Be Authentic and Grow Rich

The connection between authenticity and wealth cries out for illumination. I coach and write to inspire and to encourage. This year, I’ve chosen a theme by which to guide my work – Prosperity through Authenticity.

Many have experienced the emptiness of wealth without purpose. Others have experienced authenticity without prosperity.  Fewer have experienced both financial abundance and authenticity, simultaneously.

Check out these Google search results.

“making money”            20,800,000
“being authentic”                  184,000
“authentic money making”        104
“making money authentically”      3

What’s wrong with this picture? Millions of search results claim to have the money making answer, yet so few are making as much money as they want to be making.

Is it possible that the masses are approaching this question from the wrong entry point?

Or perhaps they aren’t asking the right question at all?

What is the missing link that bridges the divide between authenticity and prosperity?

I’m not asking you to answer the above question. In fact we’d all be better served to ponder deeper questions over time, instead of making a mad rush for solutions. In the interest of high self-regard, each of us needs to reflect on the connection between authenticity and prosperity.

But are you curious?  Are you satisfied with the many methods and solutions that over-populate the Web?

A good copywriter can make rotten fish smell pretty sweet. I’ve clicked through to read some of these moneymaking schemes, as I’m sure you have. The shallow stench of nothingness sickens me.

The dearth of genuine value is one reason for the collapse of our financial markets. All of this empty marketing, for the sake of marketing alone, smells of the same inauthentic bullshit.

Isn’t it time to get real? One way is to wipe your slate clean with a big, powerful, authentic eraser of the fresh new start.

There’s an inherent promise that comes with being authentic.

Be all of who you are and the world will support your authentic expression.

It makes perfect sense that we ought to be lavishly supported, for fully being who we are. The world doesn’t owe you a living but it certainly does want to support the most authentic version of who you are.

Why then is financially abundant authenticity such an illusive state to reach?

What is the question that if you knew the answer, would set you free? Peter Block

This is the question I’m looking for regarding authentic prosperity. Stay tuned, more authentic musings to come.




  1. Hi Tom,
    The connection between authenticity and prosperity – this is such a good thing to think about. As in, where and how does this come into play in my life. Good stuff, and I’m looking forward to your continued thoughts on this. And the really good thing – I’m leaving here today really giving this some thought in my life…

    Thanks, also for your support of the “Journey to Success” forum, Tom! Jennifer and I are looking forward to seeing this grow, and more importantly, seeing and interacting with the many wonderful people who are becoming a part of this community. Thanks again!

    Lances last blog post..And The Word Is…

  2. Brett Legree says:

    Dang it Tom, why do you always make me think? 🙂

    I’m going to do all I can to listen in on your phone call this time.

    Brett Legrees last blog post..week 6 – final exam.

  3. I wish those Google results surprised me but that is exactly the frustration I had for years sitting in the cubicle. I would be constantly asking “This is it, I have money, but I am empty inside, what is the point”? I look at the eyes around me and they were screaming the same thing. They were making money, but living unauthentic lives; so in the end, they were barely living at all. I think you have to start with authentic first.Most people think I will get to the authentic part once I make enough money. It is the whole “Follow your passion, the money will follow” path we need to head down. Thanks Tom!

    Jays last blog post..Dream Analysis- The Real Self Help

  4. Brett Legree says:

    Tom – perfect! I’ll do all I can to be there this time.

    Brett Legrees last blog post..week 6 – final exam.

  5. Hi Tom: Those search results are certainly revealing about our overall state of consciousness at the moment. And I agree with you that the terms are closely related.

  6. Lance – That’s why I posed the question. Please return and come back with whatever you come up with.

    Brett – I’ll take that as a compliment. I know you love to think. Love to have you on a call and it’s not all just listening either. You’ll get to pipe in here and there.

    Marelisa – Yep they sure are revealing. Some kind of group think we have going there. Always a pleasure to have you chime in.

  7. I think that most people just care about making money and really don’t care if they do it authentically or however as long as they get the money.

  8. I have talked to a couple of friends still working where I was last year. As they are explaining how it has gotten even worse there (believe it or not) I am just thinking, “Thank you God!” Authentic work is synergistic. I don’t dread any day. I feel very comfortable in the role I have put myself into because it was especially designed for me. I can take my business where ever I want, at the pace I want, in the style I want. If I don’t like something, I can change it. And I NEVER have to sit in front of the boss and get chewed out for doing the right thing!! Does working get any better than this?

