As human beings, we’ve all made decisions that we are not proud of. It’s inevitable; We decided to operate in grey areas instead of moving into more black-and-white territory. To be candid, people have done that for millennia with hopes of getting “away” with it (though I believe you always pay for it in one way or another). The problem (or maybe the good thing) about today is that there is a record of everything and people are out here with the goal of putting the pieces together.
As I do my daily read of the headlines in the WSJ (until my $0.99/month trial period ends) and NYT, the same glaring story jumped out at me: WeWork’s CEO is double dipping. He allegedly bought buildings and then rented the space to his own company. Now, as smart as that may seem, in the era of such tight fiscal oversight, I’d strongly recommend checking with both an attorney and business ethics expert before making such a move.
Now, I’m sure a lot of people would say, “Well, when he started this, he probably didn’t know WeWork wold get this big so he didn’t think it’d be an issue.” And, to those people, I say “You’re probably right.” No one who is immensely successful ever knows that their ideas will take off like they do. But they hope. And that hope/faith/belief is what should drive your ethical behavior. When you begin your business, act as if everyone is already watching you. Act as if your name is on the front page of the New York Times. If you’ve made poor bookkeeping/ethical decisions in the past, nip them in the bud immediately and move forward with integrity. Because that is exactly what happened to WeWork. Don’t tell me you’ll have to learn the hard way, too.
Here’s a tip: If people tell you that you have enough money/power and you’re going the extra mile to get more, take a step back and look at how you’re trying to get more. Then ask yourself, “Would someone else see this as greed?” If the answer is yes, STOP!
Make learning from the mistakes of others a priority.
“It’s never ’bout the money ‘cuz I burn bread. It’s the principalities like Big Worm said” — Fabolous
Some people get so caught up with the dollars. I could care less about what my bank account said if I knew I lived in a nation that cared enough to make sure that I didn’t ever lose it all. I’ve been there and I can say that pursing happiness can be pretty tough when you can’t pay your rent/mortgage, don’t have health insurance, and are working a job you hate just to make ends meet.
Bankruptcy and poor credit don’t only affect those whose names they are attached to, but also the people attached to those names. Families get evicted, children lose memories as a result of going from home to home, and those things that could’ve grown to mean the world to a person end up in a storage auction never to be seen again. Or, worse, uninsured people enter a hospital only to be told they will be helped only to a certain level and, after that, they’re on their own. What makes any one human more or less deserving than another to receive quality medical care, housing, or nourishment?
America, if you take anything at all from this blog, know that it’s not about the money. It’s never been about the money. Money just provides security. But what if (imagine this…) community provided security? What if we didn’t let our neighbors slip through the cracks? Or if we buy things to fill the voids we created by not giving our family time? What if we taught integrity before integers? We shouldn’t be privatizing education. Actually, we should be doing the opposite and equally distributing the resources that elite institutions (private and public alike) have.
If we want to make America great in the truest sense, we have to teach love and empathy. Yes, we have to take care of our own households but who will really want to kill us when we show them love? Proposing a truce (within reason) isn’t weak in the eyes of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to a toxic school of thought. I am a vocal proponent of self-defense but let’s have a little faith in God’s ability to put the humanity in mankind. And, in our everyday lives, let’s exhibit that humanity. We should not let anyone be homeless or hungry. Our children ought not learn untruths that the school system teaches. We can change this world together, one neighbor at a time.
And if you think me telling you to love your neighbor is too political, you probably don’t understand the denotation of the word “politics.” But there’s a wonderful book someone put together once that’ll explain that to you if need be.
Make money an avenue to improve the world as opposed to a goal in and of itself.
What if we all invested 100% in what we’re supposed to? What if you believed in your ability to start that business instead of leaning on that job you hate? Or gave your all to your marriage instead of sliding in someone’s DMs? Or worked out 4 days a week instead of just using “I’m 30 now” as an excuse to let your health deteriorate?
