I am not a great storyteller; I would love to be one. My true love was always music and I dreamed of a day when I could make a career out of it. I held on to this dream for many years. I wondered why it never happened. I was so good (so I believed).
The truth came as time passed. Hey, I never practiced. I didn't like the idea of working nights and weekends. I have a family and need to pay the bills. All these things finally made me realize that yes, I love music and I can enjoy doing my thing; but I can also do something that pays the bills that I'm good at, and enjoy most of the time.
Do you remember any of these quotes?
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” ―Joseph Campbell
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” ―Steve Jobs
We have all heard it at some point in our lives that if we do not change the world in some dramatic way it’s because we are afraid to follow our passion. We lay this guilt trip on ourselves that we “could have been” or “if I only had followed my dreams”.
When I first started career counseling I was so happy that I could help people with funding to go back to school and change their lives. I am still happy when that can happen and it does, but there were times that I pushed clients to “follow their bliss” and realized that what they really needed was a job. Maybe the job is not the perfect fit. We can always look for better. I saw that bliss really comes from the everyday lives we lead.
Let’s go back to Steve Jobs and his “do what you love” quote. If Steve Jobs would have followed his passion he would have become a great Zen Master…maybe (at least that was his idea of bliss). As it was, he stumbled around for a while and kind of fell into technology, management and marketing.
The point is that most gifted people do not necessarily follow their passion. They figured out what they were good at and expanded on it. The road one would “love” to travel and the road to success might be two different things. I still get to do what I love, but maybe that’s not exactly what I do to bring in a paycheck. Now I do love my job, but do I get up every morning and shout from the mountain “I love my job?” Nope. The phrase, “do what you love and the money will follow?” well…sometimes, actually for the great majority of us, the money does not follow. I found that when I was following my passions they didn’t pay very much. That’s just me. At this point, I can’t imagine my love for music being a job. I don’t want to get up every day and stress that I need to keep playing and writing music in order to get a paycheck. Music is just plain fun and hey, and I’m good at career counseling!
The beauty of this is that I no longer pine for that fantasy of becoming a folk hero. Pining for stuff like that takes up valuable time and energy. I’ll save my passions for my spare time. By the way...I have 4 guitars and 12 harmonicas.