Using Elizabeth Gilbert's ideas, I talk about the difference between a job, hobby, vocation, and career and how that applies to your life.
Today's session, I wanted to talk about getting unstuck with this idea about your job or career. So if you're feeling stuck in a job, or career that you despise, and that you're just not happy in, this is for you. I have some clarifying questions. And I have some really interesting insights that I've borrowed from other people that I'd like to share with you. Now, Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my most famous, right, you know, the writers that I love to read. And she's also in a way, a mentor, and a coach. And one of the greatest advice that she's ever given I love, love, love, and you can watch this on video, is where she talks about the differences between a job, a career, a hobby, and a vocation. I'm gonna go through all of that, because this is, this is gonna be so key to understanding why you feel stuck, and how you can move forward to find greater purpose and meaning in the work that you do. All right. So I'm going to begin, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the four terms. Alright, so hobby, she says something you do purely for pleasure, right? It just proves that you're not just someone who's paying bills and consuming. You don't have to make money with a hobby, or become famous, there's really not a lot of risk, zero risk. Right? You can be creative. And do something that you love as a hobby just for the sheer pleasure of doing it. All right, that's a hobby. Now a job. A job doesn't have to be amazing. Okay, and not everyone's going to have jobs that fulfill them. I mean, I love that idea. And I do believe, you know, I currently have a job that fulfills me. At the same time, it doesn't have to be that way. And it's not my end all be all right. So your job just has to help you pay the bills, because we live in a world where we have to pay bills, right. And we choose to do that. Right. So you can have a job while you're pursuing something else on the side a hobby. Right. And we'll talk later about a vocation. Right? Many creative people have two to three jobs day jobs at a time. Right? I know, I definitely have that. You know, because for much of history, if you're a creative person, and you're an artist, that's what you did. In order to support your art, right? You had to have jobs, multiple ones, oftentimes, in order to pursue your calling, as an artist, right. And this could be in whatever it is that you you want to pursue doesn't have to be art could be something else that you love, right? Having a job is how you're able to pay the bills, being adult in the world, and also not have to be dependent on a patron or a sugar daddy or someone to come and save you. Right? It's actually a really great thing to have a job as respectable, it's dignified. It gives you routine you can learn a lot from your job, and far more than just learning to pay the bills. And the example that was used by Elizabeth Gilbert is that so many writers like You know, Melville, when writing Moby Dick worked in the custom office throughout his whole life, he never really reached a point where he couldn't work at a job. But he still wrote every day, and wrote. So here's the thing, though the job doesn't have to be awesome, doesn't have to fulfill you. Like I said, it doesn't have to be joyful. Now, if it's toxic or negative, then yes, it's really important to make the plan and get in stuck, to get out of that job and look for another job. But you're still going to have a job. And it's perfectly fine, to have a job to support whatever it is that you want to do. On the side, right.
Now a career. You don't have to have a career, not everyone has a career, right? Some people just have jobs and not a career career is a job that you are passionate about, and that you love. It's something that you're willing to make great sacrifices, you work extra hours, there is an advancement, you know, progression and a career like moving up the down, moving laterally, you believe in the mission of what your career is, if you're in a career that you can't stand, then you can always quit that career make a change. In the meantime, and I've talked about this in several podcasts is to go get a job, just a temporary or even a regular job to support a career change, right? Careers are not permanent. But you should love your career, or not have one because you can just have a job and not a career. Okay? Now, I've gone over that. So hobby, job, career. Now the last thing is a vocation. vocation is a sacred calling. It is a divine invocation. The universe, God, whatever you believe in, that's higher power, has a plan for you to use your talents, and participate in creating something in your life in this way. It is your life, purpose, and it gives you meaning. It's a calling to be called. It's the highest possible pursuit that you can do. And no one can take it from you. Nobody can give it to you. Right, whereas it a job or career, somebody can take that from you. Or you can end it, but a vocation, because of the calling. It's so deep, it is satisfying to your soul. You give it life and it gives you life. Nobody can take that from you. Right. So for Elizabeth Gilbert writing was her vocation for a decade before she even became famous, right? She did it every day, because it was how she lived into her highest expression of being. That is how powerful it is. Right? It is how you live and step into your highest expression of be it is deep in your soul, that commitment that you would do it for as long as you breathe. But that also meant that in the meantime, while she had this vocation, she would have a job, a job that wouldn't suck up so much of her time and energy that allowed her to pursue her vocation. Right, she had a lot of jobs, actually, that allowed her to pursue her vocation. And a vocation is something that you do no matter what the outcome is, it is just like breathing or drinking water. It is that essential to your everyday life. So whatever it is that you love, that you are being called to do. Ask yourself, is it a vocation for you? Is it your calling? Would you do it? If you knew you did for 20 years every day, and it didn't matter what the outcome was? Right? Now, not everything has to be a vocation. Right? It could be a hobby, and I think that's where sometimes we get stuck. Because I think especially for people of my generation and millennials, I'm an elder millennial or millennial and slash Generation X. That we tend to think that our job or career Your has to fulfill us, right? But that would be a vocation. But not every everyone has to have a vocation, right? Well, your vocation could be something that you do, that you are called to do. And if you want to explore that, we can explore what that vocation is for you. But it doesn't have to be your full time gig.
