Not long ago, I received a phone call from someone at a big bank. They wanted to offer me a job. I met with them to hear what they had to say. They were starting a new unit, you see, so that their wealth management clients would stay with the bank, and did I want to be a part of it? It came with a nice salary and lots of perks. But one thing, they added. All my writings were about independence and objectivity, and did I really mean all that stuff? I actually did, I told them. From then on, the conversation went like this:
Big Banker: Oh yes, well, that needs to stop. We want you to sell our products, and only our products.
Me: But your products aren’t very good.
BB: They’re good enough.
Me: But don’t you want to do the absolute best possible work you can?
BB: No, we want to do okay work for lots of people.
Me: Hmmmm. Let me ask you this: What drives you? What’s your motivation?
BB: To make more money for me and the bank.
Me: Yes yes, I know. We all want to make money, but, really, what drives you? When you wake up in the morning, what do you want to do? In your role, in life?
BB: Make more money for me and the bank.
Me: Sigh. Ok. No, I don’t think I would be right for this role.
And this actually happened!! They weren’t even shy or embarrassed to say those things!
On the way home, wondering if I was making the right decision, the song “Some Nights” by F.U.N. came on the radio. You know that song? The chorus goes, “What do I stand for, what do I stand for”. And I knew then that I had.
Because I’ll tell you what I want to do; what motivates me. I want to do good. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to make a business out of doing the right thing the right way for the right reasons, and my hope and belief is that by doing that, I’ll be financially successful as well. Of course I want to make money. We all do. But not at all costs and not at the expense of what matters most.
And if you’re like me, and you think this way too, then feel free to reach out and say hi. Let’s strategize and brainstorm. Maybe we can come up with something fun to do together. Because if more of us care about doing things the right way, we might just make a better financial world (and entire world) for us all.
So what do you want to do?