What’s Stopping You From Doing Work You Love?
Debunking Five Key Myths That Hold Us Back
How many people you know truly do the work they love? When I pause to think about it, I discover that the number is far greater than we expected. Of course, it’s overshadowed by the dozens of friends and family that complain about their jobs, folks that live for the weekends and explain, exasperated, that they have a family and can afford whatever they want, so that’s blessing enough.
This is where the myths about doing work you love have their seeds. It’s human nature to focus on the negative — the mountain that seems impossible to climb.
We point to a few famous souls deeply dedicated to their life’s purpose — a Bill Gates, Elon Musk, even a Mother Theresa or Lena Dunham. They are larger than life. (One’s a Catholic Saint!) It takes “that” to live your purpose.
We point in the other direction — your parents, perhaps your closest friends. Most are struggling to get up for work on a Monday.
It’s one or the other, right?
The truth, as always, is somewhere in between. We can lay claim to purposeful work, and it starts by vanquishing these 5 myths of why doing work you love is near impossible:
Myth 1: To do work that matters to me, I have to go at it alone.
Undoubtedly, the biographies of great women and men are written from the perspective of an individual bending the world to their will under seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This is never our reality. No transformation happens without incredible support. We fear walking the path towards more fulfilling work because we think we’re alone, often in three specific ways:
- Wanting to leave a good job for the unknown. (You are so not alone!)
- Getting guidance, even a process in making a change (Check out what Your Project X is all about.)
- Walking a new path without a familiar support network (Building this network is one of the key components of creating this change for yourself.)
Myth 2: If it’s not right from the start, it’s not meant to be.
Pardon my French, but this is horsesh@#! A meaningful occupation must be cultivated like anything else in life. We too often jump to the image of our heroine, imagine their current “flawlessness” as an always-has-been condition.
The truth is quite the opposite. Imperfection and difficulty is more evident to you when it’s your purposeful work. You study and know what greatness in the field you’re pursuing looks like. You compare yourself two days or even two years into the work and insist it should be that good. It won’t be. Small steps each day get us there.
Myth 3: I will fail and therefore will never live the life I imagine. (Or I will succeed and it won’t be the life I wanted).
Ironically, both are true. Why? Because pursuing purposeful work has a knack for moving the vision of your life while it’s in progress. Even if the first path you take isn’t what you had hoped, your perspective will have been changed. You’ll have developed a new set of skills and understanding, and gotten that much closer to where you’re supposed to be — which is rarely what you had imagined.
Myth 4: I have invested too much time in my current path.
How old are you? Thirty? Fifty? If this were true at any of these ages, much less eighty, we might as well all pack it up and go home. I’ve been working to help people transform my entire career and I have seen success at all ages. In fact, the only thing that people looking for change have in common is a vision for something different and the courage to say “enough.”
Myth 5: I will not be afforded the same standard of living.
Let’s break this one down. There are 3 possible scenarios here:
One, you make more than before - not really an issue.
Two, you make the same - not much of a problem.
Three, you make less. In this scenario you’re imagining a future that’s 100% identical, just with fewer dollars in your life. This is the catch. Your life, doing work you love, is nowhere near identical. You’re happy Monday to Friday. You’ve got new connections in a field you love. You don’t require the same focus on retail therapy.
Moving forward to pursue a career you’ll love is as much about debunking the stories that the media (including social media) and our imagined heroines reinforce for us, as it is about experimenting our way into the life we’ll love. The road to unleashing your full potential into the world is a long and windy one. Nearly all of us have got a purpose that has yet to be acknowledged. Break down the myths for yourself and you’ll be one step closer to getting there.