What are you making in your career?

The lyrics of Lunchmoney Lewis’s song “Bills” resonates with every working person, and more particularly, with every parent who is responsible for raising young children.

Few can argue with the validity of the first verse of his song that says:  

I got bills I gotta pay
So I’m gon’ work, work, work every day
I got mouths I gotta feed,
So I’m gon’ make sure everybody eats
I got bills!

Yes, those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs know what it is to have to work, work, work every day. So, to provide the best possible life we can for ourselves and our children, we apply ourselves to our chosen careers or businesses with the intention to generate the necessary revenue to enjoy a good life.

But what’s the real point of it all? Is it just about working to make money to pay the bills, then retiring and dying? If so, what a sad life!  

Surely there must be more to life than just that. Consider a comment Henry Ford once made when he quipped, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” While that comment might have been directed at entrepreneurs who build businesses, one could also amend his comment slightly to apply to those in employment by saying, “A career that makes nothing but money is a poor career.”

Look back over the past five or 10 years of your career. What have you made during that time apart from money? Have you made people happy? Have you uplifted anybody? Have you helped educate someone? Have you coached, nurtured, grown or encouraged anyone during the course of your work?

If you have, you have made more than just money and you have a rich business or a rich, rather than poor, career.

Most of us grow up with the mistaken belief that we’re in this world to get. We don’t realise that we’ve actually been put in this world to give – of what we have been given by way of the gifts, talents and skills we have.

Because of this erroneous belief – that we’re here to get – we focus on what we can get instead of on what we can give, not realising that it’s in giving that we receive. A simple illustration of this is a gifted singer who freely shares their gift with others by singing to large groups of people and ends up a multimillionaire.

What have you got to give to others, besides the work you do for money? Do you have time, love, compassion, advice, practical help that you can offer to someone who needs it? Why not start giving of what you have? You will be amazed at the doors it opens and the opportunities it presents to you to enable you to grow yourself, your business or your career (although that’s not the reason you should be giving).

When more of us start shifting from a “getting” mindset to a “giving” mindset, we’ll start changing the world for the better. And when the world changes for the better, our world changes for the better as a benefit to one becomes a benefit to all.

Look at what’s happening in the world. We’ve moved from a world of thousands of years ago in which certain powerful people shamelessly exploited others for their own benefit to a codependent, interconnected world in which we’re all affected by what happens to others.

I encourage you to start looking for ways to make more of your career, your business, your life and your family by freely giving of what you’ve been given. To those who have been taught that you have to be a jerk and good with numbers to succeed in business this may seem counterintuitive. As you start giving of yourself, you will make more than just money and find a success and fulfilment you never anticipated!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery so that they can live and lead with greatness.

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