How do you live your dream if you haven’t discovered it yet?

Recently I reached out on Facebook, asking who out there felt they were doing what they were “meant” to do with their life.

Out of my several hundred “friends” I only received a response from 2-3 people who said that they felt they were doing what they were supposed to be doing with their lives. There were several others who disputed the wording “meant to do” because they felt that we can all do whatever we choose. So, then I guess the follow-up question would be, did you choose to do what you are doing now?

I think the obvious answer is yes. We all have jobs that we chose to walk in and apply for. But, did we think we would be doing something different? Are we still at place that we told ourselves we would only be at temporarily?

In another post, I asked people what was the biggest thing holding them back from pursuing their dreams or what they are passionate about? There was overwhelming response (Which led me to believe that the Facebook algorithm was not to blame for the lack of response to the previous question). We have an awful lot of excuses for why we have settled with where we are at.

Out of these responses, though, were a tremendous amount of people who were just unsure of what they were actually passionate about. And that made me wonder.

Why? Why don’t they know what they are passionate about? How does one not know the thing that makes them come alive? How does one get out there and discover the things that make them come alive? That’s exactly it, I guess. Get out there.

I am 31. I am still fairly young. But I like to think that I have done quite a few things. Things that have helped me discover things I am passionate about and things that, for the sake of getting through life, I merely tolerate. Here are a few.

Most of you are familiar with the fact that I used to play music. Music was what made me come alive. Performing, specifically. Playing drums will always be something that I enjoy doing. It was something I had always wanted to do, even before ever touching a real life drum set. It was always just a desire of mine. One that never left. And so I did just that. I started playing when I was 14. If you do the Math, I have been playing drums for longer than I have not. However, drumming is not a passion that I want to make money doing (I have one stipulation, actually. If Paramore knocked on my door today and said, we want you to drum for us, then maybe I would go play again and come out of retirement). A few years ago, I started playing drums in a band again. Thinking it’d be like the olden days of touring and performing and meeting incredible people. The problem was, it was not. It was playing in dive bars, late at night, hauling a gigantic instrument around in the hot and in the cold, and fending off drunk people. It just isn’t something I am passionate about anymore. Today, I need deeper connection with people, sunlight, sobriety and more sleep. I still enjoy playing drums, but in the comfort of my own home.

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After walking away from my band of 7 years, I got a crazy idea to screen print shirts for people. At the time, I knew a lot of people who needed “band shirts” and shirts for other random causes. So I saved up some money and bought a screen printer. I made some pretty decent money doing the t-shirt printing and had fun coming up with design ideas and learning design software. Outside of that, though, it was a ton of hard work. Not sure if you know the process of screen printing, but for a tiny 5’1” tall, 105 pound person like me, it was intense. Lots of chemicals, heat guns and paint. I needed something a bit more simple. That’s about the time I sold all of my equipment and bought a camera.

It was the necessary creative outlet I needed since I wasn’t writing and performing music anymore and that part of my brain just didn’t know how to shut off. I loved it. I would sneak away out of the house and grab my buddy and we would go on random adventures to get photos in. That was the best. The memories that were created. I later had the idea to start charging people for photos. Worst idea I ever had. After shooting a wedding for 12 hours and not being fed, I put the camera down and never picked it up again. Literally. Sure, it was my lack of business knowledge and having stipulations in a contract, but either way. That was enough. I love Photography, but it’s not what I am meant to do…or make money doing, I should say. I’ll take pictures again in the future, but on my own terms.

A few other things I truly enjoy doing are running, cycling and planning out finances. I exercise near daily and it is an important part of my life, but I have no desire to be a fitness coach. The exercise, I do it for me. Same with finances. I love budgeting and spreadsheets and balancing my accounts, but I don’t care to be anybody’s financial advisor. I don’t mind sharing advice and tips, but I have no desire to get paid for it.

There are even plenty of things that I have done that I discovered I just absolutely dislike doing altogether. Clothing retail (Old Navy), please kill me before I ever consider another job like that. Serving food. My mother was a waitress for 14 years or something crazy, what an incredible woman, bless her heart. I hated it. The smells, how particular people are, the terrible tippers. Just no. I worked for a season at my Step-Father’s Interior Design company. Not for me either. I don’t care about different fabric patterns or carpet colors or backsplashes. My mind can’t wrap around why people get so crazy about a table or chairs. Tech Support. Eeeeek. I made decent money, but dealing with crazy people who have no idea why they purchased what they did and can’t remember their passwords…no thank you. My family knows it is a bit of a point of contention with me. They often want to use me as a resource for their tech questions, but sadly it’s rare that I can maintain my composure long enough to help them with their issues.

So, with life experience came knowledge of what I like, what I don’t like, what I love doing and what I am passionate about.

Out of all of these things, there is one thing that I know I am passionate about.

Helping others pursue their dreams. This was discovered while I was in my first band. The true reason I loved music. The connection. People would meet me, write me or reach out to me in some way and ask for my advice or help on how they get going with their own music. Convincing others to believe in themselves and their dream is by far, my favorite thing to do in the entire world. I will willingly waste my life doing this. If I can find a way to get paid for it, cool. If not, either way, I will still have fulfillment.

band help
Photo credit: Calvin Rutherford

Had I stuck with any of those other things I had mentioned, I wouldn’t be living out MY dream. I would have forced myself into a mold in which I do not belong. Which so many of us do. I am not saying that you are too good to hold any other job, other than your dream job. Because I also believe in hard work and the necessity of having multiple jobs so that you can pursue your dream. Because sometimes your dream is not a money maker. My Dad loves fishing. He takes his boat out every weekend. To support his dream, he has a great job working for a company that pays him well.

So don’t just go run out and quit your day job because it’s not your dream. Rather, do what needs to get done in order for you to have a way to discover what it is that you are passionate about. For years, I waited tables to pay the bills while I pursued music. The bills still have to get paid. Don’t neglect your adult responsibilities and don’t neglect your dreams. Both are vitally important. Create a means to allow yourself to discover. Don’t be a slave to adulthood. Because we all have to take care of our responsibilities. Don’t make adulthood your excuse. Because it’s a bad one. There are plenty of others out there, getting through adulthood AND living out their dream. I’m convinced you can too.

What is something you have always wanted to try but haven’t? What is a step you can take today to discover your passion? Although you may have a day job, are you intentional about having an outlet for your life’s true passion? Feel free to share in the comment section below.

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