine and cutting out that drug has given me the opportunity to change by restoring my health. When caffeine was making me sick I lived for the consideration, “can I keep this commitment if I am at my sickest?” Which meant I did practically nothing. I could only work part-time casual at jobs that I could do on auto pilot at my own pace which is to say mind numbingly boring on a good day.
    When I first quit caffeine those limiting habits continued though the need for them was gone. Which is where those influencers come into play.
    My husband is an incredibly productive person, he’s self-motivated and loves to be working on a project. Once my health returned I started working beside him at home, pulled in by his energy, happiness and focus and I soon realised the joy of being productive. Without pressure he always made room for me to be able to join in what he was doing. Because of his influence I now live by the consideration, “will that give me the feeling of having been productive and in Flow?”
    Heather Sellers I know through two of her books “Page After Page,” and “Chapter After Chapter.” These books do not have a place on my bookshelves because I carry them around with me all over the house, reading from them like daily devotions when I need understanding and encouragement. I have always wanted to be a writer and have written on good days and felt terrible about not writing on bad days. Heather calls for slow progress, she advocates baby steps daily, planning on taking ten years to become truly great at writing, becoming comfortable with working through discomfort. Because of her I’m working towards my passion every day, I’m cutting out the things that aren’t important to me, and I’m gaining confidence that even on hard days I can still be productive.
    These two people are influencing me to be more productive which makes my days more pleasant and means I can offer more value to the people in my life.

  54. avatar

    If I said Tim Ferris, I would be giving you a half truth. It was my friend Michael Zammit that introduced me to Tim’s work literally 3 (maybe 4 years ago).

    In learning from Tim, I came across more people like Ramit, Ryan Holiday, Michael Eisenberg & Derek Halpern. I’ve used things from each person to get my finances in better control (I’m currently in the midst of an $8k surprise health emergency & still ok with where I’m going thanks to Ramit), got my dream job using the brief case technique and negotiated a modest pay rise (when none was being given), learned how to do more meaningful work in less time thanks to Tim, have deeper conversations thanks to Michael E and Derek based on psychology and understanding people.

    Three years ago, I was a non-networking (thinking it was a scam), never invested in myself kind of guy. Yet here I am, reaping disproportionate rewards from minor tweaks.

    And none of this would have been possible if I hadn’t met Michael Zammit, who in all honesty, was my first mentee.

  55. avatar

    The trifecta of my first sponsor in AA, Scott, his sponsor, Christian, and now my current sponsor, Don.

    There are a lot of people whose vulnerability and strength move you and shift your perspective in AA meetings or over coffee, many of whom you never see again. But the sponsors I’ve had have drilled into me a few core fundamentals: honesty, being of service, and gratitude, principles that guide everything in my life. They’ve also instilled the ideals of fellowship, having a strong network, particularly of guys, that I reach out to regularly, discipline and hard work, spirituality, and of having fun and never limiting myself in sobriety (next month I’m traveling to Brazil for the World Cup and a month long vacation, something I never would have done while I was still drinking).

    AA is about so much more than sobriety from alcohol and drugs and I’m fortunate that I have the disease that eventually brought me to the rooms of AA so that I could get honest with myself and start growing.

    Addendum: It’s worth noting, since this is a money/entrepreneurship-oriented website, that the aforementioned men that have had the biggest impact on me happen to all be extremely successful. One is the CEO of a major residential real estate development company, another is a tech sales executive and the last is a vice prez for a major utilities company. Further, each came into AA a financial mess.


  56. avatar

    Well, I mean, obviously besides YOU, Ramit, I’ve been really inspired by Rob Scott of He is adorable and so sweet. Originally, I saw that one of my friends kept posting about all these amazing breakthroughs she was having after talking to this guy. So I just Facebook messaged him and was like, “Who are you? I keep seeing Lisa post about you and you sound pretty awesome-sauce.” And we just kind of built a friendship. His guidance and advice, both directly to me and through his content & story, have inspired me so much in my business. SO grateful! <3

