A few years ago I would drag myself into work every day, thinking “when I make more money I’ll be motivated and happy”.
One year however, it happened. I moved from my inside sales role into the big league, working with larger organizations and being responsible for larger sales.
That year I made triple what I was earning the year before.
Sound good to you?
Actually, I learned, refined and achieved almost nothing from this. Here is why:
1. Money wasn’t really my motivation
If you really think that earning more is going to get you out of bed in the morning and energized, my experience and 120 years of research says that this is dead wrong.
Money is simply a by-product of your passion, that you use to achieve other passions.
In fact, half way through the year I started to struggle to keep going. In fact I explicitly remember waking up one morning and telling myself “you make more money now, so get up… Nothing.
At this point I had to go back and revisit what actually motivated me – which was refining my (sales) craft, helping my customers achieve outcomes, and achieving my goals of home ownership.
My Learning: Make sure you continually revisit what your real goals and purpose are – and make sure they aren’t just the by-products of your true passion.
2. You Don’t (Think You) Need To Learn When Winning
If I think about the trend of my learning and improvement over the years, when I was earning a lower income, I was doing audiobooks every day in the car, reading often, and constantly refining my skills.
When I was achieving the money I thought I wanted, my mind felt like I was achieving my goal (which per the above wasn’t even really my goal).
I was winning – so I didn’t have the need, time or desire to keep improving.
The problem with this is that it is not sustainable. The year after I got a rude shock when the economy tanked, my customers got more cautious, and I wasn’t keeping my competitive edge up.
My Learning: Don’t think because you are winning that you don’t need to keep learning – in fact, when you are winning you should increase your investment in yourself to make sure next year doesn’t become hero to zero.
3. I Became A Slight A**
For a slight moment there, I started to sway toward the socially constructed vision of what people with money are like.
Precious about what they do and who they talk to (because my hourly rate was much higher now…) – which to an extent is logical in business but this was protruding into personal life.
The reality is when I was with friends and family, noone’s time is more important than the others. I felt just because I earned more I shouldn’t be treated the same way, or things should be faster, that I shouldn’t be bothering helping people do things.
My Learning: Don’t let yourself get swayed by money toward arrogance – learn from the truly wealthy people who give their time to charity and causes – not from the wanna-be’s.
“If you really think that earning more is going to get you out of bed in the morning and energized, my experience and 120 years of research says that this is dead wrong”
4. I Didn’t Plan My Finances
Ok, so you are probably still saying that money makes the world go around.
I admit that more income meant less stress (momentarily) around finances, but the other struggle was I didn’t have a plan to make the income sustainable, and spend it on the right things. We all hear about the sports stars making millions or dollars a year, and then being bankrupt the year they stop playing.
I was guilty of using the excess income to buy lots of things that we didn’t really need, and in the long run this was going to hurt me – our expenses were still 1-1 or more vs income. Luckily, I realized very early this would not be sustainable in the long run, and quickly put a budget in place.
I also realized that I wasn’t even using the income for the right goals.
My Learning: Put together a clear plan and structure around where your money goes, and where it should go – whether you are earning $1,000 a year or $1 million.
5. I Feared Failure
Having finally ‘made it’, I started to fear failure. What was going to happen if I fell off my high horse, what would happen if next year I couldn’t afford the same spending or the same spotlight inside my company.
The reality is, I have learned more in my life from my failures than my successes, and I should never have been worried about repeating this.
My Learning: Embrace the idea of failure, and experience it often – so long as you aren’t experiencing the exact same circumstances over and over.
In the end, I learned that it really wasn’t what I was earning that was important – and I would caution you on making this your motivation. Having clear goals, structure and mindset is a more important foundation. The money will then come, and with it, sustainable success.
Leigh is a millennial sales executive, blogger and entrepreneur, with a passion for sales improvement strategies.
If you care to trust more words of a millennial, take a look at www.Leigh-Fletcher.com where I have a range of sales-focused articles which have been published on various sites like Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Salesforce and more.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.