The Greatest Paycheck Ever

green plant on brown round coins

I REMEMBER WHEN MY FIRST $50,000 CHECK FAILED ME.

I was in my early 20s when I got it and I had never seen that much money before. Now, here it was, a $50,000 check made out to me, and it felt AMAZING until…

…just a few days went by.

It turns out the high didn’t last nearly as long as I thought it would, and the thrill of getting that money was quickly replaced by the fear of not being able to manage it well.

Some people might say my only issue was not having the right “money mindset,” or letting negative thoughts into my head, but I wonder if that’s true or not.

I totally agree that our mindset matters a LOT, especially when it comes to money, but I wonder if there was something deeper in my dissatisfaction, something tied to the limits of money itself…

You see, I also remember another time I got an amazing reward, but this one wasn’t delivered in dollars, and the results were totally different.

I was driving home from a client meeting when I got a phone call from a friend of mine. He’s a good friend today, but a couple of years earlier something came up that could have severed our relationship.

We hadn’t known each other very long at that point, but I’d scheduled a meeting with him at Starbucks because I needed to share something I’d been dreading having to say.

I really valued his friendship and I didn’t want to offend him, but he’d been making some very unhealthy relationship choices that I could see wouldn’t end well at all.

Someone needed to confront him about it or his relationship was probably finished. Talking with him about it was one of the LAST things I wanted to do, but he needed it.

So did I (more on that later).

The details are private but the results were public and dramatic. It wasn’t long after our meeting that his relationship with his girlfriend started radically improving. Then they got engaged. Then they got married and had a daughter (and are thriving to this day).

Then, two years later, my friend called me to talk.

So, there I was on the phone in the car, catching up on life and work and family when he said it: five little words that rocked my world.

“Bro, you changed my life.”

I remember the feeling I got when he said those words, how big and bold and strong it was. I remember reflecting on our hard conversation and how I almost didn’t go through with it.

I’m so glad I did.

The truth is, just as much as he needed me to talk with him about his relationship all those years ago, I needed him to tell me I had really made a difference.

I needed to know that my life was really amounting to something, and that the effort I was putting in to helping people have fuller, more meaningful lives was really worth the cost.

I needed to know that committing my career to something more than money wouldn’t result in short-term highs that faded fast, and that the joy of making a difference would actually last.

It has.

In comparing these two experiences, I’ve learned there are some things whose value can’t be measured in numbers, but can be felt deep in the heart.

Not only that, but I’ve actually seen more positive results in my life from those deeper rewards than from any other financial gains I’ve had over the years.

Greatest. Paycheck. EVER!

Of course some people might see it differently. They might say money is enough, and that the answer to the fact that the thrill of getting money is to simply get more.

But I wonder, if that were true… Why are there so many miserable millionaires? Why do we see high-profile suicides from people who seem to have “made it”?

Why have I met people (and you probably have, too) whose net worth is always growing but whose self-worth struggles at the poverty line?

For that matter, why do so many lottery winners go broke so quickly?

Maybe it’s because money makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. And while it can certainly be a good friend, it makes a terrible lover.

Life change, however, is different.

When you can know for sure you’ve changed someone’s life for the better, it changes something in you.

It changes the way you see the world, the way you measure what matters, and the way you value people and experiences.

I would argue that a change like that is indeed the greatest paycheck ever, worth perhaps more than all the money in the world.

The good news is that if you want to experience a change like that for yourself, it will definitely NOT take all the money in the world!

It will, however, take a step. It will take a choice on your part to INVEST in discovering the deeper purpose in your work so you can do work that makes a difference and have a more meaningful life.

So, are you up for it? Are you ready to find a “more-than-money” purpose to give yourself to?

If you are, send me a message and let’s schedule a call to discuss how I might be able to help.

Who knows, maybe it won’t be long before YOU get your greatest paycheck ever.

The World I Want

mountain range under golden hour

I wept for the world today, but not because of today’s health emergency, though it’s certainly dire indeed.

I wept, not because of tomorrow’s economic outlook, though it’s definitely a great concern.

No, I wept for something else, something more profound.

Looking out from the second-story window of a nearly empty co-working space, I saw something in the lifeless street below me and it moved me. It moved me because of what it stood for, what the scene below me represented.

Emptiness.

I saw no life, no movement. I saw no children playing, no families walking, no businesspeople hustling and bustling towards their next meeting.

Emptiness.