  57. avatar

    About ten months ago I had a meeting with a complete stranger and it changed my life. In fact, that day is the best day of my entire life. At the last minute I attended a pitch meeting to support a friend who I thought was meeting with some tech investors who had flown in to hear two pitches. My friend ambushed me. He introduced me to a small group of investors as a someone who had a great story, and then said he had a meeting somewhere else, and left me stranded. I was flat-footed and had no idea what they were expecting or how to proceed. I don’t think I had even driven, so I couldn’t even run away.The lead stranger had such presence and warmth. He told me it was a fortuitous day: someone had called in sick or chickened out, and it had taken him six hours to get here, and I was an understudy, or something like that. I told him I was not an entrepreneur. He asked me what my dream was. I told him — to manufacture candy, about as far from cool tech as someone could get. I asked him if he ever knew any body who just loved candy and carried it around in their pockets because they liked the feel of it and he grinned and we BOTH reached in our pockets and pulled out lemonheads like a couple of magicians and grinned at each other. A soul friend! Now I had courage, because a second ago I was seriously going to vomit or curse. He asked me to tell him a story about candy. I did. It was rough, bumpy and too revealing. But at the end of it, everyone at the table was for me and thrilled to help me. They were truly some of the most gracious people I have ever met, particularly the lead stranger. He made a pledge: do one thing, big or small, to prove this is a goal and not a dream and he would do anything he could to help. I did it by the close of business that day, and he kept his word. Since that meeting, I have done one thing EVERY day to develop a small manufacturing business I have dreamed about my entire life, but never ever dreamed I could manifest. I do it because if a stranger could be that kind to my dream, why the heck wasn’t I. Those tiny steps have turned into massive ones. The reason I want to kill it, isn’t to make a bunch of money. It’s because, now it’s up to me too to give someone else the best day of their entire life too, and I have a lot of work to do before I can wear that stranger’s big shoes. Someone had done that for him too I am sure. I cannot describe how his kind, focused, earnest attention on my dream allowed me to transform it and myself in the span of one afternoon. Best. Day. of. My.Entire.Life. Best.

  58. avatar

    Congratulations Frank! You are hard at work. Best to you!

  59. avatar

    1/ Dr.N.J (he taught me at University) and Mr. Ramit Sethi
    2/ My life before: I obediently followed my dad’s guidance, just knowing that by doing so, I will be a good daughter. Since he always said I did not know what is best for my life.
    3/ My life after: after constant private psychology sessions with Dr.N.J he encouraged me to start living for myself rather than living to please other people. He always inspires me to live truly to myself and persuades me to step out of my comfort zone => I’ve applied for Business with Consumer Psychology MA outside far from my homeland, the subject I always wanted to pursue, but I never had the guts to. It took me more than 6 months to persuade my parents, and with great help from Dr.N.J all financially, professionally and personally, I am stepping towards this unknown path.
    On the contrary, if Dr.N.J acts like a carrot in front of the rabbit, then Mr. Ramit Sethi became in my life like a figure of “brutal honest master with a whip in his hand” at the back. Dr.N.J is too gentle to raise a voice, but Mr.Ramit Sethi is a person who constantly slaps at my face with his “brutal honesty”. Every time my heads gets too high to the clouds, Mr.Ramit Sethi’s words are the one to pull me back to Earth: “I want…!” Mr.Ramit: “Then do it”, “But…” – “Piss off then”. I came across Mr.Ramit Sethi name on the Internet when I was trying to search for ConPsy Masters inspirations, and he always remained until now.
    Thank you.

  60. avatar

    There are two people who have had a large impact on my way of thinking about my future and what kind of life I want to lead. I have not met either of them (yet) so I consider them my e-mentors.

    The first is Steve Kamb, from His website/company is great in it’s own right because it helps so many people come together and learn about fitness, but I was inspired by the fact that he was only a couple years older than me and had created this really cool job for himself, one that he could do even while he traveled the world. I didn’t know that people actually did that, as I was a recent grad at the time and everyone I knew was settling in for grad school. His work got me thinking that maybe I could do something similar. It was through his site that I learned about Ramit, Tim Ferriss, and my second most influential e-mentor, James Altucher. His writing has changed how I think about improving creativity, how to reinvent oneself, and how to live life as “gently” as possible, as he puts it.

  61. avatar
    Lester Hein

    For me it was David Allen. Before GTD I was a mess – dozens of notebooks, no semblance of order, always late for meetings and forgetting things.

