Happiness is figuring out what it is that you love to do – and then figuring out a way to do that more often.
For you, maybe it’s spending time with your kids ..
… or gardening …
… or learning …
Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a whole book on essentially figuring out what you are passionate about and making that into a business.
I am not going to go that far …. not all passions can really be leveraged into a paying gig.
Reading Jane Austen, for example.
But I do believe that there is at least 1 thing that you were put on this earth to do.
Many of us have Renaissance souls and can’t limit ourselves to just one thing….
…. but there IS at least 1 thing – activity, subject, pasttime, vocation, etc – that really is a passion and really is our GREAT WORK.
Every day I feel like I’m learning more and more and getting closer and closer to what makes me happy …
My ‘day job’ is what gets in the way of most of it.
I would be perfectly happy spending my days reading, writing, doing photography and taking care of my house and husband. (How house-wifely, I know. But I genuinely enjoy cooking…. and while I don’t particularly like cleaning I know it makes Andrew happy when I do) …
Pretty much all of my time (outside of the ‘day job’) is spent doing these things …
… and I am not at all ashamed to admit that (outside of the ‘day job’) I am so so happy….
In my new online workshop – Onward and Upward – we’ll be spending quite a bit of time figuring out what our GREAT WORK is, and figuring out how to make it a larger part of our lives.
Pre-registration will be opening in a few weeks, so make sure you’re on the mailing list for details.
I have big dreams and big plans….. and even a pretty solid idea of the little steps to make those big ones come true.
But, clearly …. I haven’t *quite* reached that success point.
There’s something that is holding my back….. At this point, my suspicions are my day job is what is keeping me from doing more. Between driving+work+lunch hour it takes up at least 50 hours per week of my time. But it’s not completely terrible, so I’m having a hard time walking away from it.
This is something I am constantly working on.
What is holding you back? …. Maybe it is :
You have big plans but not the hours in the day to implement them? Your day job takes up too much time, or you are fully committed to being a stay-at-home mom and those kids simply won’t feed themselves.
Either way, most major endeavors require time to accomplish them.
Are there pasttimes and activities that you can let go of while you focus on your GREAT WORK?
Maybe cancel your cable, or sleep 1 less hour each night?
SOME time SOMEWHERE in your schedule needs to be carved out if you want to move forward.
You have the time, you know what you need to do …. but what if you do it wrong? What if you fail? What if people judge you or what if you end up wasting your time on something that you don’t really love?
All valid questions.
And all need to be IGNORED if you are going to move forward.
These may all be valid concerns …. but worrying about it isn’t going to help anyone and it will only hold you back.
You know you want to do big things – but do you know what those are yet? Maybe you love both sewing AND photography? Maybe you feel yourself called to be a writer but truly love your corporate-America Human Resources job?
It might be a good idea to take the time to experiment. Take some time off of one interest and really focus on the other.
Maybe ask friends and family what they think you are most skilled and talented at.
Greatness requires extreme focus.
This is a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over and over again. There’s a reason I have an Associates, Bachelors and Masters degrees in 2 different subjects – neither of which I am really practicing at the moment.
You know what you want to do, you know HOW to go about doing it, and you even have the time to take the steps. But maybe you don’t believe you’re really good enough. Maybe you don’t think that YOU are the best person for the job.
I believe in you.
Call your #1 cheerleader and talk through it with her. Maybe it’s your mom. Maybe it’s your boyfriend. The people in your life who LOVE you absolutely support you and can walk you through that self-doubt.
What is holding you back from accomplishing great things?
What can you do about it?
Make sure you’re on the mailing list for first details about Onward and Upward and future registrations. Onward and Upward is my online workshop on moving past obstacles, getting out of your rut and taking things to the next level.
We’re going to look at our passion, our great work, our steps to make it happen.
I’ve been dreaming about this class for almost a year…. I can’t wait to share it with you.
By the time Tony Hsieh got involved with Zappos, he wasn’t really interested in making profit. He had enough money to live on, and he was more interested in finding something to challenge him. He basically didn’t want to be bored.
While I realize that many (all) of us will never reach the point that we don’t have to worry about money, hopefully we do still have enough free time during the week to actually be able to *choose* the extra projects we want to work on.
You may have to continue to work at your 9-5 job to help support your family, but you also (hopefully) have a few hours on weeknights to do your own thing.
Time to pursue your own passion
I knew a girl whose entire goal in life was to be a wife and mother.
Awesome and admirable, right?
Except, once she got married she and her husband decided it wasn’t the right time to have kids… so she pretty much just sat around all day and played on the computer. She could have gotten a job at a daycare. She could have taken some home-ec classes at the local college. She could have volunteered to do childcare at her home church.
But she didn’t. She didn’t work toward her passion and didn’t put any effort into pursuing her goals.
And it broke my heart.
Tony Hseih – the author of Delivering Happiness – had a special situation, yes.
But he realized something I hope we can all try to remember.
After he made his pile of money from selling his first company, he says, “I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realized that none of them involved money.”
For some people it is creating something new. For some people it is experiences with loved ones. For some people the happiest moments are completing long-sought goals.
Rarely, if ever, does your happiest moment come when you are adding money to your savings account. Or when you’re withdrawing a stack of twenties.
From Delivering Happiness, “I realized that building stuff and being creative and inventive made me happy. Connecting with a friend and talking through the entire night until the sun rose made me happy. Trick-or-treating in middle school with a group of my closest friends made me happy.”
Don’t get me wrong. It would be AMAZING if we could all make a living doing something that we are each really passionate about.
But I’m not sure that’s totally realistic for some of us.
But we all still deserve to discover what we’re passionate about. To recognize what makes us happy and setting aside the time to DO THAT.
Some things that make me happy: reading in the morning over coffee with my husband; learning new things; taking photos.
Just like Tony actually walked away from MORE money because he was bored, I know ignoring my chores and emails for a bit every morning not always the most accepted thing to do.
I could get a lot more “work” done if I didn’t take time every morning to enjoy coffee with Andrew. But doing laundry and staying up-to-date on my email doesn’t make me happy. It will still get done, but there’s no reason it has to interrupt my morning-coffee-with-Andrew.
So, I encourage you challenge what is expected of you or what you’re “supposed” to do if it doesn’t make you happy. If you find your passion lies elsewhere, really examine if the actions you’re taking are really needed or not.
It is okay to walk away from that volunteer position you do because you think you should. It is okay if you don’t have the time to be involved in your children’s school because you’re too busy making their home life AMAZING. It’s totally ok to pursue your passion and what makes you happy. It is okay to not be totally caught up on scrapbooking because it is really the photo-taking that drives you.
I give you permission to question expectations and make it work your own way.
One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.