Money is Not a Vision

Money is not a vision.When I first meet with potential clients, I don’t focus on their writing. I focus on their story. I ask questions. I found out what they do. I discover what they would like to do. I ask why they do what they do or why they want to move in a different direction. I ask them how they will communicate what they do and why they do it to their audience. I ask them for, in a word, a vision.

Most of the time, potential clients have a vision. They want to work with disadvantaged youth because a coach or mentor poured him- or herself into them when they were in high school. They want to go overseas because they have a heart for a specific people group. They want to build an application that will help alleviate malnutrition and poverty because they believe their skills and talents should be used to solve real-world problems. Rarely, rarely do potential clients talk about money as a vision.

Some do, and it’s a response that always concerns me. I do not believe money is or can be a vision. Money may be a result of pursuing a vision, but it should not be the vision. Making more money has no depth to it. It is not a rallying cry. It may be supported during the plentiful years, but the famine ones? The famine ones either will result in bankruptcy or in people backbiting in an attempt to get ahead of each other. They do not want to be the ones left holding the empty bag.

Trying to tell a story based on a vision of money or on “double, double, triple” as one person said to me, is next to impossible. How can a person gain momentum for a product or service if the person’s goal is to make more money? He or she can’t. That person is so focused on him- or herself that he or she has no story to tell. No, to tell a story, a better vision, a real vision, has to be found.

Photo: 401(K) 2012 (CC BY SA 2.0)


  1. Amen, Erin! When money is the goal, fear is usually the motivator… and when service is the goal, something more like abundance is the motivator. 
    Thank you for putting it together so beautifully.

    • robinshallett Thank you!
      I hadn’t made the connection with fear, but you’re right. Fear can cause all sorts of responses, and not all of them are good.
      I can’t remember where I read the post (I’ll try to find it.), but it was about passion. Your comment makes me think of it because it talks about the idea of abundance and how abundance can be in short supply when a business owner is pursuing something for the sake of his or her passion. Uh-oh. Now I have an idea for a different blog post, possibly two…

  2. When money is the only motivator, one just thinks about making more money rather than on making ourselves better at what we do. Though I wouldn’t say money is not important, it isn’t the only reason to move ahead.

    • Hajra  Yes, the love of money can get one into all sorts of trouble. It’s a little like the dangers of the popularity game in that regard.

  3. timbo1973 No, a little money can’t hurt, and it can be the result of having a vision. I just don’t think it can be  the motivator, as you said.

  4. My knee jerk feeling is to disagree, because I’m such a fan of money, but alas, if I look at how I’ve behaved over the last five years, I’d be lying to myself.
    I’m as happy or happier than I was five years ago. I live well below the poverty line, choosing to work 3 days per week, so that I have four days to pursue writing. Five years ago I made $75,000 per year at GEICO, as an analyst, where a 15 minute call could save you 15 percent on your auto insurance.
    I loved being an analyst, but I can’t say I loved it as much as writing.
    I always imagined that I wanted to be rich and I certainly wouldn’t object to a NYT bestseller, a movie deal, and a legion of adoring (and scantily clad) fans, and the ability to buy the complete line of Hasselblad camera gear (the digital back is around 45K), but it isn’t a necessity for happiness.
    I guess my goal is happiness. I’m achieving it, so I win.
    If the day comes when I’m flush with cash, then I will still write and take photos, but it will likely be from venues all over the world.

    • ExtremelyAvg I think that means you’ve figured out there’s more to life than financial security. Also, the things we thing we want sometimes aren’t the things we want, but we don’t always know that until we have them – for instance, having the $75K per year. The things we want aren’t necessarily the things we need, either. It takes grace to be content with little and with much.

  5. That’s a nice stack of denero’s there Erin. I can see you walking down the Champs-Élysées with that wad bulging out of your back pocket…….gotcha! Admit it, you were getting a little hot under the collar <grin>
    I have learned the hard way that money does not bring you happiness but when you have it then you can certainly pursue other interests with greater ease. To me money is an output of effort only after the real work is done; sharing, caring and giving of yourself. If you are doing something right then it will come. 
    It’s like anything else in life if you focus hard on one thing it will always elude you.
    Great thoughts here Erin. Appreciate this post today as I head to the office to work on this beautiful Sunday.

    • rdopping Ha! I’ve never had a lot of money. I don’t know what I’d do if I did, except pay off a student loan and my house. 
      Money does make it easier to pursue interests; there I agree. As long as money doesn’t become the all-consuming goal, it should be enjoyed. It’s the means by which we can enjoy life (although for me, that does not mean a Louis Vuitton handbag. Books are another matter entirely…). ;))