427 | Redefining Financial Success, Part 2

Today we continue our discussion about money and what really matters in life, looking at redefining financial success.

What goes through your mind when you think about your mission? It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, a stay-at-home mom, a college student or a retiree… think about it: what’s your current mission in life and how are you leveraging money to get you to that goal?

I truly believe that financial success is achievable for you, but you might have to make some changes in how it’s defined! I hope you enjoy today’s episode, please shoot me a comment or question about the discussion today, as I’d love to hear your thoughts! 



money, people, business, talk, tool, god, spend, solomon, life, financial success, cart, priorities, teach, business owners, serving, stupid, called, purpose, pay, resources


Joel Fortner, Chris LoCurto, Brian  Alex


Chris LoCurto  00:00

Part two of reorienting your financial success around what truly matters, that is coming up next.


Chris LoCurto  00:16

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. We are continuing on-Brian Alex is joining me again.


Brian  Alex  00:33

One more time.


Chris LoCurto  00:34

One more time, in the studio as we continue on with our discussion about finances, about reorienting your life, your ideas, your strategies, all that kind of fun stuff. Part one of this, if you got a chance to listen to this, was a lot of my story, a lot of different pieces about what I've experienced in life. And today we're continuing on with some of the how to's, or some of the-I don't know, Brian, you explain it. Let me ask you what I asked you last time, "Hey, what are you doing here?"


Brian  Alex  01:06

What are you doing here? Get out of here. No, the the the idea that really around this episode, these two episodes now, is that so much of what we find, if you're looking for help with finances, it goes very quickly to the prescriptive, do these things, XYZ and you just mark them off. And there are some great, you know, Financial Peace University, we can't talk about it enough. I've gone through probably eight times, I probably need at least another 8 to 10 even facilitating it, you're learning things all the time, it hits you at a different place in your life. We can't push that enough, because it works. But a lot of that in the course is prescriptive. Now Dave unfolds his story, just like Chris has unfolded his in the last episode, and we begin to talk a little bit of that the descriptive side of well, what should my relationship with money be? What should it be like? And to what end? I mean, we talk about financial success. And even the title of these episodes is "Redefining Financial Success", because so much of what we understand is just ticking the boxes and arriving at a certain end.

And I want to really press into that here in this second part about well, what is that end that we're pressing into? And I know, something you've said, here recently, you've talked about money being the leverage in your decision making that helps you execute your mission well. And I love that the money becomes a tool, or an asset to help you achieve not financial success, per se, but mission success in the things that God has called you to do. But we have to say, again, there is a hierarchy here, there is a priority set of God, and then people, and then money.


Chris LoCurto  03:06

Yeah, absolutely.


Brian  Alex  03:07

So we're going to talk about that, right after this.


Chris LoCurto  03:13

Hey, folks, a couple years ago, I was visiting with a client, and the CEO said to me, "Chris, we're not going to hit our goal." I asked him what he meant, and he said, "We're gonna miss our three year revenue goal coming out of Stratplan by a few months." I didn't realize it at first that he was having a little fun with me by saying they were about to triple their company in less than three years. How freaking awesome is that? Folks, these are the kinds of results that businesses get by coming through our four day Stratplan event. On average, we find $2.1 million worth of revenue in the next 12 months that the company was not planning on.

And this event is for all sized businesses. If you're small, medium, or large, it works for every single business, because it's not industry specific. It's about gaining all the information about all the things inside of your business that are holding you back from success, and then giving you a plan and a process on how to walk that out and be successful in your business. By discovering the things that are holding you back, it helps you get to all of those goals that you've been planning on for a long time. So if you're ready to get the perspective you need to solve what's holding you and your business back so you can grow faster, then you need Stratplan. To learn more, go to chrislocurto.com/stratplan. That's chrislocurto.com/stratplan.


Brian  Alex  04:51

Alright. So we are back, and I want us to just pick up right there. Let's unpack, how is money now leverage for you, and to what end?


Chris LoCurto  05:04

Yeah. So let me go back to something that you said in the opening package there about, what should our relationship with money be? And you know, so much of what you heard on the first episode, if you did not listen to it, go back and listen to it, then come back to this, I think that's just wise. We have such a relationship with money because of worth. Worth in man. Worth in man's opinion, identity in what I have, what I own, what I'm accomplishing, all of that stuff. We talked a lot about Solomon, you know about how going after all of these things is like chasing the wind, it's pure vain. It's pure vanity to do so, you can't possibly capture the wind, it's stupid.

What are we trying to capture? Right? Well, we preach that that's a good thing to do. Go do you, go make you amazing, go stand on the mountaintop and scream at everybody who you are, and what you are, and why you're important. All that stuff is just pure vanity. Right? Without a phenomenal relationship with God, and by that I by that I mean, an actual legitimate relationship, understanding you know his word, you understand what he expects of you, what he desires from you, you understand the consequences you're going to get when you're-


Brian  Alex  06:26

You're being obidient, and when he's blessing you, I mean, yes, two ways.


Chris LoCurto  06:30

All of that stuff without knowing that, what do you have? What you can produce. What is Solomon saying? Guess what? What you can produce, is not enough.


Brian  Alex  06:39

Yeah, I mean, and again, he had all of the resources available- I mean, probably in the history of mankind, he had the most capacity, resource, ability, time on his hands, ruler of, you know, kingdoms. And even at that period in his life, as he exhausted, he investigated every possible thing that he could delight himself with, or things he could accumulate.

And I think this is really instructive for us. Because we buy into this lie all the time, "Well, if I just have more X", whatever that is, "Then I'll be happy, then it'll be different, and I'll feel better, and I'll be a better person, and I'll find success." I think what's instructive for us is, even if we had the ability to go and exhaust every line, or every road that we want to go down of fame, success, wealth, you know, capacity, whatever. Solomon is indicative of the fact that it's still meaningless if it's only an end to itself.


