When I was growing up it was really clear what I was good at and what I sucked at. I could get an ‘A’ in literature with the lid still on my pen, but anything else and I was either cutting C’s or straight-up failing. The pay-off is that I unashamedly adored literature. Reading and writing is my life’s blood, I need it to survive, to thrive.
When it came to pursuing literature at university however, the people around me weren’t so hooked on the idea. The general consensus was that writing doesn’t make you any money and no one’s going to pay you to read books all day. This was closely followed by questions such as why don’t you do something useful?
The idea that pursuing passion for passion’s sake is a worthwhile task is simply too alien for some to accept. Whatever reasons or programming these people were operating from, it was a world away from my own and thankfully, following my heart paid off. I ran with my love of books through to Masters level and subsequently became an extremely well paid writing contractor. What’s important about this however, isn’t that I proved the naysayers wrong, it’s the deeper level of influence I allowed to slip in, without even realising.
So, wonderful – I made a ton of money writing. The issue was that 9 times out of 10, the actual writing I was tasked with bored me to distraction. I detested spending hour upon hour, day upon day, writing about topics that didn’t matter or hold any interest to me in the slightest. During that phase of my career I had so many sideline businesses going it was unreal. Hustle after hustle, I was trying to come up with a business plan that stuck and could afford me what I really wanted, the time to write for myself.
What I didn’t see back then, was even though I thought I’d won by choosing and making a living from the education of my choice, I was actually still responding and acting on things that had been said to my younger self. Deep down, I had absorbed the belief that writing creatively, on my own terms, was a fool’s game. My subconscious had absorbed the idea that no one would pay me to do something I really liked to do, the way I like to do it.
I believed the only way forward was to grit my teeth and sell my writing soul.
I now make the majority of my income through my writing, but this could only happen once I saw and acknowledged the deep-seated programming that had been taking up space in my life. Only then was I able to set it free and I’m here to tell you that it’s the only way you will too.
Was trusting and having faith easy? No, not at first. But it got easier and a day struggling with your passion is bliss compared to an hour of burying it.
And so, my questions to you are these:
What have you been told you can’t do, because it doesn’t pay enough?
Which of your dreams have you been told are not useful?
What programming are you holding onto?
If you could do anything with your career, would you choose what you’re doing now?
Look to your dreams. Look to them and you will find the answers.