If you’ve ever looked into becoming self-employed, striking out on your own as an entrepreneur, or thought about quitting your day job to pursue your dreams, you’ve probably run across that classic piece of advice: Do what you love and the money will follow.
And immediately after that, you probably ran across dozens of people who disagreed with that advice.
It’s such a tough issue because the real question is: If you pursue your passion, is there any guarantee that it will work out for you?
The hard answer is: There are no guarantees.
This is where finding and embarking on your life purpose gets tricky. If you’ve always wanted to be a writer, those first few months of embracing your new identity and diving into that Great American Novel can feel exciting, euphoric, and heady with the promise of good things to come.
But then you hit a slump.
Somewhere along the line, things get hard. Really, really hard. This isn’t just true of writing. If you are taking any sort of risk in your life to manifest something you deeply believe in, it will happen. It could be that you’re struggling financially, or that you feel like you’re trying to make it completely alone. Or that what you’re doing just plain scares the shit out of you.
Everyone wants to find their life purpose. But what they don’t tell you is that most people, after finding it, want to give it right back.
That’s because your life purpose has deep roots in your heart, your history, and most especially your idea of yourself and what is possible for you.
This is why you don’t see the majority of the population committed to finding and making their life purpose a reality. Because it involves continuous, sometimes unpleasant, self-examination. It demands moving outside of well-worn comfort zones. It gives no promise of immediate gratification, automatic reassurance, or social approval.
If you are following the path of your life purpose, the signs that you’re going the right way aren’t always obvious. In fact, the signs sometimes show up as the opposite of everything we’re usually chasing after—security, pleasure, and approval.
If you’re living your life purpose you might find that:
You can’t predict where your work, life, or dreams will be in the next year.
You experience frequent periods of coming face-to-face with yourself, sometimes happily and with pride, but sometimes you’re frightened or uneasy at what you see.
New people show up in your life who encourage you, but also question and challenge you to level up your character and abilities.
You start putting yourself out there more and more, in ways that open you up to the possibility of failure.
You try a few things and you DO fail, and it really hurts.
After you fail, you feel raw and vulnerable, and you doubt whether you should even get back up again.
Your mind might doubt what you’re doing, but in your heart you know it’s your truth.
If anything on this list resonates with you then you’re already on board with your life purpose. And you already know that it’s not all fun and bliss and loads of money and awards. That’s why that classic advice—“Do what you love and the money will follow”—is so important. Because to follow your life purpose you have to get very good at cultivating hope within your own heart. You cannot let that little flame go out.
So if you’re on a rocky mountain trail of doubt and the fear harpies keep swooping out of the sky to try to grab you, rest assured, you are going in the right direction. There will always be people who have chosen to stay in the safe picnic area below and have no idea what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. That’s okay. The picnic area is not for you. You got bored there a long time ago and you’re not going back.
The key is to consult your own heart every time you think you’re lost.
Because it’s your built-in compass and it will never steer you wrong.
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