The life-changing lesson I learned from Warren Buffett

The life-changing lesson I learned from Warren Buffett

Source: This article was originally published on CNBC.
Written by: Courtney Connley, CNBC Make It

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is known not only for his sage investing advice but for his personal advice as well.

This experience I had with Warren Buffett changed my career forever. We were seated next to each other at a mutual friend’s dinner party. Though I had met him a few times before, I was still thrilled as I imagined an evening listening to the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ opine away.


But no, just as we were about to sit down, Warren looked at me slyly and pulled from his pocket an egg timer, which he dramatically set for 15 minutes. Placing the egg timer between us, he told me that’s how long I get to talk with you before I lose you to your partner on your left. And not a minute shorter!

We chatted until the buzzer sounded, signaling that it was time for them to turn to their other side. Then, when the 15-minute timer went off again, he turned to and said, “Goodie, you’re back.” Warren Buffett is known to be very nice. He was also the most important person in that room — and yet, he made me feel like I mattered as much as he did.

The egg buzzer encounter with Buffett reminded me of Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

After dinner, I started to think more about how I made people feel when I was in the “power seat. Did they feel heard? Seen? Valued? It’s a galvanizing question, isn’t it? Even if you’re not the boss, entering a conversation with humility makes you more of a person, not less.

It also makes you more generous, more human, more understood — and more respected yourself. It’s a simple mind shift, but transformative in all the right ways — thank you, Warren Buffett.

And if you want to incorporate this habit into your own life, you don’t even need an egg timer to do it.

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at [email protected].

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