A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a close friend.
Unfortunately, she’d lost her job a few months ago, and we were talking about what’s to come next for her. The search for another full-time job in marketing wasn’t turning up fruitful, for more reason than one.
The thing holding her back the most? Was that she didn’t want to give up her passion: creative writing.
We dug into possibility after possibility until we landed on something that brought the spark back to her eye: What if she found a job she could work three days a week, and continue her own writing the other two days a week, letting the journey unfold from there?
We had to let go of the all-or-nothing approach to see the possibilities.
Call it a bridge job; call it robbing Peter to pay Paul...but until we let go of the idea of having to settle for one, 40-60 hour/week job as an employee executing others’ dreams, we couldn’t get to the more ideal solution: taking on the “necessary” to fuel the passion.
With a part-time job, she could reliably contribute to her family’s financial goals, continue gaining experience, and make new connections. And it would leave her ample time to dedicate to her own creative work that rejuvenates and fulfills her.
Is this the solution for everyone who wants to pursue a passion? Likely not. Yet, after having this discussion with my friend, I realized it’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few decades of my life.
I dreamt of being a painter. Yet, not seeing that as a viable career to begin with, I dedicated myself to a corporate design job. That design career evolved into my own business -- one step closer to pursuing my passion. Yet, painting remained an easily pushed-aside hobby.
It took decades for me to realize that my graphic design work has been my prolonged version of a “bridge job” -- it’s how I “rob Peter to pay Paul.” It’s been the steady foundation as I’ve finally dove into my passion and made painting a part of my daily life.
When your passion feels out of reach, it’s paramount that you practice persistence in pursuing both the “essentials” and your dreams.
For most of us, pursuing our passions with reckless abandon simply isn’t possible. Yes -- it’s incredibly important that we keep dreaming; keep reaching; keep pursuing that which we feel passionate about. But for most of us, it can’t be an all-or-nothing approach: We can’t give up a steady income to paint en plein air around the world. We can’t sacrifice health insurance for our families to open up the brick-and-mortar florist shop with a massive bank loan. We can’t simply sell off all our possessions to pursue a life of mindfulness in an ashram.
At least right now. But with the persistence to do what you need to make the money, create the space, and garner the knowledge to execute your dreams, you can find the balance and eventually tip it in favor of your passions.
Courage is the catalyst. Curiosity is necessary. And persistence is essential.
P.S. If your passion is something you’ve tabled, you’re not alone. Today, I challenge to ask yourself this, though: Is “later” a bad word?