Today, I read a thought-provoking post of my colleague and fabulous marketing consultant Tara Gentile about playing a different kind of money game, one that makes you feel more alive and impactful, and is less focused on the bottom line of dollars earned each year. I resonate deeply with Tara’s thinking here, especially since I’ve been having some conflicts with trusted folks around me about what I really want to focus on going forward in my career and business versus what will make the most dollars for me. I spent 18 years in my corporate career tying my self-worth to money, title, and responsibility, and ended up spent, miserable, and lost. Not a successful strategy by any stretch.
I’ve seen through social media and the internet in the past three years a new wave of chaotic hype surrounding entrepreneurs, consultants, and practitioners all about increasing the pressure and turning the screws to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible, and to do whatever is necessary to maximize one’s revenue. There’s also a hidden directive that you must be over-the-top busy and driven every day of your life, or you’re not doing enough for your business and earning potential. (How many of us have ever felt guilty that we’re playing or relaxing too much during a work day?)
Obviously there’s a great business advantage to generating as much money as possible, but when you examine other factors in the mix – your spiritual, emotional and organizational well-being, the impact you want to make, the integrity you want to uphold and preserve, and your heart-felt wishes for how you want to be of service and use your unique talents, you will realize that money is just ONE factor in the equation, and for thousands of people, it’s not nearly the most important factor.
Don’t get me wrong – I love money and what it can do to enrich our lives and the lives of others. But I love other things in my life just as much, such as helping others grow, writing, speaking and training, having time for my family and other personal endeavors, and supporting non-profits and causes (that don’t have the bucks to pay me $10,000 to speak for them as other organizations do) that are empowering thousands of women globally.
As I undergo an intensive evaluation of the game I want to be playing now, I invite you to join along with me. Let’s take this summer to discover as honestly and deeply as we can what we want to be doing in the world, for whom, and how.
Here are 10 questions I’m asking myself that will help solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and consultants get clearer on the game we want to be playing:
1. How much do you need and want to earn each year that will make you happy but still allow you to focus on other life priorities?
2. What endeavors make you feel most joyful to be alive, and why do they? How can you bring those forward?
3. How much do you really want to work each day, week and month, if you had the choice?
4. If you’re performing some forms of work that you LOVE but that don’t pay well, what is the cost-benefit equation involved (in other words, what are you gaining and what are you losing?)
5. Are there any unresolved problems or issues in your relationship with money that are keeping you from earning what you deserve and want?
6. What do you feel about money in terms of your self-worth? Do you think money is the sole determinant of your self-worth, or do other factors impact how you feel about yourself?
7. What do you think is your real purpose and mission on this planet at this time and how does that impact how you want to earn money?
8. Who is telling you that you should be earning more, and do you trust where they are coming from (i.e. do they have their own money relationship and work problems, fears and blocks that are being projected onto you)?
9. If you’re striving right now in the “make-as-much-as-I-can” mode, do you see it for what it is and how long do you want to sustain this approach?
10. Finally, think about the pressure you feel to earn more. Where is it coming from? How much is it based on true need and want versus a longing for validation from the outside world?
In her post, Tara shares:
“Right now, I choose to make decisions that bolster my self-worth, shore up my reputation, and maximize my impact–now and into the future. Those decisions result in leaving money on the table. But I believe that the decisions I’m making today will lead to greater return–both in profit & in impact–than trying to scrape up every last penny or find the gold at the end of the rainbow.”
This is powerful advice for anyone who wants to make a huge impact in the world but not burn themselves out in a feverish, driven race for the ever-elusive pot of gold.
(For help in discovering the game you want to be playing, join me this Fall in the Amazing Career Project.)