You Don’t Have to Sell Out to Make Money

Imagine losing your parents when you are just eight years old, having to quit school in the third grade to take care of your family, and turning down record deals and thousands of dollars just to stay true to your values?

This is just part of Mahalia Jackson’s story. A few years ago, I saw a play about her and I was blown away by her determination to be prosperous over being paid and popular. Beyond having abundance in every area of your life, prosperous means that your purpose and passion are aligned with your values.

Mahalia was a gospel singer, popular back in the 1920’s and 30’s. During a time when blues singers like Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith were raking in huge profits, Mahalia turned down any offers to do blues or secular music because of her vow to only serve God with her vocal gift. Even when it meant the end of her marriage to a man who kept pressing her to make secular music.

Holding onto her values while pursuing her passion and purpose, Mahalia went on to be one the best selling gospel artist to this day, with at least 12 albums that sold millions of copies. (A big deal back then without the “help” of modern media). A civil rights advocate, she was even invited to perform on a European tour, sing at the inauguration of President Kennedy, and the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I remember growing up listening to Mahalia Jackson’s voice on my grandmother’s record player. I had no idea of the choices she made in her career to stay true to what mattered to her most.

If fame and fortune means you are unable to live what you believe – it’s not worth it. 

True prosperity is not just about getting paid or being well known, but about living out your purpose and passion in a way that aligns with your values.

Reality Check:

Are you selling out by focusing on what will make you popular or bring in fast money – instead of owning your brilliance and staying true to your personal values?

Tai Goodwin

My name is Tai and I am a recovering Christian, truth seeker, and storyteller. I write about education, spirituality, culture, mental health, and womanhood from the perspective of a black-american woman. I struggle with depression; most days I win, some I lose. I also collect books and occasionally read them. And I believe that our words have power.

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Demetria - March 10, 2016

My mother grew up on Mahalia Jackson’s music and I always love hearing the richness of her voice. It’s wonderful to hear that her true riches lie in the ability to distinguish between the temporary and eternal. I didn’t realize the tough choices she had to make in order to ensure her business was aligned with her values.

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