    Now I’m a list ninja, able to feel comfortable with the things I’m not doing because I know precisely what they are and how important they are in the bigger scheme of things.

    I know the system for getting from panic to control when things inevitably spiral out. I know the steps to get back on track.

    That systematic element is also what drew me to ZTL

  62. avatar

    Congratulations! I love this story. I work with someone who actually completed his residency during his 50th year.

  63. avatar
    Heath Borders

    My second son. When I met him, I realized that I needed to concentrate on my physical fitness and manage my weight because I was really not a kid anymore. Since then, I’ve lost 60 pounds and kept it off for 2 years.

  64. avatar

    Msam, I love your story and am so happy to hear how this stranger changed the course of your life. Congratulations on having the courage to stay open.

  65. avatar

    For me it was Dan Miller. I found his book in half-priced books and it set me on a course that now has me living my dream in Maui, Hawaii. Before I read that book I listened to all my doubts and fears and let them keep me from taking action.

  66. avatar
    Anand Kulkarni

    I work in a automobile company for last 33 years. I am basically from finance graduate and after having worked in Accounts dept, I shifted to Service Division to look after the financial aspect there which involved payment of warranties, free services to dealers , raising debits etc.

    After we got the SAP, whole thing went online and I looked after Govt liason to get our vehicles passed by Govt inspector without paying under the table as that is the co’s policy. Again I got shifted to our Service training centre. but being non-technical person I was odd man out there. though I conducted soft skills courses for our dealers personnel, I felt that some where I was lacking and I am not making any progress.

    I happened to attend a Financial course conducted by Dr .Anil Lamba and I was totally amazed. Finance being so boring subject, he explained it so nicely and in simple easy to understand way that I started to go deep in the subject. inspite being a finance graduate, I did not take it up so seriously and the financial concepts etc all were out of my mind. I liked the say of delivering the subject and thought that what money I had invested were really worth it. the charges were Rs8000 for a 2 day program which is a huge amount. there were total 30 persons attending the course. This showed me how successful Dr.Anil Lamba is. He is a chartered accountant but a major portion of his earning would be coming from training.

    This inpired me why not I also gain enough knloledge and help my dealers to manage their finances as I found that many owners are unaware about the financial matters. so I have now started to build a course suitable to the dealers whereby they will be able to manage their finances effectively and the course would be useful to all those who are running business. side by side I am also building a course in Ms Excel as I am an Excel master and very popular in the company amoung the peers. all of them come to me for the solutions for their excel related problems.

    I am also impressed by you , Ramit and the way you conduct your whole business. You have correctly cought the pulse of online marketing and reaping benefits out of it. you are also helping a lot of people to do that along with you. I also dream to do so in future,

    Thanking you for giving me the opportunity to write,


  67. avatar

    Izzy Arkin.

    He quit his job as a middle school teacher to move to Japan and study Aikido.
    He created the blog where he teaches others how to go after their own dreams while he continues to honor his own childhood dream to become a ninja.

    Before I met him, my life was going nowhere.
    It felt like nothing was working out and and I had no purpose.
    I was unhappy with my job, I graduated with an associate’s degree for a career that I didn’t even want because it felt like something I “should” do instead of what I wanted to do, I didn’t feel like I was living for myself.

    I didn’t know what I wanted out of life.
    I was unhappy and reached a crisis point.
    There was nothing happening in my life and I felt stuck.

    Then I found Izzy’s blog and after reading a few of his posts and learning about his story, I decided to take a chance and email him.

    I poured it all out to him, how unhappy I was, how much I blamed everything and everyone that got in my way of my hopes and dreams and how nothing ever works out the way I want it to.

    Then I got a response back where I got a good talking to and he set me straight.
    He was honest with me, and it was something that I needed to hear.
    He took everything that I had said and broke it down, showing me that it was the excuses I was making for myself that were holding me back and my reaction to many of the situations I described to him.

    He said he wasn’t a fan of excuses and it made me pay attention to my own life.

    After that email, I started to become aware of my own life.
    I started to reflect on this person who quit his own career to travel from L.A. to Kyoto, Japan to study the martial arts. He was unhappy with where he was in his own life and decided to do something about it. He showed me that if he could make that much of a difference in his own life and find his own meaningful purpose in life, then I could do it too.