Chris LoCurto  07:50

Is it not ridiculous how we are, that we have the example of Solomon? So, you know, for me, one of the things that I praise God about is that I've been able to watch people my whole life and make decisions not to do the things that cause them pain. I have watched leader after leader, person after person, go after something, get hurt in the process. And I go, "Oh, don't do that. Right? Now, keep in mind. I've done plenty of stupid on my own.


Brian  Alex  08:21

Well, and I have to interject. This is where The Office, again, is very helpful for us. Because Dwight Schrute is famous for saying, "If I know that a stupid person would do that, I do not do that thing." That is wisdom.


Chris LoCurto  08:39

That is wisdom right there. There you go. So here's the thing, we look at the wisest man to potentially live, right? Possibly live, not potentially, he did live. And yet he went after the very stuff that we keep convincing ourselves, we should do. And we have the great example of how much pain it caused him, right? And he literally sat down and penned: "Don't do this."


Brian  Alex  09:12

Only a stupid person would do this!


Chris LoCurto  09:14

Where's Dwight, right? Now I'm going, "Man I thought Solomon was wise, apperently he was stupid. The wisest guy went after the things of the world, the wisest guy. And then he sat down and he wrote to us saying, "Don't be stupid about this. Recognize the vanity." So Solomon wasn't stupid, he was vain. Right? He was focused on the things of himself, not the things of God. This is what he's telling us. You could be incredibly smart- "Oh, well, I know how to handle money, Chris. Oh, well, I know what I'm doing."

That was me back in the late 90s. You know, I came out of Etrade. I thought I really understood money, even though I was a day trader for a little bit of time and lots of money there, that was stupid. Now that is stupid. You know, I thought I knew everything. And then man, just smacked upside the head. Nope, here's some-


Brian  Alex  10:11

Yeah, we're talking about hard issues.


Chris LoCurto  10:12

Yes exactly. The key is, is that we will still take a look at what Solomon wrote to us, telling us "Don't,be vain. Don't be focused on you, be focused on God, because when you're focused on you, I promise you, God's gonna bring pain." And we go, "Hey, that's a great story. Look at that. Well, poor Solomon, that guy really screwed up, didn't he? But I'm not gonna, because I've got a better plan."


Brian  Alex  10:41

And then we chase after the wind, just like he did.


Chris LoCurto  10:44

Just like he did. And unfortunately, you know, this is God's ways of doing things, or at least a God pattern. Usually, it takes maturity and years. It takes age and maturity for us to get to a place of going, "Wow, I really have been an idiot, haven't I? This has been kind of stupid. I need to focus on what's right." So the key is to understand when it comes to relationship with money, we don't understand how amoral money is, and how money doesn't make us worthy. Only God makes us worthy.

So answering the question, what should our relationship with money be? Think of it as a shovel. Think of it as a wrench, think of it as a drill. It's a tool to accomplish things with. Having more tools doesn't make me a better, you know, bricklayer.


Brian  Alex  11:42

Unless you're really into craftsmen, and you start grunting like Tim Allen or something.


Chris LoCurto  11:47

Well in that case, yes, absolutely. Just because I have a lot of tools, it doesn't make me a better version, it means I have tools I can use, right? So-


Brian  Alex  11:57

Yeah. Wow, that's a that's a powerful analogy of the how we accumulate things to give us a leverage. And I wonder if there are control issues that go into that, that whole kind of heart relationship with money. We want those resources so that we can feel in control, we can feel powerful, but we're so tied, when our worth and our value that as soon as something happens with those tools, wow, yeah, we just tank.


Chris LoCurto  12:25

And then all of a sudden, we don't have enough tools. And then we're not good enough. And then we're not worthy enough. And we are completely missing out on how we should be looking at money. Nobody goes-well, I'm gonna assume nobody, let me just say most people, let me be, you know, conservative here, most people don't walk into their garage, and look at the tools on a wall or on a bench or in the tool chest and go, "I am so worthy."


Brian  Alex  12:55

 "Behold, my kingdom. Look at me."


Chris LoCurto  12:57

"Look at me, I am amazing." Right? The graphic artist doesn't go in and look at his computer that has, you know, all kinds of abilities and go, "I'm phenomenal." Right? It's not the tool doesn't make you phenomenal, it doesn't make you more worthy.


Brian  Alex  13:16

Sometimes it just makes you a tool.


Chris LoCurto  13:20

Sometimes tools just make you a tool. If you know how to use the money, and you have a right perspective in life, your worth is not in money, your worth is not in stuff, your worth is not in man's opinion, your worth is not in how much you own, how much you accomplish, that is not your worth. Your worth is in what God says. Then you can focus on God's will and purposes for your life instead of your will and purposes. Right? What is Solomon saying? Quit being so vain, quit being so stuck on you, quit being so focused on yourself.

It's not about you going and making this your world, it's not about you going and building an empire to yourself. It's not about you going in collecting a whole bunch of stuff, right? It's just not. You're here for a short period of time and then you're transitioning and you're going to one of two places. If you're going to the place with God, then guess what? Go ahead and use this life to set that one up. Focus on his will and purposes go after that. "Well, Chris, I'm a business owner who, you know, we just pour concrete." "Well, do you are you helping people by doing that?" "I don't think so." "Well, what do you do with that concrete? You don't put in a hole for 40 hours a week." "No, we build driveways and back patios." "Well, what do people do on the back patio?" "I don't know.

They have family barbecues and you know, they spend time together." "Great. So you're helping people to spend time as a family. Now, be more intentional about it. Utilize the tool to go change lives. Do it in honoring God, do it in worshiping God in the process, utilize it, so use that relationship with money as a tool for you to use, not your worth, not your identity." When you do that, then you can do like us, God is our number one motivating factor. Changing lives is our number two motivating factor, profit-not money, but profit-we can make tons of money in this business. But if we're in the negative, it doesn't matter. But we have to be profitable to keep the doors open and pay everybody to do what they're doing, right? So that is at best number three.

