“Do what you love and the money will come.”
I’ll hear iterations of this sentiment from successful professionals every now and then. It should come as no surprise that those who offer this sage advice have already found their money.
While I am in love with this idea (and often encourage people with a similar line), I still personally struggle with this notion. I myself have spent the better part of a decade as a performer and singer; seven as an amateur and three professionally travelling the world. Rest assured, I was doing EXACTLY what I loved, but the money never came. I have countless friends (dancers, singers, actors, juggerls) who have packed their respective bags and moved to New York or LA in pursuit of “the big break”. Many work half a dozen part-time odd jobs and some even share beds in Brooklyn studios just to make ends meet while they place every last egg in the prophetic basket in hopes that the money will come…
I don’t intend to sound cynical. Rather, I simply wish to suggest an edit. You see, despite the stressors of jobs and bills that my artist friends face every day in hopes of landing a spot in a Broadway cast, they still get up every morning to try again. You know what’s worse than auditioning and not getting cast? Having to live with the fact that you never even tried. To quote Randy Pausch from The Last Lecture: Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Sure, many of them won’t see their names in a Broadway playbill. But at least they get to tell their grandkids that they spent X years living the life of an artist in New York City among the throws of the world’s most interesting and eccentric. Among others who weren’t afraid to shoot for the moon. I encourage you to shoot for your moon.
It’s easy for successful Executive X to suggest that “if you do what you love, the money will come.” It sounds really nice. I’m doing what I love so I sure hope it’s true. But at the very least I would edit: If you do what you love, you won’t care about the money. Maybe one day. But not today. Especially when you are young, unattached and able-bodied. Be selfish. Do what YOU want to do. Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. The worst case scenario is that you miss. But remember, you aren’t there now…so what have you lost? At least you can say, you tried. Now, go do what you love.