That Doesn’t Inspire Me

Uncle Pennybags character from Monopoly as a mural on a brick wall

“I run a seven figure business.” This is the line that had me turn off an episode of a podcast three minutes in. I won’t say what the podcast was, but it was the first episode I’d started listening to and this line told me I didn’t want to listen to anymore.

The host was talking about how she’d set big goals and this was something she’d achieved. She went on to talk about other goals she’d achieved and they all seemed to revolve around how financially successful she was (“without any experience”). Yuck.

I have no problem with people making money (as long as they do it ethically), but how financially successful you are (and that means something different to different people) isn’t what matters. What matters is the kind of person you are the contribution you make to society (including through your business or with the money you’ve made).

I listen to podcasts and read books for three reasons – be entertained, be informed, and be inspired. It’s a really good podcast or book that hits two of the three, and an exceptional one that hits all three.

BrenĂ© Brown, James Clear, Glennon Doyle, Shonda Rhymes, Todd Henry, Chase Jarvis, Simon Sinek, and Elizabeth Day are just a few of the writers and / or podcasters I admire who write about things they’ve accomplished, but never in terms of money.

Shonda Rhymes makes a lot of money. She talks about how successful her shows are in terms of the number of people who work on those shows and how amazing those people are. She does not talk about how much money she makes.

Glennon Doyle has had three best selling books. She also runs an organization that helps individuals and families in need. She talks about money only in terms of how much her community donates that goes to help others.

You will not inspire me by telling me how much money you or your business makes. My goals revolve around being a good person, a good parent and partner, and contributing to the world in a positive way. Yes, money is important in the sense that I use it to pay for food, shelter, and, well, books. Money is important because it lets me contribute to causes that help others. Beyond that, I just don’t think money should be a personal goal.

How much money you make in your lifetime isn’t something that makes for a good legacy. The kind of person you are and what you do to help others, whether with money or not, are what will matter.

Featured image courtesy of Sean Davis under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

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