You know what’s been blowing RIGHT up my skirt lately? That women are shamed for wanting money—as if this is a bad thing. We're shamed for charging it, for thinking about it, and for daring to create something that we—brace yourselves, folks—want money for, in exchange.
There’s this unspoken code of conduct that comes with being a woman, it seems, which says that you are supposed to give selflessly, sacrifice, and always put others first. Just think about all of the reasons that moms are traditionally praised: “she gives everything for those kids,” “she never asks for anything in return,” “she sacrifices so much,” “she is such a good mom.” Ditto when it comes to the workplace. “She's always there early, and always stays late!”
We’ve been told our entire lives that being a good mother, good wife, good woman is to GIVE—which is probably why it feels so unnatural to take. Not just for us, but for the people around us. They see you stepping out of that narrative, and daring to ask for more, for your value, for your worth (eewwwww! so dirttttyyy!) and it makes them…angry.
She’s full of herself, they say. She’s got some nerve.
Which, by the way, is the exact very thing most women are TERRIFIED other people are thinking of them. It paralyzes women all over the world, that fear: that another person might think that they think too highly of themselves. Andthisistheworstthingintheworld. It is mortifying. It means we’re “too much.” It means we’re stupid. It means we’re vain and greedy and self-seeking. And that maybe other people are right about us. That we have no business starting businesses, or charging money, or thinking our ideas are worth it.
For the record: the reason women are scared that other women are thinking this about them, is because other women ARE. The problem starts there. It’s not “all in our heads.” It’s because there are other women out there who think that you don’t deserve the money. This happens to all of us. Even I got an email the other day trying to money-shame me for the book deal course I so lovingly created for you. The word used was “offended,” given that I had already gotten a six-figure book deal, and that I shouldn’t be asking for more. Wasn't that enough? How dare I?
I’ll tell you how I dare: because neither you, nor I, should ever apologize for wanting to create as much value in the world as we can, and wanting to receive as much value from the world as you can in return. Because we're not going to apologize for running a business. Because we're not going to apologize for profiting. Because we're not going to apologize for charging money for important know-how. Because we're not going to apologize for wanting to be the best, or the most, of anything.
Because you know when it's “enough?” When you feel like you have made your goddamn mark in the biggest, brightest way possible.
That’s when it's enough. Until then, it is not, and no one else gets to decide that for you. No one else gets to tell you how much you deserve. Because here’s what people neglect to consider about making good money: it frees up your resources to be more generous, not less. Making money is a good deed.
The good news is this: for every person who money-shames you—even in the quietest of ways, through so much as a glance—there are people out there who will be thanking you. This is why any of us do the work: because when you’re doing it right, you have made life better for someone. You have helped them in some way that they WON'T be able to stop thanking you for. The same day I received the money-shame email, I received this one, too:
Everything about the book deal course was over-the-top fantastic. The amount of time and care and insight you clearly poured into this incredible astounds me. All while you were writing your book and doing ALL THE THINGS. It was just so GENEROUS!! It restored my faith in believing that we really are all in this together. Not only impressive but also very, very cool.
Also, this detailed information is every practical thing I could have needed to get to the heart of the matter: writing the book. Instead of stalling out time and time again because I was paralyzed by not knowing where to start and worrying about looking like a fool doing a proposal that wasted an agent's time. It was like: no more smoke and mirrors, no more games, no more guessing. Just a methodical guide I can turn to again and again all along the way. I was also very heartened by how you showed the reality of your process, for instance, how the title changed and even the way the book was laid out changed along the way, how you tried other ways of approaching the subject but eventually came back home to your own voice, knowing that was the most important thing. Thank you for sharing all of those trial-and-error things you went through because that really made me less afraid of having it all perfect. Thank you for showing us YOU in all of this. That was so brave and kind and it helps me breathe into the process instead of holding my breath and white-knuckling it all the way through!!
THANK YOU beyond for all you do – you are the BEST, Ash.
Yours in eternal gratitude and turning books in dreams into books IRL –
P.S. When you sent the bonus at the end I sincerely died. I literally said out loud alone in my room “Noooooo she did NOT!” We need a new word for ‘generosity' because you are just amazing. #teamtmfproject4life (P.P.S. Welcome to Philly!!!! So excited to have you here in my hometown and I wish you all the very best!!)
Which is all to say: do not play small because someone else is uncomfortable. Play bigger, because there are people who need you to be brave enough to do so. There are people who need exactly what you want to create, and who will be so, so grateful that you did. DO. NOT. SHRINK.
Generosity isn’t rationed, in this world, and neither are profits.
Fortunately, the more you give of one, the more you get of the other.