Don’t Show Me the Money

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Don’t Show Me the Money

I’m trying really, really hard right now to not think about the money. It’s not easy. I have this knack for taking anything and converting it (at least in my mind) to a profit generating venture. In this day of diversification and multiple streams of revenue, it would seem like a good trait. Athletes have clothing lines, actors have cookbooks, businesspeople have bottled water, and everybody and his mother has written a book. It seems like we are all looking for the opportunity to turn the interest, hobby, experience, passion, into an income generating machine.

And there is NOTHING wrong with that. Absolutely NOTHING.

The problem is me and this complicated web I’ve constructed around money, work, and pleasure. My belief system is this:

If it doesn’t generate income, then it’s not worth doing, and if it generates income, then it’s not fun or it has some inherent evil attached to it.

Now that’s a big no win. Within seconds of thinking about doing something for fun, I’ve “built it out” in my mind into a cash generating venture. Something as simple as a yoga class can lead to hours spent looking at the metrics of becoming a yoga instructor. A passing fancy with scrapbooking led to me selling supplies. Work has been no different. With only one exception, I’ve been pulled into employment by external reasons and after convincing myself  that I really, truly want “X” career, I realize, years into it, that there are aspects of the work that are in contradiction to my core values.

As long as his income covers the bills and the kids and I are safe and happy, my husband doesn’t care what I do. I’ve gone from jobs where I traveled extensively to being home with the kids full time and he has managed quite well. I’ve gone from working long hours generating income to working long hours volunteering without a complaint from him. I’m truly blessed and thankful to be married to someone to whom my income isn’t important.

The thing is having an income is important to me. Knowing that I can take care of myself and my family financially is something I want. Most important I want to feel good about how the way I make money. I want to make money being honest and offering a product or service that is truly beneficial and brings good and joy into the world.

But right now, I can’t think about the money.

The second my mind goes to that place, that place where I’m thinking about ROI and profit margins, I find myself in this vacuum of stress and discontent. I find myself considering work that may not be in line with who I am and the positive impact I want to have on the world.

Everybody says, “do what you love and the money will follow.” I don’t believe this — mainly because I have a lot of friends who followed their hearts and became amazing teachers, but that’s a story for another day. What I do believe is this. I have to find a way to generate income, AND I have to find my passion. I may be lucky and those two things may be one in the same. I may be like millions of others and find that what I make money doing and what I have a passion for are completely unrelated. The trick for me is to make sure that I put the brunt of my energy into the passion projects and limit the time and energy spent generating income. Income generation can NEVER ever be my focus.

This scares me. My father preached a work ethic, to which I find myself bound. In his mind, anything of value had a dollar attached to it and if there was no way to pull a dollar, then it was not worth doing. Add to this a society that values the car you drive, the labels on your clothes, and the house where you live over the quality of your mind and the integrity of your character and that’s a lot of years of conditioning to shake.

I need a new belief system. Maybe, my new belief system could be something like this:

If IT is important to me and adds value to and has a positive impact on my life and the lives of others, then IT is worth doing. If IT happens to put a dollar in my pocket, Yay! If there is no dollar in my pocket, then I will find another way to generate income without sacrificing  IT. 

This makes my stomach hurt, but I will figure it out. It’s important.


  1. Well said, Denise. But I think it’s going to take some time for your head to catch up with your heart where your new belief system is concerned. Be patient with yourself, and be thankful that you have the luxury of this time. I am living testimony that “do what you love and the money will follow is a bunch of hooey – LOL! – but I’m not dead yet. 😉

  2. can I recommend a book to you? It’s called Quitter by Jon Acuff. It’s my new go-to gift for all graduates but definitely can inspire people of any age.

    • I’m always open to recommendations. My reading list is long right now, but I will add this one to it. Thanks for the suggestion and for reading.

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