We want to make our mark on the world in some individual way. Even more we want to be known. We make friends. While engaging in relationships we find ourselves changing, or even worse, awaken one day to find we have changed into someone who has veered away from the path we thought ourselves originally on. Sometimes we like who we have become; who our relationships and experiences have made us. And sometimes we don’t.
At times these traits are obvious to us and at others they are not. When I first started this post, I realized that week that I’d become a pushover and a scaredy cat. (We often delay our blogs to protect the innocent–which is usually ourselves!) Anyway. At the time I was afraid to leave my job. For many ridiculous reasons that at the time seemed important and true. One: my life feels like a delicate balance and I don’t want to disrupt it. Two: my job was pretty easy and it paid me reasonably. Three: they know me. I’d been at the job for over three years. Four: they seemed willing to work with my crazy schedule.
All of these are bullshit. My life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles while pursuing your passion. No job (or relationship, for that matter) is “easy” when you’re not being treated right–and sadly, I didn’t feel like I was being treated well. Which leads to three–obviously they didn’t know me if they felt they could mistreat me. And my schedule isn’t so crazy and it’s not that I’m not accommodating when needed if possible.
Life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles
while pursuing a passion.
Well, I woke up a week after writing the above. Went into work like a good worker bee, determined to keep my head down and keep working. During my shift, I found out I was denied my request for time off to perform the show I was already cast in. I lost it. In what feels like the “Hulk smash” version of myself, I decided I didn’t need a job that told me I couldn’t put myself first, and I quit.
I hold myself in high esteem. I’m a calculated person and I very rarely make snap judgements, uninformed choices, or un-researched plans. For better or for worse, I rarely walk into a big decision without a plan. Quitting a job is just not something I do. This was a big decision, and I had talked myself out of it so many times, but when the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.
When the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.
Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics: “stop worrying where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Just keep moving on.” These lyrics always reassure me, no matter what I’m in the middle of. In other words, stop thinking about it and just go. Just make the choice. If you are that passionate about making the change happen, things will fall into place. If I hadn’t quit, I probably would have gotten let go, because I was going to do those performances. It was also time to leave that job. But I sat in it for too long because I didn’t value myself enough.
A while ago I wrote a blog on self-worth. This is a gigantic topic that we as a society don’t talk about enough. Therefore we question our worth, and what we want fights a battle against what we can offer. Which determines our worth. If you continually think down on yourself, hold yourself back, or tell yourself that you’re not worth it, you never will be.
Maybe you continually beat yourself up because you don’t know how to do anything else. And if you pick on your own weaknesses, it won’t hurt as much when someone else does it.
I don’t know you. I don’t know your situation. I do know that I’ve been in both types of situations: the ones where I succumbed and stuck with something I didn’t want to do, and I’ve stuck up for myself and went my own way. Both choices have led to both good and bad outcomes. However, most times I’m much happier standing up for myself, even though I might have to work harder, give up things, ask for help or money, and suffer a little.
How do you begin? Here is a place where lists will help you.
- Figure out why you dislike where you are–and “being you” doesn’t count. Is it because of hours you don’t like, not able to have a creative outlet?
- Can you change this by staying in your current situation but by just rearranging things?
- What is more important: comfort or creative? Heads up–pursuing the creative or the passion isn’t always easy. Generally it’s twice as tough because if you fail at even the smallest parts of your plan, it’s painful.
- Figure out your financials–this isn’t to say “don’t leap until you can afford to” but instead, “understand what downgrades and adjustments will need to be made, so it’s not so harsh a reality later.”
- Breathe deep and leap.
Just know that if you’re meant to do whatever your passion is, you’ll find the support. My gal Angie Atkinson is a huge example of this (outside of LL and I). Angie started her path to rock stardom three years ago, and isn’t famous yet, but you’ll hear about her soon. Angie started out wanting to move to NYC to be an actress. That dream (and her amazing acting prowess) brought her to the city. However, she decided it wasn’t the path for her anymore, and instead wanted to write and perform music. She has been working on this in her spare time; writing, rehearsing; performing; and making an album–which she just released–go to iTunes or Amazon to buy it!! For now check out a video or two.
Remember, whatever mark you want to make, you’re probably already on the path either to make it–just take a look around, what are you happiest doing? What do you spend the most of your time doing? Are they similar? Why not?
We only get one life, so live it large.
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