Money - we keep score with it, we attach self-worth to it and bench mark against it. People spend their entire careers in its pursuit, yet, rarely experience the corresponding happiness from its realization. Yet we continue to make life decisions based on a number and our belief that the bigger that number, the better. But, that is not the honest reason we need money. We may want money to affirm our self-worth or purchase the things to which we attach happiness. But, the honest reason we need money is for security.
Let me first be clear, the pursuit and acquisition of money is not the issue. What is of issue are the sacrifices made and the stories we tell ourselves as we doggedly claw at every dollar. The definition of security might be different for you, but mine is simple. I want to make sure we have enough money to provide for our kids and that they never have to provide for us. It would be nice to have a little extra to experience the world, but even that is a want and not a need. I did not always have this view of money. I spent much of my career involved in the chase. Maybe it was maturation or a brief moment of self-awareness, but I recognized that as I focused on my own remuneration and found “success” the less satisfied I was in my career. I also felt further from things I liked to do and did well. I was trapped in the belief that true achievement was attached to a number. Oddly, every time I approached that number it would grow, the finish line would move. Human nature dictates that the more you have the more you want.
Working with a true sense of purpose, a clear vision for the future in alignment with your values.
I want to encourage people to change their definition of success. If you can free yourself from the tentacles of the pervasive nature of our typical relationship with money, you may find true fulfillment. The working definition of success I would like to posit is; working with a true sense of purpose, a clear vision for the future in alignment with your values. If you take the time to establish these guardrails and apply them to your next opportunity, rather than being wooed by the size of the compensation package, would the outcome be different? I would think in many cases the answer would be yes.
Take out a piece of paper and pen and let’s try this exercise. Don’t over think, just write down the reason you get out of bed in the morning. What drives you? What inspires you? Just write a simple sentence. Next, if you were clairvoyant, and you could do anything in your career, where would you be in five to ten years? What does success independent from the acquisition of money look like to you? Now, write down the traits you value. What would you want people to say about you when you aren’t there? These are not just the moral imperatives, but should include the things that are important to you. Things such as knowledge, humor, friendship and more. Sit with your answers for awhile and when you feel they are reflective of your true feelings, apply the attributes of your current position against them. How aligned are you? Does this change the way you think about your job or your future career? I would love to use the comment section below to have this discussion. Please share.
Success is working with a true sense of purpose, a clear vision for the future in alignment with your values, if you happen to get filthy rich along the way, good for you!
It is not easy to administer the test I just offered without a sounding board. Questioning and probing help to percolate the true answers to the surface. I would be happy to setup a complementary session to offer some of those questions and share more on my thoughts as to how to set yourself on the path of true success.
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Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Consultant and the Principle of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to help businesses and business leaders grow. He works to solve real issues, establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders and foster employee enlightenment.
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