How many of us have heard things like: ‘if you love what you do then it won’t feel like work’ or ‘find a job you are passionate about and you will never work a day in your life’? How crazy does this make you feel sometimes? Or worse have comments like these ever made you feel like you are failing at your career, or at following your passions, or both?!?
Here is the thing; these people aren't giving us terrible advice and sure it would be great in an ideal world BUT (and it can be a big but) the problem is that it is not most people’s reality. Yes, there are people in this world who work every day and are passionate about every aspect of their job but guess what this IS NOT the majority of us. And the problem with all this advice is that it leads to us stressing ourselves out to figure out what we are passionate about, figuring out how to make money at that, and then feeling like a complete failure when our job doesn’t provide all of it. IT IS EXHAUSTING to be this consumed with the idea that you have to be passionate about every second of every day. But it is also unrealistic to think that being passionate about something doesn’t take A LOT of hard work while also being aware of the very real possibility that the things we are most passionate about won’t actually make us any money (insert my passion project, Women Do, here). So what do we do?
I think one of the best lessons I have learned is that all your passions will not be found in your job. Perhaps the thing you are most passionate about won’t be found there at all and THAT IS TOTALLY OK. Let me repeat this for everyone THAT IS OK! You can still live out your passions even if it isn’t your full time job. You can also love your job and still have other things you are passionate about. We aren’t one dimensional, why do we try to make our lives that way sometimes? More importantly none of this make you or I a failure if we find other ways in our life, not confined within our career, to express or work on our passions, I think it makes us a multi dimensional person which is a good thing.
How do we work on making this our reality? Well I can only speak for myself but I had to find a ‘sweet spot’. I started to have issues when I reached a breaking point several years ago; I was in a job that was all consuming and not fulfilling anymore. Being overworked led to me be creatively stifled and incapable of making time or mental space to work on other things. I couldn’t even examine my other passions because I was exhausted. I was on the brink of mental (and likely physical) collapse and that wasn’t good for finding passions outside my career or even trying to find fulfillment within my job. Circumstances arose and it gave me a minute to step back. I could keep being drained, and even sometimes down right hateful, about my career and never find anything I was passionate about or I could reorganize my life. I could try and find something that allowed me to be fulfilled most of the time while working but also allowed me time to explore other things that I had been brushing aside. This also meant I needed to be better at saying no to things I didn’t want to do and make time for the things I did want to do. A change in mindset that slowly led to changed behaviors that have brought me to a much better place. A happier and more fulfilled place. And the truth remains that likely my passions will never turn in to a full time job or make me rich but at least now I get to take part in them. I get to explore them, work on them, and watch them evolve.
Listen we may have to work a day (or a thousand) in our life and not love every second of it but the moral of the story is this...Take the rose colored glasses off. We won’t all be Instagram influencers or millionaires. We won’t all have a non-profit that soars and puts us on the cover of magazines. And our impact on this world likely won’t be blasted all over social media but that doesn’t mean you or I have failed. I repeat WE HAVE NOT FAILED. It definitely doesn’t mean we aren’t making an impact. It doesn’t mean that we will live an unfulfilled or miserable life simply because we aren’t living out every passion in our careers. It just means we need to re-evaluate. That it is on us to take the time to figure out some of things we are passionate about and that we can fit in to our schedule. We also need to create time to do the things we want to do and then give ourselves a break. We need to stop stressing out, enjoy what we can in our jobs, explore the world around us, invest in our passions, take a deep breath, and then if all else fails have a cocktail.