Why? Because when money is number one, when that's your motivating factor, everything is handcuffed to it. God's your number one motivating factor, you handcuff yourself to God, you know, you you emotionally attach yourself to God, and it changes the decisions you make with those tools. So I made a lot of money in life, I have plenty of tools to use, my life is walking that out going, how do I utilize this tool for God? What do I do now? You know, we're working on which we haven't talked about that-but I think there's some stuff on our Facebook but you know, working on it,we call it The Ridge at Leapers Creek.


Brian  Alex  16:06

I haven't seen you in like a week.


Chris LoCurto  16:08

Yes we've been busting it, a lot of stuff out there trying to just get power and things up to this to this place, we've got this land that we want to make it an even more special life change environment for people to coming through Next Level Life, for Stratplan or our events and all that. And so we're working on that, oh my gosh, we could be working on building an empire to ourselves, we could be working on a vacation home somewhere we could be working on, you know, putting ourselves in a place, I don't know, that separates us from everybody else.


Brian  Alex  16:42

And we talk about that all the time here that if our pursuit-and this is internal dialogue on our team, if our pursuit as a team was for the revenue, our business would look dramatically different. Because that's it is not the defining element, the defining element is God obedience to Him, His commandments, what he does, and obeying Him and serving him loving him, all of that which then filters to people, naturally, it goes to affecting other people's lives in a positive way.

And then like you say that third thing down, but just like we said in the first episode, the farther you get down on that list, that one that's below serves what's above. And so that tool of money is a tool to love on and change people, which again, is part of our worship to God in the highest position.


Chris LoCurto  17:36

Absolutely. When you can get that right perspective. And I'm going to say it's that right perspective, because it's very biblical, what is God telling you? Put me first, put be first, put me first, I own you, recognize that, you are something I possess, recognize that, if you go and do your own thing, it's gonna hurt like crazy, recognize that, when you have that right perspective of God first, then you can make different decisions with every tool and resource that he's given you. Not just the money, but the people, the family, your kids, the cars that you own the house that you own the building, whatever it is, you can change all of that and make better decisions with those.


Brian  Alex  18:18

Yeah, and I love that, that we're reiterating again, that what we're talking about is not just business, redefining financial success affects the you know, people like me, the, you know, the individual, or the family out there. I have to assess that all the time for myself personally. And I'm thinking, Okay, I'm spending this money. Why am I directing my money, my funds, my resources, these tools in this direction?

And I'm constantly trying to assess, am I am I just serving myself? Am I seeking entertainment, or happiness or whatever, by the things that I choose to use my money on? And so when we're talking about financial success here, it's not just that accumulation, but it's really the management of the resources that God puts into our hands. And at the end of the day, it comes back to its leverage in the decision making that helped to serve the mission.


Chris LoCurto  19:23

So, we teach around here; mission is your purpose for existence. So you should have a personal mission, you should have a business mission, you should have a career mission, a family mission, a spiritual mission. The mission is your purpose for existence. So when it comes to your business, you have to ask yourself, what is our purpose for existing? Most business owners don't know. They wrote down a mission statement at some point, but they can't read it off. They don't remember, they they haven't memorized it.


Brian  Alex  19:55

Enron had a mission statement as well.


Chris LoCurto  19:59

They did have a mission statement as well.


Brian  Alex  20:02

Just saying it's not always connected with the action.


Chris LoCurto  20:05

Yes, that's exactly it.


Brian  Alex  20:06

Integrity, excellence.


Chris LoCurto  20:08

Yeah, it didn't actually work out the way that they said it was working out, or at least what they said they wanted to be.


Brian  Alex  20:14

It's possible to be way off.


Chris LoCurto  20:16

Yeah, it is very possible to be way off. Also don't make CFO's CEO's. Anyway, that's just life lesson. So here's the deal, when you look at your purpose, now ours is; worshiping God by loving people and guiding individuals or organizations to greater perspective. We say it all the time. People always say, "You change our lives." We always say, "No, we get you to the greatest perspective, you have to choose to utilize that perspective and change your own life. We can't change your life, we can only get you to that perspective." Right?

But our goal is to get that perspective to people and help them, but it starts off by worshiping God, and then it goes to loving people, right? Now. We have this business, this opportunity, this money, these tools, these certificates of appreciation as Rabbi Lapin would call it, to do something with, we could take it home. For us, we like to do profit sharing and share with the team.


Brian  Alex  21:21

Thank you, by the way.


Chris LoCurto  21:22

You're absolutely welcome. But we also pour a ton of it back into the business. Now one of the things we do, we don't suggest this to a lot of people unless God's called you to do this. We trade a lot of time for money. So for myself, a lot of what I spend time doing is spending time with clients. It's spending time doing this right here. It's coaching, it's doing things of helping people one-on-one, or with the leadership team, we have a Stratplan that starts next week. We you know, all these things that we do we spend time.

So we're trading time for money, we get paid for our time, that is not the world's best business model. And the reason why it's because it's not very scalable. So if you're looking at it through the lens of man, people all the time disagree with our way of doing things, because we're not scaling it like crazy, doesn't matter, God's called us to do these things. And until he changes that, we're doing them. Now, we're also working on, but with not great vigor, we're working on other things that we'll be able to run without me being a part of it, without Joel being a part of it, without Heather being a part of it. So we're working on those things. But it's just not the world's greatest priority sbecause money is not the greatest priority for us.


Brian  Alex  22:36

We are going to get a book out at some point.


Chris LoCurto  22:38

At some point, I actually wrote one, I had to go back and redo it. And yeah, apparently it was too high level. So I've got to go back through and make it a little bit different people like "Man, you really got deep very quick." "Oh, sorry. Okay." So but the point being is, we have all of these resources, to be able to take it home and in effect our own lives, or we can pour it back into the business. So when COVID came around, that great political disease that came around.

