Money, Mastery and Meaning – Is it Possible to Get All Three in Your Lifetime?

mocha momentsAfter years of coaching high-achieving women, my friend and colleague Dr. Marcia Reynolds started noticing something troubling: many of her clients were jumping jobs regularly, defining and redefining their relationship with the marketplace, constantly questioning their roles.

Dubbing her subjects “wander women,” Marcia found that what these women most wanted was to find peace of mind within their chaos. They didn’t necessarily want to learn how to gain a seat in the boardroom; they wanted projects they could run with or businesses they could run on their own. The problem wasn’t their level of stress. It was about knowing who they were and what they wanted to accomplish in this lifetime.

Consultant Steven Darter has found in his own practice that people often begin journeys by looking to get away from something. They know that the situations that they are in are uncomfortable and they want to relieve that discomfort. The excitement of the new or different or unknown or the imagination of what could be takes over. They take jobs that they are NOT necessarily motivated to do, striving toward those jobs because of the potential to increase their salary, social status, or for the enhanced prestige associated with such positions. Their ability to evaluate options is skewed. Situations that might not otherwise look attractive seem to hold far more promise than they should.

James quoteAfter reading ‘The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change’ author and entrepreneur James Altucher interviewed the author Adam Braun. He asked him about quitting a secure future, for something that seemed totally “un” secure.  One of the things Braun said in response struck him: “I feel people can be paid in three ways: in money, in mastery, or in meaning, and ideally you want to be paid in all three.”

We all understand being paid money. But mastery and meaning? They either take a back seat or no seat at all.

The overuse of money, status and power as the ONLY motivating factor for most people will not have sustaining value unless we master ourselves. Only when we master ourselves will we find meaning and finally understand, based on our natural design, how we’re wired to earn money.

What keeps us back is this one belief: we aren’t succeeding because we haven’t found the right strategy or we weren’t born with the right talents.

This is how a reviewer of Mr. Braun’s book expressed this belief – “I’m not discounting the immense good Mr. Braun has done through his charitable, “for purpose” organization…I think it’s awesome that he has used his good fortune in life to make the lives of others better around the world. … I am just SO tired of books written by people who are NOT ordinary for “ordinary” people about how they can follow in their footsteps. Mr. Braun is anything but ordinary. He comes from a privileged background, had a high paying job at a young age and powerful connections through friends and family, including Justin Bieber, who he knew through his brother. I’m sure if more “ordinary” people had access to these resources, many of them would already be doing stuff like this and writing their own books on how to do it.”

What do you need to do to truly be successful? Most of us chase the money. We seek promotions, pursue jobs where the grass looks greener or contemplate get rich quick schemes including gambling. This is what I call the external path of least resistance – instant gratification. We make choices, ignorant of “who we really are.”

If you want to be successful, that is having money, mastery AND meaning it will take more than just working harder or for that matter working smarter. Here’s the winning formula:

You first have to raise your standards. Demand more from your life. Recognize and admit that you’ve been settling for less than you’re worth and you will no longer tolerate that existence

Next, you need to stop making excuses as to why you aren’t where you want to be. Sure you might be able to argue that you’ve got some limitations and others have this or that but focusing on what you DON’T have is not going to be very helpful.

Focus on what you DO have – your talents and natural abilities. Stop thinking that you have zero to offer. And let me say this has nothing to do with your education level either. When you understand yourself, how you naturally and comfortably approach things, and figure out your effortless inclinations then you’ll begin to take the internal path of least resistance which leads to purpose and meaning. When people connect with WHO they are you begin to see instances for example, where they leave good paying, high status jobs for something else that pays less or has less prestige.

Once you understand yourself you can then begin to develop competence around who you are and what you have to offer.

After that your success will be dependent on whether you put in the work or whether you choose to be distracted. As entrepreneur James Clear points out “Once you have a basic grasp of the RIGHT things to do, it becomes about the consistency of doing the right things more often. Once you understand the fundamentals, it comes down to your habits.”

And finally you have to maintain focus. This isn’t always easy by yourself but with a mentor or coach you will find that you can keep on track more easily.

Before I wrap up here’s one more belief that needs busting: many people get depressed when they lose focus or motivation because they think that successful people have some unstoppable passion and willpower that they seem to be missing.

This nugget by a coach who trains Olympians should blast that belief into smithereens: “Really successful people feel the same boredom and the same lack of motivation that everyone else feels. They don’t have some magic pill that makes them feel “ready and inspired” every day. The difference is – the people who stick with their goals don’t let their emotions determine their actions. Top performers find a way to show up, to work through the boredom, and to embrace the daily practice that is required to achieve their goals.”

According to him, it’s this ability to do the work when it’s not easy that separates the top performers from everyone else.

So can you get money, mastery and meaning in your lifetime? Sure, but it starts with an in depth understanding about who you really are. If not money will come but it won’t stay and meaning will be lost forever.



What would your life look like if you could power your own success, never feel confused about what you need to do and never hesitate to do it?

  1. Do you have clarity around WHO YOU REALLY ARE?
  2. Are you being noticed for your contribution in your current role?
  3. Do you know WHAT you need to do to get the results you want?

Find out how much you really know about yourself…

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