How many of you have ever heard some derivation of the saying:
Do what you love and the money will follow
I have found this to be a VERY tricky thing for several reasons. I want to share these with you so that you can hopefully follow your heart with a more informed brain.
1) You Have to Know What You Love
This may seem like a minor point, after all don’t we all know what we love doing? The sad thing is, a lot of us could be mistaken. I spent MONTHS way back in 2006 figuring this out. And I had the answer right there in front of me, but I discarded it. When I made a list of my top occupations, writer was number one. But I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make a living off of writing (at least not fantasy fiction) within any short timeframe. It takes most dedicated writers YEARS to get to a point where they can support themselves (let alone a family) with their writing. So I told myself that I would do that as a hobbie and instead I would pursue the second thing on my list: coaching.
So even someone as self-aware as myself, who had the answer right in front of them, didn’t follow it. Instead I followed something which I “really liked”, but it wasn’t my “love” occupation.
2) The Money Will Follow…Eventually
This is what the saying should say. Yes, if you do what you love, your passion will show through and you will make money doing it … eventually. My wife and I are both writers. One of the reasons I discounted writing as an option for me back in 2006 was because my wife was already doing it and not making any money (at that time). She has now been writing for more than ten years (that’s ten years as a full time writer) and written more than 10 novels along with some novellas, and she is only now making money doing it. She started really making money back in 2012, but it has fluctuated since then, still not quite a “steady” livable income. I don’t say this to deride her ability, she is a great author, and works tirelessly at her craft (she just wrote over 30,000 words over the holidays on a new project). She is a machine and exceptionally creative.
My point is this: sometimes when you follow your heart and do the things you love, it will take (what some might consider) a long time before you’re making good money doing it. My wife knows that her craft is one where it takes time to build up a solid income (mostly because you need to have a lot of books out there each bringing a little in), and she works day in and day out to achieve her goal of being financially self-sufficient. She will get there too, thought it may take a couple more years. So be prepared to work a “day job” in the meantime while you follow your heart.
3) You Need A Passion to SHARE what you love
Perhaps the saying should read: “Share with passion what you love and the money will follow…eventually”. You can love doing something, but if you never share it with anyone, if you keep it to yourself, chances are you aren’t going to make much money doing it. Just like I did with my writing. Since 2006 I have written a lot, but I didn’t necessarily share it (yes I wrote some plays and shared them, but I’m not counting that). I loved WRITING, not editing and publishing and all that stuff. I just wanted to tell a story. Even now it takes a lot of effort for me to go through the publishing process. And what would drastically diminish that effort is having more passion for the sharing of my gift, that thing I love doing.
I am an introvert by nature and though I have a healthy social life, I was never one to do much “networking” or talk about business stuff. Doing that takes a lot of passion. I learned something really early on as a coach – the most successful coaches were not necessarily those who ‘coached’ the best, they were those who ‘marketed’ the best. I find this to be true in a lot of businesses. If you want to do what you love AND you want money doing it – you need to learn how to also have great passion for SHARING what you love.
Me I never had much passion for talking about or sharing coaching (because it was not my “love”, my calling), but get me talking about writing and you’ll see the passion spill out all over the place.
So yes, please, by all means, follow your heart (it will never lead you astray if you listen close) and do those things you love doing, but do it informed.
The money may not come today or tomorrow or even this year, but if you are sure of what you love and you are sharing it passionately, then yes it will come…eventually.
I say this not to discourage, but to enlighten. Too many of us try to do what we love but lose heart when the money or success isn’t immediate. Well all I’m saying is: be persistent, keep trying, work a day job if you need to. Do whatever it takes.
You’ll get there in time.
In my last post, I had mentioned some “Big Changes” to come. Want to know what they are?
So in the last three years I’ve had a lot of rather significant realizations, accomplishments, pitfalls, and trials.
To sum up:
Coaching is something I love doing, and (according to my clients) something I do well, but it just isn’t working for me financially at the moment. I am going to continue coaching, but it isn’t going to be my focus any more.
Instead I am focusing on two things:
- Inspirational Speaking and…
Why the change?
Again to sum up:
Life is short and I need to follow my heart.
Where is my heart leading me? (you ask) To tell stories.
Writing has always been my first love and now I am going to be doing more of it. As well, I want to be out in front of more people, tell my story and inspiring others to find their purpose or find true happiness!
Part of the research break I started three years ago was to distil my message down to a core nugget of meaning. Yes, my purpose is to make the world a happier place, but what was my message? What was it I wanted to say to the world and focus my coaching and speaking on. Was it just happiness? Was is purpose? Was there more to it?
