“People first, then money, then things.” – Suze Orman
Our operatic voices belted throughout the car as we sang along to Johnny Cash. Then we drove along Country Road S and decided to switch over to free style rapping. Towards the end of our three hour road-trip, we even got to practice our falsetto voices to music from the Grease soundtrack. The whole time, Al and I couldn’t stop laughing as we passed the time driving to northern Wisconsin on our way to surprise our mutual friend, Kevin, for his 40th birthday.
The whole trip was a secret mission coordinated between Kevin’s wife, Lauren, and us. Considering the effort it took to get to Kevin in Boulder Junction, and that Al and I could only stay for two days before we needed to fly out again for prior work related commitments, not much about the trip made sense. But Kevin is a great friend, and he only turns 40 once, so we made the effort.
Somehow in a short 35 hour period, we managed to find a hidden lake, walk six miles, play Pickleball, move a dozen wheelbarrows of dirt, see a family of rarely spotted lake otters, play spades, eat amazing food, and laugh…a lot. Shared experiences with people close to me brings me pure joy.
Sure Orman’s quote says to put people first, then money, then things. I’ve never had an issue with putting things last, but a prior version of myself had money and people switched. Another way to say money is career. I committed to my career over the people in my life. It’s not that I neglected my people, but rather they were a secondary priority. I wouldn’t have made the effort to surprise a friend 1000 miles away because financially it just wouldn’t have made sense.
I still love the work I do with Swift Kick and have plans for it to create a massive positive impact on the world, but it’s not my life. I’ve gradually moved my career priority to second place and bumped people to the number one slot. I used to live to work, now I work to live. I’m my happiest when I connect with, and am present with, the people I care about the most in my life. Research has proven several times over how valuable friends are to our physical and mental well being. Work comes and goes. Money flows in and out. But my inner circle of relationships remains throughout and I’m not willing to take them for granted, because they mean too much to me in my life.