When that happened, we knew very quickly, the areas that if we had to cut, so we didn't lay a single person off, we kept operating the same always,, we just shifted people around, you know, we had to move-so you being one of those people, which was great, because we discovered other fantastic gifts and talents that you have, by making some shifts with some people. "Hey, listen, you're doing this over here. We need you over here." Never laid a person off continued rockin, right?


Chris LoCurto  23:40

But we knew the whole time. And when I say "we" I mean the leadership team. We knew that if we needed to cut stuff, we knew exactly where we would cut. Because we have plenty of things where we spend a lot of money to help people. And if we got into a situation where we were not being profitable, and we had plenty of money in our emergency fund, we had plenty of money to take care of things, and we dipped down for-we actually took a kick in the teeth. Because of what had happened.

We weren't able to do our big live public event that, praise God we were able to do this year. So we had to do that online, which changed a lot of stuff. So we took a big kick in the teeth. But by the time we got to the end of the year, we were back to normal. Back to where we were, which was just such a God blessing. We knew that if it continued to be negative, that we would start removing things that we've been pouring money into, to help people that aren't as profitable, that we could change. Now, if I'm teaching somebody just business work, I'm saying remove those things anyways, because that's not helping you achieve your goal. If your goal is to be highly profitable, then remove the things that aren't profitable. If you're doing this as a calling to God.

You have to know that, what's your purpose, what's your mission? For us, the mission is God, people, right. So by doing so we leverage the dollars that come in. People pay us money, we do amazing events, we have all kinds of great stuff going on. And then I turn around and pour a ton of that back into the business. Why? Because I want to change more lives, the more we can change lives, the more we can affect people. So it becomes the leverage for our purpose, or as you're pointing out our mission, the tool gives us the ability to continue on with the mission, well, we're not done, God's continuing to grow our mission. The next piece of that, as we see, is creating this environment that we call The Ridge where-


Brian  Alex  25:50

 Goats, chickens, and bee's.


Chris LoCurto  25:51

Goats, chickens, farm, bees, all kinds of stuff. The funny thing is, is that there are pieces- so we picked up a bunch of land, that we're going to build an event space, we're hopefully going to be able to build, we're trying to get all this approved by the county, to be able to build places for people to stay when you come for Next Level Life, you come here, you go stay at a hotel, this is more like a retreat.

So you're coming in, and then you get to go be in nature when you're working on your discussions with God, when you're working on your homework on, you know, what brings me joy, you're able to walk around when people come in through Stratplan, and we take a break, you can go and spend time and just you know, spend time with God, or spend time soaking up the nature or whatever. But then you also don't have to leave the property, you can just stay right there. And as you're going through your event. As we do our bigger events, our quarterly retreats are a big public event, you have the ability to come here, we'll come there, and experience so much more healing processes. That's not in a hotel environment. It's not in a corporate environment, it's in an environment. And you know, people love this building here so much once they get inside, because it's not set up like an office space. It's set up like a warm, cozy, large home, right?

With an event space, that allows you to not be focused on a corporate setting any of that. So that's the next purpose for us, as we see it, is that we're putting things in place, for people to have an even bigger life change. Our hope is that we'll be able to bring in troubled youth that we'll be able to bring in, you know, families that are struggling with things, you know, if we need to shelter people from bad situations, whatever God says for us to do. That's our goal. But we could also just take the money home and build us a big ol honkin house and buy more cars, and trying to impress man at a stoplight.


Brian  Alex  28:03

If money were at the top.


Chris LoCurto  28:05

If money were at the top, you know, go on big vacations, do all that stuff. And that's just not it. That's so we're using it to leverage our purpose our mission.


Brian  Alex  28:13

I love it. We probably need to take a break. I'm gonna run to the restroom.


Chris LoCurto  28:18



Brian  Alex  28:19

And I'll be right back.


Chris LoCurto  28:20

Don't take the microphone in there with you.


Brian  Alex  28:24

But when we come back, I want to get down into some really practical things for employers, employees, parents, teens, college students. Let's flesh this out on a practical level and talk about how it works in the real world.


Chris LoCurto  28:39



Joel Fortner  28:43

Hey, it's Joel Fortner. Here I'm the Vice President of leadership development on Chris's team, and I oversee our Next Level Mastermind business coaching program. Most business owners and leaders lack a clear path to succeed in business. They question whether the making the right decisions, if they're focusing on the right things to really grow their business.

If this is you, you need a coach in your life. Coaches help you make better decisions, navigate uncertainty, lead more effectively, and grow your business without sacrificing your life and your family. In their first year, our clients typically see an average of 67% increase in gross revenue and an average of 138% increase in net profit; and regained hours of time. Our clients stay in the program for three and a half years simply because of the results they get. So if you're ready to run your business at the next level and see the growth you've been wanting, then visit chrislocurto.com/mastermind. Again, chrislocurto.com/mastermind, today.


Brian  Alex  29:45

And we're back.


Chris LoCurto  29:46



Brian  Alex  29:46

That was a great break, much needed. And I'm very grateful to be back in a little different frame of mind.


Chris LoCurto  29:58

Literally we did not leave the room. We've just been sitting.


Brian  Alex  30:02

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It's all smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke and mirrors. But we are back. And okay. So, you know, I mentioned a few moments ago that, you know, a lot of this hits like for me personally, you know, I'm constantly having to re examine my heart condition, my heart connection with money.


Chris LoCurto  30:24

Praise God that you do, right?


Brian  Alex  30:26

Yeah, I mean, I've hit rock bottom a couple times, so don't mind. And each time you know, God, just he goes, "Okay." You know, it's that thump like you were talking about on the first episode, thump every now and then. And yeah, you come to terms with all right, where are my priorities at? And so you know, let's make this more practical. And couple of questions I'm going to throw out at you, how can our listeners examine their relationship with money? Alright, so first one, how much of a trigger is your bank statement?


