Re-reading my notes from the On Being Gathering last Presidents Day weekend, I came across the following line from the poet David Whyte:
“Go beyond yourself. Be more generous than you thought you could be.”
Virtually every source I trust on this insists that value-creation is the only worthwhile (or ethical) focus if you want to make money.
Steve Pressfield says we have the right to our work, but not to the results. Seth Godin says to charge a lot (a topic for another time) — and be worth more than you charge. Mark McGuinness and Naomi Dunford each talk about plussing (or even doubling) the distinctively valuable parts of our work.
This isn’t a shortcut. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s also not inconsistent with the idea of working for free only as an intentional investment.
Rather, it’s a choice to fly without a net, to trust that generous work that matters will be noticed and richly rewarded — sometimes even with money.