What do you want? I mean, what do you actually want? You already know what you’d like. Amazon reminds you on its online shopping page that you have a “Wish List.” You’ve already had a TV show or a movie interrupted with a commercial about a “Must Have” a product that promises you popularity or irresistibility with a luxury watch, cologne or perfume, or automobile.

Face it our desires can deter our direction. Stuff can get in the way. What we want can affect what we actually want to do. It’s at the core of most every high profile leadership failure. If we need to, we can give it a name: MATERIALSM. It’s a dangerous attitude that can keep our focus on our “Haves” or “Have Nots” rather than our Needs or Need-tos.

WARNING! VALUABLES CAN BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN VALUES! Materialism can wreck your mission, and even put your organization or corporation into receivership.

Refuse to be distracted. Don’t allow goods to keep you from your goals. An organization or corporation that is committed to giving has a firm grip on success. Be a leader with that kind of thinking. Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, said, “Let’s always make sure company culture is about creating and improving a community much larger than ourselves.”

Cultivate contentment. If you haven’t already gone over the cliff, learn to watch for loose rocks near the edges. Ask yourself, “Does this purchase or plan jeopardize my personal or corporate budget?” “Is this a wise use of donor or customer dollars?” Live and work within your means and your life or organization will have a greater meaning.

Commit to an eternal plan, as well as to a long range plan. Work on leaving a legacy rather than just an estate. Keep finances in check. Train staff to be wise stewards. Choose to use resources for the benefit of others. Be a provider, not a consumer, a giver not a taker.

A. W. Tozer wrote, “One of the world’s worst tragedies is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little beside ourselves.” Get what you want, but be careful not to let “want” get you.

-Stan Toler