No Regrets – Work When You Don’t Need The Money (Part 1 of 4)

As a child I remember my mom telling me that her primary life goal, her ultimate metric of success, is to look back on her life and have as few regrets as possible.

My mom is an extremely accomplished entrepreneur and a die hard realist. She knew it would be unrealistic to expect to have no regrets. Her core mantra or motto, which has served her well, is:

“Plan it. Try it. Fix it!.”

She explained,

“You will make mistakes, more than you can count, but if you learn from your mistakes you will never regret them!”

Then a few years back, during a family gathering, I found myself in the hot seat.

My mom told me:

“I have been reflecting on the type of mother I was to you kids. If I had to go back in time and do it again, I think I would do most things the same. There are only a few things I would have done differently. I am curious, looking back, what would you have me do differently? What could I have done to prepare you better for adulthood?”

Resisting the temptation to be playful and sarcastic, knowing that my answer might cause her to feel some twinge of regret, I sat with this question. I knew this could be a special moment and I wanted to honor the risk she was taking to be vulnerable with me in this way.

I told her:

“I wish you had made me work, even though I didn’t need the money!”

She shook her head in agreement and said,

“Me too! That’s my biggest regret. I didn’t do a very good job of teaching you kids how to make your own money. I taught you how to work hard. I taught you how to be responsible with money. I didn’t teach you to work hard for money!”

While your kids may not need the money now, they may need the money later! Give them money and they will spend it, teach them to earn money and they will never be without it. 

As a child I never had to worry about money. I never had to make a choice between doing something I loved, like studying ballet or going to the beach, and making money. I never went without. This lasted well into my 20’s. Then my family took a couple of financial hits and I was suddenly expected to earn all the money I spent. I had to choose between the things I loved to do and the things I needed to do. It was a huge shock to my system.

Making your kids work when they don’t need the money, when the stakes are low, will prepare them for earning money when the stakes are high. There are three things I wish I had learned before I left home:

Author Bio

Charlie Birch is a Co-Founder and the Director of Program Development at Rebel + Connect a company on a mission to celebrate human connection in the digital age! Rebel + Connect offers custom company retreat planning services for remote teams, operates remotely, and services clients from all over the globe. Charlie also dabbles in the sharing economy, rental real estate, freelance writing, healing arts, life coaching, diversity and inclusion consulting, and behavioral modification services. Charlie has a  Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Goucher College and studied at  Naropa University’s Graduate School of Psychology with a focus on Somatic Psychology. You can connect with Charlie on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.