    I subscribed to his blog, I downloaded free reading material and worksheets, I studied an online course he put together himself, we talk through skype and exchange emails once in a while.

    I have started to reflect on my own life and what I really want to do.
    I’m learning to develop a growth oriented mindset, how to create goals and break them down into manageable action steps, I’m learning how to pay attention to where I am now and where I want to be in five years.

    He’s teaching me how to be honest with myself.
    Sometimes he’ll call me out on something and tell it to me straight.
    I appreciate what he’s taught me.

    I hope to one day meet and thank him in person.
    He’s shown me that I can chase a dream and make it possible.
    His blog changed my life, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
    Now I have goals set to become a writer and cartoonist.

  68. avatar
    Arsalan Safdar

    I want to share my experience of my teacher, my mentor, Adnan Saeed. He is teacher of accounting but during class he is not limited to accounting, he provides more to the students. He teaches beyond the line and include other topics such as art of learning, social responsiveness and develop your passion to your work whatever you do and very unique learning through ” third eye concept” i.e, identify the real colors of surrounding instead of glasses you wore.

  69. avatar

    I had an amazing professor last year who believed in me and my abilities, who also happens to be at the top of her field, an advisor on one of President Obama’s committees, and the person the BBC calls when they want to know the lastest research in the field. Bonkers! I was so blown away, and she was so lovely and helped me to figure out that I am most likely not going to be at the top of that field overnight, but that I can be successful beyond what I dreamed of in ways I had never thought of. Oh. And I aced her class.

  70. avatar

    [Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years?]
    I want to say you Ramit, but that may not add you value. So let’s stick with a similar vein – Timothy Ferriss. Why, it’s actually the challenge-the-status-quo mindset of Ramit, Ferriss, Rogan, Asprey, Kagan, Halpern, Veynerchuk, even guys like Bryan Harris that reassure me that you can do anything, don’t be afraid of hard work, there is no shortcut to mastery – but there is a simpler way to look at how to do every small step along the path. He and all these guys have introduced me to their mentors within their work, both explicitly and implicitly, which has opened up a whole world of this thinking and learning for me. It’s awesome.

    [What was your life like BEFORE you met this person?]
    I thought it was good. I thought I was living a rich life, I thought I was in control of my own destiny, on the path to a 4 hour workweek and working ON my business instead of for it. I even thought I had a great work-life balance. I thought I was healthy (I was 94kg with a “jolly beer gut”) I was wrong.
    I was doing 60+ hours a week in a day-rate bunch of consulting roles – for one consultancy to many companies. I was trying to fit quality family time (yeah – that’s actually how I used to look at it) in and around my work, constantly on (phone, laptop, in-work-mode etc).
    I got to the point where I was doing more, but felt like I had no time to do anything else.

    [What was your life like AFTER? How did they help you change yourself? Be specific!]
    Initially it was reading 4 hour work week, but the biggest changes came from 4 hour body, which apart from losing 15kgs in 10 weeks, keeping it off, and having an amazing amount of healthy, sustainable energy (physically and mentally) has helped me understand that living and learning go hand in hand.
    It was then from following Tim, being introduced through similar networks to the others and as this post points out – finding out who influenced these people, I discovered the amazing missing lessons for my life.
    More recently I have come to the brutal realisation that setting my mindset on what I what I want to achieve, what I want to spend time on and enjoy, is just as important as doing the tasks.
    Now I can take a weekend (or 2 weeks in Bali, which was awesome) with my family and just switch off – guilt free.
    Some other items that have caused change:
    Zero based calendar (thank you Bryan Harris) to remove the disappointment or guilt around missing tasks, not spending time appropriately, or enjoying “spare time”.
    Customer based mindset that readings like Jay Abraham and Ramit’s material (I’m in ZTL), which move us from me, me, me first, to THEM. Success is a by-product of other people’s happiness. Solve their problems, make them happy, you will win.
    Pressfield’s The Art Of War, what an awesome find (Thank you again Bryan) and a book that I recommend to everyone who is creating content.
    For the next step in that process – Robert Greene’s Mastery, has helped me to understand that I don’t need to strive to be an overnight success, but starting something you enjoy and working at it, you will become legendary.

