I have never thought about this before until a few weeks ago. I interviewed for a company and before I went into the interview, I went through and read as much as I could about the company. I came across this video (I recommend watching this. It’s a pretty entertaining speech). The company’s tagline is Love What You Do. The video talks about how the company got started, how to run a successful business, explains the tagline and why it’s better than doing what you love. To sum up why it’s better to love what you do instead of doing what you love, is because of burnout. But still check out the video.
A few months back I quit my job to pursue doing what I love. All day sitting in my cubicle, all I thought about was running and triathlon training all day. I figured shit, if I could spend all day training, I could be a pro. Then I could get paid to do what I love and be happy as can be. After I left, I got into a groove. In the morning I went for a run then on a bike ride, then later in the afternoon I went for a swim. Some days I would change the order, but you get the idea of what I wanted to do all day.
After basically training full time for a few months, I thought I was gonna have a killer race. I really thought I was gonna blow my age group out of the water. I pictured myself having the best race of my life and having sponsors line up behind me. I pretty much doubled my training time from when I had a full time job, so I assumed success would naturally follow. I did the race and barely did better than my previous (which was awful) attempt at the distance of a half ironman triathlon. Even though it didn’t go as planned, it was a race I learned the most from. I knew everything I needed to work on to improve even more. But after the race I immediately began my training for my first full ironman. I did just about zero recovery. At the time I was completely fine with that. My body felt good…. until about a month ago. I am so burned out right now!!! I can’t wait to get my next race over with so I can not even think about training for awhile. I have lost the desire to even get in the pool or hop on my bike. You never really think over-training could happen to you, until it does.
Now that I’m burned out, I have been questioning, is this something that I really want to do for a living. I absolutely love running and hope I can do it for the rest of my life. Even if it’s just to get a few short miles in a day. I love how it clears my mind. I love pushing myself beyond what I thought possible. And I love how accomplished I feel after a run. It almost gives me a sense of purpose on life. But I think I fell in love with the idea that I could get paid to run all day or train for a triathlon all day. After awhile the love almost disappeared and I was forcing myself to get out and train. I started to feel obligate to get out and train. It even got to the point where I almost did two things I have never done before. Quit a race and quit a race before even doing it. I just about had a Forrest Gump moment and I was gonna tell my friends that my running days were over.
I have asked a few “pro” ultrarunners to get an idea about what their financial situations are like. Probably something I should have done in the first place, to see if it would be a viable career to pursue. I know money isn’t everything, but you do need it. I got the same answers from the athletes… they work multiple jobs and barely make ends meet. I even read one runner’s blog and he lives or has lived in his car for a long period of time. Do I really want to live like that? Hell no. Make enough just to scrape by, all just to do what I love doing? I would get extremely tired of it. I’m already tired of it and I am not even making any money doing it!
After much thought I know I took on a challenge way too big and way too soon. Do I regret quitting my job to pursue doing what I love? Not one bit. I have learned so much about myself and have experienced things that I probably would never have if I didn’t try. I also know now more than ever how to pursue my dreams and passions. So to bring the intro and my story together, I need to love what I do. And with my free time do what I love. Don’t think that I have given up on my dreams. I have spent some time off and rediscovered my love for running. I still believe I can achieve amazing things and have the abilities to win the long distance races that I want to put myself through. I just need to find something I enjoy doing for a career and pursue my passions on the side.
So do you, do what you love for your career or love what you do and pursue your dreams on the side? I don’t want to advise anyone to make the durastic leap that I did by quitting my job to do something for no money. I also don’t want my story to scare you away from doing what you love. My dreams and passions will differ from yours. So my situation is a lot different. Remember to take things slow. Before you make any major decisions ask yourself some questions to see if it’s something you really want to do or can do as a career. Is it something that can financially support you and even your family? Imagine doing it for money, would you lose the passion and feel burned out? Is it something you can do on your free time or take a class to gain experience first before making the dive? Do you know people you can reach out to for advice? Does your current company have something that is more along the lines of what you are passionate about?
I hope some people can learn from my experience. Maybe this will motivate people to take the first steps to doing what they love. Just be careful and not take on too much and feel the burnout that I have felt. Always do what you love. Never give up on your dreams. Even if no money is involved don’t let it get you down. Remember why you love doing what you love and do it to the best of your ability!