My clients often want to focus on how to make their passion their source of income – and I totally get it! I am so freakin’ psyched that I get to do what I love AND get paid. However, I have been coaching a long time, and let me tell you: there are other options that also lead to a meaningful and fulfilling life.
How do you know when you should look into funding vs finding your purpose?
While there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, one big sign is that you start losing your mojo and passion for your purpose once you start getting paid for it. While this can often be shifted with some mindset alchemy, for some people, the juice simply goes dry when they start “having” to do their work.
What happens next is that people often start judging and berating themselves, saying “Why can’t you just get it together and do this?! You’re so lucky that people even want to pay for this!”
This happened to me when I was a climbing guide. There were several reasons why I moved on, but a main one was that after 10 years of guiding, I started to feel burned out and missed going into the mountains just to play. But I kept putting off leaving because I knew so many people would be stoked to be in my shoes!
Another sign is if you are so stressed about making money from your passion that you are not able to enjoy life. Another way of saying this is that you don’t like being an entrepreneur – not everyone does, and that is absolutely, 100% OK! It can definitely be stressful to not have a reliable paycheck, and for some people, that discomfort is just too much. That does not mean something is wrong with you.
A client of mine loved painting, but when she started to have to paint-on-demand with commissions, and when she started to stress about paying the bills with her art, she lost the joy in her painting and it became super stressful. She was irritable, couldn’t sleep, and realized she was less happy than when she had her previous job and painted in her off-time. She realized she was not into being an entrepreneur, and we designed a lifestyle that would help her have more time for her painting – more time for her passion and purpose. She still sold pieces, but it wasn’t a stressful pursuit.
You have the option to find a livelihood that allows you the time and money to pursue your passions and live your purpose. Some of my clients have found this with massage therapy, being a server at a fun restaurant, teaching, travel nursing…there are definitely options! When you can make the money you need that also gives you the time off to simply DO what you love without stressing what income it can make for you…it can feel so freeing.
That’s what nursing did for me. Working three 12 hour shifts that paid me more than I had ever made working 24-7 as a guide allowed me to travel the world and climb for pure fun. And I loved the ER! It wasn’t my purpose or passion, but I didn’t mind going to work. I had great ER stories to tell while belaying my friends on big walls;) Then I started working as a travel nurse/locums and my freedom opened up even more.
Let me be clear here: This does not mean you should take a job you hate, or one that feels empty of any joy. What I do mean is that it’s OK to take a job that’s good enough – that you find fun and where you enjoy your colleagues – if it allows you more time, money and freedom to truly enjoy your passions!
I know that may sound like heresy in the life coaching world. The phrase “good enough” is to life coaches what the Paleo movement was to vegans. But here’s the difference: I am not saying that you should live a life that is “good enough.” I am saying that it’s OK to have a form of livelihood that’s “good enough” so that you can live a truly epic life.
The type of work that allows you the means and time off to truly live an epic life is not easy to find – but it is out there. The bottom line is don’t fall into another pattern of “shoulding” on yourself thinking the only happy people out there are ones that are making money from their passions.
Another downside of that type thinking is that some people’s life purpose often has nothing to do with a form of income, and if they keep thinking it should, they may totally miss their life purpose all together…
You’ve heard me say “Freedom is a Feeling” over and over. It’s because I know it’s true! Be open to what it might look like for you. What matters is that you feel it.