Money Isn’t the Point

Money Isn’t the Point

I’m decompressing from the World Domination Summit, trying to piece together the themes from this year, and understand what I’ll take away long-term.

The older I get, and the longer I’ve been an entrepreneur, the more I keep asking myself “what’s the point?” As in, what’s the point of goals we work towards, and accomplishments we hold up and celebrate in ourselves and others?

This can be a dangerous road. Sometimes you get deep into the meaning of life. I ended up in some deep existential conversations at this year’s WDS because of where my head has been. I think it’s a good thing, but it can scare some people off.

By orienting myself around asking “what’s the point” over and over, I notice myself observing which goals and accomplishments are at the center of conversations around me.

More importantly, I notice the goals and accomplishments that seem to be driving behavior and emotions in my friends, co-workers, customers, conference attendees and the speakers and leaders of a conference like WDS. I notice the goals and accomplishments that drive my own behavior and emotions.

The outward context of WDS is non-conformity, changing your life and the world around you, being your best self, and other noble goals, but the subtext I see is more aligned with traditional values: money, status, accolades.

Maybe it’s just who I hang out with. Maybe my perspective is just colored by what I’ve been thinking through. And I’m not singling out WDS here, it’s our sphere of entrepreneurs and world-changers in general.

But all around me, and inside my own head, I see anxiety, worry, and inevitable depression and burnout all happening because of two things:

  1. The comparison game we all play when around other ambitious people
  2. Alignment with goals that ultimately leave us empty

These two things work hand-in-hand, and fuel each other. The comparison game ends up taking place along a couple of dimensions: money and “more.”

Money is ubiquitous. In the entrepreneurship space, we’ve all read the public income reports from some of our more successful peers. These set the bar high, and most of us just assume the bar is what we should be focusing on. It’s the default “point” of it all. The One True Metric. Either you make a boatload of money, or you don’t matter as much as those who do.

“More” is subtler, but just as insidious. Maybe you’ve asked yourself what the point is, and decided money isn’t it. But without money to focus on, we all still feel the need to strive for more of other things that can be measured and compared against: more projects, more published content, more subscribers, more speaking gigs, more employees, more reputation. More, more, more.

Someone will always have more money, more customers, more subscribers, more [fill in the blank] than you. If these are what you measure, when will you be happy?

Now, this is the part of the blog post where you might be expecting me to offer up an alternative. If not money or “more,” what is the point?

I’m still searching for that answer myself. I don’t have the answer, but I’m leaning towards this: the searching is the answer. The journey itself. Working every day to get to a place where you know more about what the point is, that’s the point.

But if I don’t have the answer at least I know this: money isn’t the point. The reason we all make money our default comparison tool is that it’s easy to measure, and we assume people who have more of it are better than we are. It’s human nature, and it sucks. The comparison game makes all of us unhappy, no matter what the metric is, but especially when it’s money.

And I also know that no matter how sure you get that money isn’t your point, it will still impact you. You’ll still catch yourself feeling inadequate because so-and-so had some incredible product launch or record earnings month, or because some hot startup sold for gazillions of dollars.

I’d love to see this: no more income reports, no more launch revenue figures, no more bragging about anything money-related.

Instead, let’s talk about qualitative factors:

How much does what you do actually help other people?

How does your work make you feel?

How close are you to building your ideal lifestyle?

How close are you to making the impact you want on the world?

How close are you to discovering the real point, your real purpose?

Unfortunately, like the title of this post says, money isn’t the point, but we all default to believing it is anyway.

The next time you read about someone else’s success, or the next time you catch up with a friend about the projects they’re working on, observe carefully how you feel about the interaction. How much does money and the “more mindset” influence how you feel about yourself and your relationships?

How much does money and the “more mindset” influence how you feel about yourself and your relationships?
  or copy + Facebook

How confident are you that your happiness has nothing to do with how other people are doing, monetarily or otherwise?

And most importantly, what is your point?

How hard are you working to answer that question?

Because if you don’t work to answer that question, society and human insecurity will be happy to answer it for you.

The upside is, this struggle all happens between the ears.

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  • http://skintdad.co.uk/ Ricky Willis

    This is great, well thought out and insightful article Corbett. I wrote a blogpost a week or so ago which you may relate to?

    http://skintdad.co.uk/2014/07/dont-compare-beginning-someone-elses-middle/

    – Ricky

    • http://insideebiz.com David Coleman

      Corbett,

      Great post! I think for many people, as they get a little older (and wiser), they realize that it’s not money that makes them happy. After all, it’s not like you can take it with you when you get to the end of the road.

