Take the Money and Run

The goal of many of those in the work force is to amass as much money as they can, as quickly as possible. They envision and pursue a financial portfolio that will allow them to retire at an early age. That is what drives them to achieve.

I was talking with someone who certainly could have taken that path. He is a respected executive in a large corporation and has served his team for many years. I asked him recently, “Why didn’t you just ‘take the money and run?’ Why didn't you retire early and live a life of leisure on some tropical paradise?” I can’t get his answer out of my mind. He said, "I could have done that, but that is not why I am here. I have invested in my team members throughout the years and it is not within me to walk away until I feel that the time is right for them…not for me." What a selfless answer!

I'm not trying to paint this executive as a saint. He has struggles and frustrations like everyone else. He is not perfect, but he is committed to this team. That is a rare trait in today's business climate. In a "how fast can I build my financial portfolio" environment, it is refreshing to see a leader that considers the success of others on his team. He is driven not just by financial gain but by truly investing in those he leads.

There is nothing wrong with success. Strong leaders are driven to achieve and that is a good thing. However, when we allow the desire for more money to drive our behavior, we become a slave to the very thing we think will set us free.

My friend is incredibly successful, not because of his financial portfolio, but because of the difference he has made in the lives of others.