  71. avatar
    Amber Kane

    I shocked myself with the first answer that popped into my head. One of my co-workers, strived to get me fried during my first 3 years of teaching. This kind of tension and pressure, and everything else that it created, spurred me to work harder, become better, stronger, and to start my own business. So while she didn’t inspire me to become like her, she inspired me to be the exact opposite.

  72. avatar

    Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years?
    My former boss – she employed me after a long bout of unemployment, she believed in me, she got my skills developed, she went all yelly ans scary before the department was downsized and we got chopped but as she had the power, unlike my other mentors at work, I have to say she was the biggest impact.
    What was your life like BEFORE you met this person?
    I was unemployed, in stop start entry level jobs and was losing confidence fast.
    What was your life like AFTER? How did they help you change yourself? Be specific!
    By getting specific work experience related to my passion and skills, I was able to get confidence in myself. I am now also getting at least telephone interviews for other jobs at a more professional level, I have a folio of work to show, I was given autonomy, people asked my advice there so it gave me a taste of what I am really capable of given the chance. I was cut but not stressed, I am working and know there are jobs that don’t suck out there and I can do them.

  73. avatar

    The dude who taught me meditation real good. Havnt met him, can’t meet him anymore.. S N Goenka

  74. avatar
    Ricardo Siller Cárdenas

    Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years?

    Zan Perrion is one of the persons who I admire the most and I’ve had the opportunity to share moments with him throughout these years. Before meeting him, I had very constrained and superficial notions of personal relationships and life in general. But after meeting him and after having read his book, I started to see other dimensions in people, specially in women, that I would have never seen in other context. I am very glad having knowing him personally.

  75. avatar

    Get to the point much?

  76. avatar

    I learn something new every day: it’s , not .com. Sorry for the error–

  77. avatar

    Sometimes saying that you admire them and how they inspire you in your own successes is enough for a mentor.

    There are some that gets annoy when you over-admire them.

  78. avatar

    Ramit, even though I’ve never met you, you’ve made a huge impact in my life. See, I used to be ok with things in my life. Here are some of my thoughts from before I started following you:
    -I’m average
    -I’m set in my ways
    -If I do things well enough, maybe change can happen, but only if it comes to me

    The way in which you question everything you believe in to build something you want have certainly influenced me. I challenge assumptions nowadays, from silly ones to bigger ones. An example is when I told myself “I am not a morning person.” Turns out, when I build a routine, I can be a morning person, do my workout, accomplish more during the day, have more energy.

    This put a LOT of control on me. I am just starting my photography business to earn money on the side, using simple techniques you’ve shared and things are happening because I dared questioning my situation. You’ve empowered me and I am able to be more confident and I’m able to accomplish more in my life, because I don’t just let things happen anymore.

  79. avatar

    Huge influence on my professional career and perspective: my father-in-law. He taught me that in order to have a chance at succeeding at the game, you MUST first at least understand the rules. For example, if you want to get into a great school, you better understand what other applicants are doing – like getting SAT tudors, doing extracurricular activities, etc, because that’s how the game is played. This advice was significantly contrary to my own upbringing’s Laissez-faire perspective, which tended to favor naive notions of just making it up as you went along, hoping for the best, and regarding the advantages your competition is pursuing as pretentious and contrived. I learned that your opinion on those things is irrelevant, just like a football coach regarding a particular type of hot new offense as pretentious and contrived; his opinions mean little if he gets destroyed by the other team. I learned that if I want something, I better understand what is being done to get it right now by my contemporaries, and best them at it. Or come up with something even better. This lesson can be applied to many aspects of your academic and professional life: getting into that great school, getting that great job, getting that promotion, etc. If you don’t do your homework and understand the market, you’ll get eaten alive, or be left behind. That’s what my mentor taught me, and its helped me big time.

  80. avatar

    When I was newer in sales, and afraid to charge too much (taking the coward’s way of selling on price), I had a sales manager who continually told me that I was worth more, that people wanted to do business with me, that I had value and could command the higher prices. His continually drumming that message into me (and practicing it himself) gave me the courage to raise my prices and start making real money. Success built confidence and then more success, and I never looked back. Our relationship did not last a long time, as I had other sales managers since. But that was the one most lasting, significant mentor connection I ever had.

