How do You Answer the Age-old Question: What do You Want to be When You Grow Up?
Figuring out our future begins when we’re very young. As a child we may have visions of being a surgeon or a fireman or an astronaut because those careers seem larger than life and our experiences are small. As we grow older, our aspirations begin to refine, though often, they are driven by our parents’ advice to pick something which will make us a good living.
As a result, many talented writers, artists and musicians become accountants, bankers and salesmen because the definition of a good living they were taught is to earn lots of money. Pardon my language, but that’s a crock of shit, and one I, myself bought into for over 30 years.
Yes, it allowed me to leave a bad marriage and still support my daughters. Yes, it has kept me off the streets and in the home I’ve owned for nearly 35 years, but if I’d started following my passion sooner, might I have made different choices which would have landed me somewhere completely different and even better? I’ll never know, nor do I really give it much thought because I know I’m exactly where I need to be right now. But at least I finally learned that preaching the same tired sermon to my daughters wasn’t doing them any favors.
Today, I work for myself making, for the moment, less money. But I also have less stress, more freedom, a happier life and am surrounded by my cats, my books and friends who understand me.
Passions Pro’s and Cons
There are down sides to living my passion. In the first place, I have to learn how to market my skills better, but thankfully, I’ve connected with some people who set an incredible example. Second, I have to hold myself in check, insuring that I actually finish projects instead of haring off to take this class or that one or begin yet another project that will join the queue of those awaiting completion. In the last year and a half alone I’ve signed up for:
- AWAI’s Six-Figure Copywriting Course
- Gina Horkey’s Freelance Writing Course
- Holly Lisle’s novel writing course
I’ve also purchased dozens of paper books and countless e-books and papers on writing, many of which I’ve actually read! I’ve also participated in blog challenges and 3 NaNoWriMo’s so far. But I’ve had to curb my tendency to buy courses (even though Carrie Smith Nicholson seriously tempted me with a package for only $99 the other day) until I finish the projects I’ve already started. In fact, I am set to deny myself this year’s NaNoWriMo if I don’t finish the revision of my first novel before November 1. I’m my own harshest mistress.
My latest mind wander has taken me into my interest in herbal remedies and the temptation to search for a course in herbalism. Before I could even type the word into a search engine, my conscience kicked in and said What? Another side trip into something you may or may not finish? Sorry, kid, but there’s a novel on your desktop which deserves better. Add this to your bucket list and get back to work.
Thankfully, that little voice has gotten stronger over the last few months, fueled in part by my dwindling finances, but also by the desire to see more than my blog in print. When I worked for a corporation, I was good at prioritizing and completing multiple projects on time. Now, I have to set my own deadlines and believe deep in my gut that they’re not arbitrary.
Going back to the three courses, I ended up cancelling the first one, completing the second and playing hit-or-miss with the third (though I’ve already gained some insight from it which is helping with my latest novel revision). Fortunately, I stopped the downward spiral by taking myself in hand (with the help of a pep talk from a a friend) and setting both boundaries and goals. I’m also determined, whether I meet a goal or not, to refrain from beating myself up. Not only is it counterproductive and motivation killing, but it also wastes time which would be better spent doing everything I can to meet those goals.
Many Happy Miles to go Before I Sleep
It’s after 4:00PM and I could say I have nothing to show for the day. I haven’t worked on my novel. I haven’t done any client work. OK, fine. But instead, I got out of the house and attended a meeting for a local networking group, met some delightful small business owners, talked to two potential clients (and agreed to meet next week), tried out a new restaurant in town, chatted with a friend who is inspirational on so many levels and started a blog post much earlier in the day than normal, before any ideas I might have had fled my brain, leaving me with nothing to write about. Do I have anything tangible to show for it? Not yet. I do have inspiration, motivation and a blog topic. For me, that all adds up to a successful day. Besides, it’s not even 5:00 yet so I have hours of productive time left before I sleep.
The Student Becomes the Teacher, Or Has She Always Been?
My daughter was one of those who encouraged me to get out of the rat race and live my passion. She did so both with words and actions, and I couldn’t be more proud. She is studying Culinary Arts and plans to open a catering business. She’s taking business courses so she will understand both the creative and the mundane aspects of her work. And she’s another who can show me how to better market myself and my work. Better still, she didn’t buy into that dysfunctional mindset that says to be successful you must pursue the dollar and hope the fun and passion finds you. In truth, you have to pursue your passion and the rest will ultimately take care of itself. She is smarter than I as she trusts in the Universe to guide her, though she may not put it in those words. She follows her passion, treats people right and the doors she needs will open when the time is right. The student has, indeed, become my teacher.
My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the teachers who have come into my life now that I’m finally able to see past making money.
2. I am grateful for those who have been there for me with moral support, kicks in the butt and even a shoulder to cry on when I need it.
3. I am grateful for the freedom to live my life as I see fit, write until my brain freezes or my fingers cramp, be there for my friends and family at any time of the day or night without worrying about letting anyone down, including me.
4. I am grateful that I’ve learned to make a life instead of just making a living.
5. I am grateful for abundance: life, love, freedom, self, lessons, challenges, writing, reading, peace, harmony, kindness, compassion, philanthropy and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!