As soon as I read Turning Pro by Stephen Pressfield I knew I had to write this post.
This post is for anyone who feels they are working in a job that is not their true calling. Do you know deep inside that there is something else you would love to do, but you feel too afraid to take the leap to follow your heart?
I feel extremely passionate about this topic because that person used to be me. I know how it feels to have a burning desire to create something in the world, but to be working in a day job that is not taking you there.
I read Turning Pro two days before conniechapman.com was due to launch. I knew it was time to shift my perception around my business and the level I was playing at.
I read 3/4 of the book in one sitting and could not put it down, but it was the section on ‘shadow careers’ that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I realised why it had taken me so long to get to the point where I could follow my heart and launch my own business.
This paragraph explained it all.
“Sometimes when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow career instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. It’s shape is similar, it’s contours feel tantalisingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us”
Shadow Careers Keep Us Safe
The message resonated so deeply with me, as I realised this was why I had spent so many years jumping from job to job. None of these roles were what I truly wanted, but on some level they satisfied me enough to justify not having to put myself out there and do what I really wanted to do.
These jobs ‘interested’ me and ticked many of my ‘boxes’ but none of them satisfied the deep longing I had within to pursue the true calling of my heart. That calling was always there and always had been, but I had been running from it for years.
Shadow career’s give us certainty and safety, but they are not an authentic expression of who we are. Here is how Mastin Kipp from The Daily Love explains it;
“Shadow careers… (are) things we do that are not our true calling. We get a lot of certainty out of our shadow careers, but not true fulfilment. Imagine the artist who chose the corporate route instead. Or the writer who chose to be an attorney. Or the healer who chose to become an insurance agent. Or the entrepreneur who took the 9 to 5 because it was a more certain path. The shadow career is a false expression of who we really are”
You can read more of Mastin’s post about Shadow Career’s here.
Do What You Love
There is no greater feeling that doing work you love.
The most beautiful thing about doing work you love is that it no longer feels like work. It is simply something you choose to spend your time doing because you absolutely love it. It is no longer just a segment of your day. But it is the time you choose to spend each day pouring yourself in to something you deeply enjoy.
When you are doing what you love – or what you are here to do – all you need to do is just show up as the most truest and authentic version of you and beautiful work will effortlessly flow from that place.
This is how I live my life now, but it was not always the case. I struggled for years to find a ‘job’ that not only fulfilled me, but allowed me to be the person I wanted to be. I spent many years in jobs that I didn’t enjoy and to some extent that I even dreaded going to each day.
Many people come up against resistance when they think about doing work they love . They worry about finances, security or other people’s opinions. And yes I did too.
It took courage to leave my day job and set up my business. It was damn scary. But it came from having a deep commitment to doing what I love over anything else.
I really believe that if you are not doing work you love, and you are making excuses as to why you cannot go out and follow your heart, it is time to get really honest with yourself.
I want to encourage each and every one of you reading this post to check in with yourself and assess whether or not the career you are in, is truly what you want to do.
If your answer is No, then pull out a blank piece of paper, tune in to your heart and start brainstorming. Allow all of your dreams and ideas to pour out on the page without judgement. And then ask yourself, what is one thing I can do to start turning this dream in to a reality?
Do you feel that you are working in a job that is not what you truly want to do? Share with me in the comments below what you really want to do, and let’s start working to make it happen!