      I think a truer level of success and happiness can be achieved by focusing on how we can make a difference in the well-being of others. What’s the legacy we want to leave behind?

      In the end, people couldn’t care less about the size of our bank accounts. What they’re going to remember us by is how we touched their world.

      All the best,

      David Coleman

  • http://reinventingdave.com Dave Ryan

    This was the perfect post for me at the perfect time. It’s a struggle I have been dealing with lately and it I feel better knowing I am not alone. Thank you for the insightful post and helping me shift my focus in a more positive direction.

  • Chandra Achberger

    “the searching is the answer. ” YES!

    What Now? I’ve found myself asking that exact question over and over for the past 2 years. Worked my A$$ off my entire life (I love the hard work) found myself staring out the window of my dream home, with my dream family; asking, “What now?”

    I too was at WDS2014 and expressed this to many I came across. As entrepreneurs, we’re competitive by nature. It’s how we achieve (failure, failure, failure…) success. There comes a point though when the shoveling $h! @ ends and you realize that you are your only competition. You are the only one in your own way or not. It’s not about money and it never has been. It’s about TIME and gratitude for that time.

    So, no real answer here, but just a reminder that none of this is linear like we like to think of business and life. It’s all cyclical with converging circle and spirals from different parts of your life.

    I’m NOT a hippie. I’m not a hippie. I’m not a hippie. *whispers in her head*

  • studioscratches

    This is awesome! Thanks Corbett! Perfect timing as I have been reflecting on a recent launch and what it all means. I think its about having enough. Enough varies for everyone, but if we all had businesses that allowed us to be healthy, eat and exercise well, spend time with family, avoid a long commute then share our enough and help others by doing what we love, I think the world would be rocking.

  • http://www.artfulpublications.com/ Meg Sylvia

    This is a question I also think over pretty often. Sometimes I find myself wondering, well, if money and status and having nice things isn’t the point, why am I doing this?

    My answer is to enjoy doing work that I love for people that I really, really believe in and enjoy working with.To find out how much I can grow and learn and improve as I build a business that I can call my own. For the sake of knowing that I can become financially independent doing what I want, when I want, and how I want to.

    Thanks so much Corbett, for bringing up such an important issue!

  • http://alexbortolotti.com Alex B

    Hi Corbett,

    I didn’t come here for a while and I have to say that I’m really happy to read a such post. That’s very inspiring.
    It makes me thinking about the true nature of human beings and their purpose. I don’t believe we’re here to be in the rat race, however we have to (even lifestyle designers) in order to own more & more stuff.

    The cold truth is that we don’t own anything (even if we think so). Your home, your car, your phone… We use all of this for a limited time.

    You’re absolutely right. Money isn’t the point. For now, I believe that the point is to make people happy around us. Spirituality and self development are tools to achieve that purpose.

  • Nancy

    I find the monthly income reports inspiring and useful. Although money may not be the answer, its a key performance indicator that lets you know how well your efforts are measuring against their potential. For example, if you read that someone else’s niche site is generating $500/month using Adsense but yours is only generating $120/month, you can analyze the different performance factors and improve your site.

    In addition, keep in mind, “money IS the answer” for many people in the world. Money means security and the ability to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your belly. Until you’ve met those basic needs, you can’t even think about other measures of satisfaction.

    • http://www.kevinbradberry.net/ Kevin Bradberry

      The Fizzle guys don’t promote or teach Adsense as a means of being an entrepreneur. They preach about solving a problem for your audience. Adsense is the opposite. It’s a means of getting your audience to leave your site.

      Nancy, you’re saying money is the answer for basic survival and this is right (for most of the world). Corbett, however, is not talking about meeting your basic needs, he is saying that money is not the answer for determining if you’re doing the right thing with your life. It is not a worthy measure of success.

  • FellowHQ

    A delightfully honest post. Perhaps one solution is not to have goals but have systems. This is as recommended by Scott Adams (Dilbert cartoonist) in his book ‘How to fail at almost everything and still win big’. Good book.
    To give an example, a goal is to lose eight pounds of weight, which you may struggle to do and if you do succeed you’ll probably put it on again.
    A system is to live and eat healthily, so you’ll probably lose weight anyway and it will stay low. You achieve success by roughly sticking to the system. Otherwise you only achieve success by hitting your goal, anything less is a failure.
    And Corbett, I’m loving the way I’m seeing you maturing in thought as this site progresses, it’s a pleasure to see, it really is.

