Welcome friends to Episode #82 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. If you’ve been trying to streamline your life and focus on doing what’s most important to you, you’ll likely have thought about making a shift in your career. Yet, where we often get stuck is in this transition. How do we find what we love? How do we get paid for it? Will the grass actually be greener on the other side? Today, we’ll dive into each of these things and how you can start doing what you love today.
The Arrival Fallacy
We always think that something has to be better than what we’re doing today, so we go find a new job, career or start a new business. This isn’t completely true. Yet, it’s also not completely false. What happens is that we think the situation has changed, when in reality the change you are experiencing is your internal change in reaction to the situation.
When was the last time you felt more patient, kind, loving and calm after something really “good” happened in your life? We start to feel all of life is good when something good happens! This is what I am talking about.
The honeymoon phase that comes with a new line of work is often real. We can get paid for doing something we enjoy? Amazing. We got a client? Hooray. We’re learning a new skill or area of expertise? We did it!
We think to ourselves, “I’m so glad I made this change.”
What we don’t realize is that it ends. Somehow the first amount of money you make isn’t good enough anymore. You need more clients. You keep wanting to do more, bigger and different things. You want more of something outside of you. It’s never enough.
If it’s never enough, it’s not about the job. You felt good, because the change meant something about the way you perceive yourself. It meant that you thought of yourself as more congruent, honest, creative, powerful or impactful. You made it mean something good about yourself. You saw the career shift as a good thing.
What needs to continue in order to beat the arrival fallacy is that you continue to feel good all the time. No matter what job or line of work you are in. No matter how many more or fewer dollars are attached to your title. No matter how much status you have or don’t have. Instead of constantly shifting your career so that you can feel good about yourself, can you just feel good about yourself and let your career evolve and change for natural reasons? That maybe the problem isn’t what you have or don’t have but that we feel about what we have or don’t have?
When I realized I stepped into my calling but problems still appeared, I realized 2 things.
The first thing is that it’s all a choice. The second thing is that we can go deeper to find progress.
This is a Choice
When I started seeing that problems and a sense of striving continued to exist no matter where I went, I realized that I had to continually stop to reflect on how my thoughts and feelings were a choice. If they were a choice, why not love my life? I decided to love my life as if this was just handed to me right now. As if it was the first time I saw my family, work, friends and body. The other day I was in a day-long silent meditation and retreat. I remember leaving my house for a meditative walk and having that one thought pop into my head, “what if this life was enough?” That one thought permeated everything. The problems, the random worries, the bigger concerns and it quieted my mind like nothing has before.
To an achiever, however, a sense of enoughness can be a scary thought.
Achievers like to have that hunger for more to keep them going. It’s fuel to know that we’re being challenged and that it’s not enough. We love to prove to ourselves that we can do more and be more and have more. I don’t think, however, there’s a disconnect here between evolving ourselves and being enough. We are more than the sum of our parts and that means that all the good and bad things that we feel are happening don’t actually define “enoughness” or even worth.
Our choice in doing what we love and to work has nothing to do with how valuable we are to the world. It is a choice to spend our time pursuing something that we call our passion or something that provides money so that we can live in this world that requires money. It’s a choice to spend time doing things we might find interesting or worthwhile, even if only temporarily. What if it was that simple? What if it was all more than just ok. When we start with those thoughts and beliefs, we can pursue almost any line of work.
Go Deeper to find Progress
The second thing I realized was that the shifts that we seek to feel a sense of change or space or progress in our lives can be found by going deeper. I can go deeper to find progress and so can you. What does that look like?
Examine the work you are in now and instead of thinking that I’ve done it all or I can’t possibly find any more richness here, I want you to think about it from an outside perspective. If this was your life’s work and you approached it from that perspective, what would you end up doing next?
The average person changes their career 5-7 times, but there are also those who don’t. Should we be miserable to change our careers? No. We can change our career because a new opportunity presents itself as we love our current careers. We can change our career because we see a need we’d like to fill or a problem we want to solve. We can change our career because we’ve moved in our life whether physically or in our personal situations and they require something different from our work.
