I have received many questions in preparations for my AMA (Ask Me Anything) segment including these two questions: “When was that moment you realized you had made it?” Another of the same nature that asked “When did you know that it was ok to spend $300,000 on a car?” I figured I would answer both of these questions separately, even though they may seem similar to begin with.
For me, ‘making it’ had no relevance to money and while money is an important part of my life, and will always remain so; it will never be the aspect that defines my success or my purpose. Money is a means to freedom, but not the end goal. In actuality, money is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.
When you realize how easy it is to make money and how much leverage money can provide you in life, you simply understand that money is nothing more than a tool. A tool used by many to define their purpose or push their ideas or ideals forward with more velocity than ever before.
It is ultimately our way to gain acceptance in the society we live in as a voice to be heard or a person to be followed. I really break this down in the Third Circle Theory, as the core of Circle 2 for those of you who have read it.
When I bought my first Lamborghini in my early 20’s I believed then that I had made it, and that feeling only diminished, as the cars got nicer as the years passed. That’s right, I said diminished, as my first exotic car felt like an accomplishment and the rest rather simply another move on a horizontal playing field. None of the cars after the first made me feel more accomplished.
Over the years I realized that no car will ever rival the feeling that first car brought so perhaps the accomplishment wasn’t the car itself, but rather the idea of having hit that important goal that I had always given myself. I realized then that I could never consider myself in a position where I felt that I made it until all my goals were achieved and I lived a way where I utilized my full potential every day.
If you already are an entrepreneur then you already know that I am referring to the idea of constantly pursuing solutions to problems others can’t solve. The best part of being an entrepreneur is the journey itself, and rather never the destination or the rewards that come with it. The most satisfying aspect is the ability to conquer our fears, constantly step out of our comfort zone, and face failure with enthusiasm. While many may not understand why, it is simply because those things force you to become better in order to win, and that victory is only one additional brick to add to the foundation of your life, a life well lived, with purpose whose goal was to create value for those around you.
Understanding this concept early on made me realize that I could not consider myself done, or as some said as someone who has ‘made it’ without having achieved these three 3 things:
1. Disconnect my emotions from money: The more money you make, the less value it holds and the less your decisions are made because of it. This doesn’t mean you become more or less aware of money making situations but rather that your decisions and the directions you choose do not always have to be based on the return of money you get.
Being able to disconnect your emotions from money enables you to make better decisions and in most cases, those are the decisions that matter the most. Part 1 of freedom is simply to understand how to separate your logic from your emotional connection to money.
2. Create value for others through entrepreneurship: While I was in business since I was 15 years of age, I also didn’t undertake entrepreneurship till in my late 20’s. I never knew before hand that real entrepreneurship is about value creation, not money. Part 2 of freedom includes your ability to clearly understand how you can make an impact or a difference on those around you.
Your ability to be free also means a greater sense of responsibility in helping others around you get one step closer to their very own definition of freedom and that sometimes simply means facilitating someone’s life by just 1% more than they can on their own.
3. Always seek to see more: If money becomes the only measure of success then we are limiting ourselves tremendously by our growth only being based on a ROI. The most amazing thing about being free is that your ability to grow and see more of what you want rather is only limited by yourself. Part 3 of freedom means staying always open to seeing more and learning more, giving you an edge in continuing to grow something that many will never have “limitless perspective and awareness”.
Most people think that “making it” has a different definition for most people and while this may seem true from the surface of things, it isn’t. Making it has the same definition for all, but it simply comes with different stages we all find ourselves at during various chapters of our lives. These three stages are: money, fulfillment, and freedom and everyone will seek out the next once they reach the previous. The unfortunate part is many stay stuck on the first because they can’t see past themselves and never actually get to be free.