  81. avatar

    Who’s had the biggest impact on you (personally or professionally) in the last 3 years? Personally, it would be a man that I dated for three months who owned his own business. Literally EVERYWHERE we went, he would introduce me to about 3-5 different people. These people weren’t simply acquainted with him, they stopped and chatted with him and wanted to get to know me as well. He lived in Vail and Denver, had remodel projects between several cities and he was running his business entirely on his own. So…actually in a way he has impacted me professionally as well.
    What was your life like BEFORE you met this person? Before I met this man, I was working in a job I hated with what I thought was a “career-building path” in the fashion industry. I was living paycheck to paycheck and saving very little, spending just as much. I didn’t love the city I lived in and was a superficially happy person.
    What was your life like AFTER? How did they help you change yourself? Be specific! After I met him, there was a real depressing shift in my perspective of myself. I began questioning if I had any real guts…or more specifically, if I had guts to start, grow, and learn from my OWN business. I studied his behaviors to see how he connected and engaged with people.
    When he broke it off with me, I had to be honest with myself that there was no way I could keep up with him at my present state. I had to change my entire perspective. I ended up quitting my job and moving to Denver; not directly as a result of him, but certainly he was one of the main pushes to get me out of a place I didn’t enjoy. I started reading more creative-focused magazines like Houzz and Dwell, discovered Marie Forleo (how the hell have I missed her awesome stuff all this time?!), through Marie I got onto the IWT blog and started following Ramit… My life is much different than one year ago. I’m not as “set” financially and business-wise as I want to be, but I’m certainly closer than I was and expect to be MUCH closer next year.
    So, thanks gorgeous man who swept me off my feet, stepped on my heart, and helped me grow personally and professionally because of it. It worked better than either of us could have planned.

  82. avatar

    Neil Strauss: Taught me how internal changes and self development can change your perception of reality and make you naturally attractive to others

    Maneesh Sethi: took my productivity to an nonparallel level compared to any other point in my life. As a senior while attending an Engineering school I played NCAA volleyball, worked a professional internship, financed a $26,000 senior design project, wrote a thesis for a German degree, graduated and found a career I enjoy everyday….without his work only a small fraction of that year would of been accomplished.

  83. avatar

    My good friend Pat – We met while working for the same company over 3 years ago and he helped me to realized how much I wanted to start my own business and be my own boss. Since then he has continued to push me and hold me accountable and I was finally able to quit that job a month ago. New business is in the works 🙂

  84. avatar
    Shane Blick

    Ben Whitehair has been one of the most influential people in my life by far. Before I knew him… I was cocky, self centered, egotistical, a taker, among other things that didn’t serve me. He has led me into a world of love, respect, service, and an overall positive outlook. I am so grateful for him because now I am on a path to doing what I love.

    He’s also the one who turned me onto your blog 😉

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    Hayao Miyazaki. Before I heard of him and saw his movies, I didn’t think I could fall in love with paintings and anime in a way I do now. He really makes beautiful films. (It was a dark time).

    After, I bought the DVD and made good memories with my family watching his films…and he helped inspire a little more detail in my own drawings and stories…

    All in all, I wouldn’t be the same person. I’d probably be a little angrier or something otherwise haha.

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    Aubrey Marcus has introduced me to a number of great authors: Dr. Chris Ryan, Robert Greene, and Carlos Castaneda. I quickly became away of power games that had been kicking my ass all my life. Quickly communication of my ideas because the least of my worries, and now I can honestly say I have a new vigor and enthusiasm towards relationships. I applied the knowledge, but he lit the fire.

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    For me 3 authors:

    1. Stephen Covey: really inspiring with his 7 habits. It turned my life from the first page…It is so basic but so deep you will actually start to apply all the knowledge in no time. I now take decisions faster and easier, focus better at my job and stress is no longer a problem.

    2. Josh Kaufman: his simple view of business is so good that you understand the basics with no effort and you can apply the knowledge either if you are starting a business or if you are working for some one else. Really recommend his book Personal MBA.

