Where Should You Focus Your Energy?
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Whatever it is that creates passion – some combination of neurons, life events, and biology – that's what naturally consumes our attention. That's what we want to be doing.
When you pick up that guitar, and play a few of your favorite licks, you want that to be your every responsibility. When you pick up a pen, and feel stress leaving your body with each additional letter, you want that to be your livelihood.
When you spark an idea and start elaborating on it, you want to convert it into a successful venture. The thing is, for most of us – and all of us at some point – those passions aren't full-time gigs.
We have other responsibilities and obligations. We have jobs to work and people to take care of. It's in everyone's best interest that we focus on those responsibilities, and let our hobbies and interests remain just that, and only that. Right?
I don't know if "struggling" is the right word, but I've definitely had a difficult time working through this concept recently. I can't pretend I have it all figured out.
But, as usual, if I'm having a difficult time working through something, it likely means others have gone through or will go through that same experience. What's the right response? This isn't perfect, but here's what I've been processing.
Recently I started freelancing. That's a big step for me! I'm making some extra, but if I did it full-time, I don't think I'd currently be able to have enough work coming in to fully support myself and my wife.
I still need to grow, obviously, which takes time. There are a handful of things I know I need to do to take my "hobby" to the next level, but again, it takes time to put all of those things into practice. This leaves me in a bit of a pickle, probably one you're familiar with.
I'm really passionate about my personal work. Why shouldn't I be? But my responsibilities are still to my full-time job. That's what's enabling me to support my wife and I. That's what I'm ultimately accountable to, and I enjoy the work! For the moment, though, all my motivation is drained.
I don't feel that I just absolutely have to get away from it by any means. It feels more like I'm going through a transition. Mentally, that's the case. In reality, nothing is different yet.
It's still my duty to show up and bust my butt for my team and my company. Doing the "right thing" – which is somehow always subjective – is sticking it out right where I am. But my energy is naturally flowing in a different direction.
Where should you focus your energy? In an ideal world, you could focus everything you've got in one area for the time needed, then in the next, then in the next. But nobody has that much energy.
No one has that much passion before they find their groove, and finding that groove is what this is all about!
It's very difficult to say, and I'm sure something will change so that I've got a different answer in a couple months, but it seems that the best place to focus your energy is where you're naturally passionate.
That means having to be honest with yourself and your full-time gig. You see a long-term plan for yourself. That job isn't in it, and you're not doing anyone any favors by half-heartedly delaying the inevitable.
Sure, this is much easier said than done. Quit your job to pursue your creative passions full-time? That's insane! For some, yes. For others, it's the logical next step.
It's time to take that massive leap, because that's the only way you'll force yourself to go where you want and need to go. Would you be in financial ruin if you just up and left? That's for you to decide.
Where our treasure is, there your heart will be also. Ultimately, everyone's going to be better off if that's where you focus your energy.