When it comes to careers, I have a dream.
I dream of finding a path that is so perfect for me I wake up every morning thrilled with the idea of going to work. Where I surround myself and collaborate with creative, intellectual, inspiring and like-minded people. Where I do something everyday that helps others reach their potential and move closer to their dreams. Where I find fulfillment and bliss from what I do.
In that dream, there is no ‘Sunday dread’ feeling. You know that feeling I’m talking about, the dread that starts to creep in early Sunday evening and grows to the point of almost making you sick.
There is no ‘case of the Monday’s’.
A dreamer with a side of realism
I think dreams are important. They drive us. Without them we are merely plodding along. I may be a dreamer, but I am also a realist.
I don’t kid myself in thinking there won’t be days where I wake up and simply do NOT want to go to work. I am well aware that WHEN this dream becomes a reality, there will be tasks I dread doing, conversations I won’t want to have and days where I feel utterly defeated. There will be projects that, simply put, I’d rather not do. But that is life, right? I believe a touch of realism is what sets a dream apart from a simple fantasy.
I do, with my whole heart, believe there is something out there that will light my soul on fire, more often than it doesn’t. And I am on the pursuit of finding it, what ever IT might be. I might not find that calling tomorrow, in a year from now or in 10 years, but if I can spend just a fraction of my life doing something that makes my body vibrate with joy, it will be worth it in the end, right?
How did I get here?
I remember the day so clearly, it was my final year in high school and I was sitting in the cafeteria with a career counselor from the local university. I filled out a standardized questionnaire and waited for them to tell me the top two or three areas of study I should pursue, that would set the course for the rest of my life.
Does this process not seem bizarre to anyone else?
When you break it down, we put the fate of our future working life in the hands of our 17-year-old selves. Now that is scary! I don’t even know if I would trust my former twenty-something year old self with that decision.
In the end, I chose to pursuit business for no other reason than the fact that my brothers did.
What is your passion? What is your ‘dream job’?
As someone who, for the better part of my 10+ professional working years, has felt quite lost; I HATE these questions. They stress me out, mainly because I can’t definitely answer them. Is there something wrong with me? Am I living a life without passion? Do I have no soul? Am I being dramatic (haha)?
My jovial response is something along the lines of ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’, which is half true. All jokes aside, I have put a lot of hours into thinking about and exploring these questions, wondering why I didn’t have the answers or what is ‘wrong’ with me.
I’m starting to learn there are a lot of things that light me up and make me vibrate with excitement. Where I get stuck is wanting to put a definitive name on this ‘passion’. I’m hesitant in wanting to hang my hat on that one defining thing. I want to live and experience many passions. When I’m forced into a corner and asked what that one thing is – it freaks me out.
I recently read a book that opened me up to looking at these questions a little differently. David Usher, the singer from the Canadian band Moist, talks about unlocking creativity and creating change in his recent book entitled Let the Elephants Run. Usher refers to how quick we are to label what we do. For example I AM A MARKETER, but where I get stuck and panic is in answering I WANT TO BE A ______. He believes that in attempting to label our creative endeavours, we are actually stifling their possibility.
As someone who has always struggled with naming that passion or dream job; thinking outside of labels makes a lot more sense. It has renewed my desire to find that path.
Work with Soul
Recently, I’ve moved away from pressuring myself to answer these questions and am refocusing on the idea of finding Work with Soul. That means engaging in projects and activities where I can be authentic, that align with my core values.
The idea of waking up with the desire to inspire, create, elevate, share and help is what I’m setting my sights on.
Work with soul just feels right.
The Societal Battle and the Urge to Fit In
For most of my professional working life, I have waged an internal battle between doing what society says is I am ‘supposed to’ and being curious about what else is out there.
Most of us, at least in the western world, subscribe to a very similar way of life. A life set out by society as the ‘right’ way of doing things. Success is going to school, getting a job in our trained vocation and working in a 9-5 regime for the better part of our lives. It is climbing a corporate ladder or achieving a certain title, then retiring. This is the definition of fitting in.
As I get older and more entrenched in the cubicle life, I’ve started questioning this way of thinking.
Who says this is what success looks like?
What if I want something different?
Does that make me less of a person?
Will I not achieve success or notoriety?
I know many people who are comforted by the security and practicality of building a pension or staying with the same company for 20+ years, by following the road of least resistance. But I also know many more who are unhappy with this ideal but do it because that is what we are ‘supposed’ to do; it’s what is expected.
I’ve had many heated discussions with people over this exact topic. I’ve been told I should settle down into a job for the sake of it being a good company to work for, I should find happiness outside of work and just put my time in during the day or I should be grateful for the job that I have.
For me, this isn’t the picture of success. It isn’t my vision of living a whole and fulfilling life. It is settling and a very traditional way of looking at work.
Are You Moving Or Are You Acting?
There has been a fundamental shift in my mindset when it comes to following my dreams and living the life I want to live. I am by no means ready to quit my day job in pursuit of that dream but I am acting. Every day I am taking small steps in that direction.
I am beginning to open my mind to different possibilities, I am ready to push the envelope in making my dreams a reality, I am broadening my knowledge in an effort to understand what lights me up and I am tuning into what I want more than anything. I am starting to tap into my creative side that put me in the field of marketing in the first place and using it to explore my deepest desires.
I am creating action instead of simple movement. It might be something as simple as reading a blog post on creative collaborations or researching nonprofits or having coffee with someone who does something that sounds interesting. I am creating momentum – and I’m that much further ahead than I was yesterday.
Is what your doing today lighting you up?
What is one thing you can do today that will move you in that direction?