Treat your passion like a job
Now, I can already hear you grumbling because my brain is too, but stick with me here.
You may think that treating a passion like a job is a bad thing, but that's probably because you don't like your job. Or maybe you love your job, but it's tough and hard work. Either way, you most likely dedicate at least 8 hours, probably more, to your job. You put yourself together, leave your baggage at the door and give it your best. Every. Damn. Day.
For the entirety of your working day or night, you do your best to (at the very least) stay employed, do well enough to get paid, take money home. I don't know anyone who works because they want to, but they must exist, and they are most likely doing something they love, and are passionate about, for a living.
What are you passionate about? Deep down. What would make you not only want to dedicate eight, ten or sixteen hours of your day to it, but you would willingly do all day every day for a living, if only you could. Now, some of you will most likely think of something salatious, my brain did for a second because I like to laugh at rude jokes, I'm not sure that I'll ever grow out of that at this point. But my real passion is art and writing.
Writing this blog, for a long time, felt like a chore. Which is so silly, because I started this blog to be able to share my passion for writing in a more honest way with an audience, without having to wait for a publication deal or submitting to an editorial that would change every word to fit their audience. This is my one outlet to write about me, what I like, how I feel and what I'm thinking. It's strange then really how that became a chore.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that the things I truly feel passionate about are the things I never make time for. I love to draw and paint, but rarely pick up a pencil or a paintbrush. I love to write, have a novel that's STILL in progress, and yet I never use any of my time to sit and finish the damn thing. My passions have become a chore. And do you want to know why? Because the fear of success or failure when it comes to something you're truly passionate about is scarier in the short term than living a dull life doing okay in a job you don't hate, but that just doesn't run through your veins screaming "more again tomorrow please!".
Fear. We are old friends now. My ever present little fiend. Fear comes with me every day, takes my hand and drops to the floor like a toddler that really does not want to put it's coat on, despite the freezing temperatures outside. Trust me, when it comes to fear I am expert, it has kept me home, lost me friends, relationships, jobs and innumerable opportunities. Giving in to fear is easy, but it's also the toughest choice you'll ever make.
Fear wants you to stay in your comfort zone, because that's where it thinks you're safe. Choosing to listen to fear is something most of us do, I see people give in to it every day. They fear that change will not make them happy, so they choose to stay where they are. They fear failure, they fear success, ridicule, judgement, I could go on. However, I for one have regretted every time I gave in to fear. So it's very difficult to live a regret free life when you're suddenly carrying fear in one hand, kicking and screaming, and "if only" baggage in the other.
Giving in to fear is the toughest choice I ever made, because I knew it wouldn't make me happy, but I didn't feel strong enough to say no to it. Knowing this changed my perspective on how I felt about the things I'm passionate about.
Okay, so I'm not going to write or paint because:
- I may fail
- People might hate what I have to say
- I may be successful and somehow manage to mess that up
- Things might change, and change is scary
People. I am never, ever, unless superpowers become a real thing, going to be able to do anything about people. They exist, they are everywhere and every single one of them has an opinion and an agenda. Sooner or later you just have to shrug, understand that their life choices should not alter yours and just carry on flying your amazing flag. Do whatever you want, I can guarantee for every person that hates it, you'll likely find another three that love it. Learning to feel confident enough in what you put into the world is something I'm working on, and I kinda feel like I get better at it every day. Stick with the people that feed your soul, cut out those who just drag you down.
Point three... I mean... who cares? So you sell a few paintings and then blow all the money on shoes? Did the shoes bring you joy? Yes? Good, it wasn't a waste then. No? Well, at least you know not to do that again. And then move on. Time doesn't stop while we sit wishing things had worked out differently. Own your mistakes, learn from them and then try to live better today and tomorrow.
Change. That's the whole focus of this year for me. 12 months of change. Change doesn't have to be scary, but maybe it should be. Here's my secret to dealing with change: I pretend I'm on a roller coaster. Now, you may find that ridiculous, but give me a chance to explain. The adrenaline rush you feel when you're scared, it feels just like the rush of adrenaline you get when you're on a roller coaster. Your hair is in the wind, your body is safe, strapped in tight to the ride, and you might even let out a scream of pure joy as the ride takes you up and down and around, even upside down. Adrenaline is fuelling both of those situations, learn how to use it to your advantage!
So, ignoring the fear and using logic alone, think about treating your passion like a job. Set time aside for it, invest energy in it, think of ways to monetise that passion! If you have truly found something you love, why not? Why not you? That's the thing that has been motivating me this past month. Why not me? There are so many artists and writers out there doing what they love every day, the only difference between me and them? They probably laughed away their fears long ago and just got on with life, which is exactly what I'm going to do now.
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