If you had to choose between getting stuck in a profession that makes you unhappy and having fun doing what you love while dead broke, what would you choose?
Tricky stuff, huh?
Honesty to self comes in handy when you are faced with such an intimate question. Is there’s a chance you are in one or the other but are too afraid or ashamed to admit?
You may have heard the saying, ‘money can’t buy me everything’ and wondered, why not. The truth is, as long as you live, there’ll be bills to pay, so you need the money. We all do. But after paying all the bills and are about to celebrate, you realize that the satisfaction tab requires more than money to clear. All that effort for what?
Here’s something I believe you need to know right now. When you do something great for another person and their eyes shine with excitement, your heart begins to race and a strong wave of unexplained emotions wash about in your belly. Better still, when your financial burden is lifted off your back and there’s no guilt in how you spent your time, that pays for the satisfaction tab.
For the love of storytelling, let me break this down further with a short one about me.
In May 2017, I began freelance writing. My first assignment involved supplying a local online magazine owned by a leading newspaper with unique stories for a whole month. I later progressed to writing for clients sourced from Upwork. Though I never get to meet these clients face to face, they pay right on time! Thanks to the hiring processes setup in this outstanding freelance website.
Sometimes I get assignments outside writing; in motivational speaking and business mentorship, both of which earn me about 30% of my overall income.
Between February and August 2019, the online jobs coming my way were on the rise; I wrote at least 3 e-books, over 20 articles and edited a friend’s book. But came September, it all slowed down; no new jobs. At the same time, something kept nudging me to give up public speaking and mentoring to help me focus on becoming a better writer and win more clients. I needed them.
Editing my friend’s book took center stage and the only other job I had was to design a cover for an e-book I had written during the busy months for my client. My heart craved for nothing more than writing. I even planned to print new business cards stating ‘writer’ as my title.
Mid last week something strange happened. As I completed the book editing job, something deep inside cautioned me not to change my status; not even on Facebook. A feeling I once had, one of inadequacy, crept into my nerves.
What Am I Here For Really?
Am I only in this world to write? And even if there’s more, say motivational speaking, what exactly should I speak about? Why don’t I feel like carrying on with business mentorship? Who am I here to serve and how? What’s my reason for living?
All these questions flooded my mind; I couldn’t take any more of the torture.
At first, I thought editing the book had left me fatigued so I decided to take a long work from one side of the town to the other on Thursday. On Friday, I went to the beach with a plan to dig a hole in the sand, stick my behind in it and sleep. Well, I did the first three, but as soon as my behind sensed the comfort, my brain started bubbling with words and I couldn’t stop writing. Maybe the presence of my writing pad and pen had caused this; I can’t explain the connection.
So, what has this got to do with being unhappy with your profession or broke while pursuing your passion?
I’m glad you asked.
You see, after a long heart to heart with a 14-year old girl on Friday night, things began to fall into place. First, I noticed that I love speaking and inspiring people. I would go round the world speaking to friends and strangers alike and never get bored. I also realized that I’m good at storytelling and writing. Worth noting, though I’m a good writer, it’s not my first love; speaking and inspiring people are. Feelings untangled, if you may.
What got even clearer is the fact that though I love speaking, it doesn’t earn me half as much as writing. While 30% of my income comes from speaking, coaching and graphic design, a whopping 70% comes from the writing projects!
Does that make me part a writer, part a speaker?
Let me explain. During the conversation, something stood out; the realization that all these things I’d been clinging onto are tools to use, not the call to serve. Handling them the way I did would never bring me the satisfaction of living my life’s purpose. That’s why I felt so miserable; I had been selling myself short all along!
Right then, the vital question struck home. So what am I really here for? What’s my reason for living?
Why am I alive today, my true assignment on earth? What’s my reason for living? With these tools I have in my hands, whose heart should I touch and in what way so as to generate that twinkle in their eye and still earn an honest living?
At that moment I realized that my life had become dull because the people I served didn’t get my full value. I gave them what they needed for the short time we interacted but nothing more to take home hence no twinkle in their eyes. I may have used the tools to the best of my ability, but the purpose was incomplete. I used them at the bare minimum and that wasn’t fulfilling my purpose.
Find Your Reason For Living, or Else
Think about it. In every university, lecturers deliver lectures in the best way they know how every semester and belief they have done their bit. On the receiving end, the students learn, weigh their work, sit for their exams but only name one or two lecturers as the memorable members of staff. Why?
Because it is possible to use a tool in your hand, perform the job you were hired to do and never touch a heart.
So even if you receive the pay at the end of the month, your impact may not last long in the minds and hearts of those whom you serve. Your purpose in their lives stands incomplete. Call it profession, passion or just service; no matter what it is, until you do it in the way you were created to do it, you won’t make the other person’s life better and therefore won’t feel complete.
Your profession may rake in millions of dollars for you and take you places you once dreamed of all by itself, but it will never give you the deep-sitting sense of accomplishment and gratitude. That twinkle in your client’s eye will never show up. And if you decide to pursue your passion instead, you may get a thank you, a smile and even a hug from the client, but again, none of these can put food on your table.
Get The Whole Package Right Now
So how do you get the full package; the twinkle in your client’s eye, sense of accomplishment, gratitude and money in and beyond your wallet?
Find the thing you were cut out for and do it to satisfaction.Magdalene K-O
It is that which you are good at, fused with what you love doing and is helpful to other people and when you do it, it feels to them like a bottomless cup of hot chocolate during winter. It is something the specific people you are meant to serve can’t do without and their wallets empty themselves in gratitude and reverence. But if you pick only one ingredient in the definition, you will receive part of the benefit.
Say you love singing, your audience love listening to you and say you rock, but they aren’t willing to pay for it. There are two questionable things; you could either be entertaining the wrong crowd or delivering content that doesn’t excite them enough to trigger their reward glands.
This calls for realigning yourself with exactly what you are here for. And that thing is deep inside you; you know it but have been taking it for granted. So soon you will need to get a ‘real’ job to put food on your table.
Listen up my friend, there’s more to life than food, drink and being happy because you can afford such. There’s no need being that celebrated photographer, singer, teacher or driver, who is wakes up to a job you don’t like just because you have bills to pay. If you are only doing it because it makes you happy and pays the bills, then you are only half way living.
The other half comes from serving your fellow mankind to the point that you cause their eyes to twinkle with pure joy.
It may sound selfish, but that’s the truth. You know you are serving in your life purpose when both you and the person you serve climax to celebration in unison!
Whatever your reason for living is, why settle for part when you can have the whole?