We are not measured by income alone. Companies are not solely measured by profitability. These metrics can be measured, yes, and they are, as such, a measurement, but it does not have measurement on you as a person or your company as a whole. And if you insist on forcing it on people in that way, you’re selling yourself short – regardless of how much or little you make.
Character is invaluable, and therefore will always be worth more – by internal valuation and in the perception of others.
I met two people at a fundraising event yesterday.
The first introduced himself and promptly launched into the details of his expensive hobbies – equestrianism and international travel. He owns businesses, started his own line of luxury foods, lost a few million in his last venture (“which is fine” he made sure to add, “I’ll make it back”) and never once did he ask what anyone else in the group did for a living, or clue in on the hints we dropped that we’ve been riding horses longer than he has. “For all he knows,” I sighed to a friend as we turned away, “we could be self-made millionaires or the top competitors in dressage. He never bothered to ask, though.” And, in failing to do so, made a fool of himself.
The second individual spoke to everybody as though he’d been waiting all day for the opportunity. He had a way of listening as though he had no intention of interrupting, a way of talking that warmed everyone in the group. He looked at you as you spoke, and he shared things that connected to the conversation. What does he do for a living? He recently walked out on his plush corporate gig and is planning on travelling for two months. “And, oh, by the way,” he asked, “what do you do?”
Guess which one we walked away from (twice) and which one we wanted to have another drink with? Don’t let your drive toward financial prowess dictate your presence with others. They don’t care.
The same goes for companies: increasingly, consumers want to “spend time with,” “associate with,” and “buy into” companies that they find likable. It’s no longer enough to dominate a market by means of presence. Individuals want to feel that they are associating themselves with positive influences – and, more now than ever, this includes companies.