skip to Main Content

You Already Have It

Some fantasize “If I were rich, I’d use the money for good causes.”

Why wait?

Instead of putting off generosity until you’ve accumulated more assets, find a way to make a difference with assets you might be undervaluing.

You don’t have to be rich to start practicing the mindset. Generosity is the willingness to share what you have to offer with confidence that someone will be enriched even by your smallest contribution.

It’s a way of declaring “I will not wait on more abundance before embracing the life-giving power of what I can share in this moment.”

Nathaniel Smith,  Fellow at The Mercatus Center, wrote :

We all have two hands and a heart…ears?…these are all in high demand. Undervalued assets indeed.

On the surface, Smith’s words might sound like just another way of saying “Accept everything crappy about your life and never strive for more.”

But it’s the opposite.

If you want to GET more, you have to use what you already have.

The same is true of generosity.

If you want to GIVE more. you have to use what you already have.

The path to a better life always leads through a willingness to affirm something in your life that’s already worth building on.

Never Write Checks That You Can’t Cash: Career Edition

Here’s a career-building spin on the old principle “Never write checks that you can’t cash.”

Whenever you turn down a job opportunity, you’re writing yourself a check.

The amount of the check you just wrote for yourself = how much that company was going to pay you + any other perceived value you would have gained from the role (ie. knowledge, experience, and connections).

If you can turn down an opportunity, completely own it, never look back, and create more wealth or happiness elsewhere, then you’re writing yourself checks you can cash.

If you turn down an opportunity, find yourself wandering around in limbo, feeling anxious about how you’re going to pay your bills, and getting paid less or equal money to do something that makes you less happy and gives you less hope, then you’re writing yourself checks you can’t cash.

So here’s an example:

Let’s say you want to be a public speaker.

Someone offers you $300 to speak at an event.

You respond by saying “Nah. I don’t get out of bed for anything less than $1000 per talk.”

You just wrote yourself a check for $300 + the knowledge, exposure, and connections you would have gained from that experience.

Now here’s the question: can you cash that check?

By “cash the check,” I mean “afford to turn down the offer.”

Now since this concept varies from person to person, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out if you’re writing checks you can’t afford to cash.

1) Can I say no to the offer without stressing out over my ability to live without the money that was offered to me?

2) Do I have alternative options (ie. actual offers, not imagined possibilities) that offer better monetary or non-monetary rewards?

3) Am I willing to fully own this choice if the other possibilities I’m imagining don’t turn out to be what I’m hoping for?

Let’s go back to my example:

If you turn down the $300 and you find yourself complaining about not having enough speaking gigs or speaking income, you’re writing yourself checks that you can’t cash.

If you turn down the $300 and you’re now forced to take less money doing other things that make you less happy and give you less hope, you’re writing checks that you can’t cash.

If you turn down the $300 because you want to test the market and you’ve already made up your mind that you’re okay with losing the opportunity if they balk at your higher price, then you’re writing checks that you CAN cash.

If you turn down the $300 because you already have another offer that either pays you more OR offers you something really valuable that’s more important to you than the money, then you’re writing checks that you CAN cash.

This invokes consideration of Isaac M. Morehouse’s infamous three words: Compared to what?

The next time you reject or dismiss an opportunity, ask yourself “Compared to what?”

Some offers may be a long way from your dream, but they also may be a long way from zero. They may be a lot less than your ideal, but a lot closer than where you are now.

In the end, you have to go with your gut. If you know you’re going to regret saying “yes” to something, don’t say “yes.”

But whatever you do, don’t write yourself checks that you can’t cash.

The Difference That Difference Makes

Here’s what comes with the territory of being an individual.

What’s obvious to you will seem obscure to others.

This can be a source of great irritation and inconvenience in relationships.

It can also be a source of great purpose and power.

The difference is mostly a matter of decision.

In a talk I gave called “Dreams Don’t Come True, Decisions Do,” I make the following observation:

If everyone was inspired and irked by the same things as you, there wouldn’t be much of a need for you.

You can despise the differences that exist between yourself and others OR you can embrace those differences as evidence for the existence of a unique contribution that you’re here to make.

When others say “I don’t see things the way you do,” it might be more of an affirmation than an attack.

Another way to hear such words might be “I don’t see things the way you do AND that’s exactly why we need someone like you.”

I can only imagine how terrible music, art, literature, technology, and commerce would be if everyone was turned off and turned on by the same things as me.

It’s a good thing that we live in a world where there are people like you.

I hope you see it that way too.

Start with You

All help is self-help because no one can help you in spite of yourself.

There’s no mentor, teacher, coach, or professional contact who’s good enough to help you advance your life without your willingness to be receptive.

Inner resolve must precede outside resources.

Before you buy that book, program, or course, make sure you’ve bought into the work.

How to Be Taken Seriously

The best way to be taken seriously is by doing serious work.

Waking up and deciding “Today I’m going to start getting serious” is a good start, but it’s only the beginning.

A great brand requires trust, credibility, and social capital. And those things require time to build.

Dream big and aim high, but don’t forget to approach your daily work with integrity and persistence.

As Geoff Graham writes. “Incremental progress, made bit by bit over years of deliberate and sustained effort, is the most powerful force in the world..”

Back To Top