Think Feel Act

If money didn’t matter?

An endless pressure for money

When I talk to clients about career development an issue that usually comes up is money.

And it’s a very practical point of view.

Many, or perhaps most of us, work because we have all sorts of financial obligations to meet: Mortgages to pay, training and education, school fees. Plus there are holidays we’d like to take. Thing’s we’d like to own. The car needs replacing and the washing machine needs fixing…and one day I’d really like to put in an air-conditioner. Plus there’s that tax bill and the cost of heating and water and food to consider.

There’s an endless pressure for money.

And this often drives our career choices. For sure the meaning this brings us in supporting ourselves and our families is valuable. This alone can be enough to add vital purpose to a lackluster role and gives us a reason to get up in the morning.

But it can also keeps us beholden to work we have fallen out of love with – if we even loved it in the first place). And it keeps us diverted from our dreams – if we can even remember what they are.

If money didn’t matter?

So a little thought experiment I ask myself and my clients (in one way or another) is:

What would you give to the world if money didn’t matter?

If you could set money aside, would you do what you are doing now? Or would it be something entirely different?

Perhaps you’d like to volunteer in a hospital or school? Or maybe you’d like to write a novel or poetry? Or maybe you’d like to bring music and laughter to other people’s lives? Maybe you’d like to be a stay-at-home mum or dad? Or coach a sports team? Or foster a child? Or paint?

The key question here is what would you give to the world, not what would make you feel good. Although of course giving feels good in it’s own right. But the key is in thinking about what you have got to contribute. And maybe it’s as simple as the way you make people smile.

Each one of you will have your own unique answer.

The possibilities are endless.

Raising the world a little higher

So, far from being self-indulgent, thinking about this can awaken the altruistic and compassionate parts of ourselves that want to serve others. These yearnings open a window into our broader mission in life. They tap into the unique way each of us can help raise the world a little higher.

And of course money does matter. We do need to work. We have mortgages to pay.

So in practical terms, maybe there’s a way to get the best of both worlds and bring a little of your dreams to your working life.

But the dreamer in me asks: What would life be like if we could take some of the energy we use in striving towards earning money and invest it in giving to world instead? Wouldn’t we all be enriched?

What are out missing out on giving?

Just as the world would be poorer had Vincent had ignored his urge to paint, we are all diminished without each one of us making our unique contribution to the world.

So think about it for a while.

  • What are your dreams?
  • What’s your contribution to make?
  • What is your inner purpose for being alive and breathing?
  • How will you help raise the world just a little higher?
  • If you settle just for money, what are you missing out on giving?

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2 Responses to If money didn’t matter?

  1. Ingrid Ozols November 2, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Fascinating questions and reflection as always dear Jocelyn.

    Reading this beautifully articulated piece presses a few buttons and raises reverse questions. I have been a mh advocate who has given the sector and community more than my heart and soul for over a decade… so please forgive me if this response is a little emotive, controversial and even ambivalent.

    The word “volunteering” is a little blurred at the moment for me.. this “moment” has been a ling one.

    I started from very much and altruistic “giving back” to the community because I feel genuinely blessed to have had great mental health care and support over the years. I also recognise I have been in the minority which I do believe is really unbelievable in Australia at this time. All Aussies have the right to high quality care whenever and wherever they need it.

    Volunteering has been critical to my wellness, working has, is critical to my wellness. These activities have given me connectedness and gifts I never imagined.

    I have loved doing the work I have done and do, but over time needed to balance the “giving with self-care”, the “need to eat” has come into the equation, relieving the pressure of economic reality. Having the very family obligations you refer to in your reflection.

    It would be fabulous if I had amoney tree in the backyard, then this wouldn’t be an issue.. no thats not true it still would be.

    On a bigger picture perspective, the health sector as a whole has so many of “us volunteers” working tirelessly to help make a difference to the community, to one person, one family. To use our pain and lived experiences to make others journey’s a little easier than the paths we have walked.

    Volunteering feels good, great in fact.. by giving ourselves to others we can feel goid about ourselves. It can also be a stepping stone to new adventures, gifts, knowledge, Skills, friendships.

    A social movement globally, commenced in mental health in the USA some 70 years ago, where families of loved ones in appalling care came together ti say this has to change. This was the beginning of deinstitutionalisation and closure of asylums…. These changes amongst many have lead to another “hidden” workforce.

    A generous hardworking community of carers, peer support workers, advocates, committee members, participate giving endless hours in contributing to the broader community in priceless ways: from improving services and treatment, to contributing to research, health care policy development and reform. This has meant many of us have had to seek new skills, gain training, increase our knowledge at our on expense and time.

    We are starting to feel tired, very tired, caring for loved ones who may be vulnerable or needing extra support as well as ourselves.

    By constantly giving for so long, many of us are starting to feel our generosity of spirit is being taken advantage of… in fact there are times one questions their own value and worth.. Being valued is important..& remuneration is not only an income but a symbol, recognition of a job well done, acknowledgement our efforts are appreciated.

    In our society we value what we pay for. I feel sad that by taking taking taking from the many who give so readily and that so much in the health sector is being given away “freely”, we have set up the notion that others now expect our services freely. Our efforts dont always feel appreciated or that indeed our contributions are valued. This, I believe, devalues us all.

    The challenge is for us as a society is to find a balance, for us to have options, so as we can do whatever combination of paid work and voluntary activities we wish and can do realistically..& feel valued.

    • Think Feel ACT November 3, 2016 at 9:39 am #

      Ahhh Ingrid – I hear you.

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