As it turns out, there is a LOT more to it. What resonated the most with me was the following message: to entertain and inspire. this may change or be altered slightly in the future, but that’s what’s inspiring me at the moment.
This is HOW I want to make the world a happier place. Sure I can do this through coaching, but that isn’t my preferred medium. I want to tell stories that entertain and inspire, and that… is best done through writing or speaking.
I wrote a book on happiness … and let it sit there doing nothing because my editor said it wouldn’t sell. In part I think she was right because I was trying to write the kind of book I was reading, a research based “here is what happiness is and how it helps” sort of thing, but I hadn’t really done any scientific, double-blind, studies like those authors had. I just had my own experience, that of my clients, and the research I had done reading and extrapolating from others. So it’s on hold for the moment until I find the right message for it. Perhaps that message is “to entertain and inspire” or it may be something else.
What I KNOW about writing is – it won’t happen without an inspiration a “breath” of meaning behind every word you put down. Right now that is not what I am inspired to write.
Instead I am writing fiction, believe it or not. I write fantasy tales (knights and dragons and such) as well as (brace yourselves) a little romance.
This is where my heart is now and what I and following.
As for the speaking side. I have the speeches and workshops listed on this site, but I am working more as well. In this case, inspiration is also important, but mostly I want to know what inspires YOU that you would like me to speak about.
I haven’t had any speaking gigs in a while, so I am putting this out there. What do you want to be inspired about? Let me know (contact me) and I’ll create a speech for you. In this case it is your passion and questions which inspire me to write and create and deliver a new speech.
So there you go. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But now you know where I’m headed and I hope to see you along the way!
You know those awkward conversations, when you haven’t seen someone in a while and you don’t really know what to say?
I just looked at my history and … WOW it was 2011 the last time I posted, almost three years ago!
So this is a post to say that I am going to start posting again, fairly regularly (hopefully).
My life has taken a LOT of twists and turns in the last three years and there is a lot of catching up to do, but that will come in bits and pieces because it isn’t the past I want to focus on so much as the future and what I have planned now.
So get yourselves ready, there is a big change coming (at least I think it’s big), in fact it has already started. If you’ve visited the site recently (and had visited before) you’ll notice I’ve changed the look and the content.
That is only the beginning of the “big changes” that are to come.
So here is wishing everyone a Happy 2014 and lots of joy and hope for this year and all those to come!
So I haven’t been posting as much this week, partly because my life is insane with the production of Frankenstein that I am in (in the evenings) and partly because I am in research mode.
I’m working on putting together all the information I need to convinced businesses that laughter is an invaluable asset.
So I may not be posting as much in the next little while. We’ll see.
Until the next time … keep laughing.
Today I posted a new page on my website, based on something I’ve been working on for a little while now.
It is an entire page dedicated to ways the world can be happier.
I’ve come up with 114 ways so far, and want your input.
So, take a look over the list and if there is something you want to add, then post a comment on the page and let me know.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions.
Here’s the page: A Happier World
And keep laughing
This is a continuation of my last post about being aware of your feelings, as described in: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson.
We’ve already covered Anger and Joy, the next feeling is:
The important element that Rick Carson brings up is that most people confuse sadness with depression, which are actually quite different. He describes the difference as follows:
Sadness is a natural response to certain stimuli. It often results in tears and full breathing. It can be a powerful, rich, enlivening experience. Depression, on the other hand, is often the result of blocking sadness, or of blocking anger. … When we are depressed, we have a sense of being deadened, blocked. When we experience our sadness we may not feel on top of the world, but we will feel very much alive and may even feel a sense of well-being.
He goes on to say that we have to experience our emotions fully in order to move through and past them.
If you are feeling “stuck” in your life, it may be partially because there is some unresolved feeling that you need to deal with and get past.
So once you can actually identify your sadness (not depression) you can simply notice it and your habitual reaction to it.
Then you are at the place of choice and can decide if you want to keep those reactions or not. I’ll remind you (because it is important and difficult to do) not to bring any judgments into this decision.
As a final note on sadness: If someone you love dies (including a loved pet) then mourn them. Give yourself time and space to feel everything you need to feel. It may not be an easy time, but fully experiencing will help to get you moving on with your life.
Just as some suppress Anger or Joy or Sadness, this is another area that is often suppressed.
This is a really powerful place for gremlins to play, trying to convince us of any number of things. That arousal is unwholesome, or that it must be acted upon. Rick talks about a woman he worked with who had the responses of “sex is nasty and sinful” and “you should save it for the one you love”. But does this really make any sense? Sure, you could save it for the one you love, but why would you want to share anything nasty and sinful with them?
