Life has its ways of working itself out. Things happen for a reason and coincidences are just moments you prepared for. There’s an old adage I love and it’s…


“Success is when opportunity meets preparation.”


Sometimes these opportunities are so freak in nature that it appears to happen just of out spontaneity.


This whole trip abroad I’ve been striving to meet really successful individuals. I’ve met a broad range of them that are successful in their niches and respects.


They were spiritual, emotional, and artistic, leaders that I knew I wanted to learn from. They provided countless instances of humbling insights that I wouldn’t have come to on my own and I am forever grateful.


However, because of my keen passion for business, I have been on the search of a business mind since I first set out on this mission of personal development.


With only two weeks left in my trip, my hope ran thin and I wasn’t too sure if I was going to meet the business mind I was looking for. Schedules are hectic and time is an expensive resource to share.


Meeting a talented individual is one thing, but getting them to sit down and talk to me is another.


When I was in Romania this past weekend, I was in a tight position. Summer, my classmate, was extremely worried post operation because of a hand injury she sustained in Greece. We were running out of luck trying to find an English-speaking Romanian hospital and that’s when Tim came to the rescue.


His demeanor was cool and collected. My good friend, Jason, actually helped connect both of us at the hostel we were all staying at. Tim was leaving the hostel that night to meet with the rest of his friends… that just happened to all be doctors as well.


Tim offered for us to catch an Uber with him to his hotel and that’s where it all started. I had an opportunity to talk to him from the ride there and for a bit in the lobby.


He turned out to be a humble, charismatic, and honest venture capitalist from Maine.


Who knew the unlikely event of a stranger helping my classmate and I with a slight medical emergency would lead to something—or someone rather—so great?


He was the influential business mind I had hoped to meet within the duration of my trip.


He went to America as a Vietnamese immigrant and was an extremely hard worker that is now at the peak of his career. His humble beginnings led to him earning a full track scholarship for university to graduating with an MBA and becoming a consultant.


I felt his energy emanating from him as he spoke of all the projects he was working on. Whether it was a huge hotel (like the Radisson Blu we were talking at) or the day care that served children a wide array of organic meals, he was so genuinely interested in building.


Building something greater than himself.


“It took me 17 years but I finally made it… The harder you work now, the easier it will be later.”


That fire in his voice is what captivated me. Our conversation as short as it was, was as if I was peering into a looking glass of everything I have ever hoped for.


Tim constantly stressed that after 17 years of grinding it out, he could finally say he’s made it. I loved this point because it stresses what many seem to overlook.


Great things don’t happen overnight. As straightforward as it seems, people have this innate demand for things to happen now. Especially, millennials like myself.


Coming to understand that the slow tedious crawl wins the race of life was extremely hard for me. I’ve been blessed with a life that offered numerous rewards in a timespan that seemed almost instantaneous.


It conditioned me terribly because all I wanted in my entrepreneurial aspirations was to see results—now.


I’ve realized the importance in investing long term, rather than in the short term.


Tim stressed that life works its magic when you work extremely hard at the start of the journey. The more invested right away, the easier things will be in the long run.


It is much easier to react to life than to plan for it. And sometimes solely hard work isn’t enough. He gave me the one piece of advice he wished he had as a young adult.


“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”


He emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals. If you wanted to have an influence over your income, look at the 5 people closest to you.


This isn’t to look at things just on a basis of money. It’s to look at the level of influence your circle has on you. It’s to realize that rampant growth comes with some dependency of those around you.


Again, it’s who you know.


If you really want to be good at what you do, you have to submerse yourself in that world. Meeting the people succeeding in that realm is the first way into it.


When your best friends become the ones, that love growing in a similar way that you do, exponential growth is possible. Tim talked about his constantly changing group of close friends that enabled him to navigate through the world by the reins.


He has consistently surrounded himself with extraordinary individuals that helped him grow into the financially independent venture capitalist he is today.


It shifts the focus from, how can I improve to how can we improve together?


Tim’s words were short, concise, and emphatic. He continuously repeated the concepts and made sure I understood them before moving onto the next topic.


“Keep it simple. If you can’t remember it when you leave, they gave you too much information.”


It all came together when he said this to me. He talked about how easy it is to overcomplicate things and how detrimental it is to whatever you’re pursuing in life.


Keeping it simple eliminates the constant doubts that may come up when you overcomplicate simple goals. Just as he made our conversation cohesive by focusing on simple talking points, our lives could be viewed in a much similar light.


It is not to be mistaken, simple does not mean easy.


Tim has worked and worked for the unsurmountable success he is thankful for today. It is when that exceptional work ethic meets the right people, as well as kept consistent with simplicity, that success occurs.


This brings me to my favorite point he made.


“Be an inspiration to others.”


There’s nothing more fulfilling than someone telling me that I’ve inspired, empowered, or helped them in some significant shape or form. Things go full circle in the world we live in today.


One of my greatest goals in life is to become a mentor to individuals that struggled as I did. I would be blessed with a chance to inspire them, just as Tim did for me in less than 30 minutes of his time.


May you inspire the people you cherish around you to do better, as much as you were inspired by the heroes of your life as well.