Abundance, Scarcity and Why the Fuck Aren’t I Making More Money for the Amount of Work I Do
As artists and as humans: if you fear scarcity, the solution isn’t necessarily abundance. To quote Brene Brown:
“Abundance and scarcity are two sides of the same coin. The opposite of ‘never enough’ isn’t ‘abundance’ or ‘more than you could ever imagine’.”
Which is to say the opposite of ‘never enough’ is simply:
Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking
Yesterday I wrote a (private) rant. In it I freaked out.
And the lack thereof. Sometimes it really grinds me down.
Pick yourself back up off the floor. Bloggers and authors are real people too. Not all of us make six figures a day whilst sipping our chai latte on a Bali beach. Not yet, any way!
It is a sentiment I have noticed a number of soul friends expressing recently – whether it’s New Year, post Xmas, benefit cuts or changes, or the whole EU VAT mess. A lot of us are experiencing a lot of shitty money-related stress ATM. I shared it privately with my friends. They felt heard and seen. Glad for my post. And so, inspired by Roberta Smart’s call to arms for #RadicalHonesty, I decided to share an edited version here in the hope that it might resonate too.
It’s a yucky feeling that. Not having enough.
Yesterday I was doing my profit and loss for last year. My profit was up a little bit from last year. (Hurray! I never take for granted being able to pay the mortgage with my creativity.) Despite two months off sick, letting go my two regular paid contracts, and starting two businesses. I should be happy. But I was nowhere near what I had projected. What I had hoped for – that hazy goal of financial relaxation. Bolstered with a plan. Of not needing social welfare support. Of being able to stand firmly on our own two feet. And not flinch every time a new bill comes in.
I remind myself that we’re in the richest 10% of the people in the world. But we’re amongst the poorer of our country people. And most days we feel it.
But here’s the rub. It’s out of choice. We’re well-educated, with every opportunity to have a nice fancy well-paid professional career in banking or science or secondary school teaching.
But we choose not to. We chose to follow our dreams, to focus on family first, on work satisfaction, on living our values. We have impoverished ourselves by choosing the path less travelled.
We have also set up the opportunity for infinite income potential. And total work-life control.
But dreamers get bills too.
Where I differ from a lot of people is I am prepared to take the risk. To follow my dreams. I believe I have a choice, where most people don’t see it that way. Because some crazy part of me thinks that this work is worth more than financial stability. That how you live is more important than what you have. I get a lot of gratitude from people for what I do.
I have a lot of gratitude to all those who support me. For the life I get to live.
But though gratitude warms my heart. It doesn’t pay the bills. So I try doing stuff that does pay the bills… and start losing followers. For selling too much stuff. Even though it is stuff so close to my heart.
It reminds everyone else that they don’t have enough money either.
And as we know, that feels yuck.
Reading Amanda Palmer’s great book, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
I realise our state of some months flush and many months tight in the cash flow front, is common to most creatives.
It’s just we aren’t hanging out with other artists, musicians and writers.
All our friends with young kids have jobs. With salaries. Or decent regular incomes. And yes, they might hate their boss, or find their work boring. But the money comes in.
Many moments you envy them this stability.
But you know you’d rather jump off a bridge than have this prison cell yourself.
The other choice is the one you’ve taken, the DIY path. So suck it up. You get the fun and freedom… and long, long days work for often little or no financial reward.
You try reminding yourself that you’re privileged. That most people would kill for your work. And most days you know it. But today, with a crashed car that needs replacing and both sets of parents wanting the family to travel over to see them… and the kids needing new shoes… and the water charge needing paying. It just feels bleeurgh. There’s not enough to go round. Not enough money. Not enough energy. Not enough me to work any harder.
And then you see some manifesting shit on Pinterest (I’m a hopeless sucker for them, I have a whole fecking Manifest board!!)You know, THIS sort of thing…
Or another person telling you you if you spend 2 grand on their course they will free you of your poverty consciousness.
And here we are again. I am the problem. Blocking the path of abundance. I’m not zen enough. I’m not wanting it enough. I’m blocking it.
Yuck. I get what they mean. I get the point. Yet the problem is whilst abundance is ours, in myriad streams and ways, it is not currently accepted by the tax man. Or Aldi.
So here I am trying to walk someone through my accounts and all I can think is FUCK I work a lot for someone who earns so little.
And I know that the course I’m about to launch could make me a buck or two. It could be our financial buffer that I’ve been longing for. And that freaks me out too. I keep putting back the release date. Because what if it isn’t. And what if I price it too high… and exclude those who need it. But I want to value the fact that I have spent an entire year working on it, that it contains almost every, single thing I have learned about publishing and self publishing in the last five years, and it contains more words than any of my other works.
And we’re back again – to not enough and I want more. And I hate this feeling. This way of having to interact with you.
Why even with this work does it all come back to money? To things that people want and can’t afford. To making marketing pitches and hussling. To being good enough, so you can have enough. God I long to be free of it all – to have financial stability… and be able to be generous with my work – to share it freely… and prosper. To be free of the endless worry of “where’s the money going to come from for this…” and “please buy my stuff.”
I’m reading Russell Brand’s Revolution… and I think – why the FUCK am I worrying about money. Why am I contributing at all to this insanity. This is the whole point of our system – to hypnotise us into being money obsessives, working harder and faster, in the desire to increase our wealth, so we can afford the carrot on the stick being dangled in front of our noses. Us creatives, dreamers, hippies and new agers try to keep to the side of it, but still find ourselves caught in its web almost as much as those inside the establishment. It is the system that binds and underpins us. We might clothe it with other words. But that’s what we’re doing. Working ourselves silly, to contribute to the governments and corporations which prosper from our earnings. Zapping our life energy in exchange for dollar.
I want out. Out of that system.
Often I do that exercise – what would you do if you won the lottery. Truth? I’d be doing exactly what I do right now. My Amazon orders would be larger. We would travel far more. I’d be less frantic in the amount I take on.
But I’d be here, writing, connecting, sharing, painting, helping other people co-create and share magic…
Because it’s what lights up my life. It is my life.
Today I am grateful for enough.
But tomorrow I long for more.
Isn’t this the way?
Like this? Want more? Have you read my Mindful Money series?
Check in on Friday for a fab (and historic, it being our very first one!) guest post on saying no more to free work.