I’ve always viewed my work, whatever it may be, as my art. It’s my contribution to the world. I’m going to give my best because I care, regardless of how it’s received. I care that it’s done well and that it serves someone else well or brings them some joy.
I’ve never been motivated solely by making money. It’s always been about creating something or doing something that matters. Yes, I know how to make a strategic financial plan and I do it regularly, but it’s not my primary motivation. Money is merely a tool I use to amplify my art. I do work that is worth doing. If it’s not worth doing, I don’t care how much money is at the end of that road; I’m not interested.
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re just chasing money, your art suffers. That goes for businesses as well as individuals. You can’t create extraordinary work when the primary goal is to make money, to meet a (typically arbitrary) deadline or just push out work to tick a box on a task list.
Lots of people make lots of money doing mediocre work. Our economic system allows plenty of room for that, and in fact, promotes it. But it’s a choice. And it has consequences, mostly in regards to your happiness and quality of life.
There are lots of good doctors. Not as many remarkable ones. There are lots of good musicians. Not as many remarkable ones. The same goes for politicians, athletes and teachers. It’s usually pretty easy to see what motivates a person by the quality of their work. Is it art, or merely a means to a paycheck?
If you’re primary motivation is cash, deadlines, or just ticking the task box, it’s unlikely you’ll do anything remarkable, other than possibly making lots of cash, but that’s boring. Use money as the tool, not the goal.
If you’re truly motivated by the opportunity to make a positive impact through your art, you just might create something extraordinary.