Chris LoCurto  31:03

Oh, my goodness. I believe it was Covey. I believe it was Stephen Covey, who said, "If I have your checkbook and your day timer," which you know, would be your schedule your calendar, "then I can tell you what your priorities are." I believe it was Covey. Your bank statement if you actually ever looked at it, which I believe most people never do.


Brian  Alex  31:25

And there's some reasons I think I mean, we could go deep dive here real quick on, it could be fear.


Chris LoCurto  31:32

Oh, totally.


Brian  Alex  31:33

You know, because of worth, or fear of what's not there-


Chris LoCurto  31:37



Brian  Alex  31:37

-in the bank statement. I mean, it could be lots of different reasons. And just that laziness of not wanting to be in the numbers, because of all the feelings that brings up all of that kind of thing.


Chris LoCurto  31:47

Yeah, well, if you if you actually sat down and printed out, because you probably get it digitally nowadays. But took a look at your bank statement, it would tell you your priorities. Where is the money going? Is it going to you know, credit cards? Is it going to clothes? Is it going to knickknacks in your house? Is it going to car payments? You know, where is that money being spent? It will tell you a lot about your priorities when it comes to money. So yeah, it should be a trigger for you to go, "Oh, good night."

So one of the things with Financial Peace University, back in the days when when I would coach people on, here's what I want you to know, I have friends, relatives, or just somebody I'd meet, you know, we get into talking about finances and I'd say, "So here's what I want you to do. Before you sit down and do a budget, I want you to take if you spend a-I don't care if you buy gum, get a receipt. Every single thing you spend money on, get a receipt for it, your mortgage, print that out. Whatever it is, get a receipt. And at the end of 30 days, lay it out on your kitchen table in categories. And you know, you will be sick at where you spend money."


Brian  Alex  32:04

This is where my values are, my priorities.


Chris LoCurto  33:09

Exactly. Yeah. So, you'll see the things that you value. But then you'll also see how much you don't value the tool money when you realize that you spent $75 at Starbucks. And you're just like-


Brian  Alex  33:25

"Did I really want to invest? In that way?"


Chris LoCurto  33:28

Yeah. When you start looking at the areas that you, you know, you'll be sick at the stuff that really are your values, because you can see that's where you spent money. That's a priority. Let me say it that way. And then the lack of priority where you spent money on things that you just lost your tool. And again, to spend an insane amount of money on coffee and you don't have money, and you get to the end of the month and there's not money to spend an insane amount of money on clothes or whatever it is, I don't care if it's the you know, the convenience store at the gas station. When you dump a bunch of money in those areas. You're letting go of your opportunities. Because you're letting go of your tool to leverage your mission.


Brian  Alex  34:13

You're putting other opportunities in place in that queue and you're pushing those other options to the back.


Chris LoCurto  34:20

Exactly, it's like the horrible advice that some accountants give people, "You've got extra net profit? Go buy something. Go spend money on something." Well, no, it's okay if you need the thing, right? But I know so many people who take tax credits you know, tax advantage, by going and spending money on stuff that they wouldn't normally have spent that money on. You know, "Well you need a brand new $700 copier." "Do I really?" "Well it's gonna give you tax break." "Yeah, but it's only a third of that, that I'm getting a tax break on. What if I just took them home instead? What if I used it on something else?" So yes, it's definitely a trigger. If you look at your bank statement, whether it's your personal bank statement, or your business bank statement, which I'm in every single month, that will tell you where your priorities are.


Brian  Alex  35:15

Yeah, and if that's you, if you're that business owner, and you are hesitant, or you feel cautious, or there's some anxiety or fear with looking into your numbers, go back and listen to Episode 416, Leading by the Numbers, that came out in May. And and get into that episode, because we really hit that head on about why you, as a business owner, as a business leader, need to be in your numbers every day. And that goes, you know, it goes obviously on the other side here with personal finances. If you are shying away from opening those bills from getting into your, you know, your bank statements and actually seeing where your money is going, and you having a plan for your money. What do we know is going to happen if we don't have a plan for our money? Our money has a plan for us.


Chris LoCurto  36:07

 To leave us.


Brian  Alex  36:09

To leave us and to go into someone else's hands who will manage it. Right. Okay, so let's talk about this is a big heart issue. There's like this huge string right here: do you use or abuse money or credit to satisfy yourself? What is this telling us about our relationship with money?


Chris LoCurto  36:33

Yeah. So there's so many surface level responses that we discover Next Level Life. I mean, there is hundreds of them that we talk about, but one of those things is emotional spending. Again, why do we emotionally spend? Because we're losing worth we're struggling with control, we're telling ourselves that, "If I go spend this money on this thing, I will be happy." It's the "if, then", if I buy this pair of shoes, then I'll be happy.


Brian  Alex  37:05

It's salving a wound in a way.


Chris LoCurto  37:08

That's exactly it, and its truth. You are happy, because you choose to be happy.


Brian  Alex  37:13

For a moment.


Chris LoCurto  37:13

Yeah, for five minutes. What is happiness? Happiness-and it's so hard to get this pounded into people's heads-happiness is a choice. It is not something that just happens through osmosis. You have to choose to be happy. So then you make a purchase, and you choose in that moment that you're happy. And then five minutes later, you're like, well, what's next?


Brian  Alex  37:40

Now what?


Chris LoCurto  37:41

You know, now I've spent that money-


Brian  Alex  37:42

Oh that wound is still there-it's still, you know, there's a million things-and we've discussed Solomon already. But there's a million things that we can do this with, whether it's alcohol, or whether it's, you know, just entertainment and pleasure seeking, whether it's, you know, other people's estimation of us and giving us that affirmation that we feel like we need, all of these things are trying to address those wounds. And again, that's why, you know, shameless plug here for Next Level Life. That's why we need to discover where are those wounds and what are we doing about them, so that we don't continue this cycle of abusing money and credit in order to satisfy that longing that's inside.


Chris LoCurto  38:24

Absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, that is a big issue. If you're using money to satisfy yourself, then once again-and it's not saying you can't go on a trip. It's not saying that you can't buy something nice. It's not saying that at all. It's saying that if you are misusing the tool for your own worth, then that's a big issue.