  9. LifeMadeGreat | Juliet says:

    Hi Tom

    I think that authenticity is very important in all areas of life. I have wondered a great deal about it on the web and in the blogging sphere. Who is writing according to what they believe people want versus what they really feel and experience?
    It’s an important consideration especially for new bloggers still busy finding their voice.

    I love food for thought – thank you for the meal 😉


    LifeMadeGreat | Juliets last blog post..What Is The Meaning Of New Year?

  10. Hi Tom – this issue you are raising is so important.

    I saw a well-known, well-respected person who has a blog about making money online, basically say that you had to forget about what you wanted to do, and get real and start doing his schemes that would make money.

    I was quite surprised – I wonder if he and his supporters actually believe that it’s not possible to do what they love and have the income they want. I don’t claim to have mastered this myself – we would like to buy our house, for example – but I do believe it’s possible.

    Robins last blog post..What If? The Movie – Clip 4

  11. Glen Allsopp says:

    Hey Tom, interesting analysis.

    Regarding the Google Search results I wouldn’t say that they are a very accurate representation. I know what I love to do and that it will make me money, but I would never have searched for ‘authentic money making’ when I first started out.

    People are more likely to search for making money doing what they love, or working out their passion then specifically looking at how they can turn that into cash.

    Check out the Google External Keyword tool for more

    Great post though, makes total sense!



    Glen Allsopps last blog post..44 Essential Personal Development Posts from ‘08

  12. I just loaned my dog-earred copy of Think and Grow Rich to a fellow yogini. She never heard of the book or Napoleon Hill!! TAGR is one of the best books I ever read. If they aren’t passing this one out in high schools, they should be!

    I loved the Google search results (made me think of Suzanne at vAssistant) but was disturbed by what you found.

    I LOVE your goal of Prosperity Through Authenticity! May I steal that mantra for myself or will that somehow take me out of alignment with the universe? *laughing* Oh, I’m stealing it – it’s too good not to use.

    My intention is to live by design, not be default, and be a channel of blessings for others. While I’m doing good, I intend to do well $$$. I am a BIG believer in win-win scenarios.

    Christa at Giggle Ons last blog post..9 Tips to Boost Your Mood

  13. Jenny Mannion says:

    Hey Tom,

    THIS is exactly what I am working on this year. I had made decent money doing what I liked and didn’t like in the past — but didn’t have real PASSION for what I did.

    For the past 10 years I have been an at home mom and 2009 marks my first full year to “work” while the kids are at school full time. I have spent the last 2 years discovering my passions, educating myself, nurturing them and narrowing them down to how I can make money authentically using my greatest gifts.

    I still feel I have some blocks in this area to clear. My rational mind believes it possible. I know I help many people by the emails I receive YET I think somewhere in my subconscious believes it is too good to be true to be making GREAT money doing all these things that come so naturally and that don’t even feel like “work” for me. It feels good to put abundance first this year and know I will be working through these issues! That in itself is empowering and YES, I do believe EVERYONE can be abundant by finding their gifts and doing what they love. We are all different for a reason and we all have gifts that the world would benefit from us sharing!

    Sorry for the long answer! Thank you for sharing the google results — very interesting… and I hope that changes in the next few years! GREAT post! I hope to be on your call on the 21st.


    Jenny Mannions last blog post..Make Intentions Not Resolutions

  14. Hi Tom,

    In one way or another this link has pre-occupied me for the last couple of decades. (I’m still fairly poor – in Western terms.)

    I look forward to hearing what you and others have to say.

    Evans last blog post..Plans for the Year

  15. Tom, what a GREAT theme for the year! Money without authenticity is emptier than empty can get. I’m sure that you will have many great things to share with us this year about the two subjects combined. I have often pondered these things myself so I look forward to your insights.

    Thanks for the link love and the promotion of Journey to Success. One thing I really appreciate about Think and Grow Rich is Hill’s emphasis on authenticity in making money. This point is stressed in the self confidence formula in the book. The most successful people do it authentically. I look forward to connecting with authentic people like you at the forum.

    Jennifers last blog post..Your Success is Just Around the Corner

  16. I grew up with the belief that in order to make a lot of money you had to “suck it up” and do work that didn’t necessarily come from a place of passion. I spent 10 years sucking it up and made a lot of money doing it. I was in a word, miserable. I spent the last 3 years seeking authenticity, and now that I’ve found it I feel free. Prosperity is just around the corner. Oh wait, I take that back, prosperity has arrived.

  17. * Google Results – In the interest of full disclosure please note that I searched with quote marks so I could get an accurate reading of the exact terms. My point was to show where our group consciousness is on this relationship. Searching under how to be authentic without quotes returns 581,000 results. Yet searching for how to make money money returns 64,800,000. However you look at it most folks are approaching things ass backwards at least if they value work fulfillment.

