We are brought up with the belief that you simply cannot do what you love for your day job. That it is not possible to wake up and jump out of bed excited to go to work. That this is something that only a lucky few can ever achieve. We seem to be stuck in the story that your day job is simply a means to an ends. Of course it is a fact of life that people have families to support and bills to pay. But does that mean that we should stop dreaming?
I have carried the vision for most of my life of an ‘important’ career in the corporate world with a six-figure income. I believed that in order to achieve this, your life needed to be exhausting, stressful and chaotic. I held the belief that I would have to miss dinners at home with my significant other, bring my work home every night and miss important family gatherings to meet deadlines. I thought that it was all part and parcel. But it recently occurred to me that this vision had been driven purely by my ego. My story was filled with ambition but no passion.
But what is the difference between ambition and passion?
When you are solely ambitious, you tend to be driven by the ego. When I talk about the ego, I am talking about that little voice inside our heads which likes to keep us in fear mode. It tells us that we are not good enough unless we make a certain amount of money, drive a certain car or live in a certain neighbourhood. The driving forces in this scenario are power, money and success. Power, money and success are not themselves negative, but when sought out solely through ambition, it is simply taking you further from what is it that you are truly seeking. When ambition is our motivating force we will feel constantly tired and exhausted and our life will be utterly chaotic. We will be in a constant cycle of stress and worry.
In stark contrast, passion is a motivating force which supports us. When we allow passion in our lives we become closer to our life purpose. We will be focussed on being of service to others. It is more about giving to others than what we can get from them. Your life purpose is something that you love to do and if money were no object, you would do it every single day. If you don’t know what your life purpose is – don’t freak out! Think about the things that you love to do and trust in your intuition to guide you towards a career that supports that. It doesn’t matter if you’re called to be a doctor or a child care worker, we all have our part to play.
So where did being driven by my ambition land me?…with Adrenal Fatigue, among other things. Particularly in a period of excessive stress, which goes hand in hand with ambition, the adrenal glands can become overworked. There seems to be a worrying trend among our generation to wear stress like a badge of honour. Unfortunately, the not so shiny side of wearing this badge is usually adrenal fatigue. Once the adrenals get fatigued it pretty much wreaks havoc on every other system in your body. So simply put; my body is burnt out!
Only when I got to this point did I begin to examine my life. I was in a zone of excessive stress which did not allow me to not look after myself; spiritually, emotionally or physically. I ignored my intuition and instead followed my ego, leaving me feeling; overburdened with other people’s drama, crippling guilt and stuck in a shame spiral. I was focussed on the high of the achievements but there was no passion in my life!
When you are driven solely by ambition you are merely seeking quantity, while passion seeks quality. Passion intensifies the quality of our experiences, of our interactions with others and most importantly; the quality of our lives. Ambition will give you the illusion of success but passion will bring you the real deal. The Greek word meraki is often used to describe doing something with your soul, creativity or love and leaving a piece of yourself in your work – that is true passion.
Ask yourself this – how much fun are you having? If the answer is not much at all, then it is time to find your passion again. So yes, keep paying the bills. But never stop chasing your passion.