Business… Money…Wealth… Control

In the last week I have had more conversations about money then I have about business. These conversations all started out veiled in business issues but they quickly manifested the true topic, money. Money is certainly bound up in the goals of business, but I find it also is the least understood. I am astonished by the numbers of young lawyers (and old for that matter) who have no clue how to read a financial statement, let alone understand what they mean. I am a pattern seeker. I feel most comfortable when I see patterns because that means there is a process at work. What is the process at work to allow so many men and woman to not “understand” the concepts and laws of money?

Teaching a person to read financial statements is like granting a driver’s license, does not mean they know how to drive. It just means they are at the beginning of learning. I don’t understand those who say they desire “money”, yet they don’t take the time to even establish a working “friendship” with the subject of their desire. Money, in our culture, is one of the most neglected subjects, yet so many have a desire to achieve it. We learn to play golf, tennis, pool, bowl, (insert your hobbies here) and we are proud of our achievements in these areas, but when it comes to money, we are mum.

I often have to explain that money is not wealth. You can have substantial amounts of money and not be wealthy. Yet people speak of wealth creation as if it is a magic number on a balance sheet. Millionaires go bankrupt all the time. A lawyer millionaire is not exempt either. In fact, I wonder how many attorneys actually achieve the “control over their money" that is the true definition of wealth.

If you focus on the money, you may become rich, but you will not be wealthy. The difference is found in control. You can only be wealthy when you control your money. I know a lot of rich wage earners. These men and woman have million dollar paydays each year. They are not wealthy. If they were to stop working, their lives would undergo radical change. The balance sheet may be in order with lots of zeros, but financials clearly show the money controls them. Wealth is not found in a number on a financial statement; it is found in the peace of mind that you are in control of your life and have the ability to follow your bliss. The “number” at which this is achieved is as varied as people’s desire.

In this week I have been engaged by individuals who have a drive to be wealthy. Individually their bliss takes them in different directions: buying a winery, an animal hospital, stock trading and software development. These conversations revealed a pattern I could not help but notice. These individuals are learning that despite numbers on the financials, they are not wealthy. Their money controls their decisions.

Businesses or people only fake wealth if they don’t understand the nature of money, and that the elements that create wealth are not all about the money.

Don’t do as you are told….do as your genius leads you. Then you will know wealth.