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Davis H. Taylor
The Business of Making Money
and What’s Wrong With It
If we are only in the business of making money, we are in the wrong business. If money is the object goal, we will fail, not only at business, but also in life. Sure, our bank accounts might be padded but a void will exist, one marked by emptiness, loneliness, frustration and perhaps even despair.
Many of you might identify with the above statement—or even agree— while others may believe it to be flat-out wrong. Some may suggest that money is necessary to live, that it is a requirement for subsistence, that it provides security and shelter, that it gives opportunity for leisure, comfort and fulfillment. In the corporate sense, many would argue that money enables companies to operate, is the measurement of success, and is the very reason companies exist.
While these beliefs are all founded on an element of truth, I believe this view is lacking.
The contrarian view does not suggest money is unnecessary or undesirable—it does suggest the conventional model misses critical truths. Relationships should be the end goal of businesses and life, and that as a result, financial remuneration will follow as just one component of the resulting rewards.
Consider this: If money is the end goal then our efforts will focus on how to make it, how to grow it, how to keep it. In that example, we inevitably revert to self-focus, we are tempted to compromise ethics, we tend to succumb to questionable motives and we are far too willing to “step on” others, neglecting their interests in favor of our own. While this path may lead to short term corporate success—or in the case of individuals, a full bank account—this way of operating does not bring sustainable, lasting corporate results, nor does it offer personal significance or meaningful success.
We are relational beings who thrive in community and who find meaning in caring, respectful, trusting relationships. These relationships cannot be adequately formed if we are self-focused, lack integrity, or pursue personal agendas that disregard the needs of others. Herein lies the folly of money as the primary goal: It causes us to push aside the values we, deep inside, believe to be true—values like integrity, compassion, humility, gratitude, greater purpose. Instead, money entices us to do whatever it takes to achieve financial ends.
There is a better way. Imagine a society where each individual was most concerned about relationships and in bringing value to others. What if we each were totally committed and completely engaged to lifting up family, friends, co-workers, suppliers, clients and customers? What if, instead of seeking to maximize our own wealth and status we were to labor to improve the quality of life and personal fulfillment of each person with whom we come in contact?
What then would be the result?
The contrarian view believes by focusing on others, by doing what is right (yet not necessarily profitable), by meeting the needs of employees, by exceeding client expectations, then we each would be rewarded handsomely with strong, trusting, mutually beneficial relationships that endure and last—and that financial success would follow as a reward, not as a goal.
Take a moment to examine your view. Do you believe that money is the goal or do you put relationships first? Now, check your actions. Do they line up with what you say your beliefs are? Does what you do reinforce what you say? What can you change today to evidence a value of relationships over money? What can you do to add value in the lives of others?
Consider taking the VBL challenge. See for yourself if an outward focus committed to raising up others and bringing them value doesn’t bring you more…more satisfaction, more respect, more joy, more trust…and yes, even more money. Try it for several months and let us know what you think. Maybe we all will be surprised by the results.