Continuing the theme around unconventional wisdom from last week...There is a lot out there right now about doing work for your market, your audience, your branding, your tribe and of course the money. So much content is written about money-and especially the relationship between women and money.
I think its fantastic by and large. There are so many women out there who are afraid to ask for what they are worth-to assign a dollar value to their work-and I do feel collectively like movement is happening around this issue. Women are stepping up to the financial plate more and more.
Its especially insidious then, the way that our work gets intertwined with our need to thrive economically. They are obviously connected as many of us get paid for our work and many more of us dream of taking our heart’s deepest desire and creating a career around it-visions of doing what we love and getting paid for it dance in our heads and we are told that we can, we can–especially after we buy this product, use this method, write the sales page this way.
Its all bullshit.
There is ONE, uno, un, 1 motivating force that illuminates your work and your life.
Consider this quote:
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is a signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly is lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
– Annie Dillard from The Writing Life
Those are the words of someone who does what she does for love. “Anything you do not give freely and abundantly is lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
Notice how she did not say “anything you do not give freely and abundantly after calculating your bottom line, changing out that sentence that came straight from your heart for one with that’s more targeted to your “audience” or “marketing yourself correctly” is lost to you?
No. She is saying-give it away, right bloody now or you have failed!
You can feel the love permeating every word in that quote. It shines out like a bright beacon.
Does she get paid for her writing, hell yes! Should you get paid for your work? Absolutely. But would you do it anyway? Even if you did not get paid would you do your work? As Gillian Welch says in her song “Everything is Free“:
Someone hit the big time/they figured it out.
We’re gonna do it anyway/even if it doesn’t pay.
That’s how you know if its the work of your heart or not. You do it-because doing anything else is just not compelling. You do it because you are in love with it. If I have the choice to be with my husband and son or someone else-my husband and son win, every time, hands down, no contest. I love them! They are my own special ones! Compared to them everything else is just a little flat.
Don’t’ get me wrong. I have coaches that I adore, I seek out professional training when I need it-I have spent good money on learning about marketing-but all of these things are nothing, less than nothing if the love is not there-pushing, stretching, motivating me.
We are surrounded right now by a lot of well intentioned bad advice.
Our desire-especially us ladies-to get paid what we are worth and to attribute real worth to what we do is awesome-but it also renders us open and vulnerable to marketing and sales pastiche-and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you write that sales letter because baby, if you are not in love with what you are doing then you shouldn’t be doing it!
If you do it for love, real love, then you do it right because:
–love is demanding-it expects the best-it motivates you to be better
–love is wise-it sees through fakes and hacks with x-ray vision
–love is undeniable–sooner or later it will force you to sit down and do what needs to be done
–love returns-real love is reciprocal-not balanced, not tit for tat-but it will give back whatever you put into it-often when you least expect it and most need it.
–love speaks for itself-when you see a person in love you know that they are blessed by angels right there and then-there is a transcendent and untouchable quality to their lives-even if they are killed in a terrible accident we know their soul is untouched and blessed.
–love tells the truth, let’s the chips fall where it may, and trusts-because tomorrow is another day and another chance to love.
If you are doing what you love and making awesome money then rock on!
If you are not doing what you love and making awesome money then try to do a little bit more of what you love everyday-just for you and your angels.
If you are doing what you love and not making money-you have options and you need to know this before you call it quits:
you can do something else to make money, you can look around and see where your work is broken or not translating and what people or supports around you might be able to help you with that problem.
You can scale back your plans and dreams and let’s be honest-shoe budget.
What you cannot do is commit infidelity.
Don’t cheat yourself, your angels, the best lights of your heart.
Now, you might realize you were wrong about your love-most of us have been from time to time, and you may need to correct your oversight, but if you turn your back on your true love then the angels take note, the faeries narrow their eyes, your muse shrugs her shoulders and shuts the door…the loss to you and those around you is incalculable. I promise you-however hard it is to be true to your love, it will be that much harder to deny it.