The true measure of your financial success is your net worth. I calculate my net worth regularly. I track it month over month. I set goals for growing it over the near, mid and long term. It’s a fun game to play. One that pays long term dividends. Literally.
However, your net worth, or financial assets, don’t represent your true value. Lately I have been thinking about another way to measure my worth that is even more meaningful. A way to not simply tally the money I have accumulated. But to measure the value I bring to other people.
Your Social Value is important for several reasons. At the end of your days the only thing that really matters is the impact you have had on other people. But offering a great deal of social value is also a leading indicator of your financial well-being. Because when you help others you are always helping yourself. And if you are finding yourself poor and alone, chances are you are not offering much social value. And your situation is a result.
To determine your social value ask yourself this simple question:
How valuable am I to the people I know?
Know Your Social Value
I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. Because I am evaluating how much I contribute to those around me. It is easy to focus on what you are receiving, or what you are accumulating. But I have a sneaking suspicion that when I get to the Peary Gates the entrance criteria might not be financial. Unless Heaven is more like Disney World than we realized.
There are many ways to add value to others. Here are some of them. Evaluate yourself on the following 20 areas.
- Give yourself 3 points for each element that you give generously.
- Give yourself a 1 if you give it occasionally.
- Give yourself a zero if it is simply not something you offer others.
Here we go.
1. Smiles Do you give away a lot of smiles every day? Could you give more? This small investment pays big dividends for others who need a smile the most.
2. Help Do you offer others help? When people need it do they turn to you? Or do they write you off as a dead end when they are in need?
3. Entertainment: Are you entertaining to be around? Do you do and say things that other find interesting, amusing or amazing? Will people put down their mobile device around you because you are likely to serve up something more compelling than a cat in sweater or a football-to-the-groin video?
4. Education: Do you teach people what you know? Do you have knowledge to share?
5. Wisdom: Do you have valuable experience to share? Have you made mistakes, overcome obstacles and come out smarter, and with better perspective that you are willing to talk about?
6. Encouragement When people are down do you help pick them back up? When others face great challenges do you become a cheerleader?
7. Positive Peer Pressure We talk a lot about peer pressure as being negative. But peer pressure comes in 2 flavors. Do you exert positive peer pressure to keep people between the ditches? To help force people to make positive choices or overcome bad habits?
8. Role Model We all could use a positive role model to serve as an example of what is possible. Are you doing that for others? Or are you more Charles Barkley-ish
9. Humor Laughter is the best medicine. Are you serving up large doses of it, like doctors serve up opioids?
10. Listening At the end of the day, most people just want to be heard. Are you known as a listener? As someone others can talk to, even without offering brilliant advice? Often others are not looking for you to solve their problems. They just need to talk to someone who will listen as they try to work out their own challenges. #justnod
11. Connections Do you have strong connections? Do you know other people with high Social Value scores? The more you know and can tap into, the more value you offer.
12. Action: Are you a person of action? Do you do? Do you throw water on a fire or do you tell someone else there is a fire? Do you help when you see it is needed? Or do you leave it to others?
13. Remembering Names: Do you make a point of remembering names? We’re not real friends until we remember each others’ names. Because you can’t properly greet, contact or introduce another person unless you know their name. And nothing in life is sweeter than the sound of your own name being positively called. Except maybe sweet tea. That stuff is super sweet.
14. Showing Up: Do you show up when people are in need? When there is an event, activity or funeral do you make a point of being there whenever you can?
15. Promises: Do you keep yours? Is your word good? Are you trustworthy? Can people count on you to come through when they need you?
16. Influence: Do you have influence on people, situations and decisions? People who have influence over decisions, other people, and outcomes are valuable to know. Just ask any politician, lobbyist or mobster.
17. Positivity: Do you bring a positive outlook with you? Do you help encourage positivity in others? Seeing things in a positive light and expecting positive results helps you shape the world positively. I am positive about this.
18. Inclusive: Do you include others? Do you look for ways to bring more people into the fold? Do you make people feel like part of a group, activity or movement? #notbowelmovement
19. Introductory: Do you introduce people to each other? Do you help increase connections, create larger, more powerful social groups? Do you see that as part of your responsibility, or do you let others fend for themselves?
20. Initiating: Do you initiate social interactions? Do you call, email or text first? Do you organize events, coffees, beers, lunches, or hangouts? In all social interactions someone needs to make the first move. If you aren’t doing your fair share the relationship will start to feel one sided. Which is simply a less valuable relationship.
Tally Your Score
- If you got a 60 you are amazingly valuable to know.
- If you got a 0 you are worthless to others, like a social Ebenezer Scrooge.
- If you are closer to 60 than 0 you are doing pretty good.
- If you are closer to 0 than 60 you have a lot of room for improvement. But you can do it. I know you can.
If you are interested in self improvement start with increasing your Social Value. It will have the greatest positive impact on others. And when you positively impact others it will lead to more positive outcomes for you. Offering strong Social Value means that people will be drawn to you, seek you out, and think of you when they are in need. Which means that your Social Value makes you more popular and move valuable than your net worth ever could.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.