Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I am excited to be back with new journal entries for 2022. If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. It's been quite a journey! And I know a lot of you would love to leave your 9-to-5 behind and pursue your own business doing something you love. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about opening your mind to the possibility that you CAN do work you love.
If you take a quick look around, it's not hard to see why most people feel an unsatisfying 9-to-5 job is the only option. It's all over our culture - from "I hate Mondays" to "TGIF" - we are taught to hate 5 days of the week and live for 2 of them. In school, we are pushed to get a "stable" corporate job at a reputable company. We are taught to "think practically" and stifle our dreams. Did anyone in your schooling ever sit down with you to evaluate your God-given gifts and talents? Think about it. We all have really special talents - some people have one big one, some people have a few smaller ones. Some people are gifted writers. Some, singers. Some people are absolutely fascinated by the human body and want to pursue medicine and healing. Some are intrigued by construction work and want to pursue a trade. I don't know about you, but I never - not once - had an adult sit down with me during my formative years to evaluate how my talents, gifts, and special skills could be parlayed into a career.
This is one of the reasons it is so hard to leave a "stable" 9-to-5 and pursue a dream. To most, it sounds foolish given the programming we endured for so many years about work. Still to this day, if I had a dime for every person who said, "Wow you left a stable job as a lawyer to make jewelry?!" I would be rich. They'll even walk into my store in Charleston and say that - with evidence right before their very eyes that my dream has come into fruition. That's the programming we were brought up with. And some people are very unaware of it.
If you want to start your own business one day or pursue a different career than the one you find yourself in, you will have to overcome this programming. You will need to erase it and replace it. That sounds daunting, doesn't it? I mean, the TGIF culture is all around us - from the TV shows we watch to the way we sign off emails with "Have a great weekend" - heck, there's even a national restaurant chain named TGIF's. So where do you begin? It's a process, not something that happens overnight. I would suggest that you begin by writing down this phrase and repeating it every single morning on your way to work and every single night as you fall asleep. I would also recommend repeating it every time you feel negative feelings about your current work creep up. Maybe put this phrase on an index card and carry it with you in your wallet or copy and paste it into the notepad on your phone so that it's always available to you. Here it goes:
It is possible to do work I love. I don't need to hate my job and live for the weekends. I can earn money using the talents and gifts and skills I was born with, and have fun along the way. It is possible to love my job and my work.
If that phrase sounds like a load of crap to you, well my friend you have a lot of work to do. Your programming runs deep. In addition to repeating this phrase as much as possible, I would recommend that you look for real life examples of people doing work they love. Maybe you have a relative or friend you can point to. Or you can point to someone famous - I mean, look at Betty White. She did work she loved until the day she died. Look at singer Tony Bennett - he performed with Lady Gaga last year at the age of about 95 years old. It's true, when you do work you love, you