Sunday, December 6, 2009

The True Measure of Wealth

I was raised staunch Catholic. I remember the parable of the talents being drummed into me at a very early age with the saying "To whom much is given, much is expected."

I always did much with my inherent talents and time. Guided by this "guilt" I never let opportunities pass me by to learn and grow and never let time pass by. As I risked much I gained and lost too. With regard to physical wealth, my endeavors paid off and I had reached quite a high standard of living.

The latest economic "swine flu" has me rethinking what I consider my true wealth. Also guided by my Catholic upbringing, I realized the commandments are summed up "Love God, Love others." The greatest gift is love.

As I try to become unencumbered by physical wealth, I am making a list of my lasting wealth. After my sister's recent visit, I realized that the love between sisters is something that cannot be bought or traded. The similarities and differences we share are a bond that will sustain us both through good times and bad. My husband and children are an investment of more than 20 years. Like any stock, the value of my investment has gone up and down and it has had its share of "volatility." But, as any good investment manager will tell you, "Investing is a marathon, not a sprint, so never focus on each lap."

Lately, by some grace of God, I have been blessed by re-connecting with some of my close friends from school and my first job and also extended family. These precious people now scattered around the world, have all been witnesses to my innocence of youth and my open-minded outlook at all life has to offer.

Lest I get jaded by what the current economic state is, divine providence is showing me what the true measure of wealth is. And, yes, I will not ignore the teachings that I need to do something with these "talents" or "gifts" of relationships. I will not bury them in the ground like the Biblical servant who was afraid of his master and incurred his wrath for not taking risks. I will cultivate them and multiply them even if it means risking rejection or hurt. The love I will gain will be the greatest of my wealth, because that is the most enduring wealth of all.

The Red Stilettos

Forrest Gump said, "You can tell a lot about a person from their shoes. Where they've been ..."

I define myself by my red stilettos. They are stylish without being over the top. I follow trends as they apply to me, I am not a slave to fashion. This applies also to my work as a marketer - I apply trends that work for my company's situation without desperately trying to fit trends to our style.

The heel is high while yet being comfortable to walk on - demonstrating that I am sensible with my aspirations. Setting goals that can be achieved without leaving me disappointed. After I have walked a mile in them, I can walk two miles and so on.

The toe is a round point - denoting that I am more accommodating of others than always trying to push my way. People eventually come around to my way of thinking.

My shoe is a mix of patent and suede - showing that as a marketer I mix healthy parts of creativity and analytics for the best results. My creativity is always tempered by analysis and I am creative when evaluating results of marketing efforts.

Red - the color of passion and confidence. I am driven in everything I dedicate my time to and my enthusiasm is infectious. I am confident in my abilities to succeed at whatever I put my mind to accomplish. Yet, I am not cocky or arrogant because the shoe I picked is a pump and not a sandal. My dad taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I try to honor his departed memory with that dedication of purpose.

Versatility - the red stiletto I picked will work with any outfit - jeans, dress, shorts or skirt. This means I am versatile enough to fit in any environment whether it is a large corporate, start-up or small to mid-size enterprise.

My stiletto has a little red bow - indicating I have an eye for detail. My projects get wrapped up with the red bow for completion.

A red stiletto needs a good leg to carry it off. I must admit, I am blessed with the right legs!

My shoes have carried me far. I've learned from every experience in my career. I've taken good care of my red stilettos - polished and cleaned them. My red stilettos still look good enough to carry me for many years as long as my legs can walk in them.