  18. Jay – The important thing now is that you have your freedom and you won’t go back.

    Tony – Welcome. The Google results agree with you. What about you Tony? Do you think it’s wise to do what most people do?

    Brett – I’d say a good first step would be to actually register for the class. 😉

    Laurie – You continue to shine your authentic light brightly. Folks look at this gal. She quit her non-fulfilling work. She designed a business that’s authentic to who she is. And the phone is ringing. People are buying. The world wants to support us when we are true to ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration Laurie!

    Robin – I’d say that the rest of the world simply needs to wake up. It’s nuts to spout that rubbish. You and I and everyone who cares about this message needs to spread it. We can save others from experiencing a lot of pain that way.

    Glen – Thanks for the Stumble man. I appreciate the support. I get what you mean by your search results comment but I think they do accurately reflect the direction we have taken as a society.

    You kind of proved my point. Why didn’t you consider searching under making money authentically? More importantly, don’t you think the world would be a better place if more people were focused on making money authentically?

    Evan – If I guy like you with a big heart and all the right intentions has wrestled with this connection for two decades that confirms for me that I ought to be writing about it. I knew going in that this would not be a popular post. I think it’s really interesting that finally physical health is an accepted topic for the web but spiritual health lags far behind. Stay with me. This is just my opening salvo. I’m really living with that big question because I know in my gut that the gold will surface as a result.
    I’m encouraging you to live with your big question.

    Jenny – Never apologize for a long comment here. This is first an authentic community and for that we need dialogue. I’m so glad that you are aligned towards authentic prosperity this year. That’s a wonderful intention. You are spot on with your empowering view!

    I think what you say about blocks is interesting. The whole labeling of blocks and limiting thoughts sometimes takes out focus off what we CAN do now. If I may suggest, you might want to just focus on what you want and take whatever actions that more directly get you there and make the blocks irrelevant. Unless of course you really enjoy working through the blocks. I don’t care about all that stuff anymore. I’d rather just be authentically rich. Hope to see you in class. I guarantee you’ll leave feeling even better about your prosperity possibilities.

    Stacey – Yep I grew up with the same twisted beliefs. Funny how as a culture they are still the most prevalent. But the people who work the hardest don’t make the most money anyway and they certainly don’t enjoy themselves. I’m so pleased to see you’ve made the transition. It’s a very good sign that you are aware enough to catch and correct your less than empowering comments. Bravo!

  19. Christa – Welcome. You can not only steal it but feel free to help me to carry the banner. Prosperity through Authenticity! I love your intention and I support it wholeheartedly. People actually want to support green businesses. 😉

    Juliet – Absolutely authenticity for all in all areas. It’s crazy that we even have to say that. You’d think by now we would have worked this one out. Glad to have you with me. This was only the first course. You’ll really love the upcoming food for thought. 🙂

  20. Hi Tom. This was brilliant! Now I know why the word authentic spoke to you in relation to The Quote Effect 🙂

    Davinas last blog post..The Quote Effect: Naughty, Nice & Niche Bloggers

  21. Chris Edgar says:

    Thanks for this post Tom. One perspective I’ve come to on this issue is that many of us have a single-minded obsession with money not just for survival reasons, but because we think that with enough money we can become more of what we truly are. If I have complete financial freedom, we tend to think, I can finally become a spiritual tattoo artist or whatever activity moves us at the deepest level. But the day when we’ve finally got enough security to start “being ourselves” never seems to arrive, and when we recognize this we finally see that the time is now. — Best, Chris

  22. Lorraine Cohen says:

    Great topic Tom

    I made a shift in my business when I realized I was out of alignment with who am. For example, I’ve been an ordained minister, a Rev, Dr, since 1988 and had deliberately had that hidden in my marketing materials and online. Who was I kidding? Once I cleaned up some place that were inauthentic, prosperity began to flow in many forms including money. What a great confirmation that when you aren’t being true to who you are, the affect is in all areas of your life.

    Blesings for a happy, prosperous and authentic New Year Tom 😀

    Rev. Dr. Lorraine Cohen (LOL)

    Lorraine Cohens last blog post..The DOGMA for SUCCESS: The Inside Scoop To Live Your Life By

  23. Some people believe that when they are honest and true to themselves, do what they love, then the means to continue will present themselves. This philosophy differs from the idea that you have to take a job to earn the money to afford to do what you love. If you nurture a feeling of lack, then you will invite more of the same. I love the ideas you present here. They prompt people to think when they may otherwise continue to go through life more complacent or not realizing other options exist.

