It’s probably no surprise that this has been coming up a lot lately:
The world around us talks about achieving wealth incessantly, and any number of gurus have methods they’d love to sell you. But regardless of the viability of any or all of these plans, there are far too many artists who give up on the idea itself, and struggle with the very idea of wealth as a goal.
Pondering all the shoulds around money has been a stumbling block for me throughout my artistic life, and I see my fellow performers staring at that same bundle of ideas in mystified horror, sure that they’ll never actually get “there” or even figure out where that is…and holding that disbelief for any number of reasons. You may believe they don’t deserve the wealth. You may think you can’t handle it. Who would you be if you became wealthy? What will the pursuit of such a goal do to your work, and worse, to your soul? (And the list goes on…)
These seem like perfectly reasonable questions in the moment, but they come with an awful lot of baggage. They are not only unanswerable, they are the wrong questions.
Not just about you
The pursuit of wealth is simply part of the overall process as we strive to achieve success. We define our success, and any money that we achieve along the way cannot only help us get there, but can help others around us as well. Living a viable life is quite likely to make you an inspiring role model for your colleagues and students and members of the community. You don’t have to wear designer clothes and drive a fancy car in order to show off that wealth. You might contribute to a local charity, sponsor a fellow performer on a project you believe in, or even set up a scholarship or support fund for other artists. There are myriad ways to give back and to contribute to the world. But in order to make that kind of contribution, money will be a factor.
Learn to see wealth-building as one part of the plan, and a very legitimate part, at that. It’s not about the money, or the size of the bank account. It’s doesn’t have to be about living the influencer lifestyle (whatever that is) and having the most luxurious Instagram feed. Whatever your goals are, you get to define your own success, and you will enjoy it more and live that success longer if you make both money and giving back part of the equation throughout your creative life.
Make friends with money. See it as a tool that can help you move forward. Whatever you’re making, make sure that you pay some forward, and spend a little bit on yourself… even if it’s just a nice cup of coffee out. You owe it to yourself and to your community to celebrate every win.
Most important, remember that money is a tool, and not evil in and of itself. It’s all about how you get it and how you use it. The real goal is not the wealth itself, but thriving, and helping others to thrive as well.