My Work Doesn't Always Look Like Work

Here's a confession - it's been (this time around) about 8 months since I left my job as the Marketing & Communications Director of a 42,000 member sports-industry non-profit.

And it's scary. I still don't have a clear vision of what I'm doing. Not knowing where money's gonna come from (I do some part time remote work & private consulting gigs, along with freelance writing, book projects and photography & videography), but it can be hit and miss, and while some of those pieces pay, some of them don't (yet).

Some are "work" some are not. Sometimes my day is full of helping & serving others. Some days are full of hours & hours in front of computer screens plugging away in between meetings. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of work, my skill sets, my value to others, my passions, my dreams and the confluence of them all. I wonder who else ponders these and considers how they play out in their life. 

I'm currently reading two books that cover these topics pretty thoroughly, Rework (buy now link: by Jason Fried and the team at 37signals and Adventure in Everything (buy now link: by Matthew Walker, which both cover the new job/freelance economy and the confluence of vocation, passion & dreams. Rework in particular looks at the future of work, while Adventure in Everything looks at passions, interests and dreams.

vo·ca·tion, vōˈkāSH(ə)n/, noun: a person's employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.

av·o·ca·tion, ˌavəˈkāSH(ə)n, noun : a hobby or minor occupation.

I also look closely at the alignment of my calling, contribution and maximum impact. I spend time examining what am I best at, where can I be most useful, how my innate abilities & skills fit with my maximum contribution to the lives of others and the betterment of all.

Sure, I have bills and I gotta eat, but I try to be simple. I try to be as intentional as I can. I don't have new cars or big debt payments, I don't eat out much, I live simply and try to buy only what I need.

I've placed a priority on freedom & flexibility in my life. I'm emphasizing adventure and time in the outdoors. I'm focused on helping others. I'm striving to become a better man. 

Everything I do - whether camp or fish or SAR or pray or meditate or learn or read or reflect or travel or daydream - becomes a picture and a dream for a story yet unwritten and yet untold.

The books I'm writing haven't seen a word put to paper, but the experiences, the mental pictures and the perspectives are starting to come together to create a slew of stories that now simply need to be woven together.

Resistance & fear often stop me from starting, but awareness, space, quiet and reflection are guiding an overwhelming pain that can only be overcome by simply doing, by creating & writing. When the resistance has it's hold, it can only be overcome by action & practice.

I'm on the path, I'm following the way...but here's another thing about me - I've never applied for a job I haven't been hired for. I've found jobs, I've created careers, I've dreamed opportunities. I've focused on what I wanted to do or where I wanted to work. I've differentiated myself in the value I bring to the point where I've been able to obtain any job I set my sights on. I don't say this to boast, but rather to illustrate the temptation of simply doing an about-face and just getting another job. Work is easy. Jobs come & go. Meaning & purpose is deeper and harder found.

I could probably go out tomorrow and find a job, get a paycheck and be moderately contented with what I do for a while, until that feeling arose within me (again) and it was time to strike out and do my own thing (again). And if one judges success on material, worldly things, getting a job and having new stuff and driving new cars, while stockpiling money in the bank would appear the path to take.

But this time, the ultimate objective and goal in front of me is to focus my effort toward inward reflection focused on my purpose, contribution, impact and passions to figure out how they come together amid my everyday adventures and work.

For many people, there's a distinct difference between vocation & avocation. For me, I don't see why they cannot thrive harmoniously together in an adventure-filled walk along a path of purpose & impact.

So if you think about it, just going out and getting a job would be a simple easy way to avoid the hard work of self-discovery of who I am and who I'm meant to be and what my role in this world is.

But, through experience, I know that ultimately wouldn't be fulfilling because from where my heart sits today purpose, meaning, impact and contribution are the only things that are.