Show Me the Money…is That Success?

Darryn Fellowes, Wealth Adviser – Skeggs Goldstien

If you have ever seen the movie “Jerry Maguire” you may remember the now famous line “Show me the Money!” when Jerry is trying to convince Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell to retain his services after Jerry was fired for releasing a memo about the sports management industry.

Rod was yelling down the telephone to Jerry “Show me the Money!” with Rod eventually agreeing to retain Jerry as his agent. After many arguments and some good performances on the field, Jerry managed to secure Rod an $11.2M contract with the Cardinals to see out his playing career.

Whilst this movie is a romantic comedy with a love story intertwined in the plot, the phrase “Show me the Money” became widely used at the time. When reflecting back on that movie I considered the question…does money equal success?

Success is an interesting word. By definition success is being in the position of achieving and accomplishing a goal or objective. Being successful means we have achieved a desired vision or planned goal. The dictionary describes success as the following: “attaining wealth, prosperity and/or fame”.

One of the most important key steps to achieving success in life is to know the meaning of success for your personal life. From our experience in business and working with many individuals over time, success goes far beyond the common definitions of success. Things like having a lot of money, being powerful in business and having a lot of material possessions are not always a sign of success for an individual. In fact it can be quite the opposite.

True success in life cannot always be measured with the above factors, but can instead be measured by the amount of people that are able to live a better life because of what you created – such as your family. This is the meaning of success. Today we live in a society that leads us to believe that living a successful life means extraordinary wealth and having all of they toys and houses that go with it. But the true meaning of success is to live a happily life and to make this world a better place for everyone. Money doesn’t make everyone happy!

In the past when growing up I always held the belief that being successful meant having all the toys, a nice car, moving up the corporate ladder, earning a lot of money and providing lavish things for my family. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the good things in life but I no longer measure my success by it.

So what is important about success to you?

When working with potential clients for the first time we always ask this question at the outset because we believe that by focusing on an individual’s core values they have greater clarity in their decision making and a greater chance of meeting their objectives. Most advisers would initially start with an assessment of your goals. Whilst goals are important they don’t provide you with the big picture…the “why” behind the rest of the plan.

What are Values?

The idea of asking the success question is to uncover our clients’ values. Values are those qualities and principles intrinsically valuable or desirable to you. They have particular significance to you and the words you use to describe them give you an emotional high. Their fulfillment is what your life is really about…they are life’s emotional payoff.

From experience many people find it hard to express or even understand their core values. They have never had to think about the “Why”– the emotional payoff as described above. We always find these to be the hardest questions to answer but the most important questions to answer.

If you aren’t working with an adviser and want to better understand your values, below is an exercise you could undertake with your partner, family member or friend to help uncover what is important about success to you.

Step 1 – Working with another person (partner, spouse) have a pen and paper on hand and get your partner to ask the question “What’s important about success to you?” Your partner then records your answer on the bottom of the page

Step 2 – Your partner then builds on that answer by asking a follow up question substituting your last response for the word success…..”What’s important about (your last answer) to you?”

Step 3 – You then respond with your first thought, your partner records it and then they ask you the question again “What’s important about the (the value you last said) to you?”

This continues until you get to a point where you no longer have an answer. Some of you may not be able to get past the basic needs such as the need for food and shelter, others may get to “being happy” whereas for others they may realise that success is “living life that has purpose”. Again everyone is different.

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