Day 1 — Living a Life of Enough. Part I
What am I going to do when I love my job, own the business 100%, yet I don’t want to take advantage of any of the upside of owning this business anymore?
I’ve hit my point of enough
My house is enough, my cars are enough, my kids private school is enough, my vacation fund is enough. I’ve seen enough of the world. My rainy day fund is enough, my take my parents on vacation fund is enough, my buy a small house for my in laws to move near their grandkids fund is enough. There is no more “Life changing money” for me. I’ve lived a life well within my means, so what do I do when I’m content?
I want a different kind of “more”
My company could do more, I want to grow more, we could do more for our team, more for our clients, more for our industry and more for our community. So I’m hungry for MORE but not for me and its time to eat.
Reflection. What too much money sounds like
Let’s start a year ago…We’re in a pandemic, and I’m looking for options to get the kids somewhere warmer. I looked at the cost of buying out all of first class for a flight to San Diego. Get my family and nanny somewhere warm for the winter where my kids can be outside still. Cost would have been about $12K.
Now I didn’t think about that for long but the fact that I even priced it out as a possibility (with the fact that I have access to a 3br apartment — for the company — in downtown San Diego) says something.
I. have. enough. money. 4 years ago I came to that realization.
Did I drop $12K on those flights? Heck no…I chose not to for a variety of reasons but the fact that it was an option when I’m also writing posts about the virtues of being raised by blue collar parents, says something. The time has come.
That was a gross way to spend money & I want no parts of that life
So what’s a guy to do?, I don’t indulge, I don’t splurge, but I have this “asset” my company, Seer Interactive. It takes me months to choose to buy a new unlocked phone for $1,000 bux. I’m always going to be uncomfortable with my privilege.
So how do I rectify my values and my privilege?
The house I bought when Seer hit $1 Million in sales (13 years ago) is the same house I live in now as Seer expects to be at $35 Million by end of year.
35X increase in revenue, same house.
(although I am finally in the process of building a new house)
I also bought a car that year, a nice BMW 2 seater (the only time I ever bought a new car in my life).
35X increase in revenue, same car.
Paid off the car and the house years ago, resulting in banking things which set me up for this moment. A moment to write a new playbook for how we build businesses.
Take a second to consider and write down your enough number
No really, write it down.
What is the number at which you would say,” “I have enough money.” Put it away somewhere. Even better, tattoo it on your body.
I learned this lesson from our nanny. She tattooed the word “enough” on her forearm at the age of 24. It’s her only tattoo. I’ll be getting one too. Thus began my fascination with the concept of enough. My 24 year old nanny had a reminder on her arm, that whatever she had that day was enough.
The 4 books that highlighted the “too much” problem.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
I was driving cross country and I got caught in a storm, a bad winter storm, at times I feared for my life a little bit. It took me 14 hours to drive in one day, yet I didn’t want the day to end…I was listening to Bad Blood on audiobook.
I was captivated by the inability to say “enough” by Elizabeth Holmes.
Billion Dollar Loser by Reeves Wiedeman
Recently on my morning runs, I found myself adding 2 miles everyday to keep listening to Billion Dollar Loser about Adam Neumann of WeWork fame.
I was addicted to stories about a spa and an ice bath in his private work bathroom.
I realized that I was addicted to hearing them because they were reminders of what happens when you haven’t done the work to build a point of point of enough money, enough power, enough recognition from peers, etc. You just keep going and one day your new normal is 2 houses in the Hamptons and 2 private jets.
American Kingpin by Nick Bilton
This book was a reminder that the more power you get, the more money you get, the more you can twist good beliefs into bad behaviors. I’ll talk more on this later, but look at philanthropy — how many people justify all their excessive $$ for philanthropy, but then write off board visits on a private jet???
This book shows how you can become an out-of-touch ass over time, through self justification. It showed me how a person can start off with strongly held beliefs / virtues that, for the most part, are GOOD. But how over time you can take those good beliefs to a BAD extreme, a real bad extreme, self justifying all your shitty behaviors the whole way.
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
This book just kept showing example after example of self-justification.
I’ve never looked so hard at myself after reading a book. I had to ask where I am I bullshitting myself into telling myself something is OK, that 5- years- ago- me would have said “that guy is an ass?”
But Wil, you could do _____ if you had more money
Today I’m afraid of how easy it is to self justify getting more and doing more. No one ever said you could do more for your team, it was always something that came back to me, but they are the people who have had my back for years? Build a playground w/ my name on it, nope. Invest in someone else’s business, nope. Invest in the people who got me to my enough point…YAS QUEEN.
So I decided: Yup, I am almost at my enough point. It’s aligned with something I wrote 2 years ago:
Phase 4 — Aggressively Start to Share the Wealth.
In this phase, I’m basically saying: look, I want to grow this business, but I am going to take less and less of the profit. I want to continue to grow our company’s nest egg so we can lose our largest client and be OK. I want to keep some for innovation, but after that let’s create mechanisms to deploy it.
I’m now at Phase 4, going into Phase 5 — which I never expected.
Phase 5 — Work to build the value of something you don’t have upside value in.
Think about that. Working 8–10 hours a day, everyday and some weekends for what if not money?
Love of the game. I love what I do, the people I get to do it for (my clients), the challenges I get, and the people I get to win with. My team.
I live in FEAR of what happens if you don’t ever say…OK I now have enough!
This is what happens when, you don’t ever say I have enough.
I recently looked at a CEO who got a $50 Million Dollar Bonus, while laying people off. Somehow he has to go home feeling ok with himself, or he wouldn’t take the bonus. How could he?
Self justification — we self justify our obsessive, over-indulgent behaviors to avoid the reality of our excess. the we surround ourselves with other self indulgent a-holes, so we don’t stand out as greedy.
I look at these people and think I want to be NOTHING like them. So I look at what they all have in common… they never knew when they had enough, and they self justified the FUCK outta their decisions while they just keep getting more. I bet you if you asked that CEO if he deserved $50 Million in 1 year, he’d find a way to say “absolutely.” I bet you would roll your eyes.
E- fucking-nough for me.
Time to write a new playbook… (Check part II — What to do with a $50 Million dollar asset when you don’t want the upside of selling it?)