By Robyn Alright
Within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone new, the “So, what do you do?” question is bound to bubble up. This may seem like an innocent question to keep the conversation going. But truthfully, there are some that use this question to size you up to see if they can use you for their own personal or professional gain. Knowing this may put pressure on you to say something impressive. In our society, sadly, we tend to judge people by what they do for a living. Consciously or subconsciously, we are told to climb the corporate ladder, get the money, get that title and fight for the corner office. That may work for some. Definitely not all. Definitely not me.
One day, I attended a networking event in an effort to meet people that may benefit my entrepreneurial journey. A man walked up to me and confidently told me his job title and who we worked for. Then, of course, it was my turn. “I just quit my job to start a blog,” I shared excitedly. That man gave me the blank emoji face and literally turned his back to me and walked away. I need not describe to you my feelings. Wondering if I said something wrong, I reviewed my statement and came to the conclusion that I was standing in my truth. If he didn’t like that, I can accept it. Onward. Not long after Mr. Rude left my presence, I met another lady. I told her the same thing, “I just quit my job to start a blog!” Her response was vastly different. Instead of a snobbish sneer, I was met with “Oh, that’s great! How exciting! I quit my job last year to start my own business.” Immediately, I felt a sense of relief and my sanity was validated.
Everyone is not designed to follow the same path. Society tends to tell us that there is only one way to achieve success. Every day, our heads are filled with mainstream messages that tell us what we should do with our lives. Most of the time, it is the message of “The Path”. Go to college, major is something that will earn you money, get a job, get married, have kids, put the kids through college so that they can major in something that will earn them money and then…retire. If this sounds great to you, by all means more power to you. Than plan works well for some people. However, there are those of us who want to forge our own path instead of traveling the road set before us.
The systematic way is safe and predictable. You get your check, pay your bills and it’s all gravy. In our heads, it makes sense. Logically, it makes sense to follow the path that is safest and provides a quality of life that is comfortable. But while our heads are happy, what about our hearts? The heart is where our dreams, desires and visions are hidden. Is that supposed to go ignored? Me thinks not. Here lies the eternal battle of head vs heart.
Both have their benefits and disadvantages. Your head helps you to plan and problem solve, but can also cause you to overthink and never take action. Your heart can guide you emotionally, but too much emotion may cause irrational behavior. The truth is that the victory of head or heart depends on the situation. When it comes to career choices, I bet on the heart because the heart has a not so secret weapon called love.
The old saying goes, “Do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life.” Your passion for the type of work you love to do can generate opportunities beyond your imagination. Sometimes, we just have to take a leap of faith and follow that compass in our heart. It knows the way even if it hasn’t registered in our heads just yet. Is it easy to follow your heart? Not always. Is it worth it? Most likely. “But, what if I fail?” you ask. Then you would have had a new experience and learned something new to help you on your journey. Failure is not the end.
Consider this, when you are old and gray and reflecting over your life, will you be pleased with your contribution to the earth? Or, will you sing the Shoulda Coulda Woulda song? Sometimes our hearts know what is best for us before our heads get the signal. Go within and listen to your heart. Genuinely sit in silence and listen. You might be surprised and pleased at what it has to say to you.