This summer I took my boys on a cross country train trip to visit family for a while. It was an interesting trip. Over the years I have had the chance to travel a decent amount however this was my first long distance train trip.
Many people ask me how the trip was and my answer is always introflective (yes this is a Deb word: introspective and reflective). It was very interesting and worth doing one more time.
Part of my decision to take the train was based upon a budget I had set aside for the whole trip. At the time one way tickets for each of us were about $1000k each. I was going to need between 6-8 of them by the time this trip was done. When you are used to paying up to $200-300 for round trip tickets, those one ways, with all the airplane travel delays and distractions, was more than I was willing to invest.
Knowing that I would have to cover costs on transportation to our destination, car rental while there, gas, food, transport back home- I set an appropriate budget from the get go.
When realizing that my initial plan to get us there was going to be more than 4 times my whole trip budget, I decided to get creative and think outside the box.
In fact, I made it a game with myself to see what other options we could work out to stay in my budget- yet have a fantastic time.
I worked out many ‘mini plans’ in my head and on paper- and in one of those was the consideration of the train. I was pleasantly surprised to see how affordable travel by train was to be. My real motivation though behind this decision, was the opportunity to spend a few days with my boys being able to experience parts of our country that we would never see if we would have chosen to fly by plane or to drive on the highway.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout most of the United States. As an adult I am so appreciative to have had those experiences. Now, I want to give to my children an opportunity to create memories of their own that they one day too, can look back upon and enjoy.
We spent 36 hours on the train with a coach full of Boy Scouts and frequent Amtrak travelers across the country. One of my goals that was set forth for this trip was truly achieved. We saw some amazing countryside and met some really interesting people.
Once we were at our destination I stayed with my boys and my parents for about another 10 days. It was during this leg of our journey that my youngest son came to me with the declaration that Grandma said to him that I was “Money Motivated”.
That surprised me- and caught me off guard a bit, because the least thing I am is money motivated. I definitely am financially focused. There is a difference.
My Personal Motivation:
My understanding of someone being money motivated, is that all they think about is money- and everything they do is about making money. Money that they will keep for themselves for the purpose of materialistic gain.
For people who take the time to get to know me- they will quickly discover my true motivation. It is to help others who wish to help themselves. The motivation for me, that is the deepest part of me, is the desire to encourage people to grow- and then to be there for them in order to help them achieve their own personal growth.
People who look at me from the outside will see that trait, as well as I have publicly declared it many times over.
I do not hide the fact that I have big vision to accomplish things that in fact, should make a lot of money. However- the purpose that those finances will serve- is to give right back to others in order to create opportunities for those individuals to personally grow.
It is interesting at times to hear some feedback from people who have a limited perspective of understanding about why I do speak of money and building a solid business. Part of what I do as a marketing and business consultant is to help businesses make money. If we don’t have those conversations, and we are not able to talk about money, how is the business is supposed to make money?
My business motivation:
In running my own businesses, as the CEO- I have to have conversations that are financially focused . They’re tied directly to how the business will be running for the next quarter, the next year- and even for many years down the road. Having a solid business and marketing plan that you execute and implement has to be measured. One area to measure of businesses successes or shortcomings has to do with making money.
Today our world is filled with an upcoming generation – and even current generations that operate businesses- who never received the benefit of solid financial training. Often these are the very clients who hire me to help them build, cleaned up, turn around, and consistently market and promote their business so they can make money!
Being financially focused is very important today- more so now than ever. After the last economic side turn I would think that more people would be interested in learning how to have financial focus that allows them to grow professionally and personally.
I know not everybody is comfortable with that statement. However, if I can at least teach my children how to be financially responsible then I know I have done my part in this area to prepare them into adulthood . On our trip, that is part of what we did.
My children have become pretty understanding of the value of money. They know how to save, to to tithe, how to invest, how to budget, and how to steward that which they have received. They also have learned about taxes and how to determine if what they choose to spend money on (or invest in) is a good value. (Cheap is not always cost effective. Frugality and sound money management requires knowing when to spend more and when you can go with a less expensive option.)
Although my children are now 10 and 12, they both have businesses that have been making them money.
They both have done business plans, marketing plans and have tested their plans with focus groups. They go out and find their own customers, they fulfill the orders- and then they reap the benefit of learning about human interaction, work ethic, communication, sales, marketing, time management, and yes- Money management and financial responsibility.
My encouragement to you is this: the next time you see somebody who is in business talking about making money- before you assume they are soley money motivated, take the time to ask a few more questions. Take the time to get to know them.
When you see the mom or dad in the grocery store who was shopping on a budget, living frugally, and doing the best of what they have, smile at them. It is not always easy to adjust our thinking and our habits to live within our means-and still maintain the vision for growth and prosperity. However- it is doable. If more people took the time to understand the difference between being money motivated and being financially focused for fiscal fitness- we all would be in a better place.
I encourage you to ask yourself what is your motivation in life and in business? The ‘Aha’ moment you discover may suprise you!
Have an amazing day,