I have this terrible habit of setting myself impossible goals and then failing my own deadlines.
Three times on this blog, I’ve published a post and announced it as being the “first in a series” – only to have that post end up as both the first and last in the series.
I write stuff in my diary based on guesstimates of time and what I think are kind-of achievable deadlines – and more often than not I realise too late I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
This happens a lot to me. Sometimes I think it’s self-sabotage – setting myself up to fail, because what would happen if I succeeded scares me half to death. Sometimes it’s just wishful thinking.
I do push myself pretty hard to achieve things I think are worth doing, and usually, a few of ‘em at a time. It always feels like not enough to me. At the moment, I’m self-publishing Soul Letters, keeping the blog, taking speaking engagements, working a day a week at the YWCA, teaching workshops, fundraising for the book, getting ready to begin a Diploma in Chaplaincy (April) and still working my retail job too. It feels busy, but not too much. In fact, it feels like not enough. That’s my self-talk, my inner critic. I know why I have to keep filling my time – because in my head, if something doesn’t pay me real money, even if it’s fun, important and valuable in other ways, I need to keep looking. This is how I burn out. I need to be careful.
But something has changed recently. I’ve begun to be paid real money for things I would’ve happily done before for free. In fact, I’ve started to be paid for things I was doing for free just a short time ago. People have actually begun to insist on paying me for things I never asked for money for doing before. People are always asking me to do things, because I can get things done, but not everyone offers me money. But now, they are paying me, and they are paying me good money. And I like it.
I know what’s changed.
I started putting a real value on my time and energy.
They say “Do what you love and the money will come.” That’s half true. A great many people do what they love, and wait for the money to come, but they neglect to do the very thing which will mean they get paid for doing it.
They forget to send the bill.
Three things happen when you do what you love and send the bill.
1) You get paid.
2) People value what you do.
3) YOU value what you do.
I’ve always struggled with valuing what I do, because what I do isn’t considered “a real job” by a great many people. Some of the people who don’t consider what I do to be of value are people I like and respect. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if those people believe I am qualified to do what I do, or if they perceive what I do as having value. It only matters if the person I’m helping, working for, serving or partnering with thinks what I do has a value. In fact, the more I value what I do, they more others will value it also. And I don’t just mean value, as in how much money I charge for my service. I mean value, as in, the culture and atmosphere created around me and my work as I am doing it. I must value what I do to do it well. I must believe it’s of quality and of worth to people.
This in essence is what’s changed. I have begun to truly, deeply believe I have something of value to offer the world.
I offer something of extraordinary value to others, and in kind, I am extraordinarily compensated.
Not just in money. People will give generously and openly to you in all kinds of ways when you give generously and openly first. They will believe in you, because you believed in yourself, and in them as well.
The crunch for me came a few weeks ago, when I handed in my notice at my retail job. The point came where I had to decide whether I could continue to take less money than I could earn working in my own business simply because it was easy and predictable money. My retail job was taking up time and space in my head – time and space I knew I needed to give to my business. I knew I was acting like an amateur. I knew trying to dabble in my business and hold onto the security of a salaried job wasn’t going to last.
So I called it. I decided to turn pro.
And since I made that decision, I’ve earned more in two weeks in my business than I earned in two months in my salaried job.
So, my friend, I encourage you by all means, do what you love.
But don’t forget to send the bill.