Congratulations on not winning the lottery last week. We didn’t either.
Last week’s adventures in the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries prompted some interesting discussions at The Rivet Group. The discussions mostly consisted of “What would you do if you won?” I suspect that kind of conversation is what drives most people to defy the ridiculous odds and buy tickets in the first place. Even people that never buy tickets found themselves saying things like:
“Can’t win if you don’t play.”
“Somebody has to win, it might as well may be me.”
Even the Wall Street Journal got into the act last week, with their Mansion section profiling a California man’s mansion/buffalo ranch/saloon he purchased after winning a previous drawing. What I found interesting was before he won, he could see the house under construction up on a mountaintop from his former home down in the valley. He literally looked up and dreamed of the view from up there…and when he won, he bought the house.
Metaphorically, that’s what we all do when plunking down a couple of bucks for a ticket – for the chance to dream about what that kind of life-changing money could do – to look up and wonder what the view could look like from up there.
In the aftermath of a big lottery win, as well as in the “what if” dreaming beforehand, quitting their job is a certainty. Granted, managing that kind of money would be a full-time job. Most people see it more of an opportunity to quit the one that they have.
It’s sad, once you think through it. It means most people are in jobs they’d gladly walk away from. Perhaps that’s why despite decades of study in workforce engagement, the percentage of employees that are “fully engaged in their work” has consistently hovered around 30%. Does that apply to you? Does it have to?
Let’s try this exercise:
The exercise is called “What would I do after I won the lottery?”
Write three columns on a piece of paper.
10 Minutes: The first column is stuff you’d immediately do or buy. Spend a few minutes writing down everything. This is normally what we do when we dream of winning. There are no rules or limits here. From the realistic, “I’d pay off my mortgage” - to the ridiculous - “I’d buy a pair of white tigers.”
10 Minutes: In the second column, write down what you would do after the sugar rush wears off. This is the part that most people think about. How will you fill your days? Be as specific as possible. If you write down “travel,” write down all the places you’d like to go. Is it start a non-profit focused on helping kids? What would that look like? Is it go back to school and get an advanced degree in something you enjoy like history or art?
10 Minutes: In the third column, write down what your insanely rich self would be. In better shape? A better golfer? A philanthropist? A venture capitalist? A ski bum in Aspen? This column is stuff that would be in your obituary – your legacy. It is not just who you are, but who’d you like to be.
Once you have completed the exercise, disregard anything that involves “stuff” like a super car, yacht, or ski chalet in Aspen. Instead focus on the actions – things you’d do or be. I’d bet that most of those things are all possible in some form without winning the lottery.
Getting in better shape involves a good pair of athletic shoes (for walking or running) and gravity (for body weight workouts), a better diet, and time. All possible in your current state.
Would you become a philanthropist? Find a non-profit you believe in that you can donate money or time to.
Is it travel? While quitting your job and seeing the world might not be a viable strategy for you (although many have done that) you can break it down into annual trips and allocating your financial resources from other non-essentials to that.
If you’d quit your job, ask yourself why? Do you feel unfulfilled? Do you hate your boss? Is it not the job you dreamed of having when you were a kid, but now it just pays the bills? All of those things are in your ability to change.
The last part of the exercise is building a roadmap towards how you’d like to live your life now, without a lottery intervention. You don’t have to settle for the status quo if you are not happy about it.and the dream of winning the lottery someday
If this speaks to you, but need help with that roadmap, we can help. While we cannot help you buy an Aston Martin, our coaches can help you figure out where your strengths lie and build a map to a more satisfying professional life. We’d love to hear from you.
Let us know how we can help!