It is the thing that you do no matter what that fulfills you, and gives you purpose and gives you meaning. Now, if it's a career, that would be amazing, right? But a career also does become something else. Because once a vocation is a career, it means that you do have to sacrifice time, you do have to be aware of a lot of things like if you're a writer, you have to be aware of social media, your entrepreneur, you have to think about customer service, you'd be focused on finances, right? So there's a lot of aspects to that. Okay, but the vocation part, even with the career, there's a career part of it. Let's say it's something that you just love to do. But that vocation part will never end will never die, that would always feed you your life's purpose, and what gives you meaning. Whereas a career, the same career could end, people could lose interest, you could lose clients, your business could go bankrupt, right? The career could end a job could end vocation does not end. So oftentimes we get stuck, is when we think we get confused with these different terms, right? We think this vocation that we have, we can't do it, if it ends, and that is so not true, we can't do it, while we're still doing a job. But whatever it is, that you are called to do, that gives you light that gives you your life purpose, you would do no matter what, and that will go on until the end of time. And it doesn't really matter what other people think. Right. So if you are called to write, or to create art, you will always have that always each and every day, regardless of how many followers you have, or how many clients you have. Or whether people pay attention to the work that you do, right. So now, the other aspect of that is, if you've confused job or career with what it means to live intentionally with purpose, or creatively, or deliberately pursuing what gives you that meaning in life, if you are confusing that, then really, we would take a look and see maybe there's a lack of self accountability, right? You can make it work, you don't have to throw away your dreams. Just because you feel like I've got to get a job or it's not going anywhere, right? If it's your life calling, it doesn't matter if it's not going anywhere, whatever that means, because you are creating and you're living into your highest expression of self, right. And by the same token, you don't have to make drastic life changes, like quit a job as long as not toxic. But let's just say it's paying a bill. But it's it's not giving you a sense of purpose or meaning, right, but you don't have to quit it. If it allows you to be able to pursue your vocation while you're still working that job. Right, you don't have to make that drastic change. It gives you time to really reflect make choices from an intentional and thought out well thought out of place. Right? You don't have to disappoint your family, you can still pay your bills, while still living in the highest expression of self and feeling that purpose in your life. So some questions to really think about then is how can I make my vocation work for me? Do I have a vocation that gives me this overarching sense of purpose and meaning of life? What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? What kind of impact or mark do I want to make in this world? Are there some themes that recur in my dreams, so I love keeping a dream journal, when my conversations with people that show what I'm so drawn to, and I would do no matter what I get paid, or no matter what the outcome is,
when have I met, felt most alive and connected to the earth, and to people and to myself, you know, it could be a project, it could be a job you've had, right, that just gave you that deep sense of meaning and connection. And then once you figure that out this deeper, deeper theme, is overarching, if you were telling a story, and you were the hero of this journey, what would that thing be? Once you figure that out? Then you can ask, what is this theme for me? How do I make it a part of my everyday life? Does it need to be a career, because maybe it's fulfilling enough as a hobby, maybe it's fulfilling enough as a vocation that I do while I work in my job, right. Or maybe it's something I do want to make a career. And I'm just scared of, you're just scared. And that's why I really highly recommend working with a coach, to work through the fear and to address a lot of the thoughts that we have, our brains are wired, to have negative thoughts, and try new things about trying new things, or any sort of change, right? So when you work with a coach, or when you find other ways to address those thoughts, and that fear, you can really get to the root of what it is you really want. What do you really want in your life, right? And without all of that noise, you can reach a sense of is this something that I want to make into a career, if I knew that it didn't matter what the outcome was, but I would become a different person in the process. And I would enjoy this journey and recognize that it's going to have ups and downs, 5050? Would I want this as a career. And so that's something to really reflect on, right in getting unstuck. The other question to ask is, if I didn't need this thing, to fulfill me? If instead I'm living into my highest expression of self and being, then what would I want in order to pursue it? To make it happen, am I willing to make it fit into the life that I want? And finding that intersection between your life's purpose, what gives you meaning, and the kind of work that you want? It's an evolving journey. Right? It can change throughout time. But it's important to keep in mind the key questions, the overarching theme in your life, the kind of impact and legacy you want to leave, along with the four categories of job hobby, vocation career, and that what gives you your purpose to meaning doesn't necessarily have to fit in all categories, right? It doesn't have to be the thing that you put all your steaks in, and you put all your eggs in one basket, right? You can do multiple things, and still be very fulfilled. All right. The other thing I wanted to talk about was, as you're deciding these things about your overarching themes, and how you want it to fit into your life as a hobby, or career, vocation, or job. It's also important to figure out what kind of life you want. And for that I always turn to Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I love that book. And he talks about the four dimensions of your life. And when one's out of balance, then your whole life is out of balance. So it's important that they're all balanced. And that's the physical aspect, the spiritual aspect, the mental and the social emotional.
