Some of us struggle to earn a living from our passions; I certainly have. My two greatest loves in life are writing and yoga. Regardless of compensation, I have always pursued these deep interests in some way. From authoring my own personal blog to working on novels late into the night to becoming a certified yoga instructor and teaching classes even if just a few times per week, I have continued to cultivate my passions.
Of course, living in the civilization in which I do pressures me to earn a certain level of income in order to sustain myself; not easily done by writing and teaching yoga. This perceived reality led me to work in corporate America for the majority of my twenties. In these youthful years, I worked in various marketing departments doing everything from social media and email marketing to strategy and campaign planning. I was employed by great companies and was lucky enough to report into wonderful bosses who eventually became friends. I worked alongside great people and was able to contribute to good projects which I am quite proud to have been a part of. Truth be told, I had a surprising amount of fun and learned a lot in these jobs during these times. The deeper truth, however, is that no matter how well I executed a project or how much fun I had with my peers, I never really felt fulfilled.
While my jobs did engage my passion for writing to a small degree, I never had work that made my soul sing; not in the way it does when I type out a new and exciting chapter or lead a challenging and connected yoga class. I was good at what I did, but it never truly held my interest or gave me great joy. Every day at my desk, even if I was working hard, I was dreaming up the next story I was going to write or the next yoga sequence I was going to teach.
I justified the forty to fifty-five hour work weeks by telling myself that I would only be working fulltime in marketing until the day where writing and yoga could support me and the lifestyle I had built. I continued onward with a smile, going to my desk job by day, writing and teaching by night. Inevitably, I began to grow tired, impatient, and frustrated. Book deals are hard to land (still trying) and yoga pays pennies compared to the continually rising salary I was making in my corporate position. I was stuck on the tracks.
Eventually, I hit a wall. Exhausted from the never ending nature of the professional marketing world and ever craving work that brought me fulfillment, I fell into a depression. I knew that I had to do something more than posting on social media and sending emails for fifty hours a week on behalf of other people to make them more money that they did not need. I knew that I could not keep going in the way I was or it was going to continue to negatively affect my mental, emotional, and physical health.
I realized that I could no longer wait for the day where I seamlessly transitioned from my fulltime marketing manager position into a fulltime writing role with yoga on the side. If that day was not going to come soon, then I needed to find an intermediary working existence that allowed me to do less of what I hated and more of what I loved. I needed to do less marketing, teach more yoga, and carve out more time for myself to dedicate to my writing. I began to toy with the idea of leaving my job and supplementing my income with part-time contract marketing gigs and more yoga classes while giving myself more freedom to write. I put this out into the universe, I prayed and I meditated on it, and after finally surrendering my will and trusting a greater force, I manifested it.
Suddenly, the stars aligned. I was given an amicable outing from my marketing position, giving me the boost I needed to break away from my corporate life. Through various connections I signed several clients as an independent marketing contractor, providing them with digital marketing services; allowing me to still earn good money from the world of marketing, but for less hours, remote work, and more flexibility overall. Next, the yoga studios for which I teach offered me an abundance of permanent classes on the schedule, allowing me to go from teaching two to three classes per week to now teaching eight to ten classes per week. Additionally, they asked me to serve as a coach for the next round of teacher training that my studio is hosting. All of this has allowed me to earn more income from yoga, but more importantly, spend more working hours of the week providing a service that I love and find deeply rewarding. Lastly, this new combination of less marketing and more yoga has allowed me much more time to write and foster my creativity.
While I did take a small pay cut to move into this new phase of life, and I have had to edit certain parts of my lifestyle, the minor difference I see in my monthly income is well worth the sensation of finally feeling fulfilled. Rather than spending the majority of the week dedicating my time and energy to work I do not enjoy or feel connected to, now I spend it doing work that I love. I teach more yoga than ever which is the only compensated job I have ever had where I feel I am making a real and true positive impact on people and the community – few things I have found are as rewarding. And of course, I now have time to sit and write; to work with my muse and give it more of an opportunity to create through me pieces that I hope will one day inform, entertain, and touch. Though I have not reached my end goal yet, I am finally feeling fulfilled on a day to day basis; an entirely new and wonderful experience.
What I have learned from this experience that I now wish to share is that the quest for finding joy and fulfillment in our work is not only necessary, but also attainable. As humans, we have a deep need to feel that the energy we contribute to work means something and has noticeable impact; this is an inherent need whereas the accumulating of money is an engrained cultural need. Very often we fall into the trap of only satisfying this cultural need and sometimes reach a point where we feel that there are no other options, but that is not the case. We may find ourselves in situations in which we feel dissatisfied and sedentary, but we can change those situations by opening up our hearts and minds to the possibilities. This will look different for everyone, and it may not all transpire in the exact ways we originally imagined or expected, and it will certainly bring its own unique sets of challenges, but if we go out seeking with an open mind, we can find.
I think that the first step is to release expectations and attachments to what we think a fulfilled career will look like, try not to give it parameters or benchmarks, simply express that you do want to feel fulfilled and are open to that manifesting in different forms. The next step is to then take action and start to do the work that you find fulfillment in, even if you just do a little. Teach the yoga, volunteer at the animal shelter, book the music gig, lead the art class, write the story; simply start to do more of the work that you love. In time, start to see how you can do even more of this passionate work. Can you do a hybrid of this work and your current job? Can you do a mix of this work and a new part-time job to help supplement the income? Or can you get a fulltime position with this work? Can you accept the lifestyle changes that may be necessary with a transition? Be open the options, explore them, let yourself be guided, and choose what calls. I truly believe that when we feel fulfilled in our work, it elevates the cadence of our energy, it enlivens us, it colors other parts of our life in rose. So, search for the path that allows your soul to sing, your spirit to soar, and your smile to widen, do that, and enjoy the beautiful sensation of fulfillment.Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.