Imagine we were sitting down together over a cup of coffee right now.
You were complaining about your job and feeling frustrated that you know it’s not right for you, and that you’re just not happy there anymore. (If you ever were.)
And I asked you, “What is your soul work?”
What would you say?
Would you immediately jump to the standard answer of, “Oh, I don’t know…” without even thinking about it? Without even blinking?
What if then I told you to close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. And this time, I told you to throw out your idea of what you “should” be doing, what you’ve always done, what any of the tests said you should do, or what would pay the bills.
And instead, I asked you, “What is the thing you would do even if you didn’t get paid for it? What’s the dream so big that you can’t tell anyone? The one that you haven’t even whispered out loud? The one that’s so big that it makes you giggle?”
What was the first thing that popped in your mind?
You know that one? The one that you don’t even let yourself think about because it just seems too…big?
Well, I’m here to tell you something. That dream? That is exactly what the universe wants you to do. What your soul wants you to do.
It’s your soul work.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of your life is to give it away.” ~ Pablo Picasso
There is an epidemic of unhappiness right now.
Occupational unhappiness. Career discontent. People wasting away in their not-so-right livelihoods.
Maybe it’s always been around and I just haven’t noticed. But never have I had more people reaching out to me, sharing their despair over their soul-sucking work situations.
I have connections on LinkedIn messaging me, looking for guidance. People who are ready for more of a professional path in their life, having been home raising children for years. And others who are simply sick and frickin’ tired of doing work that doesn’t feed their soul.
These are both long-time friends, struggling with how to jump from their present career into a new one, and brand new friends, talking about running away. And when pressed for more details about why they want to run away—because I simply cannot let a comment like that go without finding out more—it’s mainly because of their work.
Can you relate?
I can. I’ve written before about having spent nine years in a career that bored me.
And I didn’t even have kids to worry about supporting at that time. I was just doing what was expected of me. Of all of us.
Get a “good” job—a nice, stable one in corporate America—that gives us a big enough paycheck to buy a house, or a bigger house, or an even bigger house.
Or when we have children, suddenly it becomes all about providing for them and the opportunities we’d like to offer them. More dance lessons, a more advanced baseball league, a private high school.
But some of us do it just because it’s expected, and we never even think to question it. Because it’s what everyone else does, right?
And then we reach that point.
That one when we look around and think, “What the hell am I doing?”
I recently had a moment like that. One that stopped me in my tracks, because I had to face my own hypocrisy. I had a great job with an amazing company, but I found myself watching the clock.
And I was only working part-time.
Not only that, but I was coaching others to find their soul work, and I wasn’t doing my own soul work. I felt like I was squishing myself into that corporate America box that, no matter how hard I tried, I did not fit into.
I was well-aware of my first-world problems. And at the same time, I felt an obligation to be brave and take the leap into something I really wanted to do, simply because I had the choice.
I was the only one making this choice—and I realized that I was making the choice to settle. So then I made a different choice.
Because life is way too short for this sh*t.
We’ve heard it all before. We spend eight hours a day at our jobs—if we’re lucky. And that doesn’t even include our commute to and from work, which I hazard to guess is at least 30 minutes. Each way. That is a whole lot of time out of our lives to spend doing something we don’t love. Almost one-third of our year. Again, if we’re lucky.
What. The. Hell. Are we doing?!
Here’s what I want you to know: We do not have to settle for this.
Did you hear that? Because I really and truly want you to hear me when I say this.
We do not have to settle for this.
There is more out there. Waiting for you. Waiting for all of us.
The world is waiting for us to share our gifts.
But how? How do we know what our gift is? And then how do we make that leap? (You know, without having to tell our kids they can’t dance again or participate in any extracurricular activities again, ever?!)
We have to give ourselves permission.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
And I don’t mean to oversimplify it, because I know it’s not easy. But in a way, you just have to give yourself permission. Also not easy when we have obligations and mortgages and bills.
So as your own personal career coach, I am giving you permission. More importantly, it is the permission we need to give to ourselves. Permission to:
For anything. In any part of our lives. Ever. Period. End of sentence.
If you don’t know what your gift is, or what will feed your soul, start experimenting. Let go of what other people think. If you’ve always wanted to work in a library, go work—or volunteer—in a library and see if it’s everything you thought it would be. If you’ve always wanted to own your own coffee shop, go work in a coffee shop and see if you love it.
We learn a lot about what we actually want in life by learning more about what we don’t want in life. So write a list of things you’ve always wanted to try and go try them! And if they don’t work out the way you hoped they would, cross them off your list and move on to the next thing. (It’s okay! You are allowed to cross it off and try the next thing! Because you are giving yourself permission!)
My heroes in life are the people who have tried all those things they’ve always wondered about…not the ones who were afraid to try anything outside the status quo.
Believe that there is something out there for you.
It might not be full-time. And it might not pay you what you want to earn. But it is out there. And if you can’t afford to do it in place of your current job, take baby steps. Do it on the side.
Build up your reputation and trust with an employer by freelancing for them or working for them part-time. Sometimes it takes baby steps, and that’s okay. Other times, it takes a giant leap of faith—and a pay cut—to show the universe that you are serious and that you are ready to bring this into your life. That you’re ready.
Whatever you can commit to, show the universe that you are ready and watch what happens. It will be worth it when you get to use your gifts.
Embrace that you are the only one with your particular set of gifts.
Yes, there are other writers, career coaches, personal trainers, and chefs out there. But there is only one you. No one—no one—has your unique combination of skills and experiences. No one else can bring to the table what you can bring to the table. Let go of the story that you might be telling yourself that you have nothing original to offer people, because that is a cop out, my friend.
Embrace your originality. Own it. And then offer it to the world. Because we are waiting for it. Why else would you be here on Earth, except to share your uniqueness with the world?
Take a leap of faith.
We can keep second-guessing ourselves. But sometimes, when it comes down to it, it simply takes a leap of faith. Scary, yes. But some of the best chances I ever took made me want to throw up the whole time.
But please, for the love of your soul:
Take that leap.
“You weren’t born just to pay bills and die.“ ~ Unknown
Author: Christy Williams
Editor: Travis May