“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” -quote by someone who had their head up their ass
Being in the world of self-help, I get bombarded by motivational quotes talking about finding and living your passions and your life purpose. Maybe you do too. As a culture, I think we’re coming into this sort of awakening (can you hear the angels singing?) where self-actualization isn’t just for hippies anymore. It’s for everyone.
I also think finding your passions and life purpose is important, but I think it’s misunderstood.
What I see is a whole lot of people living in terms of black or white when it comes to passion and purpose. Either they do EVERYTHING in their power to create the life of their mothereffing dreams (like quit their jobs to start their own life coaching practice), or they stay where they are: unhappy. For example, if I had a dollar for how many people have come to me and said this, “I have this job I hate. I’ve worked my ass off and it’s killing me. I want to live my purpose and give back. I want to become a life coach.” — I’d have many, many, many dolla-dolla bills, y’all.
And part of me is excited for them. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a (successful) life coach? It’s really amazing, I’ll admit it. But, part of me looks at their life and wonders, if they made changes in their life —such as getting a different job with another company or taking a new position— would they be happier? And the key– The Key of All Keys here is really this: If they took the time to work on themselves, I mean, really, truly work on themselves, would they be happier? Would that be the answer they were really looking for?
I would venture to guess, YES.
If you are in a soul-sucking job you loathe, you don’t have to jump on the startup/entrepreneurial bandwagon to create your dream life. Just change your job. And I know I make it sound so easy, but last time I checked, the economy has turned around and it’s possible with persistence and patience. And for the love of Jesus doing double-dutch, work on your shit. Your emotional issues and fears are not going to get better just by starting your own small business and I know by experience that your dreams will not come true simply by becoming a life coach. In fact, I can assure you that if you’re not actively working on yourself and you quit your job and start a life coaching business, your life will get harder.
In my opinion, here are my three top hardest things ever in life in order:
- Being a parent.
- Starting and running a business.
Seriously. Starting and running my business is harder than marriage because sometimes my business is an asshole, and lucky for me, my husband is not.
And having a successful business is hard. I also believe it’s not for everyone. It’s true that sometimes (and some of my colleagues have admitted this too) that I fantasize about being back at my last corporate gig at The American Council on Exercise. 8-4:30. HEALTH INSURANCE. Fun people to talk to every day. A STEADY PAYCHECK! Benefits. Not having to deal with people ripping off my work or legal stuff. Sometimes it feels so much easier.
I thought for a long time before I starting writing this post and asked myself: If I had stayed in my corporate job AND spent a lot of time working on myself, doing things that brought me joy, working on managing fear and found an amazing group of friends, all without starting this business– would I be just as happy as I am now?
And I can confidently tell you the answer is yes.
Because at the end of the day, we choose our happiness. And again, it doesn’t have to only be tied to entrepreneurship.
So, what's really going on?
Underneath it all here’s what I think is happening in the hearts of these well-meaning people who want to quit their jobs and become life coaches: They want to help people, they want to feel like what they are doing in this world matters, and they want to feel like they matter. And I think that’s valid and awesome and beautiful. And I think you can still make those things happen even if you don’t quit your steady job and become a life coach or health coach. And here’s where I suggest you start:
- Look at your life and how you’re living it. If you’re wanting to become a life coach and feel like that’s going to make you happy, I highly encourage you to do everything and I mean EVERYTHING to work on yourself first. Go to therapy to work on your emotional baggage. Hire your own coach to help you face your fears and walk past them. Work on cultivating friendships that are rich and nurturing and find people you can trust. Have the hard conversations you don’t want to have, but need to. Because I will guarantee you this: If you don’t, the Universe will surely serve up clients to you that will need your help on those exact issues. (awwwkward) And it’s really, really hard to take your clients further than you’re willing to go in your own life.
- Do some values work. This is personal development 101. Typical values are courage, freedom, creativity, faith, integrity, and connection. (Yours may vary). How are those looking in your life? Are you engaging in behaviors that put you on a path to your values, or are you engaging in behaviors that are putting you on a path that is making you feel like shit (numbing, isolating, perfectionism, people pleasing, negative self-talk)? More often than not, it’s the latter– not because you’re doing life wrong, but because that’s just what you’re used to and actually honoring our values is sometimes uncomfortable. Change that. And btw- when you find your values, most of the time, those are your passions and purpose. Ta-da!
By doing those two things your life will change dramatically. And the ripple effect you’ll have will be tremendous. Your relationships will change, your parenting, your friendships and yes, your job– or what you’re willing to put up with there. When you change your life in a positive way, you ARE doing things that are giving back to the world and you’re making the world a better place.
The bottom line: Sometimes you don’t need to completely change your career, you just need to completely change you and how you show up in this world.
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