It’s everywhere. It’s involved in almost every part of our lives, and there is so much energy around it that it can define what we do, who we are, and how we spend our days.
If you are over the age of 17 or so, I’m sure you’ve been asked these kinds of questions numerous times by well-meaning adults:
How will you make a living?
How will you support yourself?
What will you do with that degree/trade/job/idea?
The word goddess Cheryl Strayed has a beautiful response to the pressure so many of us feel to have the “right” answer to these questions:
You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you’ve got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth.
But that’s all.
How would your life change if you simply focused on paying your bills, being kind, giving it all you’ve got, and loving truly?
I don’t know about you, but that kind of life sounds pretty appealing to me, even though the socialized part of me clamors and clings to old ideas of “success.”
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a mentor who helps me get real about money and my business, and when he asked me (like he usually does) about setting strategic monetary goals, I hit a wall. I told him how sick I was of focusing on the money. I told him that it felt yucky and gnarly, and like a poor use of energy. These were hard things to say to a financial mentor, but he was kind and gracious, and he met me where I was.
Instead of focusing on money, we agreed I’d set new goals – ones that felt good to me and that kept me going in the direction of where I want to go. This has changed the way I measure what I do each day, and it feels awesome. Instead of limiting myself to regular performance metrics like revenue and website traffic, I’m focused on two more enlightened ones:
How much fun am I having?
– and –
How much connection am I creating?
Now, the importance of money is not lost on me. I know how much it matters, and frankly, I want more of it in my life. But I don’t want money guiding my worklife – I want it to be an outcome of the fun I’m having and the connection I’m creating with and for others.
How would your career shift if you focused more on fun and connection?
When we’re having fun and connecting with others in an authentic way, our work can actually heal and enliven us.
When I look at the things I’m having fun with and creating connection through, like the Facebook group and A Wild New Work course, I involuntary smile and feel so grateful to be doing this work. To me, that’s a definite sign that I’m succeeding and performing at a level I’m proud of.
Forget about “how will you make a living?” for a minute and imagine what would make you feel more fun and connected. Do you see the value of those things?
Do you see how they support and nurture your success?