It Ain’t About the Money ~ or is it?
My daughter & I were singing in the car the other day (and dancing at the red lights) when this Jesse J. song came on.
Price Tag. Have you heard it? (I posted the video & lyrics below for you) The first few lines of her song have been haunting me.
“Seems like everybody’s got a price, I wonder how they sleep at night. When the sale comes first, And the truth comes second, Just stop, for a minute and Smile ……
Why is everybody so serious Acting so damn mysterious Got your shades on your eyes And your heels so high That you can’t even have a good time”
Jesse J. is talking about the music industry but I think these words could apply to any industry. They hit me especially hard because I recently walked away from a business because of this exact thing, some say; leaving a lot of money on the table. But my gut was screaming at me and I had to listen. For better or worse, I seem to have this built-in Bullshit Meter and once it goes off, that’s it. Caput. It’s over. I can’t continue to do something that doesn’t feel right to me.
The more “well-known” or “successful” I became, the more Soul-Sucking the whole process became. Mostly, because there were so many willing participants in the dance that would say and do just about anything to make a buck.
Listen, I’m not some Polly-Anna, New-Agey, whoo-whoo, up-in-the-clouds, girly-girl that preaches “just do what you love and money will magically appear”. I used to tell my clients; “It all starts with a vision, you have to be clear, BUT you can make a vision board and meditate on it everyday and they will still come and take your furniture away… if you don’t take action.” I’m a realist about these things and extremely practical.
This song, Price Tag, got me to thinking. If it’s not about the money (and I think most of us would agree IT (life) is not all about making money, until you’re NOT making money, then IT sucks, right?) ~ what is IT all about (Alfie)?
Can you make a living or at the very least a fulfilling life making people happy?
Or as Jesse J. says in her song: “We just want to make the world dance”. Can you do work you love and make money without selling your soul?
I want to make the world dance. I want to make the world a little bit better during my short time here on planet earth. But I also have bills to pay and children to feed and gosh, it sure would be nice to take a little Va-cay now and then. Can we have both?
Can we figure out how to do work that feels important and meaningful and makes the world the better place AND support our families without selling our soul?
I think this may be the question of my life. The question I was born to figure out for myself this time around. Because it keeps circling back around to me, just when I think I’ve found an answer (or at least a clue) BAM! I’m right back where I started. Perhaps a little wiser, but none the less, back in the circle again. And oh, what a lovely dance it is.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve found the answer. Lord knows, you’ve got to figure THAT out for yourself. But I want to share some of the stuff that’s been catching my attention lately, stuff that seems to be pointing me in an interesting direction. (I was going to say the “right” direction, but that would mean there is a “wrong” direction and I don’t believe any of the directions I’ve gone in the past were wrong. I believe everything serves, so I’ll just continue down the most exciting, interesting path in front of me).
Since I stepped away from my old business I’ve been immersing myself in new stuff. It hasn’t been easy. The world I was operating in is extremely incestuous. Every time you try to put your head down and just ‘do your work’ you get pulled into someone else’s program, system or fabulous event that promises to rock your world and make everything perfect, right? But I’ve managed to walk away. For me, it involved deleting my Facebook account and creating a new list of people in various industries that I see when I go onto Twitter.
I’d like to tell you about one of the people that is really inspiring me and making a difference in my journey. And the good news is, he doesn’t have a program that’s going to fix you! He doesn’t want to sell you “the answer” for the price of a new car. (do I hear cheers? hooray! yippeeee!)
Edward Burns aka “Burnsie”, you may recognize him from films like “The Brothers McMullen”, “She’s The One”, “Saving Private Ryan”. I started following him on Twitter a few months ago and I was blown away by the stuff he was sharing with indie filmmakers. You can tell that he really cares about the process of making movies and he wants to share what he’s learned along the way. I’ve since embarked upon my own private Ed Burns Film School (watching the director’s commentary in his films) I’ve learned so much from this exercise and I still have so many films left to watch. Like this: After Brothers McMullen made a big splash at Sundance, Ed was offered $18 million to make his next movie “She’s the One”. He decided to make it for $3 million instead. His reasoning was this – if he made the film for $18 million and it lost money, he might not get another chance to make a movie. If he made it for $3 million he’d have a better shot at the movie making a profit and then he’d have more opportunities to make more movies, which is what he loves doing. He just wanted to keep making movies.