You can see how some people get really tangled and confused by their gremlins around this, and don’t want to go anywhere near it.
So the next time you feel aroused, try simply noticing what your reaction is to it. Take a look at that reaction and ask yourself whether you want to keep it or not.
Maybe this way you can find some clarity in this area.
Fear is nothing to be afraid of. It is a signal that there is a present or imminent danger OR (and really important to understand) that you are in the “world of mind” imagining that there is.
If you are in a jungle and a Tiger is stalking you, by all means, be afraid (and get yourself out of there). BUT if your boss at work keeps walking past your cubicle and you start to fear that something is wrong and you are going to be fired – this is ALL IN YOUR MIND. The only fact you have is that your boss is walking past your cubicle. This could mean any number of things including – she’s busy and has lots of meetings around you that day.
There are lots of possible reactions to fear, pounding heart, quick breath, adrenaline, wanting to run away, hide, fight back (fight or flight response).
What you need to do (if this is not a true imminent life-threatening fear like a charging rhino) is take a moment to … simply notice what is going on.
Separate what you know with absolute certainty (fact) with what you are imagining. Carson gives a good exercise for doing this in the book.
Once you’ve done that you can look at your response and again ask yourself whether this type of response is something you want to keep or not.
So, there you go, some things to think about around your feelings and building awareness around them.
Because the more you do this, the more you will be sifting through all the crap that your gremlins have piled onto you and the easier it will be to start seeing the diamond that is your true self.
In my last post I talked about some good ways to build awareness as suggested by the book: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson.
Well I got to re-reading the book a little and decided there was a little more I wanted to do around all the good stuff that’s in there.
When I wrote the little bit about being aware of your feelings, I knew I couldn’t include everything in the last post, but he’s got a lot of good stuff, so here is a little more.
Rick says that feelings basically fall into five categories:
- Sexual Feeling
What I was reminded, that I love, is that none of these feelings is BAD, they are in fact only what we make of them.
Since the Gremlin Taming Method is all about Simply Noticing, Rick’s answer to looking at your feelings is to do just that. So you become aware of your HABITS around that feeling. Here again, we won’t judge those habits, only gremlins judge, we’ll simply notice the habits and see if we want that habit to be a part of us or not.
This is called Being At Choice, or as Rick says, choosing and playing with options.
So lets look just a little deeper into each of these feelings:
We all have different habits around anger as Rick finds:
Your habit may be to talk yourself out of anger, to rationalize it, to rant and rave, to eat, to drink, to fight, or to depress yourself by unconsciously suppressing it. You may experience anger as powerful, as scary, as sexy, or as disgusting. You might become energized, nauseous, vengeful, super-nice, sarcastic, placating, attacking, or very analytical, or you might go to outrageous lengths to avoid the feeling.
My guess is there is something of your response to anger somewhere in there. The key, though, is to remember not to judge your response once you’ve found it. Simply look at it and say, “Yup, that’s what I do.” then answer the question: Do I want to keep doing that?
Don’t let any judgments slip in. It should be a simple yes or no answer, you shouldn’t need any “because …”. Chances are if you simply notice your “gut” response to whether this habit is something you would like to continue or not, the answer will come to you.
This is my favourite of the feelings mentioned, and yet, as Rick mentions, this is one that is often suppressed.
I talk about this a lot – how there are a lot of forces out there (especially when we’re kids) that essentially tell us to keep our joy contained. “This is not a time to laugh” or “seen and not heard” or “Stop being silly”, these are the types of things we learn and start to take to heart and as such begin to suppress our joy.
The problem is that most people confuse expressive joy with “irresponsibility, immaturity, and being out of control”, as Rick says.
So take a look at your habits around joy, what do you do when others around you are full of exuberant joy? Do you join in an laugh? Do you scoff and say they are being silly? Do you fear you might lose control?
Simply notice the habit, then ask yourself the same question as above: is my response what I want it to be? And if not, you can choose and play with some options about doing something different.
I seem to be running a bit long today, so I’ll continue with the rest of the emotions tomorrow.
Until then, simply notice what happens when you … keep laughing.
I am taking most of today’s post from a good book called: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson.
The key and core of what Rick talks about is this: Simply notice.
It comes from the ZEN theory of change, which is:
I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.
In addition to this Rick mentions the following (translated) phrase from Lao Tsu (generally considered to be the founder of Taoism 2500 years ago):
Simply notice the natural order of things. Work with it rather than against it. For to try to change what is only sets up resistance.
