What do you want to be known for?

What are you building? Do you know?

People who try to make money rarely make very much of it.  People who have a reason to be in business that is bigger than making money, are much more likely to make a lot of it.  The right starter question isn’t, “What should I do?”, but “What do I want to be known for?”

What do you want to be known for?

As Raj Sisodia found in his book, Firms of Endearment, 28 of the Fortune 500 have declared to their shareholders that they are about something bigger than making money – they want to be know for something else.  You would think that might distract them from making money, but you would be wrong.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collin’s identified 11 companies that beat the S&P 500 profit standard by at least 300 percent. Raj’s 28 Giant Corporations that focused instead on something bigger than making money do 1,072 percent better than the average S&P 500 company.

This relationship between focusing on something bigger than making money and actually making a lot is even more clear with small businesses.  Why?

Making money is not an empowering vision.

People make money for two reasons:

1) Survival – survival is a very strong instinct.  It is not surprising that most people make just enough money to pay their bills.  And the only way that they can motivate themselves to make more is to constantly increase their lifestyle so they can ensure there is always more money going out than coming in. Staying in this cycle of poverty, even when you’re making millions, is a great way to ensure you will always be motivated only by survival. 

I have a former client who lives that way.  His house is beautiful and his cars are gorgeous, and he doesn’t sleep at night.  He is in survival mode all the time.  He bought the 80’s lie, “He who dies with the most toys wins”, and is a hostage to his business and his lifestyle.

2) Significance – An empowering vision – People who see money as a means to an end that is bigger than the toys it can buy are much more likely to make a lot more of it.

You should have as the objective of your work to move from SURVIVAL right through SUCCESS (the imposter of toys) to SIGNIFICANCE.

Time and money are just resources. If you don't know why you want them, it will be hard to get them. If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do with them? If you can't answer that question, you'll likely not get a lot of either. The accumulation of time and money is driven by how much clarity we have about the impact we want to have in the world around us.

What do you want to be known for?

I address this in Making Money Is Killing Your Business  as the key starter to building a great life or business. Answer that question and you’re likely to get up tomorrow a lot more motivated regardless of the economic climate.  And you’re likely to be a lot more successful because you have committed movement in a purposeful direction.

Find something more motivating than, “I made 6 percent more this year.”

What do you want to be known for?

Categories: Management & Leadership, Web Exclusives