10 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Jamie Dimon

Learn how JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon catapulted himself to fame and made Chase America’s top bank. What can you learn from his life adventures?

Are you familiar with Jamie Dimon?

You may not know the "King of Wall Street" by name, but you probably have seen or used at least one of his company's financial products.

Jamie Dimon is the president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co, an American multinational banking and financial services holding company headquartered in New York City.

Since his appointment to that position in 2006, Dimon has been instrumental in helping the bank weather many economic storms.

He's also influenced the way all other banks treat and deal with their clients by upping the ante on consumer expectations for advanced technology and superior customer service from big banks.

Most of us can find something to learn from Jamie Dimon, a man who has amassed a net worth of over $1 billion.

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As one of the most respected bankers in the country, he also served two terms on the board at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the organization that oversees banks and acts as the bank of the US government.

Read on to learn how Dimon's life and business philosophies have helped in shaping a robust institution and building a bright future for Chase Bank—and how you can apply the same lessons to impact your life and finances positively.

Jamie Dimon's Top Life Lessons

1. To find happiness, put family first!

Yes, Dimon has amassed over $1 billion in wealth.

But from appearances, he seems to have cracked the code for happiness, too.

However, surprisingly, he didn't do it by putting money first.

In one interview on CNBC, he said:

"I put family first, my country second, and JPMorgan, literally, last."

Let's take a look at how you can apply Dimon's life philosophy to find greater joy and fulfillment in your own life.

Treasure your weekends. Dimon makes it a point to avoid black-tie social affairs and instead carves out time on weekends to spend with his wife, three daughters, and two granddaughters.

It's perfectly okay to devote 40 hours a week (or more) to your career. But don't forget to unwind and nurture your spirit by spending your free time with those you love.

Learn from your family. The greatest lessons begin at home.

With a stockbroker grandfather and father, Dimon no doubt learned a lot about Wall Street from his family when he was younger.

Maybe you, too, have followed in your parent's footsteps with your career choice.

But even if you chose a different path, you could still learn from your parents and grandparents, as well as from younger generations.

(We bet Dimon is learning as much from his young granddaughters as he did from his wealthy parents!)

2. Surround yourself with a support network, and someone will always have your back

Spending time with your friends and family means you are building a supportive network of people who will be there to provide love, care and compassion when you need it most.

Dimon's family, along with close friends and the Chase board of directors, helped him through his battle with throat cancer in June 2014.

"I was blessed with the love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues."

Don't be afraid to ask for help. When Dimon was first diagnosed with throat cancer, he immediately called his board of directors.

They told him not to worry about the company, but to focus on healing.

Knowing you have people you trust who can step in when you need a hand is crucial.

Put your health first. When Dimon first discovered swelling in his throat, he dismissed it.

We get it—many of us would do the same.

But when it didn't go down after a few days, he visited a doctor.

He still believed it was nothing but thought—why take chances with my health?

Then Dimon got the bad news: throat cancer.

He scheduled chemotherapy and radiation treatments immediately.

His quick action helped keep the disease from spreading and led to a positive long-term prognosis.

It's an inspiring cancer survival story for us all.

3. Embrace the art of being likable (because no one makes it to the top alone)

It seems Dimon doesn't need to work hard at being an all-around nice guy.

He proved it to the world when he spent 90 minutes with a college student who had requested time with him as his "wish" from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The advice Dimon gave to finance enthusiast, and fellow cancer survivor Sean Korpal reflected a common thread that runs through the highly successful bank executive's life.

"The people at the top usually don't get there on their own," recalls Korpal in an interview about the experience.

Even if you aren't a well-known executive, find ways to help others, learn a few jokes to lighten any mood, and practice making others feel relaxed by being comfortable with yourself.

Look for opportunities to volunteer. As the CEO of a major bank, people want time with Dimon.

Maybe you don't have people asking for your help.

Or maybe you do.

Say yes and try and help them whenever you can.

Not sure where to start?

You can find ways to volunteer in your community through your local Lion's Club, Chamber of Commerce, or Rotary Club.

Find events that will help you connect with others while making a difference in your community.

The more people you encounter in positive settings, the more chances you have to practice being likable.

Be willing to share your wisdom. No matter your field or life experiences to date, there is always someone who would be happy to learn from you.

You could speak during Career Day at your child's school or help students learn to read at your local library.

People will appreciate your effort, especially if you take the extra step to help them feel comfortable and treat them with respect as you teach.

4. To make lifelong connections that will put you on the path to success, focus on a solid education

Want degrees? Dimon's got them.

Aim for the best schools. Dimon was fortunate enough to attend a private school in New York City as a boy.

He then moved on to Tufts University and Harvard Business School.

Certainly, the connections he made at these prestigious universities helped pave the way for a successful career in finance.

