A few weeks ago I wrote a post about what to do if you’re unable to dream about the kind of work you’d love. Yet, what if you’ve discovered work you think you’ll enjoy but can’t bring yourself to go after?
This is very common because we often talk ourselves out of doing work that aligns with our passions before we’ve even begun.
We’ve already started down a particular career path and it would take a lot to change our course and undo this trajectory.
In addition, life has a way of loading us with responsibilities we believe hold us back from pursuing work we’re passionate about.
Debt, supporting a family, specialized experience and skills, the list could go on and on.
The spectrum of advice for how to handle this situation ranges from ,”Throw caution to the wind, fly, and be free. You’ll be fine if you just believe” to “Doing work you’re passionate about will never pay the bills. Just suck it up for 40 years, retire, and then maybe get to do something you enjoy.”
I think the practical answer lies somewhere in between.
We don’t have to always choose the “either or” solution. We can choose to look for an “and” solution.
In other words, let’s be practical and do work you enjoy and are passionate about.
So how do you do that?
There are three areas you’ll need to commit to in order to find your “and” solution.
Responsibility – You likely have duties and obligations that need to be met. LIke a family, a job, church or volunteer commitments. Those are the things life is made of and you must commit to maintaining those life enriching responsibilities while you pursue your passions. Life is more than just your career. However, make a list of non-negotiables in your life that you will commit to as priorities. You’ll definitely need to streamline your commitments and cut some things out but your non-negotiable responsibilities come first.
Experimenting – Experiment with your dreams and passions. Try before you buy. You don’t know for sure you will love it as much as you think you do. If owning a bakery is your dream, go work for a bakery part-time while you still keep your day job. Get up at o’ dark hundred, deal with sometimes cranky customers, and make the best bread you’ve ever tasted. If you’re still in love with your dream after that you’ve done two things. You’ve tried it out with zero risk for you and your family and you’ve made some side income that can fund your dream. Whatever it is you feel compelled to do experiment first before you dive in head first.
Hustle – Nobody said this would be easy. If it were, everyone would do it. However, if you want to change your life and your career it’s going to require some hustle. No scratch that, a lot of hustle. It may require working a part-time job, getting up early, working on a weekends. Your situation will be unique to your dream. But in order to fulfill your non-negotiable responsibilities your hustle time will be on your own time.
Pursuing work you enjoy and work that matters to you comes at a cost. The cost is unique and different for everyone depending on what they’re pursuing. For some it may be sleep, others free time, and money in some instances. However, if you are willing to pay the cost you will experience one of the greatest gifts you’ve every received in doing work you love.