Are you thinking about quitting your job to pursue something you’re really passionate about? Have you been told, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, as someone who followed that recommendation, let me be the first to tell you - that advice is garbage. Here’s why.
Our whole lives we’ve been told similar messages to the one above, which are beautiful and positive, but have you ever considered what happens after you quit your job, follow your dreams, and get your dream job? What do you imagine happening at that point? That you’ll be happy? Stress-free? Completely in love with life?!…no. The answer is no.
When I graduated from college, I decided to say “FU!” to the corporate world and become a Yoga Teacher. In my mind, I was choosing to do something I loved so that I’d never have to work a day in my life.
However, my first few years teaching yoga - I worked A LOT. I taught 5-6 classes a day, 6am - 9pm, 7 days a week. I got every gig I ever applied for. Within a year and a half, I was a Lululemon Ambassador. Within three years, I was a 500 Hour E-RYT Yoga Instructor, the highest designation you could get. I was successful, busy, and living passionately - but still felt stressed, lost and freaked out! Why? I felt this way after graduating from college which is why I chose to change directions! Why did I still feel so empty inside while doing everything I said I wanted to do?
I realize now why I felt this way. I pursued teaching yoga the only way I knew how: with a crazy over achiever attitude, an obsessive need to obtain mastery, and even though I didn’t mean to - lots of HARD WORK. I wanted relax and do something I love, but somehow I managed to turn the most relaxing career into hard work. Why is that? In yoga philosophy, this can be explained through Samskaras. Samskaras are impressions within us based on experiences we’ve had that our actions stem from. For example, when I was a kid, if I got straight A’s I was rewarded with love and attention. That created a Samskara that caused me to want to work hard and do well in school. I applied the exact same Samskara, skills, stresses and choices to my career as a yoga teacher as I did in high school and in college. I created the exact same life around me, but in a different form. I replaced my world of honors classes and excessive jobs and internships with a world of advanced yoga teacher trainings, classes and events. This was the only way I knew how to do things. This means that back in high school and college, it wasn’t “what” I was doing that was stressing me out, it was “how” I was doing it - like an annoying, overachieving, straight-A good girl. I wish someone taught me this lesson before I went off and carbon copied my habits and stresses onto my dream job.
If you are thinking about quitting your job to pursue something you are really passionate about - consider asking yourself these 3 questions before you do. Write down and reflect on your answers. Do this more than once. Take time to get to know how you operate versus blaming your job or society for your lack of fulfillment. Because the truth is, if you don’t change how you operate in this world, you’ll never be happy with what you do.
- What beliefs do you have about having a successful career? i.e. “Do something you love.” “You can do anything you put your mind to.”
- Where do these beliefs come from? What does each one remind you of? Write down anything that comes to mind.
- Are there any beliefs you want to keep? Are there any you want to change or add? Why?
Notice when you are thinking or acting from one of these beliefs throughout the day. Observe your thoughts and actions without judgement.
PS. Despite this moody picture and blog post, I am good and well! Don't worry. I love being a yoga teacher and entrepreneur and will always strive to learn more about how I operate in this world everyday.
Now I would love to hear from you! Is there a quote, belief or piece of advice that you are sick of hearing or doesn't work for you any more? Let me know in the comments!