The Money Will Follow?

We’ve all heard that adage about “Do what you love, the money will follow”, haven’t we?  For years my response to that was “Yes, it follows, but it’s way the hell back there!”  The idea behind the initial quote has merit, and I think it needs some further exploration.

marriedNo doubt the initial idea was to counter balance the masses of people who strive to get the money first, and expect to then have the money give them the ‘love’ later.  In this instance the money is leading, not following.

The fundamental flaw in the idea of leading with getting the money first is that it’s contrary to what money’s job really is.  Money doesn’t ever ‘lead’, it follows.  Or more specifically it reflects.  It mirrors your choices.  So to play with the adage: “Do what you love and the money will reflect that.”

Of course, we all know it’s not quite the easy.  Well, it can be easy, but in order to be easy we have to have a clear, unclouded intention around our money – and that ain’t easy for most of us given all the emotion and expectations we have attached to money.

Whatever you do, money will reflect it.  It will reflect your actions and the emotions behind them.  That’s its job.  So “Do what has you be your unique self, and then your life—and thus your money—will reflect it.”  Gee that sounds fun, doesn’t it?

One of the things that I think is a fundamental hiccup in the adage is around the “Do what you love” part.  How do you approach doing what you love?  What judgments do you bring to the table?  I remember years ago having a discussion with my then partner on an airplane.  We were talking about me and art.  Doing art.  Out of my mouth came: “I can’t do art, you can’t make money doing art!”  Yep, there is was.  Carved in stone in my brain.  I love art, I love doing art.  I do many things artfully.  I don’t do fine art as a living because I frankly wasn’t ever really able to bust that belief.  See, with that belief I would have created “Do what I love and the money will limp along behind me” because money would have had no choice but to reflect my belief.

It’s a hard one to shift, for sure.  Here’s an easier shift (not necessarily simple, but easier): “Do what has you be your unique self and your life and thus the money will reflect it.”  Not nearly as catchy or smooth off the tongue, but more effective.

We all have strengths and talents, yet we somehow think we aren’t supposed to use them.  We believe we have to do things the hard way for them to be worthwhile. When we do that the money will reflect that choice.  It will show us the stress we put ourselves under.  It will mirror the frustration of pushing the big rock up the hill over and over.

What I finally learned was that my talents and strengths were actually valuable in themselves.  That by doing what was natural for me, I was able to actually come to doing what I loved and having the money follow.  I use my “artistic”, creative side all the time.  Sometimes it’s something tangible like knitting, painting, decorating, which is great.

However my use of my natural gifts and talents in my coaching, in helping others “create” new possibilities has me being in a beloved “artistic” place  all the time.   It’s not something separate, it’s always there.

These days it really is “Lovingly be who I really am, and watch the money reflect it.”  Try really honoring your natural talents, the money won’t just follow, it will join you.


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want more untangling? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

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