As a part of being a good coach, Kitty has me reading more books than I’ve ever read before. I love reading, but rarely take the time to do it, until now (wouldn’t want to make her angry). Of course, most of the books I’ve read this year have revolved around helping me grow this business, as well as grow as a person. One theme that is very common in these books is teaching people how to become wealthy. As a way of validating themselves as an authority on success, many of the authors like to brag about how much money they’ve earned so you’ll sit right up and listen carefully to what they have to say (I don’t think they think they’re bragging, but they are). After reading these success stories, you can’t help but fantasize about what it must feel like to make $600k in a month.
I can’t help but think that reading this kind of material needs to be read with an extremely critical mind as it is not entirely healthy. What seems clear to me is that the self help movement commonly ties wealth accumulation to happiness in a one to one relationship, more money = more happy. You can check the titles of these books the next time your looking and you’ll read subtitles like, “Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness.”
If you’re not careful, you can even mentally start to exchange reading the word success with wealth, happiness with wealth, wealth with happiness, etc. And when that happens, an ironic twist takes place, instead of getting moved toward a successful life and business, you can easily start to focus entirely on the wealth you don’t have. You can move from wanting to grow something great, to pursuing wealth unto itself. You can change your focus from serving your clients, to how much money am I making. We can easily move into a mindset of resentment of what we don’t have, instead of gratitude for what we have.
I was inspired recently by a past client of mine who was offered a career position with an organization that he believes in deeply. To take this position, he had to walk away from his position with a Fortune 100 company and the great retirement package he had been working toward, which was less than 10 years away from being realized. The organization he was joining was not going to be able to pay him anything close to what he was earning, but he believed in the organization. He took the position and when I saw him last, the look on his face tells you he is grateful, he is happy, and he is successful.
Money is very important and strong earnings, maybe even significant wealth can be the outcome of a healthy, growing business. However, without developing personal values, specific focus, and a philosophy regarding money, money can undermine your satisfaction with life (and that’s not very helpful, Self Help Writers).
My Jerry McGuire Moment,
A Different Kind of Agent