Many of my clients come to me wanting to make a living from doing what they love. It was my dream too (these days it’s my reality) and it’s a beautiful dream. I wish more people would listen to their hearts when choosing a profession.
I wish more women would take the leap and start their own businesses, if their dream is not compatible with being employed.
And yet, that’s not always what I advice people to do.
We are often encouraged to follow our passion, our joy, our bliss. And it’s good advice. But bliss and joy is just the beginning. It tells you what you love to do and what’s important in your life, but it doesn’t necessarily say go make a career out of it.
I love horses, passionately, but have zero plans on trying to make money off that love. Because if I did, I’d have to be willing to take on everything that comes with it. The running of a business, the admin, the employees, the bookkeping and so on. I don’t want that, I just love horses. Admiring them, being with them, riding them. I want it to stay simple like that.
I’ve talked to so many new entrepreneurs who’ve despaired when they realised the business they just started has turned their love into an endless to-do list and themselves into reluctant administrators, marketers and sales people.
Every love is not meant to become a business, but the advice to follow your bliss (and the money will follow) can sure make it sound that way.
I love gardening too. And long distance ice skating. I’m not going to turn those loves into an entrepreneurial pursuit either. But my love for writing became a business. What’s the difference?
Writing is very much a love and a passion of mine. I’d do it whether it makes me money or not. But it’s more than passion. Writing is connected to a deep sense of purpose for me, that has to do with the right and the necessity to express ourselves as women.
I believe wholeheartedly in the need to make space for women’s voices and stories in our world. I know from my own experience that claiming one’s own expression can change lives, save lives, open eyes and hearts. I know that the creative work of women is not just about expression, but about connection, trail-blazing, change-making.
That knowing is the reason I chose to turn writing and creativity mentoring into a profession and a business, rather than all those other things I love. That deep sense of purpose is what carries me through the rough patches when work feels anything but joyful, and motivates me to handle the friction that inevitably comes with bringing a big dream into its practical business shape and form.
That is not a painfree process and joy isn’t always present. You’ve got to have something more to lean on when you’re tired and full of doubt. A deeper purpose. A sense that what you do matter in big or small ways. That’s what gives you the strength to carry on – and believe me, you’re going to need it.
Passion alone won’t cut it.
Purpose alone won’t cut it either. There is an infinite number of important causes in this world, but unless you feel drawn to it, unless you feel joy at the thougth of doing the work, you’ve got no business being there. It’s not your fight and you won’t do a good job.
Joy + purpose. That’s the secret recipe.