9,180, as of right now, is the most important number in the world to me. It represents the accumulation of my professional life. From the University of Central to Kent Youth and Family Services, 9,180 is the total number of lives I have impacted. From students served to donors reached to youth and families impacted, 9,180 fills me with immense pride.
Sure, my bank account pales in comparison to some of my peers. I hope for the first and fifteenth harder than most my age. I don't travel as much as I would like. I am not allowed to purchase everything my heart desires. Debt becomes long-term financial goals to squash. Yet, I am filled with pride. 9,180 is my life and I hope it is a life well lived.
Of course, you may be telling yourself a couple of things at this moment: Humblebrag much? or Congrats, I guess. You're right. Sharing this is kind of boastful, but I promise my intentions are good. I could very easily look at my life in different terms. I could utilize a frame demanding that my value can only be seen through the lenses of wealth accumulated, hours worked, positions held, ladders climbed, people directed, and/or I could brag about how busy I am. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not Buddha or Jesus. The aforementioned things matter to me, but nothing compares to the value I am adding to those served.
And here is where the humblebragging ends... What if we all decided to look at our lives through the lens of servitude over those goals society expects of us? What if the opening line to our resumes and cover letters boasted about the lives we helped change? What if financial advisors boasted of the wealth they helped create for their clients? What if realtors happily proclaimed the number of "I am home" dreams they made a reality over homes sold? What if lawyers bragged about the millions they saved for their clients instead of cases won? What would happen to our world if we reframed our focus? My annual letter is about exactly that. Let's do the work we do because we care about people first. Bottom lines, general ledgers, and investors may shudder in fear at such a notion but I would argue the world deserves that kind of outlook. While I am not the leader of such a movement, I do subscribe to the belief and I challenge you to do the same.
Be good to each other,