Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Does the money REALLY follow when you follow your heart?

Picture courtesy of jaRoukaSama
If you are interested in either self-help or mind body spirit material, you may well have heard the phrase 'follow your heart, and the money will follow'. Recently, I've come across a couple of posts on Facebook by a well known figure in the spiritual/New Age movement - saying something along the lines of:
- You were not meant to have a soul destroying job just to pay the bills.
- Gifted healers are often stuck in jobs they shouldn't be doing.

And then the replies are usually quite positive - like 'This is a sign that I'm on the right track' - 'I've just quit my job this week, it's time to go for it' - and yes, I definitely support anyone quitting their job if it gets too much - I had to do that earlier this year. But if I'm being honest, I'm getting slightly irritated by reading these posts, because it makes everything sound so simple.

I've also read a book where it says that 'everything will be okay if you follow your heart/instinct - it's spiritual law' - along with an account of how someone set up a successful dog walking business.

However, I'm sure a fair few people can relate to me - desperately wanting, at times, to do something different, but not being able to come up with a suitable idea which doesn't cost money that I don't have. And I've ended up on benefits on more than one occasion, which is far from ideal. I'm doing my writing now, but that's got some way to go and isn't going to pay me a sustainable wage right now. Or there are plenty of people who do a job that they are good at, for a reasonable salary, but would rather be doing something else - but can't see how they'd afford it.

Money IS important - there's no point ignoring that. And the reality is that the job market is as it is, and certain jobs happen to pay an affordable wage, and other more noble activities are often supported by volunteers. I think I've come to a point now where I've accepted that I will probably have to go back to accounts work if I am to come off benefits anytime soon. And, to be fair, it's not beyond possibility that I could find an accounts job that I quite enjoy. I don't, however, have any desire to become a qualified accountant - my passions are with writing, photography and spirituality.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a job 'just to pay the bills' as long as it's something you can at least tolerate. I'm not into this airy fairy thinking that is so easy to get sucked into - that makes you feel like you're almost doing something wrong if you're not doing something you love to earn money.
From my observations, the vast majority of people who have set up successful self-employed businesses have had a reasonably successful career in the corporate world beforehand. And most if not all of them will have had to work extremely hard and go through some tough times. For people such as myself, who have plodded along and done a good job, without being particularly successful in terms of career, it is likely to be harder to set up a successful business, if that's what you want to do. I know I'm good at writing - and who knows, maybe I'll earn money from it, I certainly hope so. But there are no guarantees.

Whatever you 'do', it is important to make as much time as you can to spend on your true passions. I have been doing a lot more writing recently, and have also been sorting through a lot of my photos. That's when I feel in the flow. You may not be able to spend as much time as you like doing what you love to do - especially if you have kids - but even if it's only 10 minutes every few days, it will make a difference.

Even if you don't get paid for what you love, you can still make a big difference in someone's life - by writing a blog post or just by encouraging people.

There are no guarantees whether you will be commercially successful doing what you love. But there are no guarantees that you will NOT be commercially successful. You've just got to go with the flow and accept things as they are - not easy at times, but happiness does not come solely as the result of making lots of money and fulfilling your life's purpose.

Anyway, I hope this all makes sense. What experience have you had of doing work you love for a living, if any? Do you believe that doing something that is your 'life purpose' will bring money?


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