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.
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.