Think back to third grade. You’re nine years old and it's career day. The inevitable question arises: what do you want to be when you grow up?
Fast forward to the present day. Does your day job look like what you imagined it to be? What happened to being an artist, astronaut, fire fighter or scientist?
Things have changed since career day. The kid version of you put a lot of thought into who you would become. But, there are a few things you never thought about. Back then you never said what if I fail or it’s too much work and I’ll never make enough money. As a kid you were trying to find yourself, but as an adult you have allowed your career to define you. You’ve convinced yourself that a career and, all of its comforts, were more important than listening to your calling.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see that you talked yourself out of pursuing your calling.
Career versus Calling
Well, it’s never too late to ditch your cubicle for your calling. But, it’s not going to be easy. If you’re going to make a change you’ll have to start now. But instead of chasing down your childhood career choice, think about the person you want to become. Begin by sorting out the difference between a career and a calling.
Michael Lewis wrote, "A job will never satisfy you all by itself, but it will afford you security…A calling is an activity you find so compelling that you wind up organizing your entire self around it." Lewis goes on to write that it is important to stop thinking about what the world has to offer you and start thinking about what you have to offer the world. He says, "Real excitement isn’t just in whatever you happen to be doing, but in what you bring to it."
And, there my friends we have the distinction between a career and a calling. In the first case, we show up and do the work. In the latter, we embody the work. It’s the difference between accepting things as they are and making your own way. If you are no longer willing to wait your turn and do as you are told, it’s time to tune into your calling.
What do you want to do? This part is easy: what do you love doing? Are you a storyteller, a gym rat or a voracious reader? You could become a writer, fitness pro or an editor. Think about the things that you enjoy doing, the things you do without being told. That’s where you’ll find you’re calling.
Then what? Once you’ve nailed down what you want to do, get to work. But, don’t quit your day job – yet. You can do more of the things you love without walking out on your career. Set yourself up with a side hustle to start. If you’re content with doing your work part of the time, you’ll have everything you need. But, you’d like to do more than moonlight, you’ll have to tap into the lost art of hustle.
The Lost Art of Hustle
When choosing to pursue a career – and not your calling – fear, money and time were the main justifications. But, the secret to success in business and in life has little to do with those three concepts and everything to do with one word: hustle.
No, not hustling like hawking bootleg DVDs on the street corner or busting a move Soul Train style to Van McCoy.
Hustle is the “it factor” that separates an average Joe from a self-made man. It’s the ability to outsmart and the willingness to outwork. It’s when you finally stop talking about all of the great ideas you have and actually do something epic – despite the risk, the fear of failure and all of the naysayers.
Gary Vaynerchuk said it best: "hustle is the most important word, ever!" He also said that there is no reason you should be doing a job that you hate.
So, don’t ask for permission or apologize for wanting to follow your calling because explanations and excuses are useless. Think of it like this: if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. It’s time to set your sights on thriving, not surviving. Just start hustling already. Be confident in your abilities and clueless to the idea that failure is an option. Do the work you believe in it, because you care, because you can. Persist despite second-guessing. Do it consistently today, tomorrow and every day after that.
But, if you’re still unconvinced, think of it like this – the world needs your ideas, your art and your work. If you are holding back because you’re scared, you’re not just letting yourself down; you’re letting us all down. Don’t be afraid to follow your calling. We’re all counting on you to step up and hustle hard.
It’s time to embrace the hustle. Rest assured that when you do, failure will cease to exist, doubt will disappear and you’ll finally be able to hear your calling.
Joe Vennare Photo Credit: The Paper Wall