Translator: Abdalla Mohamed Proofreader: Riyad Almubarak The day I was laid off from my job with Martha Stewart, I felt so relieved. I really liked the job. But the relationship ended and I didn't know how it could end and then he broke up with me Don't you like this happening? At the same time I was also hosting a radio show with the Martha Stewart logo on SiriusXM. Shortly after that, the show was canceled as well. On my last day on the show, I went up the elevator on the 36th floor and as the elevator started going down I started crying. Every floor takes me away from who I was: a magazine editor and show host, the one who has a great job to talk about at parties.
You know, frankly, I had no idea what I was going to do, and no one was looking for me. So, I did as anyone would in this situation and made some calls: "Hey, what's up? Did I mention I'm available?" I needed to get paid to do something, right I mean I live in New York if you don't get paid for something you won't be there for long. But this idea I should have taught her what to do now. I am supposed to pursue this passion. It just annoys me. It was always bothering me. And that's because it's a dangerously limited idea at the heart of everything we believe about success and life in general that you have one passion and your job is to find it and pursue it to the exclusion of everything else. If you do this everything will fall into place. If you don't, you will fail. The stress starts at a young age and lasts a lifetime, but it might be noticeable when you graduate from school, isn't it.
After this, "Wow, the world is at your feet, what are you going to do now?" And it's actually a very scary thing. It's like choosing a major for life. You know, it was a tough time choosing a 4 year major and I changed it once, if not twice. I mean, it's scary, right? And that's urgent. I mean this, you know, a cultural imperative that you have to choose your passion, it was stressful for me, but not just me, everyone I talked to agreed with me. The woman who sold me this dress. I told her why I was buying the dress, what I was going to talk about and she said, "Oh my God, I really want to hear this conversation, because I just graduated from school.
My friends and I don't know what we're passionate about, we don't know what we're supposed to do." I am passionate about many reasons. But one of them is that passion isn't a plan, it's a feeling. The feeling changes. They're changing. You can be passionate about a person and a job, and then you're not passionate, so we know that and yet we keep using passion as a yardstick for you to appreciate everything, rather than seeing what that passion is: the fire that burns when you start rubbing sticks together.
Anyway, I was a mess in my twenties, a terrible mess. I was nervous and depressed and had no life to talk about, I was working temporarily to keep my options open, and I was sitting in the evening in my swimsuit watching reruns of Seinfeld. Actually I still do this, it's not the worst thing in the world to do. it's normal. But every evening I would call my mom crying and I would quit great full-time jobs. Why? Because I was afraid. I was sure I would make the wrong choice and take the wrong train to the wrong future. My mom would beg me, she would say, "Please, take a job any job. You're not going to get stuck, you're stuck now! You don't make your life first and then live it. You make it by living in it not by thinking about it." She's right, she's always right. So I accepted a full-time assistant job at a management consulting firm, where I don't know anything.
Okay. Zero, except I know I have a reason to get up in the morning, shower and leave the house, the people who wait for me when I'm there and get my paycheck every two weeks. This is a good reason to get a job like any job Do I know I want to be an office manager for the rest of my life? No! I had no idea! truly! But that idea that everything you're supposed to do should correspond to passion is unrealistic. And I should say - Khellan. Find me someone who washes outlets for a living and I'll bet you a million dollars it's not out of his passion for port washes. One of my favorite newspaper columns is a piece by Dilbert character maker Scott Adams. He wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago, about how he failed on his way to success.
One of his jobs was a commercial loan officer. He had specific instructions: "Don't lend money to someone who is following their passion." No, a loan to someone who wants to start a business, the boring the better. Adam says that success in his life fuels his passion more than passion fuels success. When I got my first job as a newspaper editor, in publishing. I was cheerful. But I had to take a big share of the salary, because at the time I was a catalog writer at a wig company. Laugh all you want, you and a lot of people have done this before. But wig companies pay a lot. I had to find a way to get some money. A friend of mine invited me to a jewelry party. I said, "What is a jewelry party?" “It's like an auction but on the bracelets.” “Okay, I see.” I went and had the best time hanging out there trying on jewelry.
And the sellers had a great time and I was like, "That's a great job. I can... I can do that." I mean, really, she's having a great time. Now, I have no selling information, except that I count girls as Girl Scouts and I was horrible I had no passion for jewelry. I mean, frankly, each earring is worth 20 bucks. And I keep saying, "I think I can give silver jewelry to suburban mothers who drink. Yes, I can do that." So I did it, I signed up, I became Silpada Designs and I.... Listen to me, I wasn't using the word excited anyway. Really, I was awful and afraid to sell. And then I started getting better, I got better, I started making some money. I'm already starting to feel bad about this. Not just because of the money but because I realized people wanted things they were happy to buy. I sold a lot of jewelry that year and won a paid trip to St.
Thomas. That's true. I eventually left jewelry because my career had changed but I was so happy to do it. Because it was planted in leadership I did not know it existed. This pays off to this day. Now you know the rise of cottage industries helped people find their passion, right. Books, training, the internet, whatever. They are in the place they love, that's great, I'm very interested in self-discovery.
Okay. But when you ask a question or are asked like, "What is your passion?" It excites me. It's like, "Oh my God, I have to find a good solution to this." One of my friends is in her mid forties and she is looking at what her life will be like now. She would say, "I don't know what I'm passionate about." She is concerned about this. She is ready to appoint a team of people. It's like, why are we worried about this? You know why, because she thinks it's her fault. I thought there was something wrong with me when I was in seventh grade and everybody loved rock bands and their actors and they carved their names on the tables in the library. And I didn't dig anything, because I couldn't think of anything to dig. I mean, I like Bon Jovi as much as the girl next to me, but not enough to deface school property, Maybe that's why I don't have any tattoos either.
I suppose this is the reason. I was so boring, I thought something was wrong with me. But that is fear, isn't it? That's when someone asks you at a party , a date, or a job interview. "What are you passionate about?" Because you won't give an interesting answer, which means you're not interesting or ambitious, or you don't have a single obsession or a terrifying talent to hide. And your life is not worth living. This is not true. Passion is not a job, a sport or a hobby.
It is the full force of your attention and energy that you expend in whatever is in front of you. If you are busy searching for this passion. You can miss out on life-changing opportunities. He can get lost in you loving him so much because that's what happens when you look at just one thing, trying to find that thing. We all think we know our personality type and what kind of person we can love. But sometimes we are wrong. Entirely mistaken. And sometimes you don't know what you're going to do next, right? I mean, I don't know. I like not knowing what I'm going to be in 5 years from now or what I'm going to indulge in and that's okay, it's okay not knowing, you know why? Because most relationships are filled with passion. And sick jobs are the ones that still have the power to amaze you.
And for the things we want to do. You want to write a book, you want to start your own business, you want to change your career. Great! But if you just sit around waiting for a passion to appear and take it, you're going to be waiting a long time so don't wait. Instead, spend your time and attention solving your favorite problems. Find the problems you want to solve, be helpful and be generous.