If you love your job, if you feel as if it’s not even ‘real work’ and could do it all the live long day whether you were being paid or not, you are probably what they call ‘passionate’ about what you do. For me that expression is a very twee way of saying you LOVE what you do. It’s you living ‘on purpose’. You fired up. You with your heart sparking, your body diving in, you getting stuff done. You love it, you love it, you love it. It’s awesome.
And if you do, you’re lucky. I sure as heck feel incredibly blessed to do what I love.
But I’ve found that being passionate about what you do carries a risk.
Because when you love what you do, you don’t think about your work, your clients, your new project, that new design, those upcoming events, that new packaging … between 9am and 5pm. Hell, you probably had the idea for the new packaging while you were chopping vegetables last night or bathing the kids. Your heart and inspiration and brain don’t switch on between regular business hours and go off again. Oh no … I mean, you’d rather be sketching those new designs on your lap in front of the fire/heater/warm-breeze-of-the-heatpump (anyone cold at the mo?!) than watching crappy television tonight, right?
Because you looooove it. Because it’s part of who you are. You’re always thinking about this stuff. Inspiration comes calling at all times of the day and you love to listen out for her. She’s your muse. And inspiration never sleeps. (Anyone else picturing beautiful stars twinkling prettily around their head right now?)
And now for a splosh of cold water over this lovely scene of sparkly inspiration … because if inspiration never sleeps, when do you sleep?
I am speaking from personal experience when I say that loving what you do can cause a whole lot of havoc with your life-work balance, energy levels and overall health. Because we can end up doing too much too much of the time.
I see it in many of my clients who are in jobs or businesses they’re really into. They are loving it, but they are working their butts off. They’re tired. They’re sometimes (or often) stressed. They’re basically getting a bit carried away. Aaaannnd, backing off a little isn’t so easy. In fact it’s quite a process to go through because they’re so used to just putting their foot down and going … because they LOVE it, right?
But here’s the rub: if you want to keep going, if you want to live and work your passion sustainably – that is, in an ongoing healthy way – you have to keep some balance, look after your health, have holidays, rest, be human.
When you love what you do and want to keep doing it, you really don’t want to have the wheels come off the bus. I’ve been there. It sucks. I don’t recommend it.
Wobbly wheels show up as tiredness, fogginess during the day, difficulty getting out of bed – even to do what you love – and frequent colds and flu over winter (I’m seeing a bit of this around the traps at the mo).
Your body talks to you. It is wise. Don’t ignore these signals from your body that you’re flagging. Slow down. Take care.
Oh and, by the way, in all of years of working with clients (and many of them on career decisions/direction) the people who hate their jobs don’t have this problem. They don’t run the risk of burnout nearly as much as those of us who love our work.
But I for one would rather love it and tame it a little than be in their shoes.
So tame, not the beast, but the beauty of your passion. Make her calm down a little some days. Go to bed a bit earlier some nights. Take a day off a little more often. Go easy.
Look after your precious, passionate self.
Love Karen x