17 Jan How to Really Do What You Love for a Living
This post is about why doing what you love for money might get you stuck — and how to do it the right way. If you like this, make sure to get in real-time touch with me over on my Facebook community, Soul-Level Shifts, where I do weekly free trainings on topics just like this one. You can also follow my life in Bali on Instagram @heyelainaray and DM me anytime to say hi! Btw every year I launch a business mastermind for entrepreneurs looking to grow to 6-figures and beyond, so stay in touch to find out when the next round launches. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, you can also apply for a 6-month mentorship. I would love to work with you now or in the future! Drop me a line if this blog helps you. ~ Elaina
There’s something inside you that is sacred. A raw creative genius that needs to be let out and expressed.
If you don’t set it free, you die a little bit every day.
And you die a little more if you abuse it by forcing it into a money-making box or deciding you need it to earn your living for you or else you’re broken or it’s broken.
I’ve been guilty of abusing this part of me in the past.
I read books like EXAMPLES that encouraged me to make a living doing what I love and, as a management consultant wearing suits and heels and making spreadsheet for someone else, I was clearly not living out my heart’s calling.
But then I became so obsessed with the idea of merging what I loved and making it into a career that it actually warped and suppressed my passion and raw genius.
I finally realized what was happening when I started suffering from jaw pain that was so intense that I’d wake up in the middle of the night with my face hot and my ear swollen shut.
I saw ENT and TMJ specialists but every time I asked my intuition what was going on instead of the alphabet soup doctors, it said: “Stop writing marketing copy! Stop writing things that just sell people into your next program. Write what needs to be said no matter what! Write what needs to come out of you.”
That’s when I realized that although I had turned what I loved into a full-time business as an entrepreneur living in Bali, I had taken my raw genius for the written word and put a chain around it and made it dance for people in the street for tips. Or something as equally perverted and oppressive.
The pain went away when I started creating space to write from the heart, freeing it from the need to perform for my business model.
This awakening also caused me to look at my clients and other people in my life who were stuck, unable to figure out a way to earn a living doing what they loved and what kept them from breaking through and designing a more fulfilling lifestyle and career arrangement.
These friends and clients were working 9 to 5 jobs and creating various “side hustles” to help them eventually leave the paycheck model, or they were quitting the mainstream corporate life altogether to travel the world, hoping the time away would help them get clarity on a new direction.
What made the difference between people who could turn a side gig into their own business and successfully live outside the corporate model and the people who burned out of that hustle?
What made the difference between people who could travel the world and come home directed and inspired and the ones who flew home equally as lost as before?
What I saw was that the people who were most stuck were the ones who were obsessed with getting paid to do what they love and turning their passion into a full-time career.
Yes, you heard me right. I’ve been working with people to design a life of their dreams for 5+ years and I’m telling you that trying to merge your passion and your paycheck is over-glamorized and not always the right way to go.
Because trying to fit your passion into a money-making box can lead to a career dead-end and the death of your raw genius if you’re not careful.
I have a gift for the written word. I’ve known that since I was a little girl. As an adult who left the corporate scene because it never left me any time or energy for my true gift, I swung in the opposite direction and made a living as a freelance writer, a blogger, and a life coach who’s business model hinged on zingy sales copy.
I found that none of those ways of earning a living were satisfying because my gift is a wild animal and if I try to cage her up and put a price tag on it, she violently protests. And if I do anything else that doesn’t support her with time, energy, and lots of space to roam free, she feels suffocated and perishes.
So what’s the solution here?
Of course you can make a living doing the things you love. If you’re feeling angry and protesting inside with me, good. You can point to thousands of examples of people who successfully do what they love and get paid heaps of money to do it.
The point is, that isn’t necessarily the optimal state or best end goal for you. That simply might not work with your genius and today’s economic model.
And what scares me to death is that some of you might give up if your bits and society’s bits don’t quite fit together the way other people’s do. Or that you might manipulate what is the purest, most beautiful and authentic part of you into a business model, and if it doesn’t fit and you can’t whip it into spitting our results, you’ve lost on both accounts: you’re not making a viable living and you’ve lost touch with how to authentically express your genius.
Sometimes the world needs what you have and it needs to come out in a way that’s untouched by any other motive. The world also needs people who have intelligently designed a life that allows for more enjoyable, joyful work that supports their ability to let that raw passion run free as often and as widely as possible.
Sometimes the solution isn’t blending them all together into mush, but creating a life that allows for both to exist in integrity.
Here’s an exercise you can do that will help bring some clarity for your own situation. Create a Venn diagram. On the far left side, write down all the skills you have that can be exchanged for money. On the far right side, write down all the wild animal talent you have that falls into the “I need to let this out or I die a little bit” category.
Now, where most people go wrong is to try to make a career out of the overlapping part of the Venn diagram.
What is usually most viable is to look at the far right of the diagram and decide: that is going to come out of me no matter what. Regardless of what I do now, I will create something that leaves that raw creativity untouched and gives me time and energy to devote to it completely independent of my work life.
Now, you can look at the rest of the diagram and go: How is the middle overlapping bit economically viable? Where can I bring more of my joy and genius to my practical skills? And where can I check everything against the ultimate bottomline — does this fund and free the full expression of my core purpose and genius?
If you take one thing away from this article, please let it be your liberation from the ideology that you have to take what you’re passionate about and make it 100% a full-time career or else it’s not good enough or “in alignment.”
The best alignment check you can give yourself is whether or not you’re committed to unleashing and uncaging your wild animal talent no matter what and designing a lifestyle and career that lets you do that for the greater good of yourself and everyone your life is intended to touch.
Did this article help? DM me on Instagram and say hi and tell me what resonated! @heyelainaray