When you’re in the work you’re in now, can you actually approach it as if you were a scientist and seeing all the different possibilities of what you could do to find more depth and richness? Can you make small, subtle changes that ladder up to something bigger and more beautiful? I want you all to feel a sense of beauty and wonder in simple, everyday things. Sometimes, when I write – I feel like I’m on a piano. Like the player that finishes and lifts their fingers from the keys as if they just ended a magnificent song. Played the last note and felt that sense of triumph or completeness.
Can you do that with an email? Can you do that with a phone call? Can you do that with each interaction you have with a human today? To see it with a sense of wonder or awe. This is how we can go even deeper into our work today. This is how we can make a 1% improvement of listening more deeply, refining a process, answering questions and creating a solution that compounds over time and leaves us feeling like we’ve stepped into a whole new line of work. Why? Because you did.
When you take the time to dive into your craft even more, you create a new version of yourself and that craft in the process. Take some time today to see what it would look like to do your work with a renewed sense of purpose, care or intelligence. Can you solve a problem with 3 steps instead of 10? How you can go even deeper to find progress and emerge even smarter and more effective? These are the questions that people ask who approach their work as a craft, even if you’re mainly doing the job because of the money.
What do I even love?
Doing what we love requires that we know what we love. We know we want to work but sometimes, we don’t know what to do. Maybe you love everything and are multi passionate. Maybe you can’t imagine ever really loving work. You think, “It’s not called fun for a reason”. Between these two camps is something that I like to think of as the middle way. The in-between of seeing your work as this totally flowy thing and this totally process-driven and structured thing. The in-between of work being all about love and it being a bore.
When you don’t know what you love to do, I often ask people to think about where they feel a sense of aliveness or energy. Even though that sense of aliveness or energy isn’t always present in our lives, we have moments where we feel it. Maybe it was yesterday or this morning, even. Maybe it was 10 years ago.
Can you find this sense of aliveness within yourself first and then ask yourself, how can I apply it to the work I do? Or – can I find a place where my strengths will be supported and are held valuable? What would I love to learn more about and become better at? Sometimes, we think we first have to be good at something before we can do it – but I like to think that we can reverse that question to ask ourselves, “what would we love to be good at?”
How to get paid?
The age-old question of “can I get paid doing what I love?” is ever present in our minds anytime we think of making a transition. The short answer to that question is “yes”. Will you get paid as much as you are getting paid now? Will you get paid more than you are getting paid now? All of that depends.
Instead of looking at it solely from a “yes or no” point of view, I would consider thinking about what does it mean for you to get paid doing what you love to do? Sometimes payment comes in the form of flexibility and having the ability to choose how and when you work. Sometimes payment comes in the form of an opportunity to learn something that you deem highly valuable. Sometimes payment comes in the form of being in an environment surrounded by people you admire.
Being paid is defined by you. How much money do you want to make? How much money do you need to make based on your lifestyle? Do you have other sources of income? Can you have other sources of income? Gone are the days when we only do one job forever and ever. We get to be more creative in the way that we live our lives. We can have multiple jobs and let one job support the other. We can have one job and have a financial situation that looks different than the person next to you.
The difficult, but important part of this process is to define what it means to you to get paid for doing what you love and decide if that’s worthwhile to you. Not from a place of ego, but from a place of true need and reality. Sometimes, we can be more flexible in how much we get paid, and sometimes we need to get paid more to be able to continue to live the lifestyle that we desire to live. Both of these are facts. Both of these can change and your situation is your own. Leave other people’s paths to the wayside when you consider your own. Only you know what doing what you love is worth to you and what feels like an equal energetic exchange in the form of money, time, opportunities or resources.
In summary, it’s a worthwhile process to explore aligning what you do with what you love. This life is a journey and if you can learn to live it with a lot more love, you’ll see how your work, job, career, calling and vocation starts to feel a lot more meaningful, aligned and enough.
If this topic resonates with you and you want to see transformational results in your life, you’ll love coaching. Getting coached consistently is the spark that will light the fire of inspiration to make the change you’re looking to make. It is the first step in creating clarity, making a massive shift and moving obstacles out of your way so you can move forward. You can go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.