How Money Is Blocking Your Success

Money is not a good indicator of success. In fact, money could very well be keeping you from the success you desire. I’ll show you how to identify what real success is and how to go after it directly, without letting money get in the way. 

I know, you don’t think money makes you successful. Got it. And I don’t believe you.

Just think of that person you know with the huge house. Or the person who just bought that $50,000 car. Not even a touch of envy? I thought so.

Don’t feel bad. We’ve been conditioned to use money and stuff as the indicators of our success.

We been fooled into this ranking system because we believe it takes money to get what we really want. Again, not true.

The Trouble With Money

We’ve bought into the money-is-success game. We get caught up in trying to make money and neglect real success. And here’s the irony, getting more money so we can have success actually takes us away from real success!

  • We work long hours to provide for our families and neglect them in the process.
  • We consume massive amounts of everything, adding our fingerprints to the devastation of the environment.
  • We join professional groups to advance our careers and find ourselves with no time to help the poor or serve at church, something we’re “passionate” about.

The message of money is “more, more.” Money never says “enough.” No matter how much you have, you need more. And this gets in the way of real success.

Finding Real Success

Success is out there and you can find it. Let me show you how I coach people to go after real success. To find it, you have to peel back the layers of cultural conditioning to get to what your heart and souls knows is success.

1. Define “success”

It takes some work to get to the heart of success. You must uncover your motivations a layer at a time.

Here’s a question will help: “What would getting or becoming [fill in the blank] do for you?”

Have someone ask you this question until you can’t go back further. Chances are that’s what real success is for you. Sometime you have to go back several steps. For example:

Adam: “I want to get an MBA.”

Coach: “What would an MBA do for you?”

Adam: “If I had an MBA I could get a better job.”

Adam: “What would a better job do for you?”

Sue: “I wouldn’t be away from home so much.”

Adam: “And what would not being away from home so much do for you?”

Sue: “I could be more involved in the lives of my kids.”

Adam: “What would that do for you?”

Sue: “I want to have a lasting relationship with them as they become adults.”

It took a while, but we are much closer to Adam’s version of success now. Adam’s real success is a lasting relationship with his kids into adulthood. However, his method of getting there is a long, hard, and expensive road – an MBA, a new job, less travel, etc.

In reality, going after those things most likely will take him further from his real success.

2. Go after success directly

Once you have identified success, look for direct ways to go after it. Cut intermediary steps from the process.

For Adam, there may be ways that he can be more involved in his kids’ lives without a new job. Or find a way to get a new job without an MBA.

Money is easy to measure. Real success is not. With a clear picture of success in your mind, you can go after it directly and more easily avoid the snares and entanglements of money and stuff along the way.

Question: What is success to you and how are you moving toward it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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    6 thoughts on “How Money Is Blocking Your Success

    1. For me, success is following God and His leading in my life.

      Keith – what is success to you and how are you moving toward it?

      • Dave, Thanks for asking!

        I have a number of different things that I consider “success.” One is similar to Adam in the example above, to have a close relationship with my kids into their adulthood. Another is to follow Jesus and let that relationship change me and the world around me. Another is to love my wife more each year as we grow older. Another is to positively impact people’s lives through writing and speaking.

        I’m moving toward these things by reorienting myself away from money and stuff, and toward slowing down, giving more attention to the people who are special to me, and reflecting and praying more.