Passion or Pain....Job or calling?
I'm a pretty emotional guy. I need to be fully invested and passionate and in all I do: my relationships, my job, my hobbies and my life. As soon as I lose that, my interest level drops and I start going thru the motions. Occasionally, you need a good kick in the pants to help you hit reset, so that you can get your juices flowing and re-focus on what's important to you.
I have always seen my "career" as a coach as more than a job. It was a calling. Something I loved. Something I took pride in. Something I have done for 20 years! I did not do it for the money (I could be earning a lot more money doing something else!). I did not do it for the fame or the notoriety. I just loved helping kids and athletes reach their goals and progress as people in something that we were both passionate about.
This last season was the hardest of my career. For the first time in 18 years, my calling had become a job. It had stopped being fun. I had lost my passion for it. I was now one of those dudes that was working for a paycheck, and not working specifically to improve other people's lives. It was not that I was doing a bad job. Far from it. My athletes improved and made strides. It was not that hated it either. There were some fun times. What had really happened is I lost the purpose of why I loved to coach!
There were a few reasons for that, and I'll share with you those that were within my control so that it might help you should you ever get in that career funk:
Jack of all trades, master of none:I fully over extended myself, and was taking on roles that frankly, I was not passionate about, nor did I excel at. One thing that I notice of most coaches, is that they are very giving people. The majority of time, they will put their own needs below that of the athlete. This tends to see you lose focus on what's important, what you are passionate about, and most importantly, what you excel at.
Know your value and trust your talents: My need to please all people, and to be adaptable, took me FAR away from this philosophy. In any calling, it normally takes talent and expertise. My whole career I had played by a certain set of parameters that had made me successful. There were certain structures, protocols and decision making that I had control of that I need to stay passionate and successful. I lost sight of these, and did not take control of the situation.
Stay true to YOUR environment for success: Anecdotally, I have heard many friends and family speak in fear of leaving a job, even if they hate it, or even if it's in an environment that does not get them excited and passionate. No job is worth the money if you are unhappy, and in a situation that's not a fit. I speak of "environments for success" to all my athletes, yet I set myself up in one that would not allow me to do what I loved to best of my ability. Sometimes, things just are not a fit, and you need to have the foresight to not put yourself in that position.
Passion trumps a paycheck: We all have bills to pay, we have to eat, pay rent, mortgages, support our families etc. I get that. But for how I'm wired, the paycheck does not mean much if I'm not passionate and fully imbibing my job. The funny thing that I have found with me is that my quality of work will dip slightly in ALL careers I have done when I focus on the monetary part more than anything else.
Don't lose your purpose: If you have truly found your calling, never forget why you started in the first place. If you have to cut your role back, take a backward step, or stop a role all together, do that. It's important to wake up every day and be stoked on what you are doing!
We all have those tough moments in our careers. Its natural. I've had more than I would like to count, and I am hoping that I have learnt from those. Getting back to the core mission of why you started your career, of the parts that make you pumped and you excel at, are always a good way to narrow the focus on what is important.
Don't be scared to make those changes, and to challenge yourself to keep that passion flowing. It should not be pain, and its more than a job......it's a calling!