In our Launching Leaders course, we offer a class entitled “Financial Fitness.” This is also a chapter in our book Leadership by LIGHT: Principles that Empower. In this offering we bring to light the incredible challenges Millennials face in today’s world regarding financial independence. But with the increased challenges of getting ahead, from costs of education to goods, Millennials have by necessity adopted a mindset that challenges past stereotypes.
I am in the process of writing a new book with a working title the same title as this blog post, and will from time to time offer up a few tidbits from it before it is released. The idea is to build upon our chapter of financial fitness to a more focused pathway Millennials can embark upon in their entrepreneurial quests. If you have not read Leadership by LIGHT: Principles that Empower, I challenge you to do so as a prerequisite to what will be in the forthcoming book.
I recently attended a cow grazing school. The intent was to see if a venture of raising grass fed beef is viable financially, and to see the pasture rotation methods in practice. The guru is a world renowned expert in this art and we traveled a good distance to attend. When we arrived at the ranch, I was expecting to see a nice ranch home/establishment that would verify immediately that there was money in this game. As we drove over the country hill within sight of the destination, we beheld a small modular home in the middle of no-where. Very clean arrangements, though incredibly humble. I found myself judging the viability before the school even started. I asked a few questions and found that the expert didn’t own the cattle, the ranch property, or the home. He had no control over the sprinkler pivots or ranch operations which were in a state of disarray. Essentially, he had no visible personal financial means to show the success of what he was teaching. Or did he? He and his wife are very happy in their circumstances, are doing what they love, and have sufficient financial and other resources for their needs. They travel the world teaching about what he has learned over 40 years. Is this entrepreneurial? Yes and no.
I believe Millennials are teaching us today that having sufficient for needs is perhaps all that is needed as long as there is joy in the journey. However, I do believe one has to have skin in the game – something at risk – to really be authentic in the entrepreneurial game. In my view, it would have made the cow expert more attuned to the entrepreneur’s journey—-and more believable (though he was living part of the entrepreneurs dream). In a way, he was a bit like the professor of the entrepreneurial class in college who has never risked a dime in their own business. The experience was a bit like business coaches I’ve had, who make a great living on being an ear to the babble of CEO’s, but never have actually run anything outside of a lemonade stand. It’s one thing to live it on spreadsheets, and quite another to move beyond the statistics and actually be at risk for where the next meal comes from.
One of the chapters in my new book is “Invest in Yourself First.” I can’t tell you how many young adults have come to me with an idea, and asked me for money to invest in their dreams. Sure, almost every venture needs start-up capital; but I believe the first big chunk into the pot should be from those whose idea it is. I have a few personal stories along these lines I will share in the book. You can be an entrepreneur, but until you risk nearly everything in your quest, you will only be a wannabe.
Ready to take risk? Click here for part two for the secrets to purpose, job security and controlling your destiny.