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  • Andrew Canlon

The 10 Things Money Can't Buy

The all-mighty dollar is a powerful tool and, in many ways, can get you where you'd like to go in life.


However, some things simply can't be bought. These indelible qualities and personality traits are often the difference makers in our relationships, careers and never-ending pursuits.


So what are these immeasurable keystones of business? Those intangibles that are so unique, they simply don't have a price tag? Here they are. The 10 things money CAN'T buy


1) Quality


In business terms, results are often defined by return on investment and (eventually) profit. In other words, you've got to spend money to make money. Makes perfect sense. However, big budgets do not ensure quality work.


If you're smart, resourceful and not afraid to be hands-on, you can get quality work done within the confines of a small budget. The ability to stretch a dollar without sacrificing quality is the calling card of an effective project manager and showcases the ability to think creatively. Your ability to be budget-conscious and protect profitability will earn you lots of confidence and respect as you move on to bigger and better things.


2) Leadership


My experience in the corporate sector has taught me some very difficult but valuable lessons about human behavior. One of my more troubling observations of profitable employees (this is especially true in sales environments) is that they love to throw their weight around. This often takes shape in the form of arrogance, dismissive treatment of colleagues, unsolicited advice, etc. Meanwhile, managers and directors will often champion top-billers as "leaders".


Let's be honest - the ability to make money does not make you a leader. Unfortunately for those successful revenue generators out there, leadership is not a quality that can be bought or earned through profitability. Your ability to earn a profit only qualifies you to make more profits - it does not translate into an ability to lead your peers.


Apples and oranges, my friends. They are not the same.


3) Creativity


If you casually browse through LinkedIn, you might be alarmed at the number of "creative" profiles you find that do not have anything resembling a creative background. Be it an education, creative portfolio or...gee I don't know...the ability to actually CREATE anything, it seems that anyone with a communications degree and a decent head shot is capable of becoming a corporate creative professional. This would indicate that the money you've spent in student loans is simply another way of purchasing a ticket into the creative space.


Creativity can't be bought or even earned outside of the creative process. Just because you've positioned yourself within the creative space does not make you a creative person. So before you assign yourself the title of "creative professional", stop and ask yourself - what do I create??


If you struggle to answer this question, you're not a creative professional. That's a fact that isn't easily changed through money or even title.


4) Authenticity


We live in an age of social media influence. We're constantly competing with one another for relevance. In order to gain more exposure, many entrepreneurs and/or influencers are pouring dollars into digital ads and boosted posts that make them appear "authentic" and therefore accessible. The word "authentic" is another victim of the ever-expanding marketing vernacular. Digital marketeers are notorious for stripping the humanity from their list of buzzwords and using them instead as measuring sticks for intended profitability.


The sad reality is this - no amount of money spent on a marketing campaign is enough to make you authentic.


Authenticity comes from an individual's honest intention to create a genuine experience or interaction, the likes of which is rarely profitable in a world vastly controlled by dollars and cents.


5) Partnership


The strain that money puts on partnerships is well documented. Money can either make you a great partner or a really bad one. The ability to be a great work partner requires an almost zen-like demeanor. Whether you're the person holding all the cards or you're beholden to your partner who is providing you with key resources, you almost have to pretend this disparity doesn't exist. Here's my take - if you're genuine about this endeavor, you'd do it for free. Right?


This can't just be about your vision. It's about your partner's vision too. So whether or not you're the money-man in this scenario, it's always best to put your ego aside. It's not about the money. It's about the work you do together that is going to blow people's minds. If you do what you're supposed to do and actually deliver, there will be plenty of money to go around.


6) Accountability


This should be an easy one. Money does not make you accountable to anyone. In fact, it can make you even less so. If money made people take responsibility for their actions, we'd be living in a utopia.


Let's move on.


7) Trust


While money can certainly create the illusion of credibility and trustworthiness, it is often your own ability to read between the lines that will allow you to identify trustworthy individuals. An experienced sales person may be willing to say or do anything necessary to close a deal or to "earn your business". Before you pay for their services, you may want to investigate further. Who is this person? What is their intention for me and my business? How can I hold them accountable? Can I trust them?


An investigative mind is good for business. Ask questions, dig deep - build trust. It's not something you can buy.


8) Credibility


Even in the world of finance, it takes more than just money and profitability to make you credible. How do you conduct business? Where is your body of work? Who have you aligned yourself with? Can you execute?


In the end, money doesn't make you credible. It's what you do or don't do with those resources that will earn you lasting credibility and respect from partners, peers and consumers.


9) Friendship


Anyone who's ever lost a friend will tell you this - no amount of money that can possibly replace the relationship you once shared with that person. While money can be an incredible resource for helping a friend in need or for simply celebrating the good times, it can also be the cause of serious friction. Considering a business partnership with your BFF?


Make sure you've weighed your options diligently. Maybe Steve Wozniack or Eduardo Saverin have something to say about this. Hmm...


10) Love


There are literally millions of Americans sitting in living rooms, classrooms, bedrooms and kitchens at this very moment - all of whom are imagining the incredible amount of love, fame and adoration that would accompany the immense money and fortune they miraculously plan to earn in their lifetime.


Sadly, the love they seek will not arrive. Yes, The Beatles said it first - and it's still true today.


Money can't buy you love.


It can make you comfortable, create more responsibility and even open your world to more opportunities. There is a degree of security and happiness that comes with that.


But love? It simply can't be bought.


The wealthiest among us know that a full heart will always outweigh a billion-dollar bank account.





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