The Brutally Honest Truth About What Happens When You Turn Your Passions Into Your Career

I’m in a rut.

Running a business has so many perks: schedule flexibility, the ability to choose the type of work I want to do, no “boss” to report back to…and, it’s worth repeating again, schedule flexibility.

However, running a solo business also has its pitfalls: lack of structure, loneliness, little-to-no collaboration, and a general feeling of “laziness” even though I’m working harder than ever before. 

Lately, I’m experiencing more of the pitfalls than the benefits. It sucks.

Here's the brutally honest truth about what happens when you turn your passions into your career.

What do you like to do?

I was chatting with my friend and fellow business owner, Paul, about this yesterday. Paul runs a super successful pool business, so he’s extremely busy about 7-8 months of the year and virtually doesn’t work the remaining 4-5 months. He gets it.

Yesterday, Paul asked me, “What are your hobbies? What do you like to do?”

I honestly couldn’t answer him. 

Mind = blown.

The first thing that came to mind was blogging and writing. However, as much as it pains me to say this, blogging is part of my job…and most days now, it FEELS like a job. 

The second activity that came to mind was yoga. Of course, I love yoga and try to practice as often as I can, but teaching five classes a week doesn’t leave much time for practicing, so I’m lucky if I get on my mat twice a week.

All of the other things that came to mind after those seemed trivial: Watch Netflix? Drink wine? Scroll mindlessly through Instagram for funny memes? Play with my puppy?

These don’t feel like “hobbies” or interests that could turn into passions.

When you turn your passion into your job

Last year, I proudly proclaimed in a blog post announcing my career change, “I’m creating a career of my own choosing- a career doing all of the things I love.”

Sounds beautiful and amazing and wonderful, right?

And indeed it is (most of the time).

However, I never realized this would also turn into one of my greatest struggles. 

I used to jump out of bed at 5 a.m. every day to write on this blog.

I used to stay at the yoga studio for hours after the 7:30 p.m. class let out practicing poses, and taking photos and videos of my progress.

Not anymore. Not for either of those hobbies. And not for a very long time. 

It makes me sad, and it makes me feel lazy.

When it really comes down to it, I know the reason I feel a lack of passion for these two hobbies is because I’ve now turned them into my day job.

I *have* to write on this blog because it’s how clients find me, and how I stay connected to my community.

I *have* to practice yoga because I teach yoga and you can’t be a good teacher, unless you’re also a practitioner. 

It feels like a Catch-22. 

Could I go back to the way things were before?

Sure, I could get a day job and make blogging fun again…or I could stop teaching yoga and go back to being just a student, however I know those aren’t the answers. 

I still find purpose in running my own business, and I find purpose in teaching yoga…however, I also need to re-find purpose and passion in my personal life.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think the answer lies somewhere else.

In search of a new hobby

In an effort to pull myself out of this rut, Paul suggested I find myself a new hobby — a new passion.

Easier said than done, of course, but he’s right.

Over the weekend, my boyfriend Tim who’s a big fan of golfing took me to the driving range to hit some balls for the very first time. I felt excited to be let in on his passion, and to learn something new.

It was so fun to do something I’ve literally never done before…to feel like a complete beginner, and even to feel kind of (okay, totally) sucky at something. 

Check out this video to see one my first swings. Most importantly, note the look of pride on my face at the very end.

It was fun. It was challenging. It gave me energy.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, maybe golf isn’t going to be my new passion, but it’s a start.

I’m on the search for some new hobbies to experiment with. I’m chasing that feeling; that high when you do something for the first time and go, “Yeah, I think I like this.”

Have any ideas for me? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Have you ever turned your passions into your career? Have you experienced the same feelings I’m going through at the moment? I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Ah I totally hear ya on this! I do social media strategy and photography for a living, and while I really enjoy my job and wouldn’t change it, I find myself needing an escape on the weekends (although with social media as my job … is there ever really an escape?! haha).

    I really enjoy disconnecting, reading, walking the pups, checking out a new brewery opening, or visiting parks and going hiking. There’s tons to do around Philadelphia and this time of year something is almost always going on over the weekend!

    Hope you find success in finding a hobby. I recently took up trying to learn chalkboard lettering – it’s been fun to turn on some tunes and just zone out trying to learn something out of my comfort zone.

