Today I'm going to debunk a lie about your career and once I do, you are going to be freer than you were 1 minute and 25 seconds ago. Are you ready?
First, here's a story that illustrates the point.*
One of my clients is well paid, has the flexibility to do yoga in the middle of the day, and is supported when he needs to care for his elderly mother. He can leave his job at the office giving him the space to pour himself passionately into community volunteer projects and music performance. At this point, you may be scratching your head. So, what's the problem?
He's not passionate about his job.
He has worried that he's not making a big enough contribution at work or that his job is too stress-free or maybe he needs to find something with more responsibility. Is the lie becoming clearer to you?
Here's another hint at what I'm talking about: A cab driver in London once said to me, "You Americans live to work. We Brits work to live."
Do you feel driven by a belief that you have to find your "passion" or feel "passionate" about your job and if you don't, somehow you're failing at this whole career thing? (A caveat: There are a few people who do find their passion and follow it. That's great, too. It's just rare.)
This is the lie: You're supposed to find your passion in your career and if you aren't feeling it, something is wrong with you.
Many jobs provide a means to support the rest of your life, and that is a great thing! Many people find their passions outside of work, and those contributions matter a great deal. Work isn't the only game in town.
If you are paid enough to live in the neighborhood of your choosing, great!
If you have the flexibility to be home for dinner with your family every night or leave early on the occasional Friday, awesome!
If your company respects your vacation time, care-giving responsibilities, and work-life balance, that is priceless.
Of course, there are soul sucking jobs or times when you need to leave to find more challenge or a positive work environment. The message here isn't, "settle for a sucky job."
The point is that your job can be the foundation for all the other things you're passionate about - baseball with your kids, being there for your friends, refinishing your own floors, road trips, volunteering at the homeless shelter, playing Ultimate, writing poetry, building bird-houses, teaching tap-dancing, the list goes on and on. Your job doesn't have to be your passion. It can just be a job.
My client likes his colleagues. The work he does is fulfilling enough. And he is making significant contributions in his church and neighborhood. Today he told me that he is "just going to enjoy it as long as it lasts."
You can take a page from my client and the Brits and instead of living to work, you can work to live.
*My client generously gave permission to share his story to serve you.