Hello, hello. Welcome back to our twice-monthly Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that in our columns we get to hear from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.
Today’s column features Lila Danielle a beautiful island girl who earns a living through several creative ventures, including the oh-so-enviable one of leading beach dancing.
Like me, you may particularly enjoy Lila’s no-holds-barred responses to these money questions. Her “hell no!” and “I hate this question,” had me grinning from ear to ear. This money stuff is not for the faint of heart, right?!
Lila shares lots of thought provoking stories and insights. But I think my favorite is this, “Regardless of the amount of money we earn, our worth does not come with a price tag. Our worth is priceless.”
I’d like for you to take a moment and consider what that means to you. And about you. Can you separate your worth from the money you earn? I’d sure love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.
Lila Danielle loves living on an island where the ocean is warm and it always feels like summer. She hosts weekly dance events and twice yearly retreats where people are moved by their own experience of creative expression and embodied wisdom. She’s also become a very devoted house-cleaner ever since her home opened as a bed and breakfast! beachdance.com + sojournmaui.com
1. Are you earning what you’re worth? The first two thoughts I had when I read this question were, “Hell, no!” and “I hate this question.” The critical voice inside my head immediately spoke up and said, “Well, aren’t you an angry artist and entrepreneur?” And while I know there’s some truth contained in that voice, the bigger truth is my worth has nothing to do with how much money I make and has everything to do with how I make and live my life.
What makes me angry is that we, as a society, decided at some point to equate our personal worth with our personal wealth in dollar amounts. What makes me angry is seeing investment bankers make a shit-ton of money while breaking the law and getting away with it while teachers barely make a livable wage while working their butts off and are paying for their own school supplies. What makes me angry are insurance and pharmaceutical companies who charge and earn outrageous sums of money while millions of people can’t afford health care or pay for the medicines they need to be well. I could go on, but my point being, money is what is earned and sadly, sometimes it’s earned very dishonestly. Worth is not. Regardless of the amount of money we earn, our worth does not come with a price tag. Our worth is priceless.
It’s unfortunate that our culture has assigned more perceived “worth” to certain professions (doctors, lawyers, CEO’s) by rewarding them with higher salaries and less “worth” in other professions (teachers, artists, social service workers) where incomes are significantly lower despite there being just as much worth and value in the work they do.
This question obviously stirs me up and it stirs in me another question I think we could all ask ourselves when it comes to making money and it’s this: “Am I earning enough?” For me, enough is feeling good about the compensation paid for my efforts and it supports my existence. Earning enough is what is important to me and when I earn more than enough, it allows me to provide financial support to others. When I don’t attach what I earn to what I’m worth, my experience has been that any sense of lack or any feelings of inadequacy or disappointment tend to disappear.
2. What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you? It brings up a ridiculous false story that people need to stop telling and believing in.
I’m tired of hearing it, especially from folks who call themselves artists and insist that “starving” is the only way they’ll ever be when it comes to making money. As with anything in life, our words are powerful predictors of our attitudes, our actions, and outcomes. If you say you’re a starving artist, you are or will be. If you say you’re a thriving artist, you are or you will be. What kind of self-fulfilling prophecy do you want to make realized?
3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love? My parents worked hard to provide for my sister and me. They often worked in jobs that were not personally rewarding, but they stuck with them because they had a family to provide for. I think there were some aspects they enjoyed in the various jobs they held throughout my childhood, but I don’t think either of them would say they made a living from doing work they truly loved. My dad’s passion has always been the theater and he would have loved to have been a well-paid actor.
My mom has always been creative and I think she could have made money from her art if that’s what she wanted to do. I was never told what I should do work-wise when I grew up, but I was definitely influenced by the choices they made for their own lives and the lives of their children, to do my best and find work I loved that would also pay me well. My working career has been a roller coaster ride of jobs I loved and didn’t make a lot of money and jobs I hated and made a lot of money.
4. What’s your biggest money story currently? My biggest money story right now is about a new business my husband and I are starting together where I’m at the helm of it all. We’re about to open up our home as a bed and breakfast and I’m curious about the kind of income it will generate for us. Ten years ago, my husband rescued me from a corporate sales career so I could do work I love and now it’s my wish to rescue him from the work he’s grown tired of.
5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? (Would you add anything to it?)
I love this expression about as much as I love the expression “starving artist.”
I think a more truthful expression would be, “Do what you love and the money might follow you or it might not.” A more truthful expression regarding work and money would take into consideration the ebb and flow of life. For the past ten years, I have done work I have loved and the money hasn’t always followed me. It’s only been within the last four years that I’ve become really clear about my most important “work.” Whether I make money or not with my words or my dance offerings, I will continue to write and dance no matter what. It’s a good thing that bed and breakfast is opening soon and it’s a good thing I think it will also be work I’ll really love.
Money Talks with Sherry Belul appears here on the Mabel blog every 2nd and 4th Friday of the the month, meet us here!