What is your value? 

This is a loaded question for creatives. Artists give of themselves in their work. Performers put their actual bodies on display for the world to see. Painters paint with their instinct and intuition. Musicians play by engaging their direct link to the Universe. These endeavors are deeply personal and make for a delicate exercise in the balancing of vulnerability with resilience. How on Earth does one quantify that? What’s more, what is the price tag of a soul?

The answer is that there is no one right answer. The only “right” answer, in fact, lives within each individual. The key to unlocking this mystery is beginning to understand your WORTH. What is your time worth to you? To your family? What is joy worth to you and your audience? What are materials, your education, your experience worth? Once you begin to understand how to qualify your gifts and effort, then you can begin to quantify it. The tricky part of this process is that worth and value are subjective, and are affected by environment, the market, and the relative relationships in your circles. In short, it is all a matter of perspective.

Over the holidays, I was hit over the head with this idea via a tangible metaphor. My family and I were on vacation and I wandered into a gift shop. There I happened upon case of jewelry that appealed to me – for a long while I have had a fantasy of wearing an exquisite gold and diamond ring that would resonate with wealth, or more specifically, success. I typically do not live my life with a lot of “bling,” yet this particular idea had been stuck in my head for years. When I looked inside that case, I saw MY RING! The one that had graced my day dreams. I was elated!

Here’s the irony of it: it was $32. Of course, it was not actually gold and diamonds, but the look of it was so inspiring to me that I bought it and began wearing it immediately. This ring makes me feel fancy and fun. It reminds to shine and sparkle. For me, it symbolizes a freedom that comes with choice, optimism, and unmitigated authenticity, which is especially funny because it is fake!

My point is, the ring has value to me not because what it is or is not made of, but because of the value I attach to it. Whether other people think it is “real” or not is inconsequential. For me, the reality of it is that I love the way I feel when I wear it, and whether it is worth $32, or $3,200 is not as important as that for me, this item is priceless. In other words, I decide its worth, its value.

So I ask again, what is your value? Still don’t know? Here’s the good news: it’s entirely up to you.

Merritt Minnemeyer is a Professional Coach and owner of Master of One Coaching, where she connects leaders and visionaries to boundless success, fulfillment, and fun through powerful purpose. She has a long history in the arts and in business, and has spent the better part of her 40+ years involved in creative endeavors. Merritt lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, New York.