Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why an HSP Doesn't Chase After A Million Dollars

As a Sales Rep, I get the pleasure of meeting and interacting with a variety of people. I'm saying this sincerely, not tongue in cheek, for those of you who know that I'm a little on the sarcastic side. It is the aspect of my job that I enjoy the most, that I get the most satisfaction from and that makes the job worthwhile and bearable. Getting to know my customers and sharing stories from our lives always seems to bring light and laughter to my day, and gives me exactly what I need to make it through. Of course, given my current sales territory, it's been a little on the eccentric side, but I can honestly say I've never had more fun and couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with on a weekly basis. And yes, I'm happier and more carefree than I was working in my old territory, even though I'm working more hours and making slightly less money.

Most, if not all, of my fellow reps would think I'm crazy for enjoying a territory that requires 55-60 hours of work each week just to maintain the basics, is structured in such a way that will almost always result in not so great numbers (i.e. no hopes of looking good, proper recognition or a coveted promotion), and has seasonal variations in monthly commissions. Most, if not all, of my fellow sales reps are non-HSPs. When it comes down to it, most, if not all, find that the lure of a lucrative paycheck is worth trading the toll a physically grueling schedule takes on their health, the existence of a personal life, the exploration of life's intangible and meaningful gifts, making a difference, and the nurturing and development of one's spirit.

The lure of money and its mirage of promises can cause us to do things we shouldn't. Kind of like when we drink too much alcohol, although not as fun for the first few hours or so. One of the individuals that I interact with on a weekly basis has begun chasing after that mirage. From what I can sense about her, she's a kind, quietly fierce soul who just wishes there was something better from life than being controlled by company politics and its entrapping obligations. For months, she's been sharing the beginnings of her journey as an independent pre-paid legal representative and "encouraging" me to join her on that walk towards the mirage of "financial independence, wealth and security." I've been kind, encouraging, listened to her sales pitches and even checked out the websites and information she's given me. Yes, some people become extraordinarily rich when they participate in MLM's. But the reality is that those people are few and far between. The reality is that they're getting rich off of other people constantly contributing money to whatever product or service the MLM organization is producing. In other words, it's an organized "rob Peter to pay Paul" scheme.

She stopped by for one of our brief chats yesterday as I was merchandising and ordering product for my next sales call. One of the things that she mentioned was that she had crossed paths with a "mentor" from this MLM program of hers that had become a millionaire and didn't even have a high school diploma. I could tell by the number of times she mentioned it and the enthusiasm behind her voice that she was not only impressed, but inspired with the hope that eventually she too would reach that million dollar milestone. "He has a million dollars and he didn't even graduate from high school. A million dollars."

Well, perhaps that's a dream that a lot of people view as worth pursuing. More power to them. If that's what they want out of life and what they view as important, I'm certainly not going to be the one to discourage them from chasing after it. So, I nodded, smiled a little and offered my verbal encouragements of "yes, that's great" and "good for you." However, inside I couldn't help but cringe a little in disgust. A million dollars. Really. Is that what's truly important? Is that all there is to life? I mean, after all, when you leave this plane of existence, is that million dollars still going to be in your hands? Wouldn't you rather leave behind a piece of your spirit, spend your time making a difference in someone's life, leave behind a set of inspiring words or imaginative worlds that helped someone in some way or perhaps inspired them to become someone they wouldn't have otherwise? And just how spiritually fulfilling and rewarding is a pile of inanimate greenbacks or seeing the set of zeros increase on your online bank statements? Especially when you wake up and discover that the only thing it can really do is give you access to more inanimate stuff, how transitory that stuff really is, and how having less really does mean having more.

The one exception is when you're able to use it to help others out of dire situations and provide support for humanitarian causes that seek to correct the inequities on this planet. "Leaving a brilliant light behind" isn't about seeking to serve yourself or build up massive amounts of tangible wealth that gives the illusion of being able to shield out life's negative realm. True wealth comes from the spirit. It's about what we do for others. It's about the relationships that we create; how we support and nuture each other through life's difficulties and life's successes. It's about how we play, if we took the time to dance, if we took the time to discover why we're here, if we took the time to see why someone else is here. It's about whether we said and did what mattered to our hearts. It's about whether we were able to make someone smile and laugh and see the good in what they thought was only bad. It's about how you make someone feel and how they remember who you were and what you did, no matter how insignificant or unrecognized.

To me, a million dollars isn't about how many zeros continue to pile up behind the numbers each time I log into my bank account. To me, a million dollars is about the amount of intangible contributions I make. In the other realm, that we can't see, but can only feel, those are the million dollars that can't be stolen, erased or squandered. Those are the million dollars that continue to be there, no matter how many times they are withdrawn, spent or borrowed. They are the lights left behind that continue to shine through the darkness of a black sky.

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