Last week's post about money and our usefulness to others sparked a lot of conversation and comments on the blog. It inspired me to think what money means to me and why do I push myself to achieve more in life. Is life about purpose or bucks?
First, full disclosure. I come from a perfectly average middle class family. We always had enough but we were never 'rich', not even 'wealthy'. I held well paying corporate jobs, and considered myself 'an independent' woman until having kids. Recent years I have let husband pay the bills. It was tough at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I could never be 'a lady of leisure' though, and making my own money is very important to me.
I've always been very good in negotiating my salary and standing up to myself getting the same pay as my male counterparts in the job market. In the past couple of years I've been building my own businesses and the logic for earning is quite different. You can stand up to yourself all you like but if you are not making the right decisions and learning the right skills, the bank account may remain in a miserable state.
There are of course other benefits to building your own company. You get to do something you feel passionate about. Some people may argue that following your passion should be enough and the only measure to justify your choices. But why can't I settle there?
Am I searching for monetary or spiritual riches? Both, is my answer.
I'd like to live in abundance. In abundance of love, of ideas, of beauty, of intellect. I'd like to surround myself with high quality people and products. I'd like to be able to choose exactly how I want to live, where I want to go and what I want to do. I think having some extra cash might be a good idea in that scenario!
I don't believe one has to choose either 'passion' and 'purpose' OR financial success. Do we have to pride ourselves of choosing 'purpose' over money? Does it make us more noble? Possibly yes, but I've set myself on a journey to discover if I can have both.
So why do I work hard? Why do I keep pushing myself? Why is it important for me to make some serious money?
I want to know what I'm capable of. I'm interested to know what I can do and what I can learn in life. Where can I get to? I'm interested to see where my passion takes me. I'm curious of my own capabilities. Money both measures and fuels my growth.
I want to make an impact. I want to be useful to the universe. I want to feel a sense of achievement. I want to help people. I want to make my work matter. I can multiply my usefulness if I have access to finance.
I want to earn my own money. I'm 'married well', so well that I could in theory become a lady who lunch. In theory. I would not be who I am, if I did. (And that's not the woman he married anyway.) Nothing is more rewarding than working hard, getting the reward and feeling good about yourself. Money is just a side product.
I want to learn. Money is a great test for me to see what I've learned. If I'm crap at everything I'm unlikely to make any money, right? I want to improve myself in all areas from interpersonal skills to selling on social media, and beyond. If I'm able to make better decisions for my projects and my company, money will be a natural measure of my success to improve myself. Would you agree?
I want to get to a new level. If my finances improve, I will be able to hire more and better people. I will be able to outsource skills I don't want to, or don't have time to, learn. I can basically use money as a catalyst for faster growth, both personally and for my company.
I want to make a greater impact. Philanthropy has never featured greatly in my life. Sure, I support the Kids Company and Battersea Dogs Home with a small donation every month and I pay for two girls' education in Nepal, but I'd love to do much more! I'd love to do more for women's empowerment. I know the day will come, but first I need to build up some serious resources.
I want to get to know new people. I'm interested in getting access. I'd like to know more people who have been through an interesting and successful entrepreneurial journey. I want to have Sophia Amoruso and Sara Blakely at my dinner table, and feel completely comfortable about it!
You can pursue your purpose and turn your back on wealth, and there's nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is to make an educated and aware decision. The other extreme is to chaise riches and never find your purpose or happiness. But I believe that there's a third way, one in the middle - to pursue things you believe in, things that make you thrive and bring out the best in you. And make money along the way.
Life is not about just settling for the cards you have been dealt, accepting your 'fate' or your current state of affairs.
It's not about being either rich or poor. We all start somewhere, some at the front some at the back, but we can all move forward. Life's about believing you can always improve your hand, little by little. And life's about learning to make better decisions for ourselves, for our purpose, and for our finances.
What is your view? What does money mean to you?
Please leave your comments below.
DrivenWoman 'Wealthy Woman Workshop' is on 4th of September. Join an inspiring evening where you can learn what steps you can take now to start improving your future wealth.