    • Faith Watson

      Thank you for reminding me about not having goals, having systems. I was just going to write on the topic for a client, what no one ever tells you about goals, and I couldn’t remember the source of that info. It’s so useful–really speaks to me. I should read the book.

      • FellowHQ

        You’re welcome Faith! It’s an interesting way to think – and could lead to more long-term happiness. Good luck.

  • Mike Power

    I ask myself a simple question; do I want to be John Chow? The emphatic answer that always comes back is hell NO! :)

  • COcowboy

    Look at the profile pic. Do I look like a corporate ladder climber? I hit the wall with basically this question at 44. I got off the ladder. The wife and I spent some years touring the country in a motorhome, and bought a ranch. It was quite a learning exercise but not in the way you might think.

    In some cases, I learned what I knew. Among those things was that people live by metaphors (I’m using metaphor to include metonymy, synechdoch, analogy, etc.). For example, some conduct their lives like life is war, others as if life is a journey, and most of us use both at different times. What if we looked at life as a dance or a work of art?

    Metaphors highlight different aspects of the two domains considered – the one you know and the other you don’t know but use the one you know to learn about it. The “Life is war” metonymy leads us to think in terms of things like win-lose, defending and attacking, shooting from the hip, captains of industry, lieutenants, strategy, planning, market share, territory, supply chain and tactics. Often, we think that the house, the car, the salary, the family, the bank account, stock price shows a winning score. All of that hides what you learn, who you meet, the relationships, and the difference you made. Oddly enough, even though its part of the metaphor, it hides the colateral damage caused to your health and the lives of people around you. I guess we think “No pain, no gain.”

    Corbett, you have not reached the end of this road. Keep exploring.

  • http://www.drmelanieharth.com Dr. Melanie Harth

    A seminal piece. And personally struggling with the complexities of this conversation as it weaves into the one about “how the fuck am I going to pay the rent this month.” Money matters a lot if you don’t have enough for basic health care, or food for your kids.

    btw, corbett barr, met you at wds last year for a brief second; choked because i allowed my fear and feeling intimidated to crush what could’ve been a cool encounter … because you’re more successful and make more money that i do. (and i’m a really good psychologist and mindfulness teacher … earth school is so much fun, no?)

    • Corbett Barr

      Aww, sorry to hear that Dr. Melanie! I’m always up for meeting new people, and would have loved to chat. Next WDS perhaps?

      • http://www.drmelanieharth.com Dr. Melanie Harth

        it’s a date! love your work; so much to talk about :-)

        • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

          He’s a teddy bear just hug the stuffin’ out of him!

          • http://www.drmelanieharth.com Dr. Melanie Harth

            that sounds pretty fun :-) i’ll do that!

  • chrisophia somerfeldt

    Halle*!&@jah!! :) This post feels like a BREATH OF FRESH AIR in what has felt to me like a very energetic but rather isolated and flat world of online entrepreneurs. Sure, I feel as excited and empowered as the next person realizing I can make money and ‘own’ my time doing something I enjoy and helping people. (And not just helping others like me make money.) But what about being part of the *actual* WORLD?!?

    From one’s own neighborhood or town, to the fate of the planet, let’s open our eyes and be a part of things! For example, who’s systematically not getting the opportunities open to you or I? How about changing that?! Or… heard of any human rights crises, or the climate change tipping point?!

    As a community educator and organizer, I’m biased, but I don’t see engaging in real world challenges as a downer. I see it as the most exciting challenge and the ultimate empowerment.

  • Darren Stehle

    LOVE THIS! Corbett, great job. Funny how just last week I published an article on my blog about “What Matters Most in Life” that was partially inspired by listening to FS #069. I too have been getting frustrated by a few sites that share their income reports. And it’s NOT bad what they are doing, but it is far too easy to get frustrated when I see 6-figures when I’m currently bootstrapping.
    Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

      I agree although there are two ways to look at those income reports. 1 – we can be jealous and stressed we aren’t there. 2 – we can be inspired and motivated. I’ve spent a lot of my career comparing myself to others, where I thought I wanted to be/to/have. Now I finally feel I’m in a place to just be me and screw the rest. So it’s up to us to choose our perspective.