Brian  Alex  38:48

Thinking about going back home to Sicily, Sicily has these really old ornate wooden carts that these really dressed up ponies pull around town, you know, they trick them out. I mean, it's like you're in the hood, and you know it's like bouncing up and down the street, music coming out, I mean, they're tricked out these old wooden carts but they used to sell fruits and vegetables on nowadays it's just a cart. And it's on parade with a roughly literally a prancing pony through the streets. And it always comes to me this this, you know, the analogy of putting the cart in front of the horse and how ridiculous that would be. But let's talk about, how do I know if I'm serving money, or money is serving me? What are some indicators here that I'm putting the cart in front of the horse?


Chris LoCurto  39:47

If you've tricked out a vegetable cart-


Brian  Alex  39:50

Indication, one-


Chris LoCurto  39:51

-You might be a Sicilian redneck. Think about this for a second. What is the purpose? That's so funny, I've never heard that, you've never shared that. I've never known that. What's the purpose of tricking out a cart and putting it on a prancing pony and running it through the streets? Man's opinion. The purpose is that I've convinced myself, "Man is going to look at my cart and think, 'Wow, Chris LoCurto. That Sicilian's amazing right there. Look at that guy.'" How stupid, how ridiculous, because now I have abused the tool that I had in front of me to try and garner appreciation for men. And let's say 50 guys down the street think I'm amazing. For how long? Five minutes.


Brian  Alex  40:46

Till the next cart comes along.


Chris LoCurto  40:48

That's yeah so now I've wasted my time. I've wasted my resources, my time, my energy, my money, my cart, my horse; on trying to get the opinions of men, of people, humans, to say that I'm something spectacular so I grow my worth. What a colossal abuse, right? What a stupid waste. Right? That is something for us here in a Western culture, and European and Western culture that we don't get, where in a Middle Eastern culture. They look at function over form. So if you were to say, "Here is a pen. Brian, for all the people who can't see this pen, would you describe it?"


Brian  Alex  41:32

That is a red pen with chrome accents, has the "Poimen Group" written on it and it's lovely.


Chris LoCurto  41:40

Yeah. Alright. So you just described how it looks. What they would say in the Middle East is, "That's something that I use to transfer my thoughts onto a piece of paper." The function. And the reason why that's important is for us to understand, if we're going after function, then we recognize the tool that is money, if we're going after form, then we recognize man's opinion of money. And so that is a terrible abuse, because what we could be doing is pouring that into something else. And again, for believers, it should be pouring it into something that's glorifying God. How are you changing lives with this tricked out cart? You know, how am I changing lives if I spend money on a fancy car to impress somebody at a stop light. I'm just not. Right?


Brian  Alex  42:32

Yeah, and again, I mean, just to dig a little bit, you have had some nice cars. And I have driven many of those nice cars, and lived in your nice houses. I mean, I I've experienced that. But again, we're not talking about it's not wrong to have nice things. It's how we used to say when nice things have you. And so learning to look at those indications of, "Okay, why am I making this purchase? What is this going to do for me? What is this going to serve? Does it serve something greater than just me and filling that void and addressing that inner wound?" I mean, there's got to be these little flags that start, you know, waving when we're about to make a purchase. That is, we're really serving money in the end and not it's serving us in the mission that we're called to.


Chris LoCurto  43:21

Yeah. And just to clarify, there's things that I don't own anymore, then I will never spend that money on ever again. Just because of being in a different place of going, "That was a colossal waste of my tool." I can't and it's not to say that I haven't used those things to try and bless people. But my gosh, there's so much easier ways. There's so many better ways. So to find out whether or not you're serving money, ask yourself the question, "What is the intended result of the thing I'm spending money on, the things?" If you're spending money on a house, that's just ridiculously big, why? What's the purpose?


Brian  Alex  44:08

Maybe there's a good reason there, but it could be your own vanity and ego and all of that. And that needs to be assessed.


Chris LoCurto  44:16

Yeah. So here's something that what Jesus says when he's talking to the rich young ruler.


Brian  Alex  44:22

And we keep coming back to that, you know, we talked about it in the devotional, but if you want to look it up, it's Mark chapter 10, verses 17 through 27.


Chris LoCurto  44:31

And I'm not sure if it's in Mark, or if it's in Luke. So there's three parallels Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on the same story, but in one of the stories when the disciples are like, "You know, hey, if the rich man can't get into heaven, who can be saved?" And Jesus shares with them, "Those who will give up the things of this world," now I'm paraphrasing this. I'm exegeting this in what Jesus is saying, "If you will give up the things of the world that you hold so dearly, that are so valuable to you, the stuff, the things, man's approval, man's appreciation, man's opinion, money, you know, all this stuff, if you will give that up here for me, if you will give it up here for me, seek first the kingdom, then I will give you 100 times more in the kingdom."

Now, let's go back to don't do what the stupid person does, you know what you're sharing Dwight? How ridiculous is it of us to not recognize that by focusing on gaining personal stuff here on Earth, we are holding back 100 times more in heaven. Now. I've done the calculations. The amount of time I can live here is considerably less than the amount of time in eternity it's not a difficult calculation. So I am literally getting my rewards here by focusing on what I get here. But if I focus on God, and I shift my priorities to what he wants, and I make him the most important thing, then he promises me 100 times more of than what I gave up.

That's a lot, if you think about it in a lifetime, right? And on top of that, there's another thing that he promises and that's persecution. Well, unfortunately, in a Western Christian belief system, we think persecution is bad. But what we miss the disciples saying is, the apostle saying is that persecution is God saying that he's blessing us, because we're able to handle the persecution or we're worthy of the persecution, and that there's blessing that comes from having been persecuted. So when you break it all down, the more time I spend focusing on gaining and growing here on Earth, for my own personal well being, for my own satisfaction, to serve myself, then I'm actually doing a disservice to my eternity by doing so. So does that makes sense?


