Why are you doing what you’re doing? Money, freedom, status? Building your business to have a big salary and elevated status is attractive, but more often than not unless you know what truly brings you joy in life, you won’t be happy—no matter how successful you are.
Do you work to live or live to work?
How often do you drift into a daydream at work, wishing you were on the beach with your significant other, exploring Italy on your roadbike or skiing the mountain slopes on a bluebird day?
Many people fantasize about more freedom in life and believe it’s only for the extremely wealthy or lucky. They believe they’re powerless to make change and they feel guilty for considering toning down the 9-5 grind. “I need to work harder”, you say to yourself. “I must put in overtime, be wired-in to work 24/7 and strive for more, always.”
And so we fill up down time with anything to make us feel engaged and productive, checking our email, updating Facebook, LinkedIn or staring at our computer screen. We’ve become victims of a work culture and we glorify busyness. Society has dictated that unless we are physically sick we shouldn’t take a day off—free time is a sign of indulgence.
Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul
We all need to make a living, but we can’t lose sight of our health, relationships, passions and growth.
A year ago I turned my life upside down. I left the branding agency I spent nine years building with my partner and moved to Squamish to follow my passions and re-start at square one. I cultivated my passions into a new purpose-driven branding company Zesty Brands and outdoor adventure blog Zesty Life. It was scary as hell, but it’s been the best decision I could’ve made because in the process of losing so many things, I found myself and a richer purpose.
When you’re in an established career, position or situation it can be hard to make change or pivot, but there’s this thing about change, it gives you the opportunity to embrace new experiences and grow, and often opportunities are waiting on your doorstep.
When you define your passions and redefine success, you need less money than you think.
Earning more money just leads to splurging on more things and stuff. More clothes, better cars, expensive reno’s…but is it really making your life better?
Growing as an individual or contributing beyond yourself in a meaningful way is where the money’s at.
I’ve spent time with many wealthy and successful people and I assure you, finances and status is not what equals happiness. At the end of our lives we’re not going to wish we worked harder or longer. The question becomes how richly did you live and how much joy did you bring into people’s lives?
How to Achieve More Growth, Energy and Life
Start by looking inwards and getting to know yourself better—your characteristics, your history and your values. Get curious about the times you’ve experienced the greatest joy in your life. Learning these things about yourself is important because as long as we have no idea who we are, we will depend on things, people and money to cater to the whims of our fragile egos.
Dig deep, take action and try things, this will lead you to finding your purpose and passions. What topic, activity or idea dominates a significant amount of your thoughts and time? How can you add value to the world? Start there. But don’t get caught up in deciding on ONE thing. In my blog article Zesty Diversification: The winning advantage I talk about the importance of being multi-faceted and adaptable. It’s okay to have lots of ideas and options, the more you invest yourself in multiple identities, the less likely you are to paint yourself into a corner.
Don’t quit your day job
Following your passion doesn’t mean quitting your job and jumping feet first into the unknown. This works in rare cases, but it puts you in a high-pressure/high-risk situation that often stifles creative thinking. A better idea is to moonlight as an entrepreneur as a way to dip your toe in the water.
Start by making a plan. Figure out the resources and talents you have in terms of time and energy and explore what you’re really good at and what you enjoy doing. Most people who love their work didn’t immediately follow a passion. They started with an interest in something and became increasingly passionate about it as they got good at it and integrated it more and more into their career.
Focus on building the skills that interest you and then leverage them to shape your career into one you love.
For me, my career started as a graphic designer and branding expert. In my nine years working at a branding agency I was able to hone my ability to articulate myself, become well-versed in running a business and master what makes a captivating brand. In parallel to this I cultivated my passions and hobbies outside of work—living a healthy lifestyle, riding my bikes and exploring my love for cooking and writing.
Without gaining the necessary life and work experience, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing now. Only through building my Career Capital and refining my values could I be in a position to have two amazing career ventures AND more free time and life satisfaction.