This article was originally published in San Diego's Life By Design, March 2018 Edition
On June 4th, 2011 I won the lottery. The lightning lottery.
Like a good neighbor, State Farm was there and handed me a check as I stood on the road, in front of what used to be my home, after the twenty-seven firefighters, curious reporters and onlookers left the scene.
What happened next, forever changed the way I approach life and money.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin
The insurance adjustor leaned in close and said, ‘You know, you could just take some time away… pick the place. We do pay living expenses for up to two years.’
I’ve observed that many decisions in life are rushed based on external factors and without all the details.
Money was no object, and still the idea of living in my own home (a home the lightning lottery would build) caused me to make a quick decision - one that would ultimately become my greatest teacher.
When it comes to your finances, what could you learn more about?
“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” Will Smith
All of a sudden, to the outside world, I was a millionaire.
The reality…I was miserable in my career job, I was being crushed by the stress of a failing brick & mortar business, and I had a painful absence of fulfilling relationships and love.
So, I bought things - the best of everything - and proceeded to build a dream home.
Where in your life are you using money as a suppressant - keeping you distracted from the truth?
“There are people who have money and people who are rich.” Coco Chanel
I had what I thought was an abundant life and mindset because of the amount of money that sat in my account. Abundance, I discovered, is not dictated by the size of your bank balance or brand of your wardrobe.
Money is often linked to success. I felt neither rich nor successful, despite outside perception.
How do you measure the quality and richness of your life?
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.” Anonymous
I built and sold the dream house, only to custom design and build a second on a beautiful hillside property overlooking the Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains. I was convinced that changing my location was the answer I was looking for.
It was not - nor was it on the other five continents I adventured to as I searched for purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.
What is in your way of living in abundance, right now?
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” –Steve Jobs
Ultimately, I returned back to where I started, with a depleted bank account, rich experiences, and a richer heart. Now, I was ready!
Who do you need to be for yourself and for others to make money and life matter more?
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