Last night I shut down the day job computer at 5:06pm, I'm there through the end of May because I'm a people pleaser and didn't have the heart to only give them two weeks as much as I would have loved to. I grabbed a half a glass of dark red California wine, and Elizabeth Lyon's book on how to write a book proposal. In search of fresh air after being inside all day I plopped down on my cozy front porch with a note book eager to take notes and move forward with my own book proposal. I had a full evening of work ahead of me to be prepared for my 6am writing circle.
What's interesting to me about yesterday is that 7:30am-5:06pm moved like molasses and felt like difficult work, it was excruciating trying to keep up with the menial tasks of running insurance illustrations, answering calls that interrupted what I was doing from wonderful people who uttered things like "I'm sorry to do this to you, I know it's last minute but we have an appointment today at 4pm, can you get it to us by noon?". As ussual I would drop what I was in the middle of and send them what they needed, then muster up the brain power to try to find where I was in the task I was working on when they called, if I didn't get another urgent request in the mean time. All day long I took orders from other people and felt behind like I couldn't catch up or catch my breath. Then at 5:06pm when the switch flipped over to my new full time job, the one I created for me I was still working but it didn't feel like work. Reading how to write a book proposal, brain storming working titles, writing a concept statement and researching books that have already been written that are similar to mine took me well past 9:00pm, I didn't even think to eat dinner.
The juxtaposition of the two parts of my day is startling. They were both work, but one felt like heaven and the other felt like hell. My whole life I've thought "if it's hard that must make it the better choice". Working more than anyone else was a badge that I thought signaled my strength. I figured life was supposed to be work and therefore it wasn't supposed to be easy, but looking at yesterday evening I see that I was still working yet it was not only engrossing but also fun. I'm certain this is how it's "supposed" to feel.
A good friend and manager I once had would often repeat a phrase his Russian grandfather had taught him "to be great you must suffer". I took that to heart. I've put in a lot of not only hard but unenjoyable work over the last 11 years looking for external rewards. And I did it all to myself, no one to blame, but me. I wanted the admiration of peers and upper-managment, I wanted to be considered one of the best in my field, I wanted my external counterpart to think highly of me, and I figured suffering was part of the game. All of that was at the expense of my own happiness. The whole time I was working I knew I didn't like what I was doing, so why was I working so hard trying to be the best at it? I could have been putting that energy into finding the passion that would help me turn hard work into enjoyable work, but you know what they say about hindsight at least I learned a valuable lesson in the process. The job I've been doing could be fantastic for the right person or if I had loved it, but I didn't and you can't force yourself to love something (or someone for that matter) you don't that's what makes work difficult and unfulfilling. In the belly of my soul I knew that if i was going to be working hard I should probably enjoy it too. I'm not saying that you shouldn't work hard, but I'm saying it's so much easier to work hard if you enjoy it.
Looking back every time I've chosen the more difficult path I was unplugging myself from the universal power of life, I was cutting off an umbilical cord to my creative energy. I was disconnecting from my own personal truth, but in that disconnection I've learned, hard work becomes fun if you enjoy what you're doing, you might even be able to call the hard work easy if you love it. From now on I'm staying plugged into my creative channel and working for what I love exclusively.
Maybe you'll try it too? Have you already figured this lesson out or are you puzzling through this yourself? Comment below and let us know where you are on the path of least resistance. If this essay resonates with you please share it on Facebook or with a friend.