To find harmony and balance in our lives, we may need to implement changes. That may mean doing what we want, rather than what everyone else expects. Is your career like a high-speed airplane flight, carrying you ever farther from what and who you love? Have you subscribed to the myth that if you work doggedly now, that you will find satisfaction later? That the money you will earn will be the answer to all your problems?
Perhaps it’s time to gaze from your high altitude seat and observe the world passing by far below. Are you missing out on anything important? Are you missing any important stops? Or are you actually heading in the direction you want? If so, relax and enjoy the ride. But if you sense some discord in your speed or direction, perhaps it’s time to ask what you could do to be more satisfied now.
Is it possible you could be more satisfied now by realizing how prosperous you already are?
Is that next promotion, or that extra money that you are going to earn, or that new client you are going to take on, really going to bring you that much more satisfaction? Or is it going to be taking you away from those things or people that are most important to you?
If just for a moment you would be willing to say, “More money won’t bring me happiness,” you could look at that new promotion or that new job with all the travel and say, “Hmm, what’s really important here?”
A friend said once, “There is one thing a company can never give back to you, and that is the time you give them.”
There is a trade-off in any job. You are trading time for money. Is the extra time you’d have to spend if you take that next promotion really worth the extra money that you’d receive? Will more money really solve your problems? Will it really bring you more happiness?
Life is about choices. We don’t have to live on automatic pilot. We can question some of the beliefs that we hold that keep us on the same old path.
I have a client who worked at a large and fast-growing company. She had worked there long enough to amass a large portfolio of stock options. These were available to her when she quit. However, if she worked until January, three months away, she would receive another $50,000. If she stuck it out until July, she would get $115,000.
I did a long-term retirement calculation for her. It showed that if she retired in January, she’d run out of money at age ninety-four. If she worked six more months and retired in July, her money would last to age ninety-seven. She had three choices. She could retire right away; retire in January and be home for her kids when school ended; or wait until July 31 and collect the extra $65,000.
She told me, “Well, that extra $65,000 would be nice. I think I’ll stick around until August for that.” She went home and told her husband and two kids that she was going to stick it out. She told them it would really make a difference.
She went back to work. Within weeks, she was frustrated and upset. She called me and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done. I’m ready to move on. I want to be with my family.”
She resolved to quit her job and leave by January 31 and forfeit the extra $65,000. But she didn’t tell her family about it for a few days. One night at dinner, she let it slip out that she had decided to quit.
Her kids dropped their forks and said, “What did you say?”
She said, “Well, I’m going to quit at the end of January because I really want us to spend the summer together.”
The kids leapt up from the table. They ran around to their mother. They grabbed her around the neck and kissed her. They were ecstatic.
She had no idea how much those six months meant to them. She was heartbroken that they hadn’t expressed their disappointment earlier that she was going to work longer, and she was deeply moved that they wanted her home.
Maybe more money is not what we want in life. Maybe it is about those close to us throwing their arms around us and appreciating us for being with them, for sharing our lives with them now.
Maybe we should be investing now in the pursuits and relationships that are dearest to us, rather than putting them off because of concerns over money.