  • http://convergenceinthecommons.com/ Deborah Owen

    Corbett, it’s posts like this one that make me glad I follow you around on the internet!
    :-) Seriously, recognizing that many people use money as “the point” because it is measurable is, well, right on the money (I guess). Our human brains like to be able to visualize things in order to understand them, and measuring both bar-lines on a piece of paper, and quantifiable numbers, gives us something to hold onto. It also gives us a way to compare our work to the work of others, to see if we are “making progress”. And as one other reader below points out, it may be a way of inspiring us to take action. But you are also absolutely right: it is NOT the point.

    So what is? I believe the point is when we have carefully considered what our deepest values are, and then we find work that corresponds to those values. If you are not doing work that matches your values, you will constantly feel a sense of dissonance in your life. On the other hand, if you DO take actions that correspond with your values, you will be inspired and energized every day, and you will have a positive impact on the people you draw into your circle. It will give your life meaning and purpose. And isn’t that what we are all in search of, after all? Yes, it’s the journey from where we are now, to being the best we can be, while helping others along the way. I think THAT is the point.

    PS, Loved meeting you and the rest of the guys at WDS!

  • Nathaniel

    In a world of income reports and download numbers, this is a welcome post. I’d love to see more dialogue on this in general. In March, I was having coffee with Chase, who was asking me about my upstart travel podcast and business. He asked a simple question, “Why travel?” I couldn’t really explain it at the time, so I barely managed some forgettable answer. The work recharges me, rather than relieves me – and after shelving a business that I hated running, I’ve been trusting that gut feeling from day one. And over the past week, I’ve had a dozen people say that my show has inspired them to book their first independent trip, overcome loneliness on the road to keep going, or feel confident about the choices their making. That feels amazing. AMAZING! It’s the feeling I’m chasing. And if the business fails, then at least the artistic expression has already succeeded.

  • http://www.infolink-exp.com Jose A Gonzalez

    Beautiful post, and exactly what I think we all feel, especially when interacting with other entrepreneur friends. Let’s face it, a lot of the time people become entrepreneurs for the money and success they think it can bring them, and so that becomes the ultimate metric. True entrepreneurs, those that got started because they wanted to solve a meaningful problem, do something that mattered, or help the world be a better place, need to make sure that “point” doesn’t get lost along the way. It’s not the money. it shouldn’t be, or else we’re all lost. The human insecurity will always be there, but it will be less the more we remind ourselves of our true purpose.

  • http://www.aboveanxiety.com Jeff Claassen

    I find it interesting that you see anxiety, depression, worry, and burnout inside the world of entrepreneurship because that is where I am headed to escape my anxiety and stresses.

    Of course these feelings can be found everywhere in life. Anyone who says they don’t experience fears of any kind is lying, but it’s nice to see the other side of the spectrum.

    Once you feel you are free and in a lifestyle where you essentially are “your own boss” and can live life according to your own terms, you are bombarded with others successes and feel like it is a competition.

    Money makes to world go round unfortunately, however, I feel that you don’t need to be rich to be happy. I’m looking for a comfortable position where I have no financial stresses and can just work hard and always have enough to cover my expenses and put a little away.

    • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

      Jeff if you’ve never been in business for yourself I can tell you there is a lot of burnout, stress and anxiety among entrepreneurs. I know I’ve been one since about 1991. You’re always hustling to get the money flowing and keep it flowing. This time around I’m working on a business that will be more sustainable with less stress and constant attention from me. So yes there is stress in business.

  • Jesse Bern

    Hey Corbett, I like to think of this whole entrepreneur thing as a quest (courtesy of Timothy Marc over at freedombusinessblog.com)

    Here’s a fun little pic I made in Canva early this morning, and I feel like it’s an extension of your sentiment about the journey being the answer.

    I’m still a young kid, but I’m eager to continue down my path.

    Stay classy :)

  • http://joeyaugustin.com/ Joey Augustin

    “What’s the point?” – This is precisely the question I am trying to answer right now for myself before I go full steam into any new “side project”. I’m not sure you can ever find a definitive answer, but prefacing choices with that question sure does take my decision making into an entirely new direction. A better direction.

  • Faith Watson

    Gee I like this post, but here again, I am compelled to chime in as the slight contrarian and say money IS for sure in my top three points. I was helping a lot of people in my job when I was laid off; I found myself with a need to replace the money I was making when I couldn’t get a similar job due to economy and such. So sure, I might as well love what I’m doing if I’m going to start my own biz… like when I loved owning the fitness studio where I was helping a lot of people every day for years.