Brian  Alex  47:27

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.


Chris LoCurto  47:28

I think it's just an important thing, when it when it comes to recognizing, "Who am I serving? You know, God, or am I serving myself? Am I serving man, am I serving money?


Brian  Alex  47:38

Right, right. Well, these are really good, we're coming to the end of our time, I want to conclude by just pushing some pieces to different categories. We've talked about redefining financial success, and I want to look at in the business place, but I also want to look at home, you know, and talk about parents, with small children, and with teens and college students. So let's look just categorically and we're going to wrap this up so that we've at least touched on these other parts.

But for employers, obviously, you want to be able to compensate your employees in a competitive way and a great way. At the same time we also know on the other hand, the the kind of experience that we're getting in the workplace, what we're learning here, all of that and being part of a smaller company that has so much potential. I mean, this is an awesome opportunity, an employment opportunity. So I know that for a lot of business owners out there, there's this tension that exists. And they maybe pull on one side or to the other. So how do you deal with that? How do you rationalize there and look at in the context of what we're saying here, financial success? How should we be thinking as business leaders and business owners about how we're compensating the people that are called to our business and to help us on our mission? We're gonna save the easy ones at the end.


Chris LoCurto  49:22

Is this already going into a third episode on this one? There's so many man, when you ask that question. There's so many different things that come to mind. First off, is understand that the money that you have to pay somebody is a tool and a resource. Use it wisely, right? So don't hire somebody because you like them. Definitely hire somebody you like.


Brian  Alex  49:49

"I only hire people I hate."


Chris LoCurto  49:52

That way I really make sure I'm getting the best out of my money. Make sure that you're hiring somebody who's right for the role, right? Make sure that you're you're offering a position, there's so many people out there that believe that they should get paid a lot of money because they breathe. That they exist. Offer an opportunity for somebody to come and get their life changed by working at your business, right? Offer an opportunity for somebody to come and bust it with accountability, with with a strategy with, you know, KRA's with KPIs, put all the things in place so the money that you're spending is being well used. I think that's vitally important. I think too many people are like, "I just need a warm butt in the seat." And they will hire people, or they don't do their due diligence on the interview process. And then they spend, you know, three to six- and I have done this myself. You know, they'll spend three to six months money on somebody only to find out that they are a colossal mistake.


Brian  Alex  50:55

Wrong butt in the wrong seat.


Chris LoCurto  50:57

Yeah, their butts wrong, the seats wrong. There's a lot of places we could go with that. So if you do your due diligence on the front side, we just had the Next Level Leadership Live Event a couple of months ago. And one of the things we taught is all of those hiring processes to make sure that you're getting the right person, instead of going and hiring three people and hiring the person that smiled the most right? You don't want to lose that resource that you have. The other piece is, what do you have? Do you have plenty of resources to hire more people and continue the mission or the purpose? Or you just taking everything home?

I mean, it's things to think about right? For us, we're constantly looking at, can we spend more money on more people? If we can hire more people, can we change more, can we affect more lives? You know, can we worship God more and help more people change their lives? That's always a big focus for us, whenever we're having extra cash. But on top of that, and this is just us. I'm not saying everybody needs to do this. But it is huge for me to pay out profit sharing. That is something that I love to do, because it's going above and beyond having somebody just being in a seat. It's saying, for me, I believe it's communicating how much I appreciate the team beyond just a paycheck.


Brian  Alex  52:16

Yeah, it's not what was agreed upon, contractually, you don't have to do it. You do it out of the goodness of your own heart, the overflow of what's come in. But it's a way that you're communicating, just like you said, I appreciate the fact that we have a team that is here, and called and on mission together. We're heading for the same purpose. We're worshiping God together by doing what we do as a team.


Chris LoCurto  52:41

Yeah, absolutely. And then the other piece when it comes to the compensation, I mean, I could literally talk on this all day long. When it comes to compensation. Many times business owners want to get the cheapest butt in the seat. Man, that just sounds so wrong. They wanna be able to pay somebody a low price to get in and do the job. You have to ask yourself the question, you know, is that going to accomplish the thing you're trying to accomplish? If you don't have an option, then you know, sometimes in my early days, I could only afford you know-


Brian  Alex  53:20

Cheap butts. I was your first hirehere.


Chris LoCurto  53:23

Oh, yeah, but I mean decades ago, right? Yeah, you're my first cheap butt here. I just had to pay you in wine. That was easy. And great pasta, man we did-


Brian  Alex  53:37

We had a great time.


Chris LoCurto  53:40

We always say this business started with me and Brian with a couple of laptops, a bottle of wine and some great food on my back patio. But in my early days when I'm you know, when I started decades ago with Dave, Dave gave me an opportunity to run a business and he would share it with me, right? And so I mean, there wasn't money, I took such a huge pay cut, and there just wasn't money, and I had to make decisions on I need a butt in this seat. But I can only afford this. And so here's what I can pay for that role.

If that's where you are, that's where you are. But if that's not then make the smart decision. What's the right thing? Don't overdo it. Don't go ballistic, and hire the person who's like, well, I'm worth $90,000. And you need a $40,000 person in the role. Don't make that bad choice. Hire wisely. Ask yourself, what level do we need here? Let's go after that level, right? If it has to be held to the amount of money that you have, great focus on that. But if money is not the bigger object, then focus on the right level of capacity, of wisdom, you know of experience for that role, does that makes sense?


Brian  Alex  54:54



Chris LoCurto  54:57

Again, I could talk about this all day long. This is going to be myy last "then" on this question right here, this last one. As an owner, you have to ask yourself the question- one of the things we taught also at this past event, I think we taught is take a look at how much money you're spending on you, as an owner, or as a leader. What is your salary, and then take a hard look at the things that you're doing. So we call it killing the leadership crazy cycle, we didn't teach that lesson, we're gonna teach that I believe killing leadership crazy cycle in 2022, next year's Next Level Leadership Live Event, that'll be one of the lessons that will teach.

