We’ve all heard the term multiple streams of income, meaning ongoing income from several different sources. If one source dries up, you can rely on another. While it is crucial always to have a backup plan to support you and your dependents, I’ve seen many who collect streams for the sole purpose of accumulating wealth. In this scenario, the more they accumulate, the more rich they become. I propose a new concept: multiple streams of influence, in which the more you connect streams of goodness and assistance, the more enriched you become. As an added return on investment, many others become enriched along the way. With multiple streams of income the focus in on reaping; with multiple streams of influence the focus is on sowing. Funds are finite; influence is infinite.
It’s a subtle shift of mind. We all want to prepare for the future and even our legacy. Legacy isn’t what you leave behind; it’s whom. And a stream of revenue isn’t a “whom.” Colonel Sanders once said, “There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there.” Now I am all for acquiring wealth so that it may be used to help others. In fact, it’s at the core of my business. I teach how to monetize the mission because resources are needed to meet the task at hand. But when monetization becomes the sole end, and not the missional means, things go adrift.
I have many tremendous streams in my life, and they are wide and varied: from rescue dogs, to youth leadership, to prison ministry, to scholarly research and reviews, to writing and speaking. If I only did things that garnered revenue, my days would be woefully empty; however, I am busier than a gopher on a golf course. Why? Because I am constantly pouring out, not drawing in. Although the bottom line of my bank account may not show it, I am filled to the brim in the bottom line of life.
I do want it all, but I don’t want it for me. I want it for others. This means I assume responsibility for my community. My life’s purpose is to illuminate the journeys of others (and yes, providing the financial means to do this is huge). I am the master gardener helping others bloom; not just bringing rare, exotic species into my own private property, but seeking to create beauty wherever I can. I look forward with eyes of faith, not only of funds.
With multiple streams of income, your rewards are cash and coinage which can be devalued. With multiple streams of influence, the return on investment is character, confidence, and charisma, which have everlasting rates of return. So if you’re good at something, don’t simply try to monetize it, help someone else become wealthy too. And in changing your view from narrow self to global service, you will become wealthier than you ever dreamed possible. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Be fruitful in your streams of influence and fill the world with a richness that cannot perish.