Spoiler Alert: Following Your Passion Will Feel Like Work

Yesterday, after two straight weekends in Philly and New York where I ate terribly and drank a little too much, I got off work early for the first time in months. Thanks to a Monday Night Football game, a few clients canceled their sessions. I left work around 3:00 and went home to decompress from the weekend. It felt great to catch up on sleep, do some cleaning, and just chill.

With a new workload and a new writing gig, my free time is more infrequent. I expected that and made necessary adjustments to make it work. But I’m in the period of realizing that managing the blessing of more money and more responsibility is tougher than I could have imagined. In fact, it’s become more apparent that we’ve been lied to about what it actually means to follow your passion.

I enjoy what I do. I’ve always had a passion for health and fitness. I never intended to make it my career insofar as it being a main source of income. However, it’s turned (or I should say still turning) out that way. When I decided to commit to being a corporate wellness trainer, I had to try a different interpersonal approach and even re-discover a more clinical way to coach people on wellness. The changes became worth it to me when I’ve seen the impact in peoples’ lives.

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If you feel fulfilled and happy at your job, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. When you’re struggling to find your purpose, people will tell you that whatever your passion is – whatever fuels the fire inside – that’s what you should focus on. Regarding that though, an ancient philosopher put forth some of the worst advice of all time. And we’ve fallen for it with no qualms.

Here’s the thing: just because you’re doing what you love doesn’t mean that it won’t feel like work. Following your passion requires energy and focus that’s not easily measured nor noticed.

“No Days Off” ain’t just a hashtag

That’s probably my most-used IG caption because I’m always working. If I’m not working with tech clients, I’m working with athletes. If I’m not doing that, I’m writing an article. If I’m not doing that, I’m combing over film for players. Most nights I fall asleep mid-text or watching something on Netflix. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a pervasive attitude among those bold enough to turn their passion into a career. The reality is many don’t have the time or the peace to get real sleep.

You have to be a little crazy to do what everyone says you shouldn’t do

This guy in my mens’ ministry group left his Wall Street job a few years ago to go in the jewelry business. He’s been studying gemology and things of that nature to be able to make custom pieces. He hopes to be able to do sell custom pieces to professional athletes. Listening to him, the idea sounds crazy. Yet, he’s already taken the first step and that’s admirable. Most ideas just need the right person to execute the vision. Sometimes, that’s where networking comes into play. Half the battle of being a successful entrepreneur is being crazy enough to believe your big idea will work.

You only have yourself to blame with things go wrong

You can’t put potential in the bank. Verizon doesn’t accept exposure. I’m thankful that one of my jobs is salaried and the other pays decently. I realize that a lot of people have to forego basic necessities waiting for their passion to turn a profit. That angst creates a different type of strain than those who work a 9-5. The selling point of entrepreneurship is that you create your own destiny. Although, when things go bad (and then will multiple times), you’ll find yourself retreating into isolation because you’re too afraid to admit that you’re failing at the moment. Entrepreneurs tend to experience a higher likelihood of depression and burnout because we have no one to lighten the load of culpability.

There was a brief time when God revealed to me that I’d made the wrong step long ago. It took some time for to me process the revelation. It actually made me angry. When I really sat with God’s message though, I knew that if I kept working and following this path, eventually I’d make it back to where He wanted me to be. He promised me that.

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You can’t life-hack your way to purpose. There are no tricks or inside knowledge that’ll make the journey easy or move faster.

The fact of the matter is your passion will drain you. When you think you don’t have anything left, it’s going to demand more. You’re going to give it because the desire to succeed is that strong. In the end, what you love – the thing that gives you purpose and helps you shape your worth – is going to require you to work like hell to get it and keep it.

 

 

 

 

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