Vision and Vitality: A Recipe for Business Success from a Farmer’s Daughter

One of the first “entrepreneurial” books that really lit my soul on fire was Feel and Grow Rich, a hard cover that I read  years after it was published, and — incidentally — before I  read or even heard of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Feel and Grow Rich was written by a woman entrepreneur, someone who understood other strong women, who refused to see limits, someone who never minced her words.  Someone who — I was confident— could indeed show me how to use my mind to get rich.  I devoured the book and read the author’s bio in near disbelief. Like me, Lee Milteer grew up in rural Virginia.  And while she had already been on national TV shows and was sharing the stage with people like Zig Ziglar and Ivanka Trump and Dr. Phil, she was still living local.

That very day, I called her office and introduced myself… and made my bold request:  that she mentor me in the ways of business… I TOO wanted to be an internationally known speaker and author.  Her staff gently let me know that this would not be a possibility, so I continued to read anything she wrote, listening intently to what she said… and learning.

I’d have to wait several years before our paths crossed again, before I bought one of her online programs and before we actually had the opportunity to meet in person.   It was only then that her recipe for success  — conceived in her earliest years as the daughter of a farmer and then fortified through years of personal and professional adversity — became apparent.

One of the first success ingredients she displays is that of a clear, bold vision. 

She never takes the path well traveled, yet always seems to know exactly what’s next, and where she’s  headed.  One thing I noticed immediately is that she always sees what’s possible and never seems deterred or challenged by potential obstacles. 

Now, Milteer wouldn’t easily  be confused with a positive Pollyanna.  She’s about profit and purpose and has both feet fully grounded in reality.   It’s not that she doesn’t see challenges, it’s just that she trusts herself.  She knows that no matter what happens, she’s got what it takes to persevere… and profit.

This “vision”  — the ability to see what’s possible, to see beyond obstacles and to see the unlimited potential in yourself — is part of what she shares with other entrepreneurs in her VisionQuest events —  which she makes sure to hold, at least once, in her hometown of Virginia Beach despite having a speaking schedule that still takes her all over the world.

Vision, of course, is easy when things are going well, when everything is going as planned, but what about when life — or business — throws you a curveball?

Lee Milteer knows a bit about that as well.   The woman also embodies the very definition of vitality, which is:  “the capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.” 

In 2001, Milteer was generating over $1Million  in income from her speaking and training business.   Her clients included big corporate brands that were household names. Life was good and many may have assumed she was at the very pinnacle of her — or any —  speaking career.  And perhaps — had life not thrown her a curveball — they may have been right.

But on September 11th of that year, terrorists launched a series of attacks on American soil and everything changed.  Corporations began canceling meetings and travel commitments.  Though they’d committed and signed contracts, everything was put on pause.  $1Million of secured business, gone. 

I remember 2001, and the days and months and years that followed the 9/11 attacks.  At the time,  I’d already danced with the idea —  the dream —  of becoming a speaker myself.  I watched many speakers who wrote articles about “waiting for the corporate world to rebound,” and “wait” is exactly what many speakers did.

But not Lee.

Lee‘s intuition, her “gut,” (and probably her southern upbringing) led her to completely shift gears.   Rather than sit back and wait patiently for the corporations who — frankly — had not proven themselves as very trustworthy, Lee pivoted quickly and shifted her focus, her brilliance, and  her message towards entrepreneurs, towards those like herself.

New books were written.
Her star continued to rise.
And the demand for her work grew.

She’s pivoted many times since then, of course. Each and every time, she’s both watched exterior trends or circumstances AND  tuned into her inner wisdom in order to  build a success that she loves.  Milteer’s willingness to trust herself (vision) and pivot whenever necessary (vitality)  has contributed to her longevity and increasing success as an entrepreneur. 

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