Admit it. You made a list of what you’d do if you won. I did, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, bottle of wine and pen at the ready. According to statisticians, I had about a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Never mind. It was relaxing just thinking about it.
First, I would have taken it in one lump sum. Although inflation’s not a huge issue these days, it’s a reflex to apply that time-value-of-money thing that I learned in business school. Best to have the bird firmly in hand. I knew that a lump sum would mean big impact, for good or ill. I planned on good. Mega good. Half of it was going to the Gates Foundation, since they’ve already spent a lot of time and effort learning how to maximize the impact of charitable dollars wherever they go. This is no small thing. Delivering health services or improved education involves knowledge of the infrastructure in the locale in question. No need to reinvent the wheel as I see it. Give them the cash and let them run with it.
GIVE IT TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Then for the really fun part. Aside from family, I made a list of about twenty friends who I thought would be tickled silly to get $1,000,000 out of the blue. My criteria were simple: it would go to the most inventive, curious, free-thinking and adventurous friends I have (and admire). Some of you would have been very surprised to find yourselves on this list, but that was half the fun for me. The delicious element of surprise. What a kick it would have been to see what you did with the freedom that kind of money would bring. It was sure to be a vicarious thrill of mighty proportions for me – and selfishly inspirational. I would have written a book chronicling your tales of derring do…
QUIT WORK AND INDULGE SOME FANTASIES?
Last, like most of you, the question arose whether I’d quit working. Posing this question to an over-wrought entrepreneur is always dicey. The temptation to head to a spa for six months to do yoga in the morning and have massages in the afternoon would have been very tough to resist. A yurt on a mountaintop would have appealed, too, as long as it was heated, with a hairdryer and very deep bathtub.
But for those of you who love what you do it won’t come as a shock that I didn’t even skip a beat. Yes, I could use a really good vacation these days, but two weeks would do it. Three tops. The idea of having unlimited resources to design and create the things swimming around in my mind’s wading pool would have been too seductive. Quieting the monkey-chatter in my head for meditation would have been impossible. (It already is without that big bag o’cash.) I’d be visualizing new shoes, new bags, clothes (ohhh) and more videos. Love making those. The only grossly material fantasy I would have indulged would have been a jet aircraft…or at least a time-share in one. Wrap your head around never having to fly commercial again. Big, fat no-brainer, that one.
Bottom line, winning the lottery would have meant immense creative freedom for me, and the overwhelming joy of sharing it with friends and family and the purpose-filled Gates’. I hope the folks who won The Big Bag are enjoying it’s possibilities half as much as I did just fantasizing about it!