Medium 9781576756560

More Than Money

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What are you going to do with your lucky lottery ticket? That’s a question every MBA faces. A lot of time and money has been invested in you, and once you graduate you’re supposed to cash that ticket in for as much money and status as you can. Your parents and peers expect it. And you may feel that there’s really no other choice. You can’t risk wasting that expensive education. It’s the safe thing to do. Isn’t it?

Not necessarily. Mark Albion doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but his unique perspective can help you find yours. There are other ways to look at potential risks and rewards, even when you have thousands of dollars of student loans to pay back. Money is important but it’s not the key to fulfillment. The “safe” choice, the most monetarily rewarding one, can carry enormous psychological and spiritual pain. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Sometimes money costs too much.”

In More Than Money, Albion redefines the typical way the risk/reward equation is written, using his own life story and those of the many entrepreneurs, executives and MBAs he’s met as both cautionary and inspirational tales. He introduces a framework of four crucial questions to consider when thinking about your career choices, as well as “lifelines," principles that can help you answer these questions and guide you to construct your personal, strategic destiny plan.

A consciousness-raising book as well as a career guide, More Than Money encourages MBA students to give themselves permission to be who they really want to be and find their path of service. For, as Albion says, in the end “we won't remember you for the size of your wallet as much as the size of your heart.”

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CHAPTER 1: WHO ARE YOU?

ePub

if the things we believe are different than the things we do, there can be no true happiness.

David O. McKay
Ninth president of the Mormon Church

It was that day in 1943. A nineteen-year-old boy from Dorchester, Massachusetts, had become a low-beam radar navigator in the Eighth Division of the United States Air Force. And today was the day that he would fly his first mission—over Germany. That day this boy had to make a decision that would leave childhood far behind: whether or not to wear the Jewish Star of David on his missions. He knew the price he might pay if his plane were shot down. He knew his chances of survival would plummet if he were caught wearing that Star.

He decided to wear that Star. When he did, he joined peoples from all nations, religions, races, and creeds who have chosen throughout the course of human history to uphold their beliefs and heritage in the face of persecution, torture, and even death. As that legendary Scot, William Wallace of Braveheart fame, exhorted his men, “Cowards die many times; brave men die only once.”

 

CHAPTER 2: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

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Success is getting what you want.
Happiness is wanting what you have.

Warren Buffett famed investor

Like the Mexican fisherman in the Introduction, do you know what the good life is for you? Do you know what you want, and is what you want what you really want? Figuring out what is important to you can be hard to do—unless you are someone like Rick Stewart.

Rick Stewart cofounded Frontier Herbs (today known as Frontier Natural Products) in 1976 to fill some basic needs: he wanted some healthier products and hoped to make $5,000 so he could backpack around the world. He earned it, left to travel, and returned to the company until 1999.

Even as the company grew well beyond what he ever imagined, Rick stayed clear on what he wanted from Frontier. He was “under-awed” by the company’s inclusion in the Inc. 500 and its National Small Business Association award but elated by its three years on Working Mother magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” What were Rick’s personal ambitions? “To get my organically grown backyard mowed before it rains again, preferably by one of my four teenage children.”

 

CHAPTER 3: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

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To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.

Bette Davis, legendary actor

I can’t tell you how many high-ranking executives say to me, “Mark, I wish your MBAs would come to us with an understanding of who they are and what turns them on. I wish they would say, ‘Here’s what really interests me, here’s what I want to do, and here’s how it will help your company.’ It may take them longer to find the right fit, but when they do, it will be the right job and the right hire.”

What can you do? Anything. That’s a big help! So then, what do you want to do with the life energy you’ve been given? Can you describe your dream job, the one with no exit plan? Whether you want to start an enterprise or work for one, that dream job needs a description based on who you are, what you want, and how you will add value for your customers or employers. It’s a description of how and why you will bring all of you to work and be committed to its success.

 

CHAPTER 4: WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

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Far away, there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

Louisa May Alcott, famous author

You’ve now come nearly full circle. You began the search for your path of service with the end in mind. Reflecting on your eulogy and your lifetime contribution right up front should have helped you set a course on your personal strategic plan, what I’ve called your destiny plan—your moral compass for career decisions.

I’ve shared my belief that it will be your acts as citizens, as servants to society and to those in need, that will make you feel fulfilled and for which you will be most remembered. I’ve shared my belief that the purpose of life is to stand for something, to make a contribution. What a joy it is to embrace that one thing, that one contribution you will be remembered for! To do that, it really isn’t important what your skills or position in life are or what the market says it wants. What is important is that you find the path that makes you come alive.

 

RESOURCE: THE CHALLENGE OF MONEY

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Elliot Hoffman
Speech delivered to the Social Venture Network, April 21, 1995

Considering that this is a special day, Earth Day, I will start with a brief quote that my mother related to me just about a month ago. She said, “When the last fish is caught, when the last tree in the forest is cut down, when all the water is polluted, man will finally realize that we can’t eat, drink, or commune with money.”

I’d say that the greed for money has played a pretty significant role in the degradation of our home, Earth. But no matter what happens, I have faith in Mother Earth, that she will, in the end, take care of herself. Even if it means getting rid of that pesky species, Homo sapiens. Maybe, just maybe, we can raise the level of consciousness to a plane that enables us to see a clearer path to fulfillment and a quality of life with each other and our Earth that nourishes, heals, and sustains life on our planet. We will soon see if that’s the case.

Gail, my wife and partner, and I have gone through a financial struggle with Just Desserts since our return from my sabbatical last July. It was a real mind-blower for us. It was possible that Just Desserts would have gone away. To me, that would have been a very sad commentary. Not only for Gail and me and our children, but for our community as a whole, along with our 320 staff members.

 

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