I was pawing through my suitcase, grumpily looking for a Clif bar, when I heard my phone bleat. I’d been traveling for 15 hours, my computer wouldn’t connect to the hotel’s wifi, and I was pretty sure that was a text from my Lyft driver, asking where I was.
I flicked open my email in a huff and saw this message from one of my students:
“Sarah, I’m only on module one of your course and I’m floored. This is so helpful and so many people need this. It’s clear you’ve found your calling.”
Isn’t that lovely? I’m not telling you this because I want you to sign up for Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is (though it’d certainly be cool if you did). I’m telling you because that student email was the first time anyone has ever told me that I “found my calling.”
And though I was very flattered by my student’s kind words, it reminded me of one of my more, uh, controversial opinions.
I don’t think you have to make your calling your full-time job.
Should you spend eight hours a day doing something you hate? No. But is it fair to expect your job to check every box on your Personal Fulfillment List? Also no. Don't put all your happiness eggs in the 'career' basket. It's not fair to you OR your career. Click To Tweet
It is so, SO great if you can find a way to make your passion part of your job! I know people who thank heavens every day that they get paid to pursue their passion. I also know people who thank heavens that they have enough energy and money to pursue their passions outside of office hours.
If you’ve spent anytime on the internet or if you’ve ever read a self-help book, you’ve probably been lead to believe that you’re not living your Best Life unless your career and passions are one and the same. We’ve been taught if we do work we love, we’ll never work a day in our life. We should follow our bliss, etc etc etc.
So when we’re doing work we merely ‘like’ or work that ‘just’ pays the bills and provides security, it’s easy to feel like we’re doing something ‘wrong.’ Surely a well-lived life would include pursuing our calling eight hours a day, five days a week, right?
If that’s the tape that’s running through your head and you’re looking for permission to push pause, this is it. In case you need these reminders:
You don’t have to monetize your passion or do it professionally
You don’t have to build an ecourse around your passion. You don’t have to get so good you can teach other people. You don’t have to quit your day job and do it full-time. You don’t have to become a sought after expert. You don’t have to make it into a ‘side hustle’ with a website and a newsletter and social media accounts.
You can follow your calling just for fun
You can just play in a rec league. You can take beautiful photos, print them out, hang them in your living room … and that’s it. You can take voice lessons and never perform. You can write a novel and never show it to anyone. You can create culinary masterpieces for your 8 year old niece who 100% doesn’t appreciate them.
You can follow your passions badly
Just because we’re passionate about something doesn’t actually mean we’re, uh, good at it. But that shouldn’t stop us from doing it.
You can follow your passion without ever putting it on social media
Hello, this reminder is for me. Self, did you know you can follow a passion without telling the entire internet about it? Whaaaat?
Did you know you can make a poached egg without putting it on Instagram? It’s similarly possible to throw elaborate parties or redecorate the living room or perfect a new cocktail without putting it on Facebook. Following your calling quietly + privately is as legitimate as following it loudly + publicly. Click To Tweet
You deserve to find and follow your calling and your passions. You’re not required to make them your career.