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Making money does not equal winning.

chess board with crowned queen in the middle

Making money does not equal winning.

It took nearly losing everything for me to learn that.

Before the accident, I loved tracking revenue (less so the expenses, but that’s another story). Watching the red line jumping up on the spreadsheet graph made me feel victorious in the game of business. And life. It was never the money itself that mattered; it was the winning. Of course, I always played fair, above-board and keeping my promises, but my driving motivation was to win — and that meant proving financial success.

Money is our culture’s most common scorecard.

We subconsciously categorize people as ‘above’ or ‘below’ us based on perceived financial success. It’s why people will leverage themselves to a dangerous brink just to drive a fancy car, wear expensive shoes, and live in a house that, in reality, is too big for their financial britches. We don’t just want to keep up with the Joneses; we want to be out in front.

In the last month, I’ve experienced disappointing interactions with wealthy men who, due to forces out of my control, may lose substantial money in a business deal that includes a contractual indebtedness to my family. The unnecessary hostility of their communication as we’ve approached final payment has been shocking, hurtful, and baffling. There’s no question they are fulfilling their obligation, fully ethical without reproach, but somehow we have become the enemy because, “You are the only ones making money.”

I’ve been literally physically sick with the stress of the situation. Even though I’ve repeatedly asked, we have been given no explanation for their anger. We’ve received only big-man posturing and figurative foot stomping. You know when you tell a child to do their chores and they know they have to do them, but they don’t like it so they throw a temper tantrum? Yeah, that. I’ve been wracking my brain searching for empathy to understand what is at the heart of their defensiveness so I can try to bring peace to the process.

At 6:00 in the morning I woke up with the answer. They believe, unconscious or not, that money is the scorecard and they are losing. Ahhh….

Real losing is when your child/spouse/mother/friend is horribly sick or injured and no amount of money in the world can magically heal them. We’ve experienced what real losing feels like and, miraculously, I still get to play the game of life. My perspective on winning and losing has changed.

The only real scorecard in life is LOVE.
Everything else is ‘just business.’
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