Awareness, Rick says, is not about “trying” or “figuring out”, because these more ‘active’ methods tend to only get to mired deeper in the “crap” of your life.
Instead, do not try, simply notice. Do not ‘think about’, simply notice.
There are three “realms” into which we can choose to simply notice:
- Your Body
- The World Around You
- The World of Mind
Awareness of all three is needed to live a full and healthy life.
Also you can only ever be aware NOW. You can ‘think about’ the future or the past, and be aware that you are doing so, but awareness always happens in the here and now.
So be careful about how you enter the world of mind. As long as you are entering it by choice and with awareness, then there is no problem. Otherwise, it can be the realm of gremlins who want to make you “think about” all sorts of things that will affect you in any number of negative ways”.
There are many steps to building awareness and the book goes through them in detail, but I’ll summarize them here.
- Be aware of your body – your skin – which is where you end and everything else begins.
- Be aware of your emotions (and how you respond to them) – no emotion is bad but it is instead our responses to them that dictate how we think about them and what we then do with them as a result.
- Be aware of your habits for responding to other people. This is how you will act given a certain situation with a certain type of person.
- Be aware of your self-concepts, this is what I referred to in the last post as the “personality” you put on over your “crap”. Rick refers to it as simply an act, and it is OK to have ‘acts’ but we need to be aware that it is just an act and not our true selves.
- Be aware of your beliefs (Rick calls them “concepts of what is so”). These are the things you hold to be true (whether they are or not). I say that last part in parenthesis because very rarely are any of our beliefs based purely in fact, they are instead based on our perception of fact.
This is not as simple or easy as it sounds (if it does sound simple or easy).
This is a process that takes time.
The key to remember is to … say it with me now … simply notice.
And in our busy, rush-around, results-now society I hear you say …”But what good is all this simply noticing? What can I DO with it?”
The answer is simple. You can find yourself.
Because once you have noticed all of the above, and become aware of your gremlins and your “crap” you can start to discard it and simply notice the wonder and beauty of your true self!
THEN – you are at choice and can decide what you wish to DO with this amazing new discovery.
If you want any help along this road of awareness, simply noticing, and discovery, I am here to help. Drop me a line and I’ll help you through this process. Honestly, this is the part of coaching that I really like working on.
Because you can’t really have a life of lasting joy, until you know who you are, and are living in accordance with that.
I challenge you to do nothing but be still and aware of everything that is going on inside and around you for the next minute.
It’s not easy.
As I take a moment to do this now I notice:
- A dog barking in the distance
- The hum of my computer
- The tap of my fingers on the keyboard
- The computer screen in front of me
- My feelings of anxiety of the state of my business
- My feelings of hope and anticipation over the possibility of new things to come from some emails this morning
- The “oh thank god it’s done” feeling of having finally done my year end and prep for taxes
- I am a little hungry
- my breath
And that was just a less than one minute slice of life. Chances are there were more things, but that gives you a bit of an impression of what a little awareness can give you.
And this is just surface awareness.
The deeper you go into yourself the more you discover and the juicier the discoveries tend to get.
There is a visual representation of “self” that I have seen done in several different ways, all of them essentially saying the same thing. Here is my favourite interpretation:
Imagine a diamond.
This is you, the true you, the core of your being. It knows your purpose in life and what you were meant to do. It knows the answers to all of your deepest questions.
For a while in life it was pure and there for all to see … then life happened.
Over the years the diamond gets covered in crap. We are told how to behave, what to do, when to do it, what to learn, what we are supposed to know and what we are supposed to pretend like we don’t know. So on and so on as society, parents, teachers, and others influence us and tell us who we should be.
This crap covers our inner diamond so thoroughly and completely that we forget our true selves, though we have this faint memory of what we once were, what we could be.
We don’t like this crap that is all over us, it feels icky and wrong so we create a layer of “personality” a false front that we show to the world so that they don’t see our crap. It could be a front of “control”, or “politeness”, or “nastiness” or any number of things, meant to protect us from having others see our crap, which by this point we start to think is who we really are.
And this is how most people go through life, with a false front that covers the “crap” they think is who they are, but is really the influence of everyone else, and having completely forgotten their true selves.
Kind of sad isn’t it.
Well when we start to build awareness, we start to notice things. The cracks in the facade, that the crap is really not us, but our gremlins and fears and history.
If we are diligent diggers of our awareness for long enough we hit pay dirt and find our true selves again.
THAT is the power of building awareness, the joy of discovering who you really are, underneath all the crap.
I think tomorrow I’ll go into how you can do a little of this digging.
Until then, keep laughing.