    Enough years and enough love to go into further debt and work 60 – 70 hrs a weeks, and supplement that with more work as an online writer and marketing consultant in my “spare time.” And I’ve found that to be pretty normal, actually, for people trying to build successful businesses. (Corbett, I so agree the comparison thing is VERY tough, esp, young people aspiring to online entrepreneurship now, and the idea of a location-independent-4-hour-work-week is fab but man it’s tough)

    Going back to work in a day job, with benefits, and I didn’t have to mop the floor and wash the towels at the end of the day, for a salary that was twice the profits I was making after overhead in my own business… well yeah, the money was the point. I can still do fitness as a hobby or coach people in my basement like I do now. But never mind, they kinda shut down and laid me off in less than a year.

    So for me:
    –Meaningful work that uses my talents/gifts is ideal
    –Getting paid well for it is important — in relation to how hard I am working, too
    –Helping people is something I love to do and will, no matter what the job is

    Online seems like a good enough way for me to do this, but in my list, maybe “entrepreneurship” is not the point. I want to do the best I can and it has turned out no employers/positions seem to fit my criteria. ;-)

  • Corbett Barr

    Hey Nicolas, we’re always happy to hear differing opinions, including this one. I actually feel the opposite, that Fizzle has more personality and deeper connection with people, but it’s more of a brand, and less of me personally. That was an intentional decision on my part. Building a brand around myself was fun, but we’re able to do so much more now with the team. Have you listened to the podcast yet? That’s where much of the gold is.

    • Nicolas Hale

      I have not really listened much to the podcast, but I will take your recommendation. Even though I will not likely ever meet you in person, I guess I just felt a more human connection with ThinkTraffic than the Fizzle “Brand”. Either way thanks for your generous insights and information.

      • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

        I’ll second what Nick said. I travelled from Canada to hang with those same Fizzlers in Portland and never say never! I’ve met Corbett in person several times now, he even met me for coffee in his home town when I had a long layover on a flight home from Australia. Fizzle is heart! Get inside and check it out. Only costs a dollar for the first month. Look up me and Nick on the inside and see what we’ve been up to since we joined.

  • http://begintobelieve.com/ Robin Oxford-Davis

    OMG, Corbert, that was so honest…thank you.

    For me, the point seems to be relative to where I am at the moment. Like now, the point for me is to find my place, squeeze in and join the conversation because I think what I have to say has value and can make a difference. And believing and accepting that the money etc. will come and I’d see that as icing on the cake.

    For now that would be point enough; UNTIL… like you say, I begin to take my seat for granted and vaguely remember that time when just wanting to be at the table was enough and it would ultimately be replaced by thoughts of “how do I keep up… stay relevant… if he can do it-I can do it”.

    So, I guess the thing is to recognize when my point starts to shift for the worse and then pimp slap it back into place!

    Thanks again for that one Corbert…the best!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    WOW! Absolutely fabulous Corbet, I’m speechless! I always felt like money was the goal, the way to know “you’ve made it.” To have the five and six figure months some of our peers talk about. Moving to Hawaii has completely changed my perspective. I don’t need to be rich, I just have to have enough to live comfortably. I love the freedom that this business brings. The chance to surf every morning and run at night. The freedom to be there for my wife and kids is far more valuable than having killer income reports.

  • http://100mba.net Omar Zenhom

    Absolutely brilliant. This post was more inspiring than any income report I’ve seen.

    • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

      exactly! The income and money is FOR something. What? and why? That’s what we need to be focused on

      • http://100mba.net Omar Zenhom

        Egg-zackly!

  • http://IntimatePower.com/ Eyal IntimatePower

    Beautiful post. Inspiring to see someone so high profile as yourself express these ideas.

    I believe that the balance between value for self (satisfaction, money) and value for others is the key.

    I’ve written about it here:
    http://intimatepower.com/conscious-career-the-seven-aspects-of-being-paid-for-doing-what-you-love/

  • http://blog.momekh.com/ Momekh

    Corbett, thank you.

    But a little pointer if I may: this is still the “comparison” game, isn’t it? My search is better than your search type of race. The kind that I feel you are trying to avoid.

    The root lies, I feel, in our own attitudes. We “want” to compare. We are “tuned” to comparing: blame society, psychology, biology whatever, but comparing is almost a given.

    I fear that we may end up fighting the wrong fight. Instead of elimination of “comparisons”, maybe we can look at “comparing” on the right stuff?

    Not more money, but perhaps more contentment? And that will automatically make you compare less, because well, contentment and fulfillment can not be measured. That comes, almost by definition, from moving towards a goal. You make progress, you feel happy.

