I used to have jobs, positions where I put in my best effort and was paid in return, but who I was and what I did for a living were two disparate things. Once I had the focus and bravery to address and say out loud, “I’m a writer,” everything changed. I began doing what I love and the world became an expansive and breathtaking place.
There’s no shame in doing what you have to do to make ends meet, but getting to a point in life where you can realize and seize what you’re truly built to do is nothing short of exhilarating.
Here are some things known only by people who love their careers from the heart. And if you’re not there yet, I hope this encourages you toward achieving it.
1. You feel invigorated after a long day of work
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that you’ll never feel tired again. Some days after hours of staring at the screen; dealing with the administrative aspects of entrepreneurship; graciously, yet as realistically as possible, interacting with clients regarding rates; and, oh yeah, writing, I am pooped.
But I lay down at night glowing with the satisfaction that I’ve earned this rest and that I’ve made some real strides with my day.
2. You wake up with a sense of contentment and excitement
There have been times in life when I would feel consciousness creep over me with a sense of dread. When one day is too much like the last, or a mind-numbing row of hours lay ahead, it’s easy to get bogged down.
But when you open your eyes and your mind starts assessing what to tackle today and how you’re going to get it onto your “done” list, you feel a sense of furor that only comes when you’re using your skills to shape the career and life you’ve wanted.
3. You feel the world expanding
Your perception shifts when you find you’re validated in things you only used to vaguely dream about. You kind of always knew you could do it, but you were intimidated. You knew you had skills but didn’t know how those skills could apply to the real world.
When you find your skills clicking in real live interaction with the larger picture, and you meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise, you realize that promise is truly endless. What a thrilling feeling.
4. You feel more connected to humankind
When you make new connections and particularly when you see your work has helped people in one way or another, it reinforces the fascinating symbiotic successes we can achieve only through collaborating with others.
This feeling is powerful and brings about a whole new level of the human experience.
5. You feel charged, rather than bummed, when it’s time to head back from a break
Everyone needs breaks. Working in beast-mode all day every day will wipe you out and hurt you in the long run. But the difference when you’re doing what you love is that breaks are nice, but getting back to it is nice too.
No sense of dread or counting down the hours ’till you can finally call it quits for the day.
Hours are tools you can’t wait to get your hands on.
6. You love it when someone asks you what you do
When someone inquires as to your career, your heart swells.
When the words come out of your mouth, it makes sense to you, it feels right to you. In fact, if they’re interested to hear more, you could really talk their ear off about it. That’s a good sign.
7. You feel aspects of yourself come alive when you work
I’m a big believer in the fact that we all have inherent talents which are the hardware of our functioning in the world. The skills and ideas we take in allow these bits and pieces to really spark and ignite the way they were made to.
When you do what you love, you’re alive in a way you could never be otherwise.
8. You feel a deep sense of purpose
You’re driven by something other than money. You don’t punch in and out, you embrace each work day as your own. You have a reason to do what you do and it’s inextricable from who you are.
It’s a psychological principle that the harder you have to work for something, the more pleasure you get out of it. Sayonara instant gratification! Challenges are now opportunities.
9. You feel disappointments to the core
Gone is the luxury of indifference. When you really care, your heart is on the line and the more you feel it when things go awry.
When you love what you do, it’s an extension of yourself, and there are agonizing times when that makes you incredibly vulnerable. But it’s worth it.
10. You see the future as holding promise, rather than uncertainty
You have goals that you know you can achieve. You frequently review the progress you’ve made and look to what’s next, both short-term and long-term, and your consciousness swells with potential energy.
There will be days of doubt, days of discouragement, but, all in all, your mind is on the precipice of all that is possible; just breathing it in deeply and ready.