There’s a good chance you were meant for more than what you’re doing right now.
Think about it. What did you want to be when you were a child? Before anyone told you it wasn’t possible? Before you convinced yourself you wouldn’t be any good at it? Now think about where you are now. See a difference?
I can count on maybe two hands and a toe the friends I have who are doing exactly what they were made to do. They’re teachers making their classrooms come alive. They’re musicians winning awards and composing symphonies. They’re owning their own businesses. I’m so impressed with their tenacity to chase down their dreams… and I’m curious as to why there aren’t more people like them.
Of course, for every person I know whose work is their passion, I know ten more people who are simply making a living. They can sing, but they’re stuck behind a desk. They’d be brilliant novelists if they weren’t squeezed into middle management. So many hopes and dreams are getting lost working 9-5.
Now, I believe you should be grateful for whatever place you’re in. But that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to stay there. Perhaps it all starts with learning that there’s more…
There is a great scene in the 1998 film Pleasantville where two teens are blasted back in time into a straight-laced, black-and-white sitcom from the 1950s. The girl, Jennifer (played by Reese Witherspoon), feels particularly out of place as everyone seems to be homogenized into perfect behavior in poodle skirts and sweater sets. One day in class, her teacher is talking about the geography of their town. Jennifer raises her hand and asks, “What’s outside of Pleasantville?” She is met with stares from the teacher and the entire class. It was the silliest question, because to them, their town was all they knew and all there was.
Have you ever been like that? Looking around at everyone else settled in the drudgery of life and wondered what else there is? You’re not alone.
Everyone is stuck in some version of “Pleasantville”, and it takes a brave soul to venture outside of it. Think you’re the one? Then, try. Reach. Step out of that black and white world and find your technicolor. Real life is risk, and you’ll never find out what you’re truly made of until you get out of your comfort zone.
I don’t know what your leap of faith needs to be. Maybe it’s as simple as taking an evening acting class or as grand as moving to New York City. Whatever it is, it’s not living where you’re bored, but comfortable. You were made to be challenged. You were made to rise above. And you’re definitely made for more than where you are today.
“There’s no limit to how much you’ll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.” ~ Dr. Seuss
We talked about waking with restless enthusiasm and how what you do for a living plays a major role in that. Are you happy because you live out of your passion… or are you merely going to work?
Let me add that I don’t always believe that a better life is just beyond the rainbow. Perpetually thinking like that can get you stuck in a pattern of “If I have that, then I’ll be happy,” and that’s no way to live.
Sometimes, you are where you are, and for whatever reason you’re stuck there. It’s like middle management or a struggling, but consistent freelance business. You’re not where you’d like to be, but thank God, you’re further along than you used to be. What do you do then?
I’m always a proponent of not missing today for what might be coming tomorrow. You’re reaching out for something better when you have so many blessings that have gone uncounted right in your hands.
I’ve mentioned this little word a lot in this blog, but it is useful in just about every situation. It’s all about…
Be thankful. Spend time at work being grateful for the little things. In fact, write them down. If you can laugh and joke with your co-workers like you do with your friends, jot it down. Maybe you genuinely like your boss; that’s a plus! Note the kinds of freedoms you have now that you didn’t have in your previous job. Find something – anything – about your work life that makes you smile and dwell on that. Before you know it, you may discover that the distance between “dream” and “job” isn’t as far as you thought it was.
You’re on your way to someplace special, but take time to smell the roses where you are. It will make the journey all the more sweet and you’ll find happiness at work – whatever that work may be.
A few months ago, I saw this graduation speech floating around in cyberspace. The headline alone was very catchy: “Don’t work. Be hated. Love someone.” It’s an ode to living passionately, whether it’s in your job or your relationships.
One particular part of the speech has haunted me since the moment I read it.
I haven’t been able to get that phrase out of my head: “restless enthusiasm”. So many mornings since then, I’ve woken up and searched myself for such a concept. Do I have an eager, somewhat anxious, but definitely smile-inducing anticipation about my day? Hmmm… the question has never left me.
It echoes something the lovely author Danielle LaPorte told me in an interview recently. I asked her why is it that most people we know are in jobs that they merely endure to earn a paycheck and nothing more. Why are people working and existing just notches below their potential and rarely rising above that “Eh, I’m okay” place?
“That’s a good question, because that couple notches down is where you live in that comfortable place. It’s good, but not great,” Danielle explained. “It’s so seductive, because you’re tickin’ along, right? But you still have that craving in the good zone to be living dynamic and on fire.”
She went on to tell me that people who want to be in the place of doing what they love are never content with good enough. They’re not on auto-pilot or sleepwalking through their career. They say, “I want to be awake. I gotta be awake. I have to live a shiny life, because the alternative sucks.” Now, that sounds like a life full of days that start with restless enthusiasm.
Of course, I don’t necessarily believe we must begin every day bounding out of bed, practically spinning with excitement. Life gets mundane, and thank God for it. You need bad days and boring days. They make the good days all the better. However, I agree that something about what you do for a living should make you grin like a kid on Christmas Eve.
My hope for you is that you’ll find that restless enthusiasm that everyone truly desires – to wake up with curious delight at what wondrous things you will get to do today.
Today’s guest blogger is Rebecca Brittingham. Happy July 4th, everyone. Let freedom ring!
Barbeques, fireworks, pool parties, and parades will be itching their way into most American homes. Children, parents and grandparents will proudly wear the colors red, white and blue, while the American flag will wave valiantly across the country. Favorite traditional patriotic songs — “The Star Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, and “Yankee Doodle Dandy”— will be ringing in the streets, on the radio and the television. This week, the night sky will be painted colorfully with crackling flames sending chills down one’s spine. July 4, Independence Day is upon us.
Festivities, leading up to Independence Day, have already begun. Americans line their yards with the American Flag while churches, and various dance troupes prepare patriotic programs honoring military men and women. Today, Americans enjoy freedoms that many other countries do not. Americans choose to wake up and go to work, where to drive and what to eat. Americans have a right to purchase groceries at the market of their choice and choose their transportation.
While other countries would silence their citizens for speaking out against injustice, American citizens are encouraged to fight for justice. They have a right to vote, go to court, sign petitions and speak out against injustice. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, has been a haven and refuge for immigrants. America was birthed out of a desire to preserve one’s rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” guaranteed by the Constitution.
Freedom is like the forming of pearl in a mollusk. Years after particles of sand enter into a mollusk, the constant rubbing and pressure transforms the sand into a beautiful priceless gem. The longer the pearl undergoes the treatment, the larger and more valuable the pearl becomes. Similarly, Freedom is a right, a privilege and a jewel that should never be taken for granted.
It is easy to forget the price that was paid to ensure freedom in America. However, freedom is a gift that comes with a price. It must be defended and fought for in order to preserve it. Ronald Reagan once said,, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and lost it, have never known it again.”