Two weeks ago we talked about the Power of Positive Self-Talk. We asked you to think about how you speak to yourself and what you tell yourself you are capable of. Even more so, we challenged you to look at the people you are spending time with — your network, your tribe, and how they affirm you.
This week, I want to talk about what I believe to be the true measure of wealth: time.
In my mind, time and wealth are the same thing. Let me explain…
How Time and Wealth Are the Same
Most people measure wealth by net worth – assets minus liabilities. Others measure it by income – how much you’re making annually. Still, others measure it by retirement savings, credit score, material wealth, inherited items – it’s all in the eyes of the beholder.
For me, my personal wealth is measured in time. Specifically, how I spend my time. Time is truly a luxury that most people do not have the opportunity to enjoy. At the end of the day, we’re all working to live, and not the other way around, right?
You can measure wealth in a million different ways, but what does it all add up to if you aren’t spending your time on the things that really matter to you? Your family, friends, passions, hobbies, causes you care about and all those things which make life worth living and pursuing.
It’s easy enough to figure out how you are spending your money, but…
How Are You Spending Your Time?
That may seem like an odd question. Perhaps, you haven’t sat down and thought about it in a long time. For most of you reading this blog, you are likely pretty well-off, financially. And, it’s because you worked your tail off! Always planning and saving, and making smart decisions about your money.
Save, be frugal, and work, work, work! That’s the code I was taught, and generally what I lived by. I measured my wealth in assets and liabilities, how much I made each year and what I’d saved for retirement. I think I was even a little bit scared to veer off that path – because I’d never considered that in fact, time is my greatest and more scarce asset.
But now, I think I’ve finally come to “get it”. This year, more than any other year, I am committed to experiences and spending my time doing things that matter to me. That doesn’t mean I won’t be responsible and savvy, but it does mean that my priorities have shifted.
When Your Priorities Change
Just recently, I spent a whole week in Mexico on a mission trip. Two days later, I was off to Denver to fly through the Rockies and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. This weekend I returned home from Alaska where I met amazing people and had incredible experiences.
More so than ever, I am as wealthy as I could’ve ever hoped for. I am wealthy in time and experiences.
I know a handful of people who will resonate with a member of my tribe, who ended his dental practice to go on a two year mission trip with his church in the Philippines. For him, this time serving others defined his true measure of wealth.
Another friend transitioned his orthodontic practice to his daughter, so he could go back to medical school and travel the world doing missionary medical work. He never made a dime off of it, but his service meant more to him than any paycheck could.
Our very own Natalie Ness, took a whole week off work to spend time with her daughter and grandkids. That is her measure of wealth. Shannon Deckard will be taking off soon to spend a few weeks in El Paso with her partner who is returning from his deployment in Korea.
I’m not saying you should necessarily be doing all those things, but do what matters to you.
How Do You Measure Wealth?
For a lot of you reading, you are at the point where you can measure wealth not by assets and liabilities, but by the impact of what you’re doing. You just need a nudge in the right direction.
This week, I’m challenging you to reevaluate how you measure wealth. When you stop measuring wealth by “traditional” measurements, you come to realize time is your greatest measure of wealth.
It is also your most limited asset. Spend it wisely.
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