If no one’s told you yet: work doesn’t have to be painful and soul-sucking. You have permission to quit if your work drives you crazy, or simply doesn’t fulfill you. If these are the words you needed to hear, here it is: go for it.
What if, you don’t know what your passion is, you’re just positive that your present job is nowhere close to your dreams? Where do you even start?
In my own life, I’ve begun to ask myself one question:
How do I want to feel?
This mentality is the brainchild of Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map. I’m going to touch briefly on a few of her most inspiring points, in the hopes that it’ll get you feeling good and optimistic.
LaPorte tells us that when we set goals, we often aim for external checkpoints: make X amount of money this year, get a promotion, buy a new car by next year.
What’s more important, and what we usually skip over, she says, is how you want to feel when you hit those goals.
For example, I began writing because I love to spread my positive ideas to listening ears, and because it allows me to work from anywhere.
In other words, I want to feel influential, positive, and most of all, free.
So, let’s say I’m striving to make this much money by this point in time. A writing job arrives on my doorstep that will fulfill that goal for me. Yay! I’m ecstatic.
Except… I begin to look through the job description and find that I’m not thrilled about the task. They want me to write about something that doesn’t align with my values. I’m going to have to force myself to sit at the computer, downing cup after cup of coffee, simultaneously staring out the window and getting distracted by Facebook every five minutes.
Here’s why this is not completely ridiculous:
When you keep a job that makes you miserable just because you “make too much money to quit” or something along those lines, you don’t feel good. You’re stressed, irritable, pessimistic; basically, you close up.
Let’s say you’re working that job that you hate and you hit that goal of making a certain salary or completing a successful project. You’re done, yet you feel depleted. That job drained you. You thought the money would make the hustle worth it... but...maybe after you down a bottle of wine?
Move on to the next day, or the next week. You’re searching for a new project, still feeling closed up from the last one. What kind of outlook will you have amidst your search?
Will you feel good?
Do you think you’ll be open to thinking outside the box, find new possibilities, or take a creative leap to maybe finally find the thing that sets your heart on fire?
Or do you think you’ll accept whatever job comes your way that sounds the easiest, in hopes that you’ll get some reprieve this time from the soul-sucking toil?
To put it in Danielle LaPorte’s own words, “feeling good increases your flexibility, resiliency, effectiveness, and magnetism”. Her key point is that “feeling good is the primary intention”—which is why, of course, we aim to earn that salary or buy that new car or reach for vague, sparkling ideals such as success. It’s supposed to feel good in the end! Right?
So, we unconsciously place money as our top priority, with feeling good falling way down the list. Because “hard work pays off”.
Except for when those external outcomes, the “payoff”, doesn’t bring you the feeling you desire.
Guilt is normal when you begin this process. It’s a sign you’re beginning to move toward what you desire rather than chasing external motivations or whatever makes you look good.
This means you still work hard, but you don’t feel like complaining about it.
It means you feel awesome about what you do, rather than proving your success or value to other people or to yourself.
External-based goal setting often gets in the way of feeling good and finding your passion. So, start giving it some thought. Be totally self-centered. You are the most important person in your life, and you are responsible for your happiness.
Ask yourself, what do you desire? What do you want to feel when you work? What makes you feel good? What doesn’t?
If this interests you, you may want to grab a copy of The Desire Map; it’s part book, part workbook. It’ll aid you in your discovery of your true passion and your highest, most joyful self, and empower you to take charge of your own happiness.