Have you heard this before? “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”
Well, I don’t buy it. It would be great if the world really worked that way, but I think it’s bad advice without a common sense plan to back it up.
Most of us are not hunters and gatherers who can easily live off the land. We live in societies of more varied enterprise. Like it or not, we need financial currency of some kind to support the lifestyle we choose to have in those societies.
Ho‘ohana is the Hawaiian value of worthwhile and intentional work, and it is second only to Aloha in the Managing with Aloha philosophy. I usually hesitate to do this, but if I had to impress upon you the relevance of the MWA 9 Key Concepts, I’d prioritize them this way:
1. Aloha — love and respect of self and others, in everything
2. Ho‘ohana — work as what you do, not ‘job.’ It’s that sweet spot where your talents, strengths, and daily inspiration with both all intersect in the work you get done
3 and 4 together: Sense of Place and Value Alignment — your sense of rightness and belonging in the world, having a good grasp of the first two (Aloha and Ho‘ohana)
Thus as much as I speak of Ho‘ohana here, within Managing with Aloha and as a major influence on virtually all the writing I do, my bares bones advice to those asking for it has been this:
Best case scenario, work on your Ho‘ohana and your financial literacy at the same time: You must be able to finance your passions, whatever they may be.
If you feel you must prioritize one over the other, learn to finance your life, for there’s more to living than working.
For example, when I have the opportunity to speak to them in MWA presentations, I ask both high school and college graduates to release their parents and any other benefactors as soon as possible, and support themselves. Can you imagine if everyone in the world did that with fierce cunning and determination? There would be far less need for welfare and the other ‘compassionate assistance’ we give the ‘less fortunate.’ There would be far healthier ‘civil responsibility’ woven into our communities everywhere.
Yes, it’s a tough love stance within my Aloha, I know. Take another look at that definition I listed for Aloha above: The part about self-love, and self-respect is absolutely critical. Financial literacy is knowledge which fuels your confidence and self-esteem: It will fortify you to know you support yourself wisely, and live within your means rather than depending on others to finance you.
I was once asked for a checklist on financial literacy, but I think this one question covers everything I’d put on it:
Are you living within your means, and are you confident you can sustain it?
When you answer “yes” that’s the best foundation for Ho‘ohana you’ll ever have.
Business Thinking with Aloha is the ebook I had written for high-school and college graduates entering the workforce for the first time, and choosing the world of business. It has more of my writing on this concept of financial literacy in workplaces shaped with Aloha. You can purchase it via Smashwords (in several digital formats) or Kindle.
For more on why writing BTWA became so important to me:
Read about our ‘Lost Generation’ in the Archives: Share your Sense of [Work] Place
It’s a problem we have yet to solve.