When you're able to list out the things that you do, you will find probably at least half if not more, is stuff you should be paying somebody else to do at a lower pay level, pay amount, right? So if you looked at the business on it as an investor, and you saw the owners take home pay, which hey, the owner should do that. They're the ones that put in the sweat, the tear, the risk, all that stuff. Do what you want to do. Here's the point that I'm making. If let's say you're taking home $75,000, $100,000, 150,000, whatever it is that you're doing in your business, but you're doing $30,000 work, then you're wasting you as a resource for the business.


Brian  Alex  56:26

Yeah it's all managing those resources. Yeah, that's powerful.


Chris LoCurto  56:29

Everybody in this business does not want me focused on administrative stuff. Because if I'm focusing on administrative stuff,


Brian  Alex  56:37

Then I'm paying you too much.


Chris LoCurto  56:39

That's exactly it. Yes. Because then I'm not focusing on the higher level stuff that brings more money to the business and more opportunity for the team to get paid. And when I focus on the right stuff-


Brian  Alex  56:51

I need you focused on that.


Chris LoCurto  56:53

That's exactly it. Because then not only do we make more money, but we also make more profit than I can share more profit with the team, it becomes a great circular process. That's the last one I'm gonna do on that question.


Brian  Alex  57:02

I love that because you you we talk about that here in the office a lot of "Okay, I've got Brian or Abby or whoever else doing this job, is this what I want to be paying them to do? And if not, what do I need them focused on instead?" And that works at the CEO level as well. And that makes complete, complete sense. So rapid fire, here we go. Rapid Fire. This is bonus round, rapid fire. Not a deep dive. Alright. So how do parents with small children put a good understanding of the value of money, and let's say and model it, okay? Without setting it up as an idol to worship?


Chris LoCurto  57:48

Oh, my gosh, you You must, must, must, must must teach your children their worth as in God. So believers, and non believers, you need to do this too. You just got to get on the believer train. You got to teach your kids their worth is not in what they own. If they are watching you gain worth and identity from the car you drive, from the house you own, from when people come over, that you go ballistic, to make everything look perfect. If they- whatever they see. There's so many moms that I watch struggle with their daughters focusing on their looks, but then when you look at the mom, they focus on their looks, that's such a worth issue, right? And it's like, well, Mom, you've got to teach her that her worth is not in her looks because her worth is not. That's not it. It's not the exterior, right?

Teach the right things. There's so many dads or guys that teach that your worth is in what you accomplish, instead of your worth is in how God sees you, right? And so if they see dad going out, it's the old cat in the cradle song right? They see that dad has always gone, always working, always out there trying to accomplish then guess what they do when they get older? They're always out there trying to accomplish. And it doesn't have to be a father, son, mother daughter, it crosses as well. It could be a daughter's trying to be just like her dad, a son is just trying to be like his mom, you know, all that stuff can cross over. So important thing is teach them their true worth. And then make sure that when you are doing money model money as a tool, not as something that is worth or identity.


Brian  Alex  59:28

Yeah. Alright, great. Last one, teens, college age, let's talk about millennials. Now I don't want to beat the dead horse. But I do want to address what's in the cart. We've talked about it before that millennials can, not always, but can tend to have a sense of entitlement. How can they test, what's the thought process here for determining their relationship with money and making the necessary adjustments to them?


Chris LoCurto  59:58

Okay, so another big key. If you are a millennial and you feel entitled, understand you've been taught it's been okay to be that way. A lot of the older generations look at the millennials and go, "Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how they think." And then we don't recognize that their parents are the ones that taught them. Right? That they taught them that they should be dependent and that they don't have to go work and they don't have to hear the word "No", so speaking to the millennials, yes, you may be frustrated with the way that people view you. But guess what? You've been taught that this is life, people are supposed to take care of you. If you get upset at work, go somewhere else.

The lack of work ethic is bad teaching. It's horrible. parenting. So how do you test where you are? One of the things you have to ask yourself, in an honest, honest way is, are you expecting the world to take care of you? Or are you expecting that you have to go bust it for what you have? Man, there's a clear line there, right? There's a clear delineation, any entitlement where I think that I deserve something for any reason that I did not go and earn, I have got to kick that to the curb, I've got to get that out of my mind. Or as my wife would say, "Ditch that to the curb." I've got to get that out of my mind.

I can't think that way. I praise God for a mom who didn't buy us a snowblower, who didn't buy us a hydraulic log splitter. While my brother and I may have complained about shoveling snow and splitting logs, you know wood by hand and all that kind of stuff. We have a phenomenal work ethic. I have a great work ethic, I don't have a problem getting out and busting getting getting things done. I don't believe the world owes me anything. I praise God for what I have. And so that would be a great test is asking yourself, do you believe you deserve anything, because you exist?


Brian  Alex  1:02:00

I think that's got to be the reset button right there. And that happens with us Gen Xers as well. We go chasing after things because we think somehow we got gypped and we needed to go you know make it back up and and set that right and balance out that equation. But for more information on either of these two, whether you're that parent on the one side, go back and listen to 421, Change your Family Tree: Leave a Lasting Legacy. And if you are a younger person, college career age, first of all, I applaud you for listening to this podcast. This is going to change your future and the legacy that you leave. Go back and listen to for 425, Beyond tasks: Excellence as a Work Ethic.


Chris LoCurto  1:02:44

Absolutely. Well, folks, again-well hey, you want to close us out? Could you do it? Let me put you on the spot again?


Brian  Alex  1:02:55

I want you to take the information. I want you to change your leadership, change your business and change your life.


Chris LoCurto  1:03:02

Bingo. And?


Brian  Alex  1:03:04

And we'll see you next time.


Chris LoCurto  1:03:05

Join us on the next episode. There you go. Folks, we love having you guys with us. We hope this has helped. We will see you next time as we talk about probably more finances.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.