On money, success, and being fucking honest

Recently we hosted a couple through Couchsurfing. They were from Denver and on an epic road trip. They only stayed one night and when they left in the morning Kris and I remarked at how much better they made us feel about ourselves.

Everything about them was very cliche and practiced. They had decided who they wanted to be and they presented themselves as such, but upon some questions from us — you could see their facade start to crack. They finally looked like real humans who didn’t have all the answers. 

They looked tender, confused, and honest. Which is how we look all the fucking time.

We value honesty over literally anything else. Like you don’t have to be anything other than yourself when you walk through this door. But with them we could smell bullshit like almost instantly. Not like they were bullshit, but just the feeling of — can you cut the act and can we just talk like real people?

They are in a new relationship and they are into natural organic everything. They have loads of lofty aspirations like we used to have years ago. 

We used to talk about all the good we wanted to do, all the people we wanted to help. We had rejected the mainstream ideas of success and felt pretty fucking clever for doing so. No marriage contracts, 9-5 jobs or processed food for us!

But the biggest mistake we made was thinking passion and money had to come from the same place. So we put ourselves through the ringer for years trying to make the two come together.

Until we really stripped it down. What did we really want, at our heart of hearts. What was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

And for years I didn’t want to say it, I felt like it was bad or reflected poorly on me as a person.
I wanted to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to be better than my deepest desire.

And what is that, you ask? Money. Plain and simple.

That’s the main motivation behind everything, for me anyway.

Did I want to wipe the sweaty brows of birthing women? Yeah. But I also wanted $800 bucks at the end.
Did I want to write and organize my thoughts and smartest travel tips so that other people could benefit and see the world? Yeah. But I also wanted them to pay me for it.
Did I want to make delicious bone broth and package it in non-toxic glass jars and sell it in my community so everyone had local, convenient access to densely nutritious food? Yes, but I also wanted $15 a quart.

Money is such a taboo subject and especially in the alternative/artistic/creative/woke/whatever-the-fuck circles, it’s even more frowned upon to say that you want it.

We’re supposed to crave a Utopian society where everyone has equal access to everything, you barter for goods and services and no one is poisoned by the evil green dirty money.

Okay, sure. But also. I want money because I live here, now in Phoenix in 2017.
Where you can Uber to Trader Joe’s and buy $7 pre-sliced mango. It’s fucking brilliant. The conveniences of our time blows my fucking mind.

I used to jump on the band wagon in my artistic/hippie friend circle of mocking rich people. We’d see some fit bitch in $100 yoga pants getting a $6 latte carrying a $400 purse and we’d make all sorts of judgments about her and say passive aggressive things like, “Must be nice!”

Do you know where all that aggression came from? Jealousy. All we wanted, if we’re being honest, is to be that bitch.

Those $100 yoga pants? They’re like fucking butter. That $6 latte? It’s like velvet. That $400 purse? It’s cute as hell and totally functional.

Because if we were satisfied in our own lives and truly happy — we wouldn’t have even noticed the fit bitch or at the very least — wouldn’t have had the time or instinct to pass judgement.

I noticed a few years ago that I stopped doing that. And it wasn’t even a practice or a retraining, I just stopped. I’d see a fit bitch and be like, “Fuck yeah, fit bitch!! You look awesome and if I had money I’d be strutting the same fucking way. I can’t wait!” Some of the nicest, kindest most wonderful people I’ve met in my life have lots of money.

My attitude towards money and the people who had it totally changed when I got real with what I actually wanted.

And now, at this moment in time, I’ve separated my passions from the way that I make money and boy has that opened up a whole new world. Because the thing is — they don’t have to come from the same place. If they do, that’s fine — but in the same vein: you need money to make your dreams a reality.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that you’re doing the job of 12 people at once and you have no money to hire help or outsource.

So I’m looking at this baby faced couple from Denver (who were in their 30s, mind you) wanting to ask them how much they were willing to suffer? They owned a home with an HOA, they have two cars, they have a savings account and stocks and a comfortable lifestyle. They’re just at the beginning of quitting their day jobs and being an active part of this new life they say they want.

I wanted to look at them and say — you know you’re not just going to throw up a facebook page and suddenly have people knocking on your doors, right?

I want to tell her that yes, she’s right — having a trade is noble and smart, but that massage therapy isn’t a fucking smart trade. The top paid tradespeople have skills that humans can’t live without: auto mechanics, plumbers, brick masons, computer programmers. Not fucking massage therapy.

I want to ask them if they’re willing to short sell their home, sell most of their stuff, drain their savings, sell their stocks, and apply for food stamps.

Not because I want to project my own experience onto them, because for fuck’s sake — they could be the unicorns. But because nobody was real or honest with me. All I ever heard about entrepreneurship was the success stories. The packaged happy stories that had great endings.

No one is sharing the missteps, the hardships, the day to day reality of it.

This couple is telling us about doing massage therapy, using essential oils (of course they’re fucking pushy E.O. reps, don’t get me started), opening a wellness center and all of this other shit.

Instead of just smiling politely and telling them how great that all sounded, I said — “Hey, you know — you need money to do all that. And money and passion don’t have to come from the same place.” And in that moment you could see little cracks start to form. You could see the look of one being humbled. They asked a few questions and I said that it can be exhausting trying to sell yourself and your intensely personal offerings. It can be absolutely nutty to have your livelihood depend on showing up on Facebook, maintaining your website, emailing your subscribers, all in the name of what you’re selling. And that if I could go back, I would’ve tackled the money thing first and let the passion come later.

Because the interesting thing about money is that it changes everything. It challenges everything you say you’re about and shows you who you really are.
What do you want to offer for free? What do you want to offer truly from your heart? When your rent is paid and you’ve got money in the bank — how do you want to show up for the world? Do you even want to?

This is a theme for us lately, and a different CouchSurfing couple — one that was married and loved the Lord Jesus Christ — asked us what our vision of the future was. I didn’t miss a beat and said, “Piles of money”. A year ago I would’ve said something really inspiring and philosophical that totally highlighted was I was going to teach people and offer people, the space I was going to hold and the transformation I was going to facilitate. Because that sounds a whole lot better and more noble. But it wasn’t completely honest.

If we’re stripping away all the fluff, I just want to wipe my ass with $20 bills.

Your average person also wants that, but probably would never say it for fear of how it sounds, just like me.
But it’s great now to own it and say it and watch it give other people permission to really be honest.

Like.

We don’t have to sit around having poopy schmoopy new age conversations and singing kumbaya. Everything is relevant. You can want to heal people and also want to live in a mansion.
One doesn’t have to be poor and suffer in the name of their cause to be a respectable person.

It’s funny, too — in the same breath that these people are saying they’re getting out of the corporate world, they’re thru making money for someone else — they’re also touting essential oils and other forms of affiliate marketing. Which is a different version of the same thing. Yes, you can sell essential oils in the comfort of your own home instead of an office, but your essentially just making someone else rich.

And of course it’s how smart he thinks he sounds saying, “We’re going to get into internet marketing when we get back home”. Okay, cool. Do you know it’s not that simple? Marketing, no matter what the fuck you’re selling or how the fuck you’re selling it, takes money and loads of time. You’re going to fail and be wrong and have to try all sorts of stuff and have loads of cash to throw at facebook ads and SEO words. You realize that’s what internet marketing means, right? It doesn’t mean you’re going to just sign up with a company, post a couple times on facebook and have off the fucking chain traffic to your shit.

The cherry on top though was when they said they were going to get their weddings rings tattooed on. Marriage and monogamy is totally fine if that’s your thing — I know loads of people that are happy as fucking clams doing life that way and it’s fucking beautiful to watch. But wedding ring tattoos? Are you 12? Are you that naive to think that you’ve known each other a year and can predict 80 years in the future and proclaim a huge part of your life is never going to change? It’s like, boy can you spot from a hundred yards away a person that has never been humbled by anything in their life.

Then there was more bullshit talk about abundance. They said, in what sounded like a rehearsed speech, that isn’t that the ultimate dream in life — to obtain abundance for yourself, to crack the code, and be making $20,000 a month and then be able to spread it around and teach other people how to do the same thing.

I thought — yeah, that’s great and all and totally do that if that’s your thing. But also. You can just make $20,000 a month and just fucking relax. You can just chill out and enjoy your life without living the rest of it like you’re in debt to society. Like you owe all of your suffering friends the way out. Like they’re too stupid to figure out their own way. You did, but they can’t? It’s sort of a condescending catch 22.

What if they just wore standard wedding rings? What if they just said they didn’t know if they’d be together because how possibly could they? What if they just committed to each other’s happiness and vowed to choose each other every single day? What if they promised to do this thing together until the one day it didn’t serve them in the best way anymore? Or would that kind of honesty just reveal too many deep cracks?

Cracks that a wedding ring tattoo will sure strengthen. Bwahaha. I’m still very judgy in lots of ways, can you tell?

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