Pound and Cents

It’s funny the lessons you can learn in life when you least expect it. This past month I had the opportunity to travel to England. I have never been outside of North America before, so this was a big deal for me.

I did a little homework before I left. I knew that I wanted to buy some souvenirs for the family, so I wanted to figure out how much money I might need to exchange, and where to exchange my money. Did you know that England uses British Pounds instead of Euros for currency? Who would have thought?

The British Pound, like the Euro is currently worth about one and a half US dollars. So, I knew my bucks weren’t going to get me as far as I would like.

A buddy of mine suggested the best way to exchange currency was to use my bank card at the airport ATM. He said the rates are the most accurate, and the cost is lower there. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but that’s what I did.

A funny thing happened to me when I exchanged my money… First, I didn’t think about the fact I would need to tell the ATM how many Pounds I wanted to withdraw. Silly me. I thought I could tell the machine how many US dollars I wanted converted into Pounds for me. Not so. I did some quick math and guessed at how many Pounds I would need based on my estimates on the US dollars I had intended to spend. Whew! Quick thinking paid off.

The most interesting thing about the currency didn’t happen until later. When I made my first purchase, I had a real revelation. I bought a day pass for the public transit system so I could ride the city bus or “the tube” (subway) anywhere that I wanted. It was 15 Pounds and change, so I threw down a 20 Pound note. (So far so good…) Then when they guy gave me my change, he asked if he could give me a lot of coins because he had so many. Not a problem. When he handed me a fist full of coins without any paper money, I realized I had a problem. What are the coins worth?!!

The One Pound coins were clear. They use coins instead of singles, but what about the others? What is a Pence? He gave me 5, 10, 20, and 50 Pence. What the heck?! No half pounds and quarter pounds?

Suddenly I felt like a little kid. I had to Google and find out what I had in my hands. The size of the coins and the numbers didn’t coincide with US coins. I had flashbacks of when I was a kid needing to pay for something with my own money, and I didn’t have enough. I had counted wrong. I couldn’t even count this stuff! Again, what the heck is a Pence? I had no idea of the value of what I was holding in my hand.

That my friends is where the lesson comes in….

How many times have you met someone that has no idea what they possess? (I’m not talking money now.) Think about it. Think of a person who sings better than you and thinks it’s not a big deal. Think about the person who does math in their head while you scratch around for a calculator or at least a pen and paper! Think about the person who intuitively sees the needs of other people without having to be told.

Yet, if you were to ask any of these people what they possessed, they wouldn’t know. Most of them would say they “don’t have anything” or at best they would say they “don’t have anything of value. Like me with my fist full of foreign coins, they don’t know the value of what they have!

I would say that each of us have a fist full of coins that we’re born with (talents, attributes and behaviors) and so few of us ever discover the value of what we possess!

You may have bigger coins than I do, but my coins may be bronze and yours are silver colored. What does that mean? Nothing! Especially if you don’t know the value of what you have.

Without question, you will have a different mixture of coins than I have. None of that is really important. What is important is understanding what you possess and where you should be investing what you have.

Once I Googled the coins that I had, I discovered that some of the big coins were of a lesser value than some of the smaller coins. What was more important was knowing what I possessed regardless of the size of the coin. I was now able to invest my coins into purchasing something meaningful because I knew what I had.

How many of just never really realize what unique qualities we have? We’re always looking at what other people have and thinking they possess something of greater value than what we have. Perception doesn’t matter! What does matter is that we each need to understand what gifts, talents and abilities we have so we can invest them into something meaningful.

What do you possess? (skills, talents and abilities)

Do you realize what they are worth?

Where are you investing your possessions?

Are you spending them wisely?

(For those of you like me that didn’t know; there are 100 Pence to a Pound. Now you know.)