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Even if the Ivy League is not your speed, make the most of your education by making your ideas known and networking with professors, staff, and students.

Make your schooling count. For Dimon, his diplomas meant more than just pieces of paper documenting an Ivy League education.

During his years studying for his degrees, he made vital connections in school and leveraged those connections to land valuable jobs.

During one summer at Harvard, he worked at Goldman Sachs.

Years later, he now sits side by side with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein as one of only a few bank chief executive billionaires and one of the wealthiest people on Wall Street.

Whether your college days are long behind you or you are just entering school, never stop learning.

And surround yourself with peers you can learn from.

One day they may be able to learn from you!

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5. Find positive mentors to propel your career forward

If you haven't caught on to the Dimon theme by now, here it is: We all need help from others.

Look to your family and friends. Once again, family and friends play an important role in the lives of those who have enjoyed—and earned—success.

Dimon's first mentor was his dad's friend and business associate, Sandy Weill, who took Dimon under his wing. The two remained friends and associates for 15 years.

Show your willingness to learn. Once you've identified and connected with a mentor, show them you are worth their time.

Dimon wrote a college thesis about a business deal between Weill and Dimon's dad.

He used that paper to catch Weill's attention and then to get a job at Weill's company, Hayden Stone.

Afterward, Dimon worked for Weill at American Express, turning down better paying jobs to stick with his friend and mentor.

He later followed Weill to Citigroup.

Sadly, Weill eventually fired Dimon, stating he was too ambitious and was not yet ready to be Citigroup CEO.

But years later, the older finance executive said he regretted the decision.

But for Dimon, there was no looking back.

6. Love what you do, and it will be easy to be the best

Like most of us, Dimon's career has had ups and downs.

His belief that he always made the right career choices has kept him going.

Maybe you are working the career of your dreams.

Maybe you're in a career but not sure if you love it.

Or maybe you're still deciding what you want to do.

Follow Dimon's formula to keep pushing toward your dream's discovery.

Weigh your options. When Dimon was fired from Citigroup, he took 18 months to decide what he wanted to do.

Chance and connections originally led him to a career in finance.

Now, he had a world of possibilities in front of him.

"I just took out that old white pad," he says.

"Maybe I want to be an investor.

"Maybe I want to be a teacher.

"Maybe I want to write books.

"Maybe I want to stay home and be with my kids when they're growing up.

"I thought about all of that, and I was very open-minded about it."

Whatever career you are in now, it's never too late to reconsider.

Figure out what you're good at. If you choose a vocation you aren't good at, you probably won't have much fun.

We all have our talents.

The key is choosing a career that matches your natural skills and abilities.

Dimon says:

My craft is financial services. Right or wrong, that's what I know, and I'm pretty good at it.

7. Choose a career where you can make a difference and find greater fulfillment (and, potentially, more money)

What Dimon likes best about his position is that it gives him a chance to build a better world.

JPMorgan is the best I can do for my country

Recognize and support those you work with. Dimon's role with JPMorgan gives him the opportunity to employ people, pay them well, and provide them with excellent benefits.

In 2018, Chase invested $20 billion in its business and employees.

Over the next five years, the firm plans to raise wages and open new branches.

Perhaps you don't control the purse strings where you work, but you can still let your co-workers know you appreciate them.

A kind word, a quick "let's connect" lunch, or helping someone out with a project can help with your own success.

Do what others won't (or can't). As CEO of Chase, Dimon has introduced programs to help entrepreneurs in under-served areas.

Detroit's Entrepreneurs of Color Fund helped 30 minority-owned small businesses with $2.75 million in capital in just one year, aiding recovery in the struggling city.

Then, Chase expanded the program to San Francisco and New York's South Bronx.

Maybe you don't have that kind of money (or influence), but you could change the life of a student, a retail shopper, or anyone else through your chosen job.

Look for opportunities to improve the lives of those around you.

8. Weather any storm with grace and confidence and it'll be smooth sailing from there

It hasn't always been smooth sailing for Dimon.

How he handled himself in the most tumultuous of circumstances, however, supported his eventual rise to the top.

Keep things in perspective. When trader Bruno Iksil, aka the London Whale, it caused Chase to lose $6 billion in trading shares by manipulating the market with credit default swaps.

Translation: Insider trading looked bad for JPMorgan Chase and its leadership.

Market Capitalization of JPMorgan Chase from 2010-2016

Later, Dimon and other executives were implicated for setting up the London Whale as the fall guy who would take the blame.

Even after this huge debacle, Dimon recovered.

He did so first by admitting the mistake his company made—going as far as characterizing the failed strategy as ""flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed, and poorly monitored."

It takes guts and an iron will to get past a failure so severe.

Even if you aren't at the forefront of an international scandal, keeping situations in perspective is a good way to find your bearings, dust yourself off, and start moving forward.