  24. …an excellent aspiration, Tom! Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell said.

    Many blessings to you and all you hold dear,

    CG Walterss last blog post..CelebraZine 01Jan09

  25. Great post – I’d never consider myself ‘successful’ if I’d made my money by cheating others out of theirs. It’s not a good way to keep customers, and certainly not a good way to make new ones once word gets around about your business practices.

    PennySeeds.coms last blog post..Where are the best interest rates hiding?

  26. Davina – Now you have me wondering when I did first fall in love with authenticity. I think it may have been about 25 years ago when I first heard the do what you love concept explained while listening to a lecture at a Unity church.

    Jennifer – As always I appreciate your support. You really get that we are all in this together.

    Liara – Welcome. I’m all about challenging everyone to really consider the idea of being handsomely rewarded just for being themselves. Happy to see you concur. 🙂

    C.G. – Bliss indeed, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Chris – Love your comment. It’s crazy to think that money is the answer to all of our problems when more money doesn’t even solve money problems. The most direct way to abundance is to do what we can do, right now and be darn sure that we are eager to do it.

  27. I was talking about your post today at lunch with two of my colleagues. One friend asked me what I want to accomplish in my life – her asked “what is your goal?”

    I responded: To live an authentic, prosperously and healthy life.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m about to forward this post to my colleagues now.

    Christa at Giggle Ons last blog post..9 Tips to Boost Your Mood

  28. Tom,
    This is very appropriate with what I have been thinking about lately. I just received the book, YOU, INC. and it has gotten me thinking so much about the importance of authenticity and delivering one’s message. The authors talk about the ripple effects that naturally occur when we are acting and reaching out from an authentic place. Of course, it makes me think about what defines authenticity for each person.
    Thanks for the post and for the crazy Google

  29. Evelyn Lim says:

    Can authenticity make me rich? I didn’t use to believe so but am willing to check the idea out. I’ve started out by increasingly being more open in my blog posts in terms of my personal experiences. Not sure if they are drawing more traffic, but one thing I’m clear about is that I’d much prefer to attract clients or readers who appreciate who I am.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..Past Life Memories In Hokkaido

  30. Hi Tom – What a great cliffhanger. I love that question, “What is the question that if you knew the answer, would set you free? “. That’s got me thinking.

    When I see all of the searches for making money online, I realize it not money people are after, but what money can buy. I like to ask myself, “if I came into an enormous amount of money, how would my life change?” In reality it wouldn’t change all that much except I would be debt free. That would give me a sense of security, but wouldn’t necessarily make me happier. As we all know, happiness comes from within.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Attract Readers – Make Your Blog A Safe Haven

  31. I think being authentic will certainly help your chances of making money, although I think most people looking to make a quick buck often overlook it.

  32. Penny Seeds – Welcome. Your comment interests me because I see lots of inauthentic business people who are not necessarily dishonest. They are not out to cheat anyone but are simply misaligned with their own highest calling.

    Christa – Thank You. Your comment tells me that you are indeed implementing this inspiration and that warms my heart. I really appreciate you re-visiting to tell us. How did you colleagues react you you authentic declaration?

    Katie – I’ve yet to read that book. Please return and tell me if you’d recommend it. It sounds as though the authors are talking about expressing our authenticity, which actually takes greater courage than simply thinking about it or choosing authentically. I’d love to hear how you put your authentic voice in action.

    Barbara – Please let me know when you identify your freedom question. I don’t think we are motivated by what money can buy
    as much as we are motivated by how we think those purchases will make us feel. I’ve come to realize that all actions are based in a desire to feel better or to avoid feeling a feeling.

    Evelyn – Stay open to the idea of becoming authentically rich if that is what you want. Why not consider the possibility of increased traffic, abundance and genuineness.

    Richard – Welcome. You make an excellent point. The quick buck searchers have not yet experienced the limitations of that belief system. By definition they are putting more faith in being able to find a “the” answer for a quick buck rather than in their own ability to look within and craft an authentic abundance answer for themselves. It’s a huge distinction.

  33. Really good questions and insights.

    The pattern I’ve noticed is it’s about values. Living your values versus compromising your values.

    I see people sprout the most when they get cut loose with a team of people that share enough of the core values.

    Some places emphasize the scoreboard, while others emphasize how you play the game. Some places emphasize risk aversion while others encourage innovation. Some places emphasize people development while others emphasize cutting cost. Some places emphasize individual success while others emphasize teamwork.

