Leave Money On the Table
Leave money on the table.
I’ve been in business for myself for, at the time of this recording, about 13 years. I spent a year in transition; part of what I was doing was still as an employee of another company, but I was also forging a path in doing freelance projects that would ultimately lead to me being in complete and total business for myself, running a company that I manage virtually and for which I have a team and represent clients. In the process of building my business, I learned very quickly the immense value and actual money-making potential of leaving money on the table.
In my business, it became clear that my success would often be bolstered by disregarding smaller opportunities or opportunities that were not a fit. Even if the compensation was notable. I left money on the table when it would take my business in the wrong direction, when it was not a fit for me professionally, when it didn’t spark my core interest in why I started my business in the first place.
Another time I’ve left money on the table was when I was responsible for selling my mother’s property during the year in which she was dying and I was managing that business I just referenced and trying to keep some semblance of a personal life. I was stretched. Then I had to travel from the state in which I lived to this state where her property was. She owned a home that was filled with stuff, not overflowing, just the stuff that one normal human being accumulates over a lifetime. The home, though nice, was in somewhat disrepair. It was an older home for which I knew if we were going to garner any notable revenue in selling it, it would require massive renovation. So rather than do that big project that would have really made my life more difficult, I opted to leave money on the table. I found a buyer who purchased the home, frankly, for a song; we gave it away almost for a song. It was a nominal sales price. The man was willing to purchase it with most of the furnishing still inside. So I didn’t have to fuss with an estate sale. I didn’t have to fuss with removing the furniture or trying to find buyers for individual pieces through online marketplaces. I didn’t invite any of that additional effort into my life because I needed to leave that money on the table to keep my sanity and protect my precious time and move on. My mom, though not well, was still cognizant during that entire time. And she and I shared in the immense relief of finding the most simple solution to sell that property and its contents and just let it go and move on.
Absolutely. We left money on the table, and that was the greatest, most wise decision in that moment.
And I’m so thankful I have left money on the table for situations or opportunities that didn’t match my values. I’ve left money on the table when I was wronged and did not at all want to expend the energy to pursue the money that was rightfully owed to me. I have left money on the table because I just wasn’t interested; there wasn’t a spark of interest on my part.
As I’ve spent most of my career consulting with clients, typically people in business, much of how I bring value is illuminating the ways they can make more money, find revenue streams that they weren’t aware of, maximize existing business to make more money. As I transition into career coaching high performance individuals, one of the biggest victories that I’m finding is when I help those amazing human beings artfully know when to leave money on the table, perhaps to decline an employment opportunity though the dollar signs may be alluring—if the opportunity is not a value match and would take them off course or would drain them personally, as well as professionally.
So I’m coaching to help people get to a place where they can make the decisions that are truly best for them—the most desirable decisions in the moment to not be motivated solely by dollar signs, but to be motivated by what matches their values and keeps them on course for where they really want to go to pursue what truly sparks them.
I acknowledge this means that in many occasions, there needs to be financial stability in order to have the ability to say no. I acknowledge early in my career. I took on a lot of projects that were not necessarily ideal but were very helpful in keeping my bills paid. But I intentionally grew my business in a way to free myself up, to decline the opportunities that ultimately were not going to propel me forward and weren’t a match or where I really wanted to go. So, by all means, max out your earning potential. Find those revenue streams. It is all well and good to make great money. But also it is feeding to the soul to find those times where you can leave that money on the table with confidence solidly and move forward.
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