Success Is Not About The Money

Jan 18, 2021 | Blog, Featured, Strategy

As you climb the ladder of success, you will want more than money, things and freedom to show for your success.
In business school we studied “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” to learn about the progression that people take on their journey of success.
Maslow defined success as following, in this order:
1. The Basics (feeding and clothing family) which you have as a business owner or leaders.
2. Living Securely (in a good neighborhood, with a roof over your head) which you have, but some of your employees may not.
3. Love and belonging (friendship, sense of connection) which you gain by owning and working in a company with a good culture, and being active in your community.
4. Esteem (status, respect, freedom) which you gain by running a professional business and becoming a Destination Company®.
5. Self Actualization (becoming the most one can be), which means different things to different people.
Something is missing from Maslow’s definitions
Namely, how you can impact, grow and strengthen your community—the one that helped you succeed.
Your company makes money by harnessing other people’s desires and skills, and connecting them to your clients who need services.
But, what do you give back to your employees and to your community that allowed you to prosper in the first place?
Exit Planning and Giving
Last week I had a group of 10 clients from my community down to New Orleans, to discuss two distinct topics.
Exit Planning, and The Role of an Entrepreneur In Supporting Charities
It was the latter topic that got people really fired up!
Consider these eye-opening facts:
  • Charities are held back by the double standard that for-profit companies are allowed to grow staff, invest in long term strategies, and spend on marketing, but charities are frowned upon when they do this.
  • Charity donations make up less than 1% GDP, and 2% if you include non profits like hospitals.
  • This 2% number has not changed in decades (source: Dan Pallotta)
  • As self responsible citizens, we want less government involvement, so this means we need to step up and do more.
With all this in mind, I invited Sonny Lee III to talk to us (see photo) about how he founded Son of a Saint––a modernized version of Big Brother. His motivation was his own positive experience growing up fatherless after his dad (a Saint’s football player) died when he was young. He wanted to pay it forward.
He explained how critical it is to help young fatherless inner-city boys before they hit puberty, and it’s critical to stay with them through through their college years in order to keep them on the straight and narrow (no arrests, no teenage pregnancies).
All the landscape professionals in attendance were inspired to donate or take action back in their home towns.
We also discussed how we can help our own staff in the same way we might help charities and non profits. Your staff’s families may need similar help, if you take time to look around.
Your Challenge:

Take the skills you have learned and used to build your business, and adopt a charity that you can commit long-term to help grow in your community. Make their success part of your “self actualization.”

Featured Photo: Greg Semmer (Semmer Landscape), Myself, Sonny Lee III, Sean Mullarkey (Tri State Water Works), Wade Vugteveen (De Hamer Brothers), Loriena Harrington (Beautiful Blooms Landscape).