Doing What you Love for a Living

By |2018-03-29T07:17:30-07:00October 5th, 2011|

Yesterday I wrote about doing work that matters and how to distinguish that from understanding that YOU matter.  Throughout the journey of this new position, I have discovered a lot of things about myself that I had forgotten:

1.) Burn out is a real possibility because I don’t know when to say no.  When you do what you love for a living, suddenly, it’s all you think and talk about.  You live and breathe this stuff, as the Advanced Business Solutions motto goes.  And while that can energize you, it can also drain you if you’re not careful.  I knew so many musician friends of mine who quit college because they didn’t want to ruin their love for music by dissecting it to death every day.

2.) I always feel like a kid at the grown-ups table when I start something new.  Even though I know my stuff and I work really hard, I always have this nagging feeling that someone is looking at me like “what is SHE doing here??”.  This insecurity has been an unwelcome visitor the past few days.

3.) Change is hard.  For everyone.  Every single time.  I always think that this time, the change will be easier because it’s a different set of circumstances.  And I’m always 100% wrong.  Change is always difficult and after shininess of the “new” wears off, you’re suddenly the “change” and the polite smiles have been replaced with guarded words and conspicuous whispers.

So here are the ways that I’ve come up with so far to combat these three nasty personal demons that pop up for me occassionally:

1.) Learn the Art of Balance.  Since it’s hard for me to say no, I’m switching to “Not Right Now”.  This way, I still feel like I am helping out, without burning out.  I’m also learning to set aside 30 minutes of “me” time daily.  I can use it however I want, as long as it doesn’t involve Arts Integration.  Lately, I’ve been using for some exercise in this beautiful weather, having dance parties with my daughter, and taking some photographs (just for fun)!

2.) Give myself permission to ask thoughtful questions and put the solutions into practice.  Everyone is learning – no one is really an adult.  People are just people, all looking for ways to improve themselves and their lives.  So there is no “table” anymore – we’re all in the sandbox together.

3.) Accept that the change will be hard for some people and give them the space they need to deal with it.  I so want to jump in and be helpful and cheerful, but if someone is upset by the change of my position, I’m not doing them any favors by being Little Miss Sunshine.  I would be more helpful if I backed off.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

Doing what you love for a living can come with some unexpected surprises along the way.  The trick is to figure out ways of dealing with them on your own terms so that your love stays your passion.

What are some things that you have discovered in your job journeys?  Any advice to share?



  1. Elizabeth Peterson October 7, 2011 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Susan, Well said. I’ve been there too, recently, in fact. My favorite of your pieces of advice is that we are all in the sandbox together. Great visual to keep in mind that everyone has their burden to bear. We can read into things we are not sure of and that may mean simply brushing it off, and that’s ok.

    Building in me time is super important. Time that is NOT marinated in AI. Our brains need breaks! And family and self-care is a perfect way to give ourselves the break and nurturing we need.

    Enjoy your week end!

  2. Kristen Quinn November 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    You’ve packed quite a bit of wisdom into this little post, Susan! I especially like what you said about no one being an adult – and your sandbox reference would make a great visual! Glad I took the time today to scroll back through the posts I’ve missed! And please remember, you’ve got people around the country wishing good thoughts your way as you navigate this new position – you’re breaking new ground, girl!

    • Susan Riley November 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Kristen! I’m so glad that the nuggets of wisdom I get occassionally are helpful to someone other than myself. 🙂 And I so appreciate your thoughts and support as I go through this whole new world of Arts Integration every day and every way! It means more than you’ll ever know!

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