The Million Dollar Question

Have you taken the quest to “Find Your True Self”?  Need a little primer?  Here’s a quick fun exercise to get you started.  If you have completed the quest it wouldn’t hurt to do this exercise and test your results!

Last year I was interviewed for a feature story in More Magazine about women who have “re-invented” themselves.

The author asked me if there was ever a moment in my life when everything came together for me so that I knew exactly what I needed to change and could see the path ahead. It was right then that I remembered a life-changing question I had asked my now husband on one of our very first dates. I didn’t know it at the time but it was a conversation that would change my life.

What would you do if someone just handed you a million dollars?

Picture this…


A slightly chardonnay tipsy thirty-something sits on a high stool at a graffiti scarred wooden bar table in the local Irish pub. She is a little dizzy with the feeling that everything in her life is changing. There has been some major upheavals for her recently (good and bad) and she is a little terrified of what the future holds. In a moment of inspiration she asks her dashingly handsome and sophisticated dinner partner (you’re welcome husband), “What would you do if someone just gave you a million dollars?”

They start to make a list – they scribble together on a napkin placed between them and end up with things like:

“Give time and money to charity”
“Travel around the world”
“Do work we are passionate about”
“Spend more time with family and friends”

Then the dashingly handsome date looks up at the thirty-something with a slight hesitation and says,

“You know… We could do all of those things now”. Lightbulb!


So here is an assignment for you.

  • Sit down in a quiet place with a pen and paper (chardonnay, wings and dashingly handsome dinner partner are optional).
  • Make a list of all of the things you would do if someone walked up to you and gave you a million dollars.
  • When you are done go back to that list and circle everything that you could do (or at least start doing) right now.  I guarantee you will be surprised at how many circles you end up with.
  • Now make a list of everything you are doing with you life right now, your job, your hobbies, your responsibilities.
  • When you are done with that list go through and circle everything that you would STOP doing if you had a million dollars.

Hmmmm… looks like you’ve got some work to do. I’d love to know what’s on your list.


(find out more about the Galahad’s Code Of Chivalry)


Avatar of Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

Location-Independent Entrepreneur & Certified Life Coach, Galahad, Wife, Mum, & Adventurer. Co-Founder of Galahads - The Secret Society for Kick-Ass Women. Founder & CEO of Emily Rose Doll Clothes and Wish Doll Company. Founder & CEO of Laptop Life Lisa. Finding the revenue and results inside every entrepreneur.   Mum of a rocking 14 year-old daughter visit her at TheOneAndOnlyEmTV.  Lucky wife of her soul-mate and fellow adventurer, Mark.  Traveling the world while running four businesses and raising a teenager. Journey from the last 6 weeks? Bahamas to Scotland to England to France to Switzerland, currently hanging in Borgo Val di Taro, Italy. @LaptopLifeLisa

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  • Joan Ball

    Fascinating what happens when you have this sort of insight and begin reorienting your life around the things that matter to you. Had I encountered this parable and the associated question a decade ago I would have thought of all the things i could do if I only had the money. Today, there is not a thing I am doing or not doing that would change if I had a million dollars. Sure, there are a few student loans out there I might pay for myself or my kids, but nothing that cannot and will not happen if I press forward in the life I am living today. In fact, the only thing I would have to figure out if I have a million dollars would be how best to give it away. Thanks for the question. Helps me to see how blessed I am with or without money…

    • Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

      Absolutely right Joan! The major lesson of the epiphany is that you don’t necessarily need money to do the things that fulfill you. So many folks allow that to be a limiting factor (especially when they are without the wisdom that *cough cough* our age brings)… so when you imagine it off the table to give yourself permission to dream correctly.

  • Michelle Fernandez-Marino

    Today I was able, for the first time this summer, to sit in my backyard at dusk (favorite part of the day). While enjoying the lovely evening, I started my million dollar list. Not sure if it was thanks to my iced cappuccino, the cool breeze, or the serenity of the deer passing through my yard, but I had a moment of clarity… when I glanced at my list for a second time, it became very clear that all I want with my million dollars is TIME! … “Would love to add a sun room to my house” – why? because I love spending time with my family in the backyard and with a sun room we could do that for a longer season… “Would love to finish the basement in my husband’s office” – why? because then he could afford to get an associate and spend more time at home…”Would love to travel” – why? because when our family is on vacation, we don’t have day to day electronic distractions (cellphones, computers, TV, etc.) and we really connect and enjoy the time together…. the list went on and on… So for me, this exercise reinforced my most precious commodity – TIME!

    • Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

      I love this Michelle and am so glad that you got this level of insight out of the exercise. Looks like you need to work on ways to add time in to your life now. Funny I was about to start developing a blog series on this. The idea that what most people want to earn is time not money.