Get risky, get returns


An old money parable snuck up on me this week. It’s a story I always thought was about the path to get more money, but it turns out it goes even beyond that.

The legend goes that before he left on a trip, a king gave large, medium and small amounts of money to three of his servants, and told them to do business with it. He finally came back and checked in with them. The first two servants with larger amounts had put his money to work and doubled it. The servant with the small amount was afraid to lose it, and hid the cash at home the whole time. The king then rewarded the first two by giving them much, much more to manage, and he took the small amount away from the third servant and gave it to the first one to manage.

This obviously applies to money: if you prove faithful to manage the amount that you have now, you’ll be given more to work with. However, it goes beyond just money. I’ve been discontent with my job and have been too busy with self-pity to actually do excellent the work I’m capable of. When I realized that this little story I’ve been thinking about is actually about me at work, and that I’ve been the third servant, it stung a bit.

It is incredibly easy to fall into “third servant” thinking. For me, it was a bit of “my boss is obviously holding me back” or “I deserve more than this…why hasn’t anybody given it to me yet?” “What if I lose what I have? Then I’ll be worse off!” It’s all about me.

Working with what you’ve got involves risk. I’ve got to be willing shut out my fears and take a personal risk to grow in what I’ve already been given, what I have right now. This may be money, skills and abilities, relationships, or a job. Do an amazing job with what you have now, and then watch the promotion (or the raise, or personal growth) come.

This is a fresh lesson for me this week, and what I do with it starting from Monday will matter. Take this on board in your own life. Are there areas you feel held back and aren’t sure why? Then be honest with yourself: are you putting yourself out there to make the most of everything you have right now?

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