Our Life Energy Quotient is the most important resource any of us has.
In my book True Family Wealth; Love, Money and an Inspired Life, I describe that regardless of whether we earn money, buy money, or were given money, we all have something in common. We are born, and we die. In between, we all have twenty-four hours each day that we live—we just don’t know for how long. During that time, we put our life’s energy to use in some way. I call it our Life Energy Quotient (LEQ), where one hour of life equals one unit of available life energy. When we use up LEQ in the pursuit of money, we are exchanging LEQ for money. Every minute we spend working we are converting our LEQ to money. We are all equal in this regard, no matter who we are, where we live, or what our other resources are.
We live in a world that measures everything by money
It seems we live in a world that measures everything by money. Our security and success are measured by how much money we have. We measure the worth of both things and people in money. And we are teaching our kids to do the same. We tell our kids that money isn’t everything and that their worth is not measured in money, yet society tells them something different. Most people spend the majority of their time and attention (and therefore their lives) on the pursuit of money. And our kids are watching and many of them are measuring their self-worth by how much money they have. In this blog you will learn about LEQ, our most important resource, and how to explain it to your kids to help them thrive.
This is important because it can help our kids understand that the decisions they will make about how they will earn money and how they will spend it is really a decision about how they will spend their limited LEQ. That conversation can bring clarity of direction, help them live lives of purpose and meaning, and in the end become a family member contributing to wealth preservation and family unity.
HOW DOES LEQ WORK?
To demonstrate how LEQ works, we can introduce our kids to Jack and Jill. Jack works as a carpenter for $50 an hour, and Jill, works as a senior lawyer for $500 an hour. Did you already assume that Jill is the more successful one in life? She earns more money than Jack and could likely afford a “better” car and a “better” home than Jack. She’d be able to travel and have the best things and finest wines, no doubt. But what makes a “better” car or a “better” home? Is that not subjective? For some, a better home is a mansion in the city full of fine furnishings, while for others it would be a small log cabin tucked away in the woods. Jill may feel that it is perfectly reasonable to work 8,000 LEQ hours to pay for that $4 million mansion. On the other hand, Jack dreams of building and living in his own log cabin in the woods. It will cost him $400,000. He, like Jill, is sacrificing 8,000 LEQ hours for the home of his choice.
They both achieved their dreams while sacrificing the same amount of LEQ. How perfect is that? No, really, do you get what this means? It means that more money is not the answer to achieving our dreams. More money doesn’t make us more successful or valuable than another as most people think. The trick is matching the amount of LEQ we are willing to exchange for money to the price tag on our dream. If not in balance, you either don’t get the dream or when you do get it, you’re exhausted and can’t enjoy it!
It is an understanding that helps build individuals of high esteem and confident self-direction. That is the message we need to teach our kids if they are to thrive and preserve family wealth and unity. So, when you or any member of your family goes to make a decision about earning, spending or saving money, or is tempted to compare themselves to others, remind them that we are equal recipients of LEQ, our only true resources. What differs between us is:
- how much of our LEQ we are prepared to convert to money (which is a function of our values, beliefs, and motivations)
- how much money we can get for our LEQ (which is a function of our education and circumstances)
- how good we are at converting LEQ to money (which is a function of our talents and appetite for risk)
- what we choose to spend our LEQ = money on (which is a function of choice)
With this understanding we can help our children understand that they can choose to consume their money or to be a steward of that money. In other words, the differences in their wealth experiences are mainly due to the consequences of the choices they will make. They are responsible for their money experience but are no less of a person than anyone else as a result of those choices.
We are not use to thinking this way ourselves so it can be a challenge to consistently teach out kids to think this way. So as a first step to embodying this understanding, and if you are brave enough to look, figure out how much of your LEQ you commit each week to earning, managing and saving money. And ask yourself, are you being rewarded for that investment? Then have a conversation with your family about what you discovered. Who know where that conversation can take you.
Chris Clarke draws on 30 years of experience as CEO and Co-owner of First Affiliated Holdings Inc. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Trust and Estates Practitioner, and a Registered Financial Planner. Clarke is also certified as a Family Facilitator by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise. Her new book, True Family Wealth-Love, Money & an Inspired Life, can be bought on Amazon.ca and at bookstores. www.truefamilywealth.ca