Isn’t it all so thrilling at first? Growing up, going to school, starting a career. It’s what you’ve been taught to look forward to. Then, you hit a brick wall. You’ve “made it”. And simultaneously you realize you want nothing to do with any of it. How could this be? Just the thought of it boggles your mind. It’s all too much to handle, so you enter the period of what Ram Dass refers to as “hanging out”.
Your efforts shift toward anything that gives you a break from the chaos. Partying, binge-watching, social media, (insert your favorite distraction here). Before you know it, even hanging out, becomes monotonous. It doesn’t provide lasting satisfaction and you start to yearn for something deeper. Instead of hanging out, you desire freedom. You want to follow your passion.
That was me.
I was fed up with the corporate world. I allowed my job to dictate how I felt about myself. I didn’t want someone else “in control” of my life. I wanted to feel more valuable. I was passionate about detailing cars and decided to start my own business. I did it on the side for a year, then took the chance and made it my full-time gig. I quit my corporate job. I was finally free.
About 6 months after leaving, I realized that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t able to consistently make the type of money I wanted and I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it. I figured that all the networking and connections I had made would provide me with some big break that would save the day. Long story short, I was wrong.
I made the jump as a way to avoid the corporate world and the feelings that it brought out of me. Those feelings didn’t disappear when I left. I saw the same feelings arise in other situations. While I was running my business, my customers dictated how I felt about myself. There was something more there, but at the time, I didn’t realize it. I continued to lose interest in the business and the only thing I knew for sure was that I needed to reevaluate my approach. Since I still needed an income to survive, I went back to my old job.
I’m an employee again. A different type of employee.
I’ve learned that following your passion isn’t about some golden ticket that solves all of your problems. It’s about taking action, trying things and letting the experience itself guide you. Many of us have something we’d like to pursue, but there’s a mental or emotional block in the way. Mine was fear and issues with my self-image. But I didn’t realize any of this until after taking the risk to follow what I believed at the time was my calling. That’s part of the process. Our passion develops and evolves, just like we do as human beings. If we cultivate the courage to try something, it opens us up and allows the universe to fine tune us.
You don’t have to go to the extreme and out of frustration, do what I did. But if you do, that’s ok too, you will gain something from the experience. We are all going to do, whatever it is we want to do and if we remember every little piece of it is something to work with, it’s 100% better than doing nothing. Pay close attention to how you’re interpreting your experiences.
As for me, I’m just writing and I feel good about it. Find something that’s meaningful to you and give it a shot. It’s impossible to miss.