When I meet a coach, client, consultant, or other high performer who is looking to do something like pay rent, pay the bills, or maybe even pay for a vacation, I like to introduce them to a theory that usually gets at least an eyebrow raise:
Hugh McLeod’s ‘Sex and Cash Theory’.
Hugh McLeod is a highly-regarded author who focuses his time on the themes of innovation, creativity, and motivation.
Back in 2004, McLeod wrote a blog post titled, “The Sex & Cash Theory” where he talked about about how artists and creative types, even if they’re a high performer, should hang onto their day job.
The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.
Finding your Balance as a High Performer
Sometimes, people might be fortunate enough to have a job that covers all of their needs (sex and cash). Unfortunately, this isn’t often the case, and there is almost always going to be a tense duality between two things:
- The need to make a living
- The need to maintain one’s creative sovereignty
McLeod acknowledges this by saying,
This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.
As soon as you accept this, I mean really accept this, for some reason your career starts moving ahead faster. I don’t know why this happens. It’s the people who refuse to cleave their lives this way – who just want to start Day One by quitting their current crappy day job and moving straight on over to best-selling author… Well, they never make it.
I fully understand that this is a lot easier to understand and accept when you’re young. We’ve all been in this situation at one point or another in our lives: you’re just starting out, you’re waiting tables or working at a coffee shop even though you know you’re meant for bigger and better things like writing the world’s next great novel.
The novelist aspect here is the sexy part of the equation and the cash bit is having to work your day/night job in order to be able to afford chasing your dream.
As you get older, though, and you find more success as a high performer, that tension… just doesn’t seem to go away. It doesn’t matter that you’re successful, there will always be things that you HAVE to do for money so that you can afford to do the things you want to do just for fun.
The “Tense Duality” Between Art and Commerce will NEVER be Transcended
You still even see this with a high performer star like John Travolta. One year, he’ll star in a movie as world-renowned as “Pulp Fiction” (sex) and then the next year he’ll sign on as a character in a very forgettable, but big-budget spy thriller (cash).
Painters do this, too. You’ll spend all of your energy for one month painting blue pictures because that’s the current “in” color that collectors are purchasing (cash). Once you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t have to do that anymore, though, you’ll spend the next month painting red pictures because deep down you hate the color blue and love the color red (sex).
You see what I’m saying – the list goes on and on.
If things are tight at this moment, though, then it might be time for a Cash Project.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’ve found success as a high performer – you can’t run a business if you have no money. This is especially true if your only thought is, “I NEED money.” That needy energy that you’re feeling will send any and all potential clients running for the hills. People can literally FEEL your needy energy.
Instead of feeling this way, it’s time to go out and tackle a Cash Project.
Don’t limit yourself, either! Get creative! Create and sell something, take on a paid project for something you’re passionate about, or maybe even go back to your old day job – even if it’s for only a short amount of time.
I remember years ago, back in my early days of coaching, I was struggling to create clients. So, I decided to write someone’s blog (and get paid) and even was paid to help a friend enroll clients.
No – these weren’t my dream projects. But completing Cash Projects of my own allowed me to bring in cash that was necessary to continue chasing my dream projects.
In turn, I was able to take a deep breath and relax a bit. Which went a long way when I met my next potential client. They were no longer turned away by my “needy” energy as I really knew, deep down, that this individual needed me more than I needed them. When this is the other way around, you’re almost never going to get a “HELL YES!” from your client about your proposal.
It’s really nice to live a life where you’re able to focus solely on your Sexy Projects and get paid well for them — and this is absolutely possible for each and everyone of us.
At the same time… whether you’ve been in the business for a while or you’re just starting out, when you want to create some money: GET CREATIVE.
And start by creating some cash.
It’s important to remember that sometimes? The Sex comes second.
But it’s also important to remember that it’s usually worth waiting for
Becoming a High Performer with Transition Excellence.
One of the main reasons I created Transition Excellence is to help people like YOU reach that point your life where you’re able to combine the “Sex and Cash” aspect of the theory and get paid for it.
It takes a lot of work. And it won’t happen overnight.
But this is where Transition Excellence comes in.
I’ve used the term “high performer” quite a few times in this writing but it’s important to keep in mind that you can be a high performer regardless of where you’re at in your career.
Let Transition Excellence help you become the best performer that you can be.
Transition Excellence is a 100-day, self-paced training program which is led by me and my leadership team which focuses on client creation.
The course is made up of 13 modules.
There are live weekly group calls with myself and my leadership team.
Our private Facebook group is full of the most INCREDIBLE people that you’ll ever get a chance to meet and network with from all over the world and backgrounds.
And more. There really is so much more that you just have to experience for yourself.
Transition Excellence is PERFECT for anybody who either is already or who wants to become a high performer.
Looking to become certified as a coach? Great! Transition Excellence is accredited by the ICF! You can learn more about the ICF by clicking here.
Let Transition Excellence help you take the next step in your journey of high performance.
We’re always here to help.
PS. If you’re interested in taking that next step as a high performer then you should take my Coaching Excellence Scorecard. This quiz will challenge you on the 4 pillars of coaching excellence. There are no right or wrong answers, only areas for improvement and this is where Transition Excellence comes in.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Hell yes, coaching is definitely for me!” then click the link and book a call with a member of my admissions team today ⏩ Book a Call