    But on the other hand, you make progress towards a goal where OTHERS ARE EMPOWERED, you get fulfillment. I feel that is the formula if we may.

    The “antithesis” of all you say that is wrong is fulfillment, right? Money doesn’t give you that. Racing and comparing doesn’t.

    Maybe, just maybe, setting goals that once achieved helps others people does?

    To put it more precisely: I am fulfilled when I empower others to live better lives. Regardless of “how much” of that money stuff I have.

    And to really empower others, you have to teach them how to empower others. That’s some recursive shit right there.

    But thank you for poking deep down “between your ears” and letting me and us hear it too.

    A breath of fresh air indeed.

    Rock on and I wish you nothing but the best, my fizzling friend :)

  • http://blog.momekh.com/ Momekh

    Oh and by the way, to answer the question: What’s the point?

    It is to die empty. http://blog.momekh.com/2014/06/13/die-empty/

  • http://everlutional.com/ David Hamilton

    I think not only the money game, but the meaning game can be riddled with “I need more, more more!”. Who makes the biggest impact? Who does the most “good.” Is as much or more of a trap than the money even, because the money trap is now obvious to us all. But the are you helping/serving enough is insidious. It’s caused me a lot of suffering. I realized that I naturally help and serve, what I have needed to work on is my enjoyment and ease in doing the work. In this case I’m helping by being the change I want, and want to see. But really it’s enlightened self interest.

    I’m fascinated by flow states and what they can generate in terms of results, both inner and outer. That’s my current and biggest place of service instead of people having to drudge out content just to force it out. How can we follow our own inspiration/flow more instead of creating models of success on striving/overcoming?

    I’m a recovering over-motivated under-achiever. Pushing, pushing, pushing until health problems struck and not even that much revenue coming in.

    More joy, flow and integration of work/life so one doesn’t seem better than the other is where I’m currently playing and the message I’m pied piper-ing!

  • Kristin Daemon

    I love this and have found so much more happiness myself in a line of work as an entrepreneur that allows me to help others and live a simpler existence than six figures ever did.

  • http://seointhemaking.com/ Rienzi

    People, THE RANT!

    Is it not about legacy?

    I think the question for all of us is this…

    “what is it you want people to remember you with?”

    I loooooove to type that one more time!

    WHAT LEGACY DO YOU WANT TO BE?

    Yeah, maybe not “ala” Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett, but hey, that is the point! Thrive to be one – missing the target might not be a bad idea after all.

    Thrive. Exactly! Oh yeah I go with a system not goals – but both comes with a moving purpose (your purpose) ISN’T IT?

    Money? Oh boy, gimme some coz I will need to fund my projects. That would really make me do more in this lifetime… for my purpose, my legacy!

  • Hadass Eviatar

    Corbett, check out AJ Leon. He’s got some answers to your question.

  • http://www.NickMoody.com Nick Moody

    I think “searching for your point” is the closest you can get to “the point”. I think living my ideal lifestyle while helping people is my point. But not my absolute point. You cannot have an absolute point while still identifying as a person. Once you realize your eternal nature, “points” become less important and are seen as just the play of existence.

  • http://caremycue.com Care Mycue

    “Hitting top” is a ripe time in a person’s life. This question you raise is one of the key symptoms of this phenomenon. We reach a point where we’ve done it all and seen it all, and somehow we know that anything more is just more of the same. The emptiness of the question threatens to engulf us, yet in that emptiness, that question can often be the one thing that paradoxically keeps us going.

    That question has been answered in my own life. As a result, I saw clearly the essentialness of helping others discover their own answer. Lately, I’ve been wondering if maybe the world wasn’t quite ready: thank you for this rich validation. For anyone struggling at this pivotal plateau, I invite you to read this brief description of “hitting top”. http://caremycue.com/have-you-hit-top/

  • http://www.successwithfocus.com/about/ Jeff Jones

    Great article, Corbett!

    As somebody who’s poised decidedly at the other end of the comparison scale, I’m really glad to hear a discussion raised about why we’re doing this in the first place!

    I totally agree that ultimately money makes the world go ’round but I also believe we can accomplish things that matter to our souls and still pay the bills if we remain true to ourselves and our purpose for being here!

    Still a fizzler and plan on remaining one as long as you guys keep showing us ways to raise our skills and make a difference!

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  • Markita Staples

    This:

    “The outward context of WDS is non-conformity, changing your
    life and the world around you, being your best self, and other noble
    goals, but the subtext I see is more aligned with traditional values: money, status, accolades.”