    • Right?! It’s so crazy, but I feel you on needing an escape. I love your ideas for how you disconnect. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristin Willard, RDN

    Yes! I am with you! No matter how much you like your work it is still work. Anything you end up “having to do” to make an income has a different feel than it did before. I love reading and learning about nutrition but the moment I made it my career it did not seem as fun. Even all my friends are nutritionists. Haha!! Hobbies… can traveling be one?

    • YES, so true. And, of course traveling can be a hobby!

  • I feel the same when people ask me what my hobbies are. They are more or less the same responses as yours (writing, yoga, etc.) although I feel there should be more. Last summer was a time for new things where I tried out hiking, Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts and self-defense course), road trips among others. Those are some ideas you can embark on or may have already done.

  • Clare

    I’ve been there too Jessica. For me, cooking has been a useful way out. Something about the blend of science and art and the physicality of it helps. Having something delicious to eat at the end of it doesn’t hurt either! 🙂

  • TheMCVirus // TMVGarrett

    I’ve been thinking about this lately too. I have what feels like zero time right now to explore new hobbies but if I did, I think I would vote for learning to play a musical instrument or maybe take voice lessons.

  • haha this is classic Type A and I can only recognize it because I used to be this way too (I mean, I’m still Type A, but much less!) The point is: you don’t have to *do* anything! You actually can sit, relax, not be actively productive, and watch your beloved Netflix with a glass of wine. That’s totally okay!

    But if you’re still looking for something to do, what about a spinoff of one of your current loves? Like… remember when you did the yoga pose challenge and posted photos every day? Or remember when you used to blog about books? So what I mean is take one of your passions and do something different with it, something you’re *not* doing already as work. It’ll feel different and spark creativity!

    If you’re still not happy with that response from me (ha – wouldn’t be surprised!), then my suggestion for a new hobby is riding a bike. I bet the new area you live in is gorgeous for riding, there are so many trails just a short drive from you, and it’s active and would help you clear your mind for other things. Plus, don’t you like riding at the beach? And it can be done with others, which helps that human interaction thing you’re looking for.

    • Ah, Janelle! Ever the voice of reason. Thanks for the permission that I don’t have to do anything! Haha.

      I also really love your suggestions and ideas for a spinoff — thanks for getting my wheels turning!

      I DO want to get a bike! I love doing it down the shore, that’s right!

  • It doesn’t sound like a hobby, but if you have a pupper, start doing obedience classes with her! It’s something you can do with her and with goals that give you a better doggo and a better relationship with her that will make both of your lives better in the long run. Some of the people where I go end up doing sporting like flyball or agility, or showing their dogs, but I am enjoying watching my dog turn into a more confident and happy pup.

    • I don’t have a pup 🙁 My fam does, but not me here in the apartment. I do make a point to go home and spend time with him there though!

  • I already sent you an email about my hobby suggestions – singing, dancing, and parties. Oh right, and television. Maybe wander Barnes & Noble and see what section you’re most drawn to? Goodness I love that place.

    Also. Have you read my post on the first time I tried golfing? All the hot mess. As per usual.
    http://chrystinanoel.com/2015/07/16/my-first-time-golfing/

    • OMG, thank you for reminding me of your golfing post! I am sure I’ll be able to relate to it more now.

  • Kerri Lowe

    Thanks for sharing this, Jessica! I can totally relate! My favorite “hobby” is getting out of town!

  • Uta C

    I have thought about this lately as well.. Happy for this post and can totally relate. I think there are a few other things I like doing.. but I think because my business is still so young and I am still working out those beginner kinks I am driven to learn everything… but this is good food for thought…

  • Cristyl Foz Camacho

    Fun way of earning money is doing what you love and used to do. But in my case I still can’t determine what my passions are.

  • Megan Sharma

    Fabulous blog, Jessica! That is the never ending struggle, is it not? To continue to learn and grow and stretch ourselves and stay engaged and passionate about what we are doing. Nobody ever said it was easy…and it isn’t! There are days when I feel so alive and invigorated by my writing, and other days when I just want to spit at what’s happening on my computer screen. I feel your pain! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Megan! It totally is the never-ending struggle. Glad I’m not the only one!

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