Follow your passion and all will be well…
You’ve heard that before, right?
Ask around for a show of hands, how many people actually followed this advice?
My guess: very few.
For two reasons 1/ no idea what it means; 2/ no idea how to do it.
This is the typical wishful thinking advice that makes it sound blissful to leave home and job to spend the rest of your life in a secluded ashram.
Cute! but not for most of us.
I am sure the idea of the Mysterious East would get any heart excited, and I can also guarantee that the brain is starting a scorecard of all the no-go’s it can imagine.
Does that mean that we shouldn’t have wants and desires?
That our hearts should stop singing the day we entered adult life?
Nope! And Nope!
The time of either/or is far behind us. We can choose to have them both work as a team- in one word: integration.
Meet your special advisory team!
Your first board advisor: the Mind
‘The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason’- Thomas Paine
I’m not taking much risk by asserting that if you are reading this post, you are the intellectual type; and yay to that!
The mind is your go-to resource; it’s your planner, your vision board, your problem-solver; in a nutshell: your jack-of-all-trades; from pros and cons to to-do lists, leading your career choices and life decisions.
The Mind rules!
It’s the creative visionary that doubles as a strategist to influence and ‘make it happen’ for you.
Add to it an emotionally detached analyst, judge and critic that will make sure you are staying within the zone of what’s feasible, and reasonably within your means.
Chances are, the mind has always been your first ally, and it’s likely the one you rely on the most.
Cultivate that relationship, shower your brain with love, keep it curious and expanding.
Because now can be the right time to start diversifying your decision-making process.
Your second board advisor: the heart
‘The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know’ – Blaise Pascal
Confirmation bias: one of the worst ways for making decisions.
The culprit? the need to be right. The antidote? understanding that we all have our blindspots, and man! can they be costly.
Enters the heart, the seat of all that we label ‘crazy’ and ‘unreasonable’- grounds for disqualification for any life-altering decision-making, right?
The Heart has a lot to say, even to the most logical among us.
For most of us, our life has been focused on the doing and achieving within deadlines. Blissfully ignoring that we’re not here only to produce.
As heard since early childhood:
- Stop dreaming, focus on being a Straight-A student first!
- Nobody secured their financial happiness by doing [xyz]; finish law school, business school first, then you can decide
- You are to old / too young, you don’t have enough […] to make these kinds of decisions now
And if an opportunity to break from the mold happens:
- What would my family think of me?
- I already spent so much time and money on this, I cannot let it go
Successes and achievements will keep us going. Until that nagging feeling that there is something more to it in life.
Do you know who is calling you out of hiding? Your heart!
When the mind will say: ’wait a bit let’s do a P&L first’, the heart will give an unconditional ‘yes!’.
And when you feel caught in the middle of the ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’ enters your third advisor.
Your third advisor: your gut feeling
‘Mistrust first impulses; they are nearly always good’ – Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
- Is this opportunity or promotion really what I want?
- Is this really the right time for me to get that new role?
- Am I overextending myself?
- Will this new role give me more freedom to do x?
- Will I have any leeway to make decisions that are in integrity?
- What price am I ready to pay to get it?
You see the reason/desire type of dilemma, right? you can do 10 pages of pros and cons and yet still not be able to make a decision.
Introducing the concept of gut feeling, also known as your intuition.
Heart says ‘no’, Mind says ‘go’? The gut feeling will test your heart’s motivations and your mind’s hindsight. And this decision will be a collaboration of the two.
The gut will say the ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ from a place of experience and inner knowing; it knows that passion needs reason to become a reality; that a life of doing and providing and producing is eventually a Soul crusher.
Your gut holds the records of your past experiences, and the script of your vision for your future. Ultimately pushing you outside that zone of smallness – ‘I cannot do it’, ‘it’s inappropriate’, ‘it’s silly’- while keeping you in line with your own code of integrity -doing the right thing-.
The gut is your perfect arbiter.
Your sacred Trinity: integration of reason, passion and intuition
In this world with so many contradicting mantras: ‘follow your passion’, ‘build an emergency fund first’, ‘when it’s too good to be true’- it’s easy to fall back onto our comfort zone of decision-making, whether it’s the reasonable thing to do, or the impulse of the desire.
Neither is good or bad: they each come with a cost. But once a mistake has been made in the past, we tend to get stuck in the ‘never again’.
That, too, can cost an opportunity.
Conscious decisions come from integrating the different parts of ourselves that could seem competing against each other, when in reality, they only want to be heard, too.
Ultimately the decision is ours. And we can stand by it.