    I loved WDS, but definitely felt like this was very much the case. I have a full time job that pays the bills, but I’m working on a site that generates no money. People seemed way more interested in me when they realized I had what sounded like a decent job (which is a corporate job with little non-conformity or “domination”) Once I brought that up, then I had a little credibility to hold their interest.

    That being said, I almost prefer that we jump to the chase that we all care about money and status instead of acting like it’s something else – it’s a natural human survival thing so it’s technically okay. But I definitely agree with you that it would be nice to focus on something bigger and use a better, more personal metric to define our success.

  • http://www.digitalphotomentor.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

    Oh man I listened to podcast #59 and 60 on the way home and this is really hitting home right now. Sitting among my 3.5 weeks of unopened mail, bills, unwritten blog posts, course to plan, emails to answer – and I’m thinking exactly that all day yesterday and today – why? Thanks for making me think about the thing I’ve lost track of lately – me!

  • Bree Brouwer

    I debated whether or not to post this, but I think it’s an angle other Fizzlers may be able to relate to.

    My point’s been very clear from the start: to be my own Wonder Woman who kicks ass to make the world a better place because that’s what God calls me to do. Yes, I’m religious, so it’s always been easy for me to answer the “What’s the point?” question.

    For me, that’s always been to serve God and others. Broad? Sure. But no less legitimate.

  • http://www.libres-et-heureux.com/ Julien Lucas

    Just my little comment.

    I think at beginning “the point” was to not have a boss, to work on your own, creatively, freely, passionnatly — to not beening sucked by it’s job.

    But now you’r succeed at this and you are at another stage (that I have no idea. I just have the beginning of a business that can support myself).

    Lot’s of people work independently, have there own business. So the point of not being in the coporate job, to make your money with your business is now obsolet, at last for you, and people like you who support themselves independently.

    The world have changed so much last 3-5 years… Incredible.

  • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

    Great post, Corbett. In an EXCELLENT book, Average is Over, it says that 3 things aren’t scarce. One is simple capital (money). The things that are scarce: specialized labor, good real estate, Intellectual Property.

    Chasing money can be destructive.

    I know.

    I did it, and I’m now fighting like hell to get back to where I need ot get.

  • Merna Schmidt

    Couldn’t agree more htan money is not the point! It makes me sad when I hear people using that as their only metric. To me, what is much more important is what are we doing to make a difference? To make this world a fairer, more just and peaceful place? To take care of our precious environment? I admire people focusing on this and couldn’t care less how much money they have or make.

    As my wise mother once said: Merna, you’ll never have the riches others have, nor live in a castle, but you have experiences that you’ll always have and no one can ever take that away.

  • Christina Selby

    How about how much peace do you feel in your mind, heart, and life as the point?

  • Brona Malone

    Super post! That shift from ‘outer’ success ( what we think should make us happy!) to inner ( what actually does!) is what it’s all about. I hit the money wall about 8 years ago. I had my own business and was making it but was miserable. I lived for the time off which was not how I wanted to be doing things. So I bowed out and headed East in the world on a one year teaching English contract, which then turned into 6 years…. 6 months of which pure traveling around. I arrived home last year with a different mindset. Whilst away I studied to be a coach which allowed me to take a look at my own life.

    Goals with ‘Soul’ is where it’s at. Danielle La Porte really brought this to life with her ‘Desire Map’. It’s all about focusing on how you want to feel first and THEN moving from that. Does that goal make me feel like that? No? – Toss! Feelings really are magnetic….get them right and the rest slots in….

    I have found such peace by focusing ‘between my ears’ and sorting the chaos out there first and as a result, my work and my life are gradually blossoming and in a very natural enjoyable way. It’s all part of using that creative energy; dealing with the inevitable demons and doubts. Freedom begins within…search for outside and you will NEVER be satisfied.

    I haven’t launched yet…I’m about to…Since coming home, in order to take the pressure off my baby business, I have taken all sorts of odd jobs, ones that my ego would have cringed at years ago…Now – it’s all water off a duck’s back – why? 1. Cos I get to do what I love to do- I get to work with courageous dreamers and entrepreneurs who dare to live differently. I help them to free themselves from the daily grind and achieve the creative success ( inside and out!) they desire. I have a purpose. 2. I’m enjoying creating those inner solid foundations that my business requires so that I can enJOY what I create 3. If I’m enjoying it now while the money’s not there, imagine how much I will, when it is. I dont have much right now….and I feel like my life is so full. I am more fulfilled now then 8 years ago when my life was fuller on the outside.