I wept for the world in which my son and daughter may now be growing up: a world of more distance and fewer hugs, of less togetherness and more isolation.

I don’t want that world for them.

I don’t want that world for me.

I don’t want that world for you.

So let’s change it.

Let’s imagine a world together where on the other side of this life-changing crisis we CHOOSE to not only take steps that ensure our physical safety, but to invest in our emotional well-being as well.

Let’s work together for a world where we use our time, money and energy to not just make more income, but make more connections with the people around us.

Let’s decide that in both our play and our work, we will choose to live with PURPOSE and give ourselves to worthy things that are bigger than us.

That’s the world I want for you; a world where you do work that makes a difference.

That’s the world I want for me; a world where my life matters for something bigger than me.

That’s the world I want for my children; a world where the physical distance the virus forced on us moved us closer together in heart.

Opportunity Profit

white round wall clock at 2:25

“THIS is a total waste of my time…”

Ever feel that way about a task, like what you’re doing SERIOUSLY isn’t worth your energy?

Ever feel that way about a person?

I struggled with this for a long time because while I believe all people DO matter in a spiritual sense, I couldn’t see a way to reconcile that view with what the market wants: a way to calculate actual, measurable value.

Then I found it.

I discovered what I believe to be the simplest and most effective way to find measurable value even in those tasks and people that would typically be seen only as a liability.

It’s a concept I call “Opportunity Profit,” and I’d like to share it with you.

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We use the term “Opportunity Cost” to describe the price of giving up options in one area in order to pursue gain in another. But what about those actions we pursue where there appears to be only a cost, but no reward?

What about those mountains we climb that will NEVER get us any recognition or bring us any prize? What about those people we choose to love and serve who don’t have the capacity to love us back in the same way, or serve us in return in ways that matter to us?

This is where the concept of what I call “Opportunity Profit“ comes into play.

Opportunity Profit is what you get when you pursue something that has no measurable value in-and-of-itself, except the benefit of you becoming the kind of person who does it. 

It’s caring for a sick person as they die, not because it looks good on social media, but because it’s good for your soul and the right thing to do.
It’s choosing to serve a cause with no real hope of success simply because it is right, just and true, or because it resonates deeply within you as something you have to do.

These are things for which a purely economic model of the world has no place.

These are things the rational mind might see as a waste that should be eliminated if we want to maximize our return on investment.

But not everything in life (at least not for those of us who claim to be human) is about pure return on investment.
Some things we do because they make us better as individuals and make our species stronger as a whole.

I would say we do this because of the image of God in us, a reflection of a Creator who cares about the World He made. Yet, you don’t have to believe in God to see that sometimes goodness is its own reward because of the change it makes in US.

Opportunity Profit means maybe that venture will NEVER be as profitable as you wanted, but doing it for a while anyway will make you a better person along the way.  

Opportunity Profit means maybe that cause will NEVER succeed in the “big picture” of life, but in the story of YOUR life it will be a chapter you’re proud to share.

Opportunity Profit means maybe that person will NEVER become who you wish they would, but every time you choose to love them anyway is a step you take towards the person you were made to be.

The world is full of ways to calculate cost and benefit financially. Maybe, though, there are higher returns that can’t be measured in dollars, and the people who help us get them are truly valuable after all.
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So, what do you think? Have you seen the concept of “Opportunity Profit” play out in your own life?

What would you add or take away?

3 Kinds of Businesses

cracked brown concrete surface

Yesterday someone asked who will get through this crisis unscathed…BUT I don’t think businesses OR customers will come out of this ordeal without MAJOR change. 

In fact, I believe three kinds of businesses will emerge out of this crisis.

  1. 1. The FAILED business: These will not be able to make the shift that will be needed in order to connect with customers who have a whole new set of habits, hopes, fears and desires. They will simply go out of business.
  2. The FLEXIBLE business: These will pivot their strategy and tactics to meet the new expectations of their customers and adapt to the new normal. They may change their business model or even switch fields entirely, whatever it takes to be profitable. The downside is that in doing so they run the risk of losing who they really are in the process.
  3. The FOCUSED business: These businesses will remain true to their core Purpose because they know they exist for more than money. It’s this focus that will enable them to not only successfully change along with their market, but gain a HUGE amount of loyalty form their customers and credibility in their industry because they stayed true to their Purpose and kept serving their core customers well.

How about you? What are YOUR thoughts on the changes we’re all facing? 

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