    The brutal reality is that most people are happier working with people they share values with, but the trap is chasing work that looks compelling. A job description, interview, and skills don’t tell you what the culture is about. Words don’t tell you what the culture is about. Actions speak the truth.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset

  34. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching says:

    Funny you should mention that, Karl — I’m thinking about exactly that AdWords issue right now since that isn’t an avenue I’ve explored yet. I’ve been pondering: how do I convey to people that “feeling whole” is important for career satisfaction? I’m sure I’ll find a way. — Best, Chris

    Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coachings last blog post..Productivity From Within — New E-Book!

  35. So many people who are trying to build careers and wealth try to do it with putting up a goal of (blank) dollars then I will be ready to retire, which can be translated into then I will be happy. When they get there most of them realize that the money isn’t what made them happy, but all the connections, hard work and accomplishments that were achieved.

    We are probably be looking at our goals from the wrong starting point. A little, well maybe a lot of self reflection will help reframe our true needs. This takes as much work as earning the money, so it’s a hard sell. I believe it’s the right way, just saying that it’s hard to place a successful Google ad using that angle.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Nows last blog post..Change Messes With Everyone

  36. I’m reading Think and Grow Rich and can’t wait to get more involved with the forum.

    How sad that there were only 3 google searches for making money authentically.

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..This Too Shall Pass

  37. jewelicious says:

    I like this phrase! “A good copywriter can make rotten fish smell pretty sweet.”.

  38. Lorraine – You were so authentic that my Spam folder didn’t believe you. 🙂 Found your comment now and I’m so happy you had the courage to fiond and express your authentic self. Love your story – it’s inspiring.

    J.D. – You actually bring up greate examples for two essential right livelihood components, values and environment. Can I assume form your comment that you’ve found an aligned workplace for yourself? If so I’m overjoyed for you. Lately I’ve realized that for the vast majority, it’s easier to create a perfectly aligned business than it is to find a pre-existing job that really fits.

    Karl – I appreciate your vote in support of the authentic way. Sometimes it takes reflection and for some of us a major life wound is the catalyst. I’ve decided that Google adwords just may not be an effective route for authentic marketing.

    Chris – I’m sure you’ll find it as well. We share this marketing challenge. Sometimes it works to speak to them in a more practical language but often they aren’t ready to hear the message. But the world’s shifting and coming into alignment with more spiritually evolved views.

    Stacey – Regarding the Google searches, it may only be a reflection on how the majority in our culture is so focused on treating symptoms and searching for relief from pain. It’s up to us to spread the word that it works well to authentically go for what you want.

  39. Duff, @duffmcduffee on Twitter says:

    Great musings and questions.

    I say authenticity and prosperity meet when you think about what authentic prosperity really is. Prosperity is roughly equivalent to happiness, and increased happiness is not correlated with increased income beyond meeting basic needs.

    Authentic prosperity in my opinion is meeting basic needs with plenty of time to do the things you are meant to do (self-actualization needs). It’s doing things that are in line with your values, and continually moving towards wholeness and integrity by listening to the stirrings of your heart as you interact with others and the world.

  40. Jewelicious – Welcome. Glad you like it.

    Duff – Welcome. I love your definition of authentic prosperity, especially listening to ones heart. I guess the difference is what we consider those self-actualized needs to be.

    In my experience many will function much better with the emotional backup that a financial reserve seems to offer. The size of the reserve necessary depends on what makes one feel secure. I’m not saying that’s ideal, only what I have seen. Perhaps enough for basic needs is enough for you and that’s great!

  41. Tom, It’s good to be back in your neighborhood again! I took a hiatus from blogging for awhile, and now that I’m back I’m loving making the rounds.

    I scrolled through many of your posts to come back and read later, but this post grabbed my attention. I had to stop and read it. What a powerful question! I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately – how come the good and ethical people come out on the short end of the stick financially? I look at the field I”m in – real estate investing, and you see a lot of sharks out there. It makes one scratch her head and wonder.

    In the meantime, I have mucho to be grateful for, and part of answering your question has to do with how we each define wealth (outside of Madison Ave.’s definition!)


    Deb Calls last blog post..Results Revisited

  42. It’s so hard to wade through all the information overload these days. The hype and the promises are endless. In the end common sense is what makes one see the real from the garbage.
    .-= Rob´s last blog ..Chord inversions =-.


  1. […] seeds were planted in these posts where I wrote about doubling your income and getting rich authentically.  Since then I’ve been living with this question. What is the question that if you knew the […]

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