    You guys had an amazing post – ‘Money Matters. And it Doesn’t.’It rocked…thank you. I wish you guys all the peace, contentment and fulfillment that our lovely world offers!

  • http://nathalielussier.com Nathalie Lussier

    I always appreciate your perspective on things Corbett, and this is no exception. I love “seeing into other people’s businesses” as much as the next person, because I’m a curious creature like most humans.

    But I totally know where you’re coming from. It’s this constant pursuit of more and “one upping” that’s really draining and doesn’t let you truly appreciate what you’ve created. It doesn’t let you enjoy it, and it turns into a crazy “do more” treadmill.

    We recently moved from NYC to Texas because we wanted to slow down more, and have a better lifestyle… it’s definitely opened my eyes to the New York culture that pushes that “more more more”-ness everywhere.

    More to ponder on, for sure. :)

  • jonathanmead

    I feel this way at WDS all the time. The “what are you up to?” question is layered with so many underlying, hidden questions like:

    “are you more successful or less than me?” or “am I higher or lower up on the totem pole?”

    “are you someone worth me talking to?” or “what’s the likelihood that I’ll benefit from creating a connection with you at some point down the road?”

    I’m tired of this game too. It’s so easy to get sucked into it even when you have the best of intentions.

    Thanks for writing this man. It’s good to have some camaraderie on creating more meaningful metrics, if you even want to call them that.

  • Ting

    I’m 23 and i’ve been soul-searching since my last year of college three years ago. I feel so lost. I was chasing and chasing the ladder, before realising and with great fear that the ladder leads nowhere. It will all be time wasted and then death will come.

    I’ve opened my eyes now and know I’d rather be working myself to the bone to get out of the world where you have to work 60+ hours attend meetings and pretend to give 2 sh%$ts about what you’re doing. Also get made to feel guilty about taking a week of vacation. Articles like this resonate strongly, it is scary how many people keep working at companies like braindead zombies. Working aimlessly to retirement age.

    It’s so true, money is not the point. This was one of the main mental barriers people have. Alot of uninformed people think that if you open a business you have to have millions of startup, and huge overhead costs and have buttloads of revenue immediately. At least that was my ignorant thought process. Now I realise, hey! I want to just make as much as someone who works a standard full time job. That will be satisfactory. Self empoyed, same pay. That would be hella better.

  • http://www.theslowing.org hannah shadrick

    Corbett –
    I listen to/read Fizzle because you and Chase and Caleb speak my language. It’s so relieving to hear that you aren’t stopping at the the stock answers, but pushing on why you’re actually doing your work. Maybe paradoxically, it’s relieving to hear that you struggle too. Because I struggle. Everyday. In one of your podcasts, Chase talked about how he’s constantly second-guessing and sabotaging himself. And about how frustrating it is to watch the “dumb guy” get shit done.

    What I keep going back to in answering your question – why am I doing this work? – is that I am creating something of value to put in front others. I’m doing something “life-giving” like Chase talks about.

    I’m one speck of Universe looking at the other specks of Universe around me and saying, “Hey, I think this is a way I can ease suffering and facilitate transformation.”

    That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.

    Thank you, Corbett. And Chase. And Caleb.

  • owenmarcus

    As someone who’s been on both sides of the money vs purpose equation, I can say that going to bed knowing you made a difference in someone’s life has me fall asleep with a smile in my face.

  • Nate

    Excellent article. I ultimately feel that no one will ever find complete fulfillment in this life without finding Jesus the one being we were created to worship. But I speak of all that I know and have found. “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Ephesians 3:11

  • http://www.squidoo.com/365-ways-on-how-to-love-your-emloyees Paul Ricken

    Yeah Corbett! It is not about the money. You can spread money if you have it, better spread happiness. Changing lives of other people for the better. Give, give, give and then give more. Money will derive from that. But be aware! Better count what you give, then what you get. Count your blessings and count the blessings others received from you. And you know, God doesn’t count. He is not interested in what you’ve earned, what house you lived in, the promotions you made. He just wants to know who you became by serving others. That legacy is interesting to know….

Up Next:

Customers, Work, and Community

Note: This is the last of our four-part WDS 2014 recap from the Fizzle team. You can read the other three here: Chase’s, Corbett’s, and Caleb’s. I’m back in the saddle after another trip to Portland for World Domination Summit (WDS), put on by Chris Guillebeau and company. 2014 was my third year attending the (un)conference, and I took away lessons that you can just as easily apply in your own work and life.

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