There may be times in your life when you'll need a financial helping hand or have to rebound from a career setback.

Remember: There is nothing so bad that you can't keep moving forward.

Take a broader view. Watching Lehman Brothers fail was the scariest thing to happen on Wall Street, according to a Jamie Dimon interview with CNBC.

He took it to heart because it affected not only Chase employees but the U.S. and even world economy.

Dimon is a man who can see the big picture.

If you want to make a difference in the world and prove your worth to those who sign your paycheck, look beyond yourself and find ways to positively affect those around you.

Focus on the positive in any situation. Don't get us wrong—Dimon was worried about the London Whale.

He called the London Whale "the stupidest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been a part of" in his annual report to shareholders.

But Chase still showed a profit.

The organization showed its strength.

"When the going got tough, we learned what the people of JPMorgan Chase are made of—and they made us proud," Dimon said.

The London Whale incident may have sent lesser executives into early retirement.

But Dimon kept it in perspective, choosing to focus on the way JPMorgan employees displayed strength and resolve in handling the situation.

The main takeaway here is: don't give up when things go wrong. Instead, use it as an opportunity to tap into your inner strength and notice the good in those around you.

Learn from your mistakes. Most importantly, Dimon took the London Whale situation as an opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

He learned to ask the hard questions as a chief executive of Chase.

And he learned to fight complacency in banking and how not to go along with the crowd.

He learned to implement appropriate controls to prevent such a disaster from happening again.

We may not be billionaires, but we have all made mistakes we can learn from.

9. To earn what you're worth, be indispensable

In 2013, Dimon was awarded an additional $20 million in compensation.

This was on the heels of the London Whale scandal—the year JPMorgan paid $20 billion in penalties to federal authorities.

And, yet, under the chief executive's leadership, JPMorgan still generated substantial profits and saw its stock price grow by 22%.

It would have been virtually impossible for the JPMorgan board of directors to fire Dimon after the way he kept Chase not only afloat through the scandal but flourishing as well.

And that is why he is America's highest-paid bank CEO today.

You, too, can earn what you're worth by doing your job against all odds and make yourself indispensable to your company.

Be the best at what you do. Not only did Dimon keep Chase afloat through tough times—he increased the bank's profits.

How can you improve your performance at your job to become "simply the best"?

Have faith in yourself. A cool $20 million sounds nice, doesn't it?

But it wasn't exactly Dimon's for the taking.

Dimon's base salary was actually $1.5 million (okay, still nothing to sneeze at).

The rest of the money came as restricted stock.

Dimon received $18.5 million in performance share units, which vested after two years and three years.

If Dimon didn't believe in his abilities, he might have turned down the offer.

Instead, he kept doing what he was doing.

In 2015, he earned $27 million, most of it in performance share units, according to a filing by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That was the year JPMorgan Chase earned nearly $25 billion in profits.

Now, Dimon is a billionaire.

He took a risk, bet on his own talents, and it paid off.

Have more faith in yourself and your potential. Ask yourself: what risks can you take in your career that could lead to a positive windfall?

10. Take on the projects others may shy away from—and you'll find yourself leading the pack

Dimon has never been one to walk away from a challenge.

Don't be afraid to be the underdog. In March 2000, Dimon took over Bank One, a failing Chicago bank.

By 2006, Dimon had made Bank One profitable enough for Chase to buy it.

A year later, Dimon was appointed Chase CEO.

All because he wasn't scared to board a sinking ship, confident in the knowledge that he can save it somehow.

Know when to lead. Prior to joining Bank One, Dimon was fired from Citigroup for his ambition.

He wanted to be CEO, but long-time friend and mentor Weill didn't think he was ready.

After being fired from Citigroup, Dimon didn't shy away from a challenge.

He chose a position where he could be a leader with no one in his way.

Look outside your industry for insights. Dimon's latest challenge? Helping Chase grow organically.

With $1.31 trillion in customer deposits, the bank cannot get larger through acquisitions alone.

So the chief executive is looking to friends for advice and an effective business model.

(And now we've come full circle about relying on others for help.)

Dimon has been talking to his buddy, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, to learn how to help Chase deliver products and services quicker, better, and faster than anyone else.

Chase already offers some of the best rewards credit cards in the business.

We can't wait to see what further improvements Dimon will make to America's number one bank.

It's time to be more like Jamie Dimon

Now that you know how Dimon has achieved health, happiness, and success, the burning question remains.

How can you use these tips to become a billionaire?

Wealth of Billionaires Worldwide in 2017

We can't promise you that Dimon's sage advice will bring you an 11-figure salary (with bonuses).

But why not aim high and model your next steps after one of the most successful men in business?

Have we missed any significant life lessons based on Jamie Dimon's own career history?

Let us know in the comments below!

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