Now, when you're thinking about This higher calling for this overarching theme, right and how to make it fit into your life, you always want to be with the kind of life you want to create, is you want to make sure that in order to pursue this, that your physical health isn't neglected for extended periods of time, right? That spiritually, you're not neglecting that aspect, right? In fact, the spiritual could be feeding this, right, we want to make sure that that's also being tended to that mentally, that dimension of your life is also being tended to, and that the social emotional part is also being tended to in your life. Right. And that could be other things in your life, like your family, your children, your husband, you know, your spiritual traditions, right. But they should fit in first and foremost, into these dimensions in your life. And then that's the job career vocation, should really come next. Because these different dimensions should not be sacrificed for a job or career or vocation. Right? And then that's where we kind of get into the heart of values, right values are so important, because that helps you prioritize what is most important and treasured in your life? Right values are the beliefs, attitudes, and opinions that you might hold regarding specific issues, right? They could be subjective, they may change over time. But values such as integrity and kindness and compassion, or balance, or boldness, or courage, right, I like to look at the top three values that I've identified as essential to my life. And you can reflect on that long term life, you can reflect on that in the in the next year, or five year or 10 year plan, what are my top three values, and everything else has to fit into that. And along with that, our principles, and principles are like fundamental truths, that are unchanging and universal nature. Right. And the principles have to do with ideas, and notions that you adhere to, that are important to you, and how you live your life. And when you're thinking about values and principles, you want to think about these aspects you wanna think about, who do you want to be? What do you want to do? And what are the core values and principles that govern your life? And it's in these areas, right, the four dimensions I talked about physical, spiritual, mental, and social, emotional, and they can be broken down even further into relationships, health, religion, spirituality, career, job, vocation, finances, education, family. And what I love to do, and it's recommended in the seven habits book, is to begin with the end in mind, it's always so helpful to imagine if you are on your deathbed, right? Or you were tapping into your future self five years from now. What kind of person you want to be in five years who you are at that stage? Looking back? You know, or could be your deathbed. Whatever it is, that's a long term thinking that has you reflecting backwards? What kind of person are you? Right? What dreams have you realized? What values and principles do you live by? How have you made your mark in the world at that point? Are you proud of yourself? Are you proud of the person you've become?
Are you proud of the life you've lived? Write? And if not, what does that life look like? What kind of life did you live, if you weren't your deathbed, that would make you so proud and fulfilled, and that you left a legacy and a mark for your children and grandchildren in for the world. And then you work backwards with that. Right, and you work backwards. And you say, what kind of values guided me in this life that allowed me to have this life that I am so proud of? And they made me feel so fulfilled this overall life? Right? And then working then even backwards from that with the values is, what kind of calling did I have that allowed me to live out these values? Whatever that calling is? Could I pursue that as a career? Or is it something that I do while I have a job? Right? So really, I think the thing to get unstuck is not just about submitting resumes, writing cover letters, and those are all key and I, I love coaching on those aspects as well. And I myself have gotten coaching on them. But first and foremost is laying the foundation for where you want to go in your life, what kind of life you want. And we always go forward, and then reflect back. Because when you do that, that's when you can clarify what is most important to me. That was on my deathbed, if I was facing debt. How would I have wanted to spend my valuable time? And then from there, right, then we can kind of fit in it's like a puzzle building a puzzle, right? You know, from there, they figure out values and principles, then working backwards. And then from there figuring out, how does this fit into a hobby, job, vocation, career, all of that. But first and foremost is to think deeply. Get in touch with yourself. And ask yourself these deeper life questions of who you're meant to be in this world. What plans the universe or God or the higher power has for you, and how you can make a greater impact in this world. And leave a mark that you are so proud of, because that ultimately, is what's going to give you that purpose and meaning in life. All right, this is part one. The fundamentals of getting unstuck are the foundation of clarifying your life purpose. All right, thank you so much for joining me today. I will see you next time.