Money doesn’t equal SUCCESS; the focus isn’t on earning money but on building something that matters.
When I set out with my podcast back at the end of 2017, I compiled a few questions for my guests. One of them, and the question I always ask first, is ‘how do you define success’. To my positive surprise, not one guest so far has mentioned success would mean money.
I am going back a few years, mainly when I worked in start ups and full on sales roles, that money was the main motivator for me. It was about ‘retiring at 40’, something I didn’t manage, and which was to a certain extend illusional. How could I imagine making that much money by just working for a start up rather than founding one? Money was all I cared about at some point and it was important to own things. Anyway, that changed for a variety of reasons.
With me being past 40, not retired, and I slowly but surely realise that money isn’t everything, I wanted to find out what success is made of. Success for me is about my family, having a secure income and progressing with my career. Personally, it is about making a difference and creating something that lasts. And this is reflected in the answers I got from most of my podcast guests. It is the long term game, staying in a job, making a positive difference, and passing on my experience. It’s about helping others to achieve their aspirations.
If I start comparing this wisdom to the one of my podcast guests, I am surely not alone. What I find even more amazing is that the younger start up entrepreneurs also didn’t set out to become rich but their sole motivation is to create something that matters and makes a positive difference to their industry or the world even. Of course they make money on the way, and the idea of selling a business is not about not having to work anymore, it is about launching the next thing. Money becomes a by-product of success.
This explains why successful people carry on to have more success and do not stop until they become even more successful. But it is this drive to succeed that spurs them on. Just look at Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, it is all about creating more meaningful things, making this world a better place. To quote Steve Jobs along the lines of “you cannot buy anything if you are the richest person in the graveyard”, sums it up. You could become rich and being able to afford nice things, but on the other hand, you never get rich if you don’t create something meaningful. And that’s probably where many people went wrong, focusing too much on earning the money, rather than creating something meaningful.
I have this dream that one day, maybe in a different life, I am setting out with an idea, like a proper entrepreneur. And I would create something meaningful, that ultimately lead to something bigger and something that creates value people want. Maybe my podcast is the beginning of a media company, a content creation company, for which one big media house might pay me one day. But I didn’t set out to start a podcast to make money but to create value and help people to learn from entrepreneurs, successful people, and make a difference.
So for you out there, who want to be successful, find a passion and go for it. Create something meaningful and make a difference in your industry, your line of work, in something you are interested in. Focus on having fun and enjoying the process of creating. Money will follow if success is there. And, as many podcast guests and I philosophised about, you might be a lot happier too.
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