My story isn’t the usual tale of realising how much I hated my job and finding the courage to quit in pursuit of doing what I loved.
I left a ‘dream job’ as a graphic designer to pursue my hidden real desire of being a professional fine artist. I realised that you can be so close to your real dream (I was being creative after all!) and yet, by not being honest about what you really love, you’ll be just as unhappy as someone who really hated their job.
Battling my fear of failure in pursuit of something so ‘fanciful’ (fanciful = unrealistic & likely to fail) as being a fine artist, I discovered the world of design in high school and thought my dreams had come true! Here was a vocation that was employable PLUS it was creative. It was a lot of hard work but I persevered and pushed through the difficulties. I had to learn how to handle the doubts from well-meaning relatives and friends which only added to the fears. Thank goodness for the stubbornness of youth! I kept the momentum despite the scary by just moving forward, one step at a time.
I did get into university, even more amazingly I landed my dream job! Working in a fun creative studio designing greeting cards and paper products. I had achieved my goal, proved to myself and my very worried family that I could get a J-O-B doing something creative. This grew my faith in the inevitable success that comes when you pursue your goal with all you have, pushing through the fear.
Four years passed by and my yearning to be a visual fine artist continued to pester me. I knew, that deep down I wasn’t really happy. Something was missing. I battled with my inner fear & love-of-security monsters yelling at me, “It’s your dream job! You have travel opportunities like you wanted! You get to make pretty things and be creative all day! There are people who are stuck in boring jobs they hate! You don’t HATE your job! How can you DARE ask for more!”
I envied the stories I found online of artists leaving their jobs and starting their art-life. I realised I had a dream job, but it wasn’t MY dream job. I loved what I did but I wasn’t doing what I truly loved. I was so close to being what I dreamed to be and yet it felt so far away.
Fortunately, my dear husband patiently listened to my laments about wanting more. My sad realisation that on sick days I was glad I was ill and didn’t have to face work. My guilt at realising I fought so hard for this designer life and I didn’t want it anymore. He encouraged me with his full support to grasp at my dream and make it a reality. So mid-2010 I decided I would.
(Brenda next to her painting at her first group art show – “living her dream”)
I wish I could say “I’m living my happily ever after”. In a way I am, but I’m also at the beginning of a new story. Now when I read those blogs about artists and their life, I feel like I’m reading my own future diary but I still have to LIVE in the present. I’m being a full-time artist now! That isn’t to say all is sunshine and rainbows. The fear monsters still screams occasionally, my days are filled with learning to listen to both my monsters and faith. To be a beginner again means learning to be humble, being willing to fail. I realise I’ve had to change my lifestyle too, budget-wise as well as learning the difference in managing myself as a business owner vs being an employee. Learning to be kind to myself when I fail; learning to pick myself up and keep moving forward. Accepting baby steps instead of jumping to the happy ending; learning to celebrate those small steps too. Learning about all the knowledge I didn’t know I didn’t know to live an artist’s life and business, but it all began with making that choice to actively DO what I love. That has made all the difference.
In hindsight, I am grateful for the detours of my life. I think I needed to build up that faith in myself to pursue my journey now. I’ve also realised, I’m happy to make financial and time sacrifices, because I no longer needed shopping sprees or mindless hours of TV to anaesthetize myself from my unhappiness. I’m finding peaceful joy in the simpler things, because now I’m moving in the right direction towards a more meaningful, bigger picture.
I believe that we all have a life dream, an inner flame. We were created to pursue this dream, to do what we love. I also believe there will be a lot of hard work, tears and fears along the way — there is no rainbow without the rain! You just have to keep moving forward towards that life, even when you can’t SEE the light at the end of the tunnel. Have faith in the divine to partner with you to achieve what you were created to do! There will most likely never be a perfect time, or some heavenly sign to tell you when to start doing what you love. You just have to choose to begin. That will make all the difference!
[All images courtesy of Brenda Mangalore.]
Brenda Mangalore is an Artist, Designer, Dreamer, Doodler, Durian lover and Jelly’s mum. Sashé Studio is her online home where she shares her journey of creating this artist-life and business. You can join her in the Sashé Studio Society for exclusive news and goodies or find her on Facebook or Twitter.]
Hello everyone. I’m Luisa and I blog on Happy Serendipity. I’m honored to be invited to tell my story here on Do What You Love. I’m currently taking the Do What You Love E-course which I so enjoy, and since I’m talking about what I love doing today here it is actually good exercise for me to find out – while writing this post – if I’m already there where I want to be.
I think I’m already doing a lot of things that I really love. Loving from the deep down bottom of my heart. For me doing what I love doesn’t only consists of actually “making” or “doing” things. On the one hand I DO have a great life which allows me to be creative and spontaneous. On the other hand I have a consistent job that feeds me well and that allows me to live in a dream apartment together with my partner. I am so grateful for being able to do all of those things that make me happy everyday.
(Found inspiration via Pinterest)
When it comes to really doing what I love I can say that I would love to turn my passion into a full-time occupation. I have a very dearly relationship with a sewing machine. Since some years I sew almost every day. It’s like an addiction to me. I sit by the machine and turn nothing into something, fully concentrated, dedicating all my heart and thoughts and love into every single piece. When I’m into a project that takes all my time and creativity there is nothing else that I can think of in that time. And then I saw this quote “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about” and it hit me. I opened an Etsy shop end of last year and that was big step towards my dream. ALL summer I’ve sat day and night to get the first pieces done, I photographed, wrote descriptions and thought of how to let people know I’m out there, too. That was my first step and I was so proud of myself. I remember my first sale and I literally jumped through the roof.
(Some of Luisa’s lovely sewn creations)
And now I’m there with all my dreams and plans and a bunch of ideas that are coming out of my ears already but I’m totally stuck. Even terrified. The thought of quitting my day job, loosing the security of a monthly paycheck, my retirement pays and a steady day scare me. I don’t doubt my talent or my passion or that I could be so much more than a worker in an office but I just can’t do this right now. To be honest, I’m not brave enough. And I have not yet found a solution for this.
So what I do is keep on doing what I’m doing. I feel very blessed about everything I’ve accomplished by now and I reached the point where I can tell myself that it’s ok to still wait a little bit longer. I gave myself this year 2011 to find out what I really truly want. That’s a big thing to figure out. Throwing out wishes to the universe not knowing what the real wish is is just wrong. Until then I keep on sewing and blogging and just do what I love.
HA! See?! There we have it. I’m already doing what I love BUT there is so much more in store for me. And I’m really looking forward on working on my dream and to fight my way through my future.
[Images courtesy of Luisa]
Would you like to share your story on Do What You Love? Maybe you have some good advice on how we can all be more brave? If so I’d love to hear from you so please read this and contact me for more details.