The top two excuses that stop people from following their dreams are time and money – the latter being the most popular reason by far.
One has to eat, you know…
Money doesn’t grow on trees…
If I were rich, I would…
It’s tough to step into our dreams when money worries are making us crazy! That’s why so many of us spend years trying to find a job that’ll give us both fulfillment and a full bank account. In the meantime, we place our REAL dreams and desires on the back burner. We hope they’ll still be there when retirement rolls around – and that we’re not too tired to live them.
People toss around advice like, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” or “If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?” I think those are great words of encouragement, but if you’ve ever taken a leap of faith to pursue a lifelong dream, you know that dreams and money aren’t always synonymous… at least not at first.
I’ll never forget when I quit my salaried position so I could finish writing a book. I’d already been working on the manuscript for months, giving it only an hour or two a day. At that rate, I thought I might never get it done. I resented giving my valuable creativity to someone else’s business, someone else’s dream. How could I keep putting my book (and my life) on the back burner?
Finally, I steeled my nerves and chose the lesser fear. I’d rather face a low bank account than the regret of never having believed in myself and my vision. I quit the job and I got busy writing. I made it through the first two months with my nose to the grindstone. I tried not to think about anything else but writing and revising.
I was doing what I loved. But if money was following, it was so far behind me I couldn’t see it. My savings went from five digits, to four, and then three. When bills for the fourth month rolled in, the reality of my dwindling bank account haunted me day and night.
Another conversation took hold. If I couldn’t survive financially, was I “meant” to write a book now? What was I going to do without an income? Why had I gotten such a clear vision for writing the book and helping others if the timing wasn’t right? It seemed unfair that I had to choose between eating and a message so important that I put everything on the line to work on it.
Would the Universe really leave me hanging like that?
I hated second guessing my decision, but the thought of not having money to pay the bills, or worse, losing my house scared the s–t out of me. Still, I kept on writing. And every few days, I’d scroll the job boards looking for a position with more meaning than what I was currently up to. I tossed my resume into a few openings, secretly knowing I wouldn’t get any calls from the feelers I was putting out. My heart was invested in a greater mission and I wasn’t ready to give up. That’s when I came upon the most incredible thought – one that cleared the way for me to keep going. What if I didn’t need money to prove the value of what I was doing?
What if I could separate the concept of “money” as a reward for the work I was doing. If money and purpose had no relationship at all, then I could easily find alternative ways to support myself while at the same time pouring my heart and soul into MY passions. Suddenly, small income opportunities entered my life without costing much of my precious time or creative energy. And these were enough to sustain me.
Although people paid me for some things I did, I wasn’t working for “money” anymore. I was working for the opportunity to live fully, sharing my gifts with others.
Now, I’m not saying that because I did this (quit a good paying job to follow a vision) that you can too, or even should. We all have different life circumstances and needs/desires that motivate us. I just wanted to share this idea with you.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make the concepts of money, time, work, and dream balance out, there’s a perspective that can liberate you from worry:
The experiences we want in life are not determined by value. We don’t earn the right to be creative, engaged, valued, or even loved because we are good enough. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not here on this planet to earn our way through life. We are here to flourish and share the gifts we have with others.
So stop determining the value of your gifts by how much someone is willing to pay you. If you want to make money, go make all the money you can and let that be your purpose. But if you have something else in mind to give your life meaning, then begin working on it now. Separate the idea of making money from what you love, and just do it. Do it fully for a different reason – because it matters enough to give whatever time you have to it, because it’s what you’re here to do – and you know it.