Do you see the brilliance in that? How many people do you know that would pass up an extra $15 million dollars? Think about all the fabulous, shiny things he could have put in his movie with that $15 million. Instead, he chose to make a movie that would give him his best shot at continuing to do what he loves. In essence, he passed up the big bucks in the short term, to follow his dream further down the path. Burnsie is even further down the movie-making path these days, and he seems to be operating way ahead of the curve releasing his movies through VOD (Video on Demand), reaching out to his audience through social media and having a conversation with the people that will love his movies. Forward thinking. Maverick. Rock Star, fer sure.
What I learned from Ed Burns (I should say, ONE of the things I’ve learned because there have been so many) is this:
Figure out what you love to do and go do it to the best of your ability. Study it, get really good at it, give yourself completely to it. Don’t just go for the big bucks. There’s something to be said for doing good work and taking pride in it and doing it to the best of your ability.
Ed happens to be in the business of story-telling, he’s really good at it. He’s not the guy with the billion dollar summer blockbuster, his twitter profile says “I make those small talky New York movies about the Irish guys from Long Island”. He’s been successfully making those small, talky movies for over 15 years now. He’s doing work he loves. He’s connecting with people and inspiring them to go for their dreams. His latest movie release “Nice Guy Johnny” is out on DVD and I highly recommend it. Ironically, this movie is also about the decision to sell out and take a job that is soul-sucking just to make the big bucks OR to follow your dreams and do what you love. Watch the trailer:
I’d love to know if “Burnsie” ever struggled with these questions and what he did and how hard or easy was it for him? Is it just my overactive, analytic mind that makes me feel so confused and crazy sometimes? Or does everyone struggle with these questions?
From the outside looking in, it sure feels like “Burnsie” is getting it right. And he’s inspiring me to look deeper at what inspires me, what motivates me, what story do I want to tell with my life?
Thanks Ed. For the inspiration.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far….
maybe sometimes it is about the money when you’ve got to pay the bills, but in our pursuit of the cha-ching and the ba-bling, let’s pause to soak up some happy times and make the world (and our loved ones) dance a little bit.
Here’s the video for Jesse J’s song Price Tag and I’ve copied the lyrics below.
Seems like everybody’s got a price, I wonder how they sleep at night.
When the sale comes first, And the truth comes second, Just stop, for a minute and Smile
Why is everybody so serious Acting so damn mysterious
Got your shades on your eyes And your heels so high That you can’t even have a good time
Everybody look to their left (yeah) Everybody look to their right (ha) Can you feel that (yeah)
We’re paying with love tonight It’s not about the money, money, money We don’t need your money, money, money We just wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag Ain’t about the (uh) Cha-Chang Cha-Chang. Aint about the (yeah) Ba-Bling Ba-Bling Wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag.
Okay! We need to take it back in time, When music made us all unite
And it wasn’t low blows and video ho’s, Am I the only one getting tired
Why is everybody so obsessed Money can’t buy us happiness
Can we all slow down and enjoy right now Guarantee we’ll be feeling Alright.
Everybody look to their left (yeah) Everybody look to their right (ha) Can you feel that (yeah) We’re paying with love tonight It’s not about the money, money, money We don’t need your money, money, money We just wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag Ain’t about the (uh) Cha-Chang Cha-Chang. Ain’t about the (yeah) Ba-Bling Ba-Bling Wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag.
[B.o.B] Yeah yeah Well, keep the price tag And take the cash back Just give me six strings and a half stACK. And you can keep the cars Leave me the garage And all I.. Yes all I need are keys and guitars And its with in 30 seconds I’m leaving to Mars Yeah we leaping across these undefeatable odds Its like this man, you can’t put a price on the life We do this for the love so we fight and sacrifice every night So we ain’t g’on stumble and fall never Waiting to see this in the sign of defeat uh uh So we g’on keep everyone moving their feet So bring back the beat and then everyone sing
It’s not about the money, money, money We don’t need your money, money, money We just wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag Ain’t about the (uh) Cha-Chang Cha-Chang. Aint about the (yeah) Ba-Bling Ba-Bling Wanna make the world dance, Forget about the Price Tag.