Bet on what you said you believe in. We are called to do more than we actually do and this is the year that I call you do do exactly what you’re called to. Let’s actually commit. Write that book. Apply for that EIN. Go for that promotion or that new job. Save that defined amount/percentage. Invest in your growth, don’t spend on your survival. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself that you’ll do it. You won’t disappoint yourself because, even in starting, you’ll be further than you are now.
Make making the jump a priority.
Everyone thinks I’m living my best life. And I kind of am. I’m happy. I am building a business that I truly enjoy. I’m able to work on projects that I really care about. The seeds for greatness have been planted and I’m reaping the rewards. Super duper cool, right? Well, that’s one half of the story. The other half is that I miss benefits and stability and a regular freaking paycheck. Now, with that comes me having to manage my happiness. Sometimes, and let’s be honest, working for someone else sucks, regardless of who it is. But so does working for yourself. It’s all about perspective.
Had to preface the meat of the post with that paragraph to say that I am on the hunt. And the hunt is taxing. To everyone who is on it, don’t quit. Don’t doubt yourself. Touch up on the things that you don’t do well and enhance those things which you do exceptionally well. Not getting a particular role is a blessing. It opens up the opportunity for you to be able to take the role that will truly fit you. Keep grinding, keep pressing through, and, when you get that dream job, all the nonsense will be worth it.
Make keeping it real a priority.
Today, I helped one of my friends move and he gave me his card collection which he was going to throw away (no, we’re not 12 years old). He had a ton of baseball cards and, after looking at some and recognizing a few names, I decided I’d take a look at my collection when I got home. I also have some recognizable names.
I was chatting with Vince about it tonight and he said, “If each of your cards is worth $1, that’s $2,000 in your possession.” He’s right (and I know some of them are worth much more).
If you need money to start your business or anything else, before crowdfunding or taking a loan out, find a creative way to scrape the money together.
Make making ends meet a priority.
At the beginning of this month, I told myself I would knock out 60 miles. Sounds easy, right? Just means I have to average 2 miles each day.
I started strong and continued strong. I was top three on my Nike Running Club app leaderboard… until homecoming. Since homecoming, I’ve had trouble making a dent in my goal.
Yesterday, I told myself, “You have 10 more days until the month is over and 35.4 miles to run. You can do seven five-mile runs (give or take), four ten-milers, or a variation of the two.” So, I knocked out 5.5 miles and called it quits.
Today, I recalculated; 9 days with 30 miles to do. That’s three ten-milers, ten three-milers, six five-mile runs, or five six-mile runs. I had time so I did the ten.
Now, as I recalculate for the remaining eight days, I have greatly increased my chances of succeeding. I can easily run five miles four times between now and next Wednesday to hit my goal. Tomorrow, I may knock out ten and really increase my chances of succeeding.
How can you take this and apply it to your life? What goals do you have for this month or year that seem to have gotten away from you? Maybe it’s saving money. Maybe it’s losing weight. Maybe it’s knocking out x books. Don’t think about the fact that you won’t get them done. Figure out how you will accomplish them. Do the math, then do more than the minimum. Keep chipping away and, before you know it, you will have reached the goal.
Make finishing a priority.
Learn anything easily with this simple trick by Ephrat Livni
Last week, I posted about the importance of writing. Then, this week, a different go to source came out with another article talking about the importance of putting pen to paper. So, how about this: instead of sending that sweet text to your significant other, write him/her a nice note. It’ll strengthen your brain and your relationship.
13 Paradigm-Shattering Books to Open Your Mind by Anthony Moore
I’m all about reading and reading lists. I read ever day (probably more than I ought to) and that is what allows me to communicate as effecitvely as I do. If you want to be a better listener, speaker or writer, you need to be a more frequent reader. That’s a fact. So check this list out, pick a book, and let me know what you think of it. I’m planning to start on Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy.
20 Truths About Billionaires That Nobody Understands by John Rampton
Money isn’t everything but it can impact the quality of life you, yours, and those that you’ll never meet can have forever. So, while acquring mass amounts of it isn’t critical for living, it’s pretty cool to know how those who have done it do what they did.
Make professional development a priority.