    3. Tim Ferris: he gave me a great toolset to hack my life. From better sleeping to easy cooking!

    Ramit: you really changed the way I looked to my personal finances. Started right away with your system recommended in your book. Also your cold and clear way (sometimes raw brutal way) to highlight “mental barriers” is awesome and gives me every now an then a good “slap” to wake up from the daily “noise of life” and focus on my goals.



  88. avatar

    Frankly it’s these “invisible scripts” that are holding you back. You don’t need to meet someone to understand their achievements and absorb their philosophies.

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    David Chilton. I remember being at a networking event where he was the keynote speaker. I was walking out of the bathroom and almost ran right into him. Instead of saying anything I just stared with a start-struck gaze as he seemed to flawlessly glide right by me. Then the moment passed and DAMNIT! Missed opportunity.

  90. avatar
    Andrea F.

    Hi, you are not alone. I never met anybody like a mentor in person. I am following Ramit and Tim Ferris, robert Kiyosaki and some older speakers (coaches) like Brian Tracy for example from whom I learned a lot already. I miss somehow to meet somebody like them in person. 5 minutes would give me a big kick. But I don’t give up. I am always open to meet new people, to observe the world around me and learn from everything.

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    Thank you for introducing me to Tim Ferris I am now listening to his audio.

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    Chris Johnson

    Neil Strauss. from break up to monthly goals in personal development/ constant improvement. pretty good book list to.
    That lead to Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi: efficiencies, systems, minimum effetive dose. mental barriers and again personal improvement
    Kelly Starrett. Mobility, simple, short, understandable,
    Between These ‘Role Models”/ long distance mentors i get a phenomenal amount of content and resources through their books and blogs. Plus they all have awesome reccomendations on other interesting/smart people to check out

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    I would have to say my biggest influence was my father. He was a single parent/immigrant from the Philippines who started as a welder and worked his way up to a buyer at an industrial gas company. He put me through 4 years of college and my sister through tutoring and swim lessons so she could graduate with a swim scholarship to a University. He tragically passed away from a heart attack when we were both in our senior years, but I have so many stories about the things he taught me, and feel blessed every day for those lessons. I think the most important thing I learned from him was how integral self-care is for self-reliance. One summer, I was working two jobs to save for school – as a receptionist during the day and a yogurt shop employee weekends and evenings. It was exhausting, and one night, the owner called me at 10:30pm as I was closing up to ask if I had flushed all the machines. I told her I was never trained to, but she said she’d have to walk me through it and she’d call me back. I called my dad to let him know I’d be late coming home and I started to cry. “Are you crying?!” he said, and I told him I was just so tired and didn’t know how much longer I could do this. “Listen to me,” he said, “You come home right now or I’m coming down there to get you.” “But she’ll fire me!” I said, “I need this job!” “You don’t need ANY job that makes you cry,” he said. “You come home right now and we’ll figure something out.” I hung up, left the owner a note, and never looked back. To this day, that lesson has stuck with me.

  94. avatar
    Five Favorite Internet Finds – Friendors Consultancy » Friendors

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  95. avatar

    When I moved to New York I felt so tiny in the city’s life mode: speedy, crucial and incredibly competitive. I needed someone’s advice, energy and support. Gary Vaynerchuk crushed it. He has a great impact on my life. Incredibly inspirational and energetic. He has a YouTube channel, shares a ton on useful information, runs his business with so much passion!
    Tim Ferriss: hustler who brings joy, wisdom, confidence and positivity to my life.

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    Oh man, there is one man who stands out above all others in my whole life who helped me learn something that has changed all my relationships and actually saved my job once.

    My friend John. He helped me learn the lessons of Gratitude and Non-Violent Communication.

    Before I met him I would get angry with things I couldn’t control, frustrated with my life and with myself for not saying what I want to say when I got into situations (like you said, I’d think of 20 things later but be tongue tied when met with confrontation).

    After he started helping me with this aspect of my life I honestly had, within 6 months, someone tell me that they couldn’t imagine me not happy and smiling. 6 months earlier I was depressed and on the verge of quitting my job and leaving Japan (where I still live now).

    Changed my life forever. And I really think that men need to have mentors, we learn so well from seeing others walk the path before us. Book learning can’t do that, we need that personal connection, seeing someone we admire and respect and wanting to be like them. Being willing to do anything it takes to be as calm or as confident in situations when we now feel powerless.