Selling Out vs Getting Paid for Your Purpose

In the last post, I asked you to think about the opposing camps of purpose: selling out vs making money doing what you love. What school did you fall into, the Purist or Enthusiast?

So, how do we reconcile this?

I have a couple of ideas, but making use of them depends on your purpose and your values; there are many paths to the top of the mountain.

Before I say anything else though, I must say that compartmentalization of your life must be avoided at all costs! The expression of who you are is not just for nights and weekends….

So, if you are in camp one (the Purists), who deem that monetization sullies purpose, I would say that you really have no choice but to keep your top-rated path of self-realization and expression solely for that purpose. Then monetize (via job or business) different (and what you may deem “lesser”) paths in the expression of your purpose. Many people have told me that if they tried to make a living doing what they were most passionate about, then they wouldn’t be passionate about it anymore. It would be a “job” and not a love.

So, take care of your financial support first – whether that means a job or business that is unrelated to your primary path (but ideally still “on purpose”) or getting a patron, sponsor, grant or other sources of income related to your primary path.

This option is also great for multi-passionate people (“scanners” or renaissance souls), who are often concerned about getting bored doing just one thing. Creating businesses that support several of their multiple interests is perfect.


Camp two (the Enthusiasts) say that if you love doing something, why not get paid for doing what you love and do it all the time?! The simple act of doing what you love is a path of self-realization itself.

And there are many cases, especially for the “right-brain” purposes, where there is a lot of cross-over between the two camps. For example, I know of many alternative healers who are also nurses, massage therapists, chiropractors, and yoga teachers.
In the case of artists, many create a body of work for their audience, their “market”, and create a separate body of work that is strictly for themselves. Michelangelo himself falls into this category. He liked painting well enough, but his passion was sculpture. He hired himself out as a painter (Sistine Chapel) so he could make enough money to keep himself supplied with marble. Did he sell out? We don’t know what he felt, but I doubt that history would say that. Sometimes artistic gifts are also simply skills that you use to make money.  A great modern example of this is a fine artist who also does commercial illustration or website design. Oftentimes it is a financial necessity to do both, and why be an accountant to make money when your artistic skills can do double-duty?


The trick to avoiding the trap of “selling out” vs “being paid for your gifts” is to be conscious of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Our gifts are given to us to USE, so use them!

What are your thoughts?

To your joy!


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