Figuring out what work I would love to do has consumed me my entire adult life.
Whilst other people were out there living and getting on with things, I was obsessing over which career to choose. And life kind of passed me by.
My excuse is that I am ‘an ideas person’ (I have so many product, business and book ideas buzzing round in my head, I find it hard to give my attention to just one thing without having a major panic attack).
So whilst my friends were earning good money and carving a solid career for themselves (and a house and nice holidays and clothes) I was flitting from one idea to the next, desperately searching for my thing.
Earning f*** all in the process.
Gradually I noticed an alarming theme emerging – it didn’t seem to matter which idea I chose, it never really worked out.
Even when, in despair, I tried to conform. To be like other people. That didn’t work either. Because when there’s something creative inside of you that needs to come out, conforming isn’t really an option.
That’s why I called this blog You Can’t Hide The Spark – if you have a spark and you ignore it, it will eat you from the inside out. And that’s not pleasant.
I know, I’ve done it for 20 years.
Sometimes the spark is so deeply hidden (and so scared about its coming out party) it persuades you to chase after all sorts of red herrings.
Mine have included seriously considering being an acupuncturist, art therapist, meditation teacher, dance therapist, energy healer, hypnotherapist, NLP coach, yoga teacher…(this is just a snapshot – we’d be here forever if I listed all the things I’ve looked into).
I have been a trainee store manager, promotions manager, software trainer, personal trainer, copywriter…
My part-time dalliances include being a gardener, cleaner, proofreader, administrator…
I spent a memorable 6 months working on a product I invented but dropped it when I discovered there was patent pending on something similar…
I spent 3 months looking into developing a range of health and wellbeing greetings cards and it was all going swimmingly until my money and enthusiasm ran out…
It’s only now, looking back, that I realise why none of these things worked: my heart wasn’t in them. I was on the wrong path (if truth be told, I was on a mish mash of paths, and none of them were heading in the right direction).
That’s why I like the quote at the top of this post:
Be true to yourself. If you cannot put you heart into it, take yourself out of it.
Sometimes you have to go through shit and turmoil to figure out what your heart truly wants.
Sometimes you have to hit brick wall after brick wall before you get the message your heart’s been trying to tell you all along (only you were so intent on ‘being a success’, you weren’t really listening).
Sometimes you have to have a complete meltdown; for everything to fall apart, to realise what truly matters to you deep down.
This is how it has been for me. After my latest attempt at a career crashed and burned a few weeks ago, I sank to an all time low. I could hardly get out of bed. And when I did drag myself out, my day mainly consisted of sitting on the sofa, crying.
This went on for two weeks.
But when I finally came out this horrible fug of lethargy and depression, things were different.
I was finally ready to admit to something I had pushed aside for 20+ years.
There are no more ‘careers’ for me to research.
I don’t want to ‘achieve’ anything.
I JUST WANT TO BE ME. AND EXPRESS MYSELF.
That’s why I never really got this quote until now:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”
T. S. Eliot
4 thoughts on “Be true to yourself”
This post kind of hits home.
I’ve always known what I wanted to do. What I couldn’t work out was how to make a living at it (often times, the only way you can find the time to do what you love, is to have the money follow it).
I try to find the time to write now, waking up earlier (going to bed later), because I really love writing. I’ve no longer made it about the money/job/work and made it about the passion for writing in and of itself.
That’s brilliant! I love that you’ve made writing about writing itself. It’s so easy to make it about the money/’success’/career. And to completely forget why you started doing this in the first place – because you love writing and are passionate about bringing ideas to life. That’s what counts. Thanks for sharing your story!
I really enjoyed reading “Be true to yourself” – you have an excellent writing style. Those years jumping from job to job to career to job etc are not wasted they will be excellent source material for what you are doing now – writing….. plus those experiences probably make you a more interesting person.
Wow, thank you for saying that, it really means a lot to me. I think you’re right – these experiences definitely contribute to who I am and what I’m doing now, so they’re not wasted (though they were bloomin’ excruciating at the time :-))