Todd Millar is marking a refreshing new era in the corporate world grounded in humility and simplicity.
In May of 2005, transformative speaker, author, and coach Todd Millar was involved in a private equity transaction that yielded a profit margin of 700 million dollars. He was barely 40, and it was one of biggest deals ever brokered in the history of Bain Capital, a powerhouse international asset management firm. This was the crowning glory of an executive career driven by steely determination and commendable ethical practices. But, right then, during the celebratory gathering for the big sale, Todd Millar decided to walk away from it all.
Millar’s personal story is an inspiring tale of the guy next door who went on to have an extraordinary career. With no post-secondary degree he climbed the corporate ranks up to the high-powered executive realm because he possessed deep self-belief, unshakeable determination, powerful leadership skills, and a good-natured moral compass. However, what’s really revelatory about Millar’s story is that the truly rewarding journey began once his relentless outward success-driven one ended.
At a party in Boston toasting the landmark Bain transaction, a colleague walked up to Millar and uttered three life changing words: “It’s never enough.” That moment crystallized within him how his painfully complex struggle for success, including many personal sacrifices, had not filled an insatiable inner void.
“I made a choice to unplug and leave behind the executive rockstar style lifestyle of private planes, high class hotels, and black stretch limos,” the Calgary, Canada-based lifestyle strategist says. “The phone rang and rang and then it stopped. During that time, I reacquainted myself with my wife and kids and found a purpose in helping others. I started thinking about how my story could inspire others and possibly assist them in achieving their own goals and ambitions.”
Millar experienced what he calls the “golden handcuffs” which represents the addictive cycle of “it’s never enough” – being tied to the endless cycle of pursuing the next big deal, no matter the costs. Millar’s current life’s work has been devoted to helping people break free from this toxicity and have fuller, healthier lives while still staying headstrong in their commitment to their ambitions. All companies have core values its employees adhere to, but how often – while scrambling up the ladder—do executives neglect their own personal core values? Success shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of our health or the demise of our personal or domestic lives. In Millar’s world view, those should be our governing ideals. “It’s definitely a tough challenge to hold fast to our core personal values and really embrace them when we’re trying to keep up with the Joneses,” Millar allows. “But if you live by those values, you can have it all — both success and a full, healthy and balanced life.
Millar puts people back in touch and newly in line with life’s basics. His lifestyle philosophy is elemental and accessible; it combines emboldening self-belief tenets with fundamental “golden rule” ethos but it enriches this by looking at life holistically. “They’re really simple principals; it’s about maintaining a balanced life.” Millar explains. "You can have success, however you define it. You just have to make the right choices in your life to make it happen."
In the four years between leaving the corporate world and reentering the corporate fray as a speaker and coach, Millar had time to reflect on his successes and codify in simple and profound life-changing bits the principals that propelled his career. Pivotal to this introspective time and his methodology was climbing Mount Everest with his son. From that experience, he wrote the acclaimed book Boardroom to Base Camp (Blooming Twig). The groundbreaking bestseller draws parallels between the life and leadership lessons learned from Millar’s role in the $2.6 billion dollar Bain Capital transaction and climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp. Millar has also penned literally a game-changing book on the problems of adult bullying, children's safety, and overall respect in Canada's minor hockey league called Moron – Behind The Scenes Story Of Minor Hockey (Blooming Twig).
“I have discovered that by sharing the stories about my life in the business world and talking to CEOs, I can inspire others to have their own insight towards their journeys,” Millar says. “There is power in choice, and we often forget that and stay tied to the golden handcuffs. We have to remember there are different roads to explore and better balances in life, and those begin with the choices we make for ourselves.”