I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of finding a way to live out my life’s passion as a career. This, of course, first involves identifying my passions before I can go about finding a way to incorporate them into my life. Even once they are identified, though, the process of finding a way to live into them is not always easy.
This has been a real journey for me (one that is far from done) as I have “tried on” a variety of different things in the search for one (or a set) of them that will allow me to live the life I dream of, filled with work that I am passionate about. In some cases, I’ve discovered that I just didn’t have the necessary talent for it to be a good match. In other cases, I’ve found that I wasn’t nearly as passionate about doing the work as I thought I’d be. And in yet other cases, I encountered other roadblocks that I wasn’t determined enough to overcome.
This week’s set of links are all about finding one’s passion, what it is like to live one’s passion, and what else is necessary besides passion for a given career to be successful.
Have you ever had one of those times when you’ve struggled and struggled and struggled to solve some problem, and when the answer finally appears, it’s so obvious that you can’t believe you didn’t see it before?
Yeah, me too. I had one of those moments yesterday. I’m thrilled to have an answer, but my initial reaction was still to say, “Well, DUH!”
You see, I’ve been struggling for a couple of years now to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my life. I have all of these disparate interests—writing, yoga, working with people one-on-one in some kind of coaching/spiritual direction/pastoral care/counseling role, perhaps some public teaching or speaking—but I haven’t been able to find the thread that tied all of these things together to form a cohesive whole. I knew without a doubt that this thread existed. I could feel it, but I couldn’t name it.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ~Jack Kerouac
In a fine moment of synchronicity last week, a post came out on Zen Habit’s called Simple Daily Habits to Ignite Your Passion and I received an email from someone talking about the benefit that comes from having a Happiness Tribe. I wound up reading them back-to-back.
“It’s a Secret of Adulthood: I can choose what I do, but I can’t choose what I like to do. I can decide not to pursue my interest in perfume, but I can’t make myself develop an interest in chess. One of the sadnesses of a happiness project is recognizing my limitations, the truth about who I really am. But it doesn’t matter who I wish I were. I am Gretchen.” ~Gretchen Rubin
The above quote came from one of Gretchen Rubin’s blog posts on The Happiness Project entitled Why I’m Sometimes Tempted to Fight My New Passion–And Why I’m Embracing It, Instead. In this post she writes about her new-found passion for learning about the sense of smell and why she is embracing and pursuing that passion even though it has no “value” on the surface, even though this passion might not be one that she would logically have chosen as practical for her life.
“If your happiness and your work aren’t the same thing, you’re doing the wrong work, or working the wrong way. Change.” ~Martha Beck
That’s pretty straight forward. If my work is not bringing me happiness, I need to change it. There’s nothing at all here about finding a way to live with it as it is. Just change it.
I read an interesting post on this topic today on Heal Your Life by John F. Demartini called The Job or the Money?: The $5 Million Dollar Interview. In the post, the author reveals that when he is hiring he asks each candidate during the interview what they would do with their life if they were given $5 million. If the candidate’s answer doesn’t sound like pretty much what the job opening is, he does not hire them because he wants people working for him that are doing the job for the love of the work, not because they need the money he will pay them. In fact, he tells of one candidate that he did not hire, who was so motivated by their conversation in the interview, that he began pursuing the work that he was truly passionate about and came back to thank him for giving him the push he needed to do that.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” ~Steve Jobs
I’ve been reading every entrepreneurial book I could find at the library the last few days to help me clarify my ideas about what I want to do to work for myself and determine what kinds of steps I need to take to get from here to there. Continue reading