Find out more about the Millionaires! Why did they get involved in the show? What did they hope to learn? How did they think it would change their lives?
How did you become a Millionaire?
After a successful career as a financial advisor, I began getting asked to deliver motivational and business-building talks for corporations, colleges and youth groups and became very successful giving around 2,000 presentations (still do speak a lot). Because of that success as a paid speaker, numerous aspiring, beginning and experienced speakers asked me to teach them how to do the same. So several years ago, I also became a business marketing coach and created what is now called "The #1 Big Money Speaker Training" for anyone who wants to wants to make a difference and get paid for sharing their life story, experience, advice and how-to information.
Is there anything that would surprise viewers to learn about you?
A big part of my inspiration in life comes from my sister Vicki who died from a brain tumor. Having the chance to spend quality brother-and-sister time with Vicki during the last few months of her life, was the greatest blessing God has ever given me in my life. My experience being on Secret Millionaire and having my heart and soul impacted by the amazing givers and servers I met on the show, is the second greatest blessing I've ever received!
Why did you want to be a part of the show?
Actually, I did not want to be a part of it in the beginning because I had a preconceived belief the show would hurt people and not represent them in a positive manner. However, after the producers flew to meet with me at my house, I realized the true essence of the show and that we could serve, help and recognize, not only the amazing heroes on the show, but millions of other real-life heroes who are making a positive difference in their communities. Many people have their "hope tanks on empty." This is our chance, through Secret Millionaire to help make those "hope tanks" full!
Was there anything you were hoping to learn about yourself?
Originally I thought I was going on the show simply to be a guy writing checks to some deserving people. But I quickly realized it was much more meaningful than that. I met some of the most amazing, beautiful angels who are serving and helping others simply because they just want to help. From them, I learned the true meaning of sacrifice, dedication and love for others and they taught me that "Rich Is More Than Money!" It's called Secret Millionaire, but the people I met in Gary, IN are the true heroes.
Check back after the episode for more thoughts that James had on his particular episode.
We also talked to James about his experience after filming the show:
What surprised you most about your experience as a "Secret Millionaire"?
That I was actually giving much more than money. I was really giving the recipients hope, belief and recognition, and that means more to me than the money I gave.
How did you feel about the experience living "undercover"?
It was tough living undercover, trying not to reveal my identity. Whenever someone would ask about my background, I turned the focus to their organization and the great work they were doing. I almost slipped-up once when I slipped into "James the business guy" and started teaching Coach Tony how to ask for donations. The producers got concerned and took me aside to let me know I was about to blow my cover! Ooops! Sorry, when I see a friend who needs help, I have to step in.
How did you feel living on such a limited amount of money for a week?
I first learned that I would be living on $44.66 for the entire week when I arrived in Gary, IN and entered my apartment. At first I panicked because that's not something I've ever done before. But then developed a strategy for making it last...and it worked!
Has your life changed since this experience? In what ways?
Every person I met while volunteering for the different organizations in Gary, IN made an impression on me that will last forever. They all taught me that "Rich Is More Than Money" and taught me a new meaning of the word RICH: R, Relationships are everything; I, Inspire others with your actions; C: Contribute and serve others; H, Have a happy mindset
Do you have any suggestions or advice for someone who wants to become involved in helping their community?
The greatest gift you can have is when you simply give to others. You can give money, time and skills. There's no better feeling in the world when you know you've made a positive difference in lives of others.
Any other final comments you'd like to add?
I am forever grateful to everyone at ABC for giving me this beautiful experience that changed my life! And, I am forever grateful to every single production staff person who worked so hard before, during and after my week in Gary, IN to translate my Secret Millionaire journey and experience into an episode that truly conveys the essence of my time with the beautiful people I met in Gary.