What are You Trading Your Life For?

file0001738805481We are headed back to Edwene Gaines Retreat center in Valley Head, Alabama today for another great retreat weekend. It won’t only be fun for us. Many of the attendees are friends, but they are also clients. I really do think of them more as friends whom I get the opportunity to serve instead of clients.

Many people would say that I’m going there to work, because I do end up talking about websites and how I can help them with their business, but it’s really not work for me. It’s what I love to do. It’s what I would do if I didn’t get paid. I often do it without getting paid.

My kids think I work all the time. I think I play all the time. It’s all in the perspective. What I really want my kids to learn from me about this subject is to make their ‘work’ their passion. Or better said, ‘make their passion their work’. Or even better, let’s just take out the word work. I want them to live their passion. I want them to do what they love to do. The money will follow.

When my oldest son, Matthew, started to college I asked him what he would major in while he was there. He is an artist at heart and loves to draw, make music, and read. He told me he first had to decide whether he was going for an education or a career. I knew at the time he was afraid that he couldn’t make money at his art and had decided that it probably wasn’t the best option. I tried to explain that if he does what he’s passionate about, the money will follow. He’s landed in visual communications for the time being. I know that whatever he does, he will be awesome.

He reminded me that so many of us think first of money when we decide what we will trade our life for. We weigh our options in our mind as to what is going to bring us the most money. I find myself doing that when I choose what I should work on next. I ask myself which option will bring me more money. No more. I’ve decided to ask myself, which option will bring me the most joy? What makes me excited to think of doing it? Then, do that. The money will follow.

God is my Source. He put the passion in my heart. I find that when I do what I am passionate about, my inspiration often brings about beautiful things. For me, that’s often beautiful writing or beautiful code or a beautifully functioning website or application or helpful tool. It’s sometimes teaching and training others how to make beautiful websites. Or maybe even inspiring someone else just by being a more passionate me, knowing who I am, and living that fully.

When I started going to Edwene’s retreats 2 years ago, she read a list of affirmations and asked if any of those were hard to swallow. The one I had trouble with was something like, “I love my work.” My first response to her was, “I work for clients I don’t like because I need the money.” She just smiled and said, “That’s the oldest profession in the world.” Then she moved on to the next question. Ouch! But she made her point.

I later heard her say, “If you are doing a job you don’t like to do, you are stealing someone else’s job.” I came home fired a lot of my clients, hired a housekeeper and someone to mow my lawn. My life got better.

Today, I love my clients! I love helping them become more successful. My work is not work. My work is fun and exciting and allows me to do everything I want to do. I am not rolling in the dough, but my bills have never been late and we’ve never missed a meal. Between the two of us we have two houses, two cars, two kids in college and three more here at home. We are having fun and living life to the fullest and trading our lives for the things we love, like travel, playing with websites on computers, reading, and nights out with friends.

Yes, we have a lot of debt and we are steadily working on that. We are happy that our creditors have trusted us enough to loan us that money. It has helped us through some rather difficult times. Times when I didn’t fully understand the laws of prosperity. Ironically, much of that debt was created while I was working so hard with clients I couldn’t stand because I needed the money. When I started living my passion first, tithing, and allowing God to worry about the money, everything started falling in place.

So, what are you trading your life for? Is it ‘work’ you love to do? Or is it a job you hate to wake up for in the mornings? Are you passionate about what you do every day? Are you excited about life?

I’ve found that a lot of people don’t even know what they are passionate about or what makes them happy. Or maybe they think what they do makes them happy, but their life doesn’t have much evidence of happiness.

The funny thing is that a couple of years ago, before I ‘got happy’, I was doing pretty much the same work on a daily basis that I’m doing now. I was building websites. The difference was who I was building websites for, the reasons behind the websites, my purpose for working with my clients, and my vision for the future.

The biggest thing that changed was my ‘Why’. Why am I doing this? That was a question I asked myself often. First in frustration because the harder I worked with people I didn’t like, the further I sunk. Both emotionally and financially. Then the question became more of a real question, “WHY am I doing this?”

When I gave myself permission to do what I wanted to do, I took about a year off and did little to nothing except try to decide what I really wanted to do. I let my clients go and decided to just do whatever I felt like doing. Just see what happened. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But, it was also one of the best things I’ve ever done.

It taught me to completely trust God. Do I completely trust Her now? Most of the time. I’m still working on it. But, every time I start to worry about money, I tell myself, “I don’t have time to worry about that now.” I ask God to handle it and I ‘try’ to move on. I’m getting better and better at it. The thing is, God always handles it. The more I see the evidence of that, the easier it gets and the better I get at trusting God with more.

If I hadn’t given myself permission to just do what I felt passionate about or to do what I felt led to do… If I had continued to work hard enough to keep my head above water… I would have never had the opportunity to trust God the way I do.

It takes a leap of faith to totally depend on God. I had to get to nothing before I would let go of the reins and completely trust God to provide. I had to get rid of my plan B. And my plan C. It was scary as hell. I’m not going to lie. I had some pretty sleepless nights wondering if I should trade my life for a 9 to 5 job in a cubicle building someone else’s dream. Truth is I TRIED to do just that to relieve the pressure I was feeling from myself to make more money. But, always, always something came up that prevented me from taking one of those jobs. Thank You God.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with one of those jobs IF that’s your passion. It’s not mine. That would be an early death for me. My life is about freedom. I must have freedom to be happy. No one tells me what to do. Just ask Lizabeth. Living in a cubicle is NOT for me. Been there, done that, loved it for a while, but got over it quickly.

I may choose to do it again someday, but right now, for me, I’m enjoying my freedom a little too much to jump back into a cubicle. I KNOW God will provide exactly what I need, when I need it. But, if I need it, it will also be a desire to do it. I have to quit trying to help God out by thinking of money first and taking jobs just because it would mean a lot of money.

My clients today understand that all transactions are an equal exchange of energy or they aren’t complete. Money is a form of energy used to help make the transaction equal. I constantly try to provide more value than what my clients pay me for. If my clients don’t understand these principles, they usually find someone else who can serve them better. When we are working from our hearts, we know when it’s a good ‘fit’ and when it isn’t. Something I think more businesses should try. It’s just not about the money.

There is also nothing wrong with helping someone else build their dream! I do it every day, but I get to help a LOT of people build their dream, not just one. And I get to pick and choose who I work with better than I would with someone else in control of my daily work. It’s the right fit for me.

The point is that I followed my passion and I work more from the heart. Not something I thought I’d ever hear my left-brained self say. I’m following MY dream which is to build things online to help me and others live our dreams. To help others see who they really are. I’ll trade my life for that ANY day.



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