Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/11/11—Doing What You Love

Today's Draw: The Nine of Wands from the Silver Era Tarot. Are you frustrated because there's a snag in your plans? Do you feel like it's a sign to jump ship? Or are you determined to see things through?

The Nine of Wands is a card of the determined, but road weary, warrior. Along the path of our plans, we've had victories and setbacks and here we are near the end, determined to move on, but wary of how many more setbacks we can manage.

I think one of the hardest things about pursing a new course is staying motivated when things don't go our way…when we get that rejection letter or a promising prospect drops out of sight. Personally I believe that if you feel you're swimming upstream all the time, that it's time to get out. That the universe doesn't make things that hard for us.

But there are two codicils to that. One is that there's a HUGE gray area between smooth sailing and swimming upstream. And it's sometimes very difficult to determine where you are in all of that. And the second codicil is that your attitude plays a role. Some people see every bump in the road as a gaping pothole, while others barely notice. So it's difficult to be objective when you're talking about something that means a lot to you.

But here's a solution that kicks any bump or pothole in the arse—only do what you love and only do it for the love of it. That doesn't mean you won't be disappointed, but it does mean you'll always have a payoff. Sure, it's hard when you're hoping to turn this love into a career and you don't end up making money off it. But make money off something else. When you take something you love and make your satisfaction dependent on its ability to perform financially, then you've essentially transformed it into a chore. You've choked the joy out of it.

Many people love to write, for example. I'm one of them, of course. And for the past 25 years I've carved a nice life out of my writing. I had the gift of knowing what I wanted to do long before college and being naïve enough to pursue it as if I could make money out of it. For the first couple of years of my career in advertising, I didn't even write. I worked as a support person in a creative department. I received many rejections during that time and when I finally did get a job as a writer, it was a sucky job…haha.

I was 7 years into my career before I got a writing job in an advertising agency. I was underpaid every step of the way. And at the ten-year mark of my career, I was feeling the love sucked out of my love by the spinnings of corporate wheels, so I made a radical decision to become a freelancer. Not for money. But because I loved this career so much and wasn't getting what I wanted from it. I expected, actually, to take a pay cut. But that wasn't the case.  It took me 10 years of hard work to get to a "good place" in my career. And I can say, looking back, it didn't feel like 10 years and even though I suffered many rejections and inequities during that time, I was never daunted. Most people who, after a decade in a career, were still just scraping to get by would give up. It never occurred to me. And all the stumbling blocks led me to my true calling as a consultant.

The point is that if it were ever about money, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'd be working, possibly as an account executive or a marketing director and writing as a hobby. Or maybe I'd be bitter about the sucky writer on my team and take it out on them by editing their work heavily…haha. But the point is, if I had judged my career based on what it was paying off in dollars, I never would have made it through that first 10 years. And there were times in that 10 years that I was strictly limited by my budget, having no discretionary income to speak of at all. But it didn't matter because I loved what I did.

Things born of love, nurtured in love and cared for with love give love in return. And there's meaning to the saying "love conquers all" in this situation, too. I won't say that everyone can make a living do what they love because I don't know that to be true. But I do know that you can always do what you love. And you can always make a living elsewhere. But if you do what you love for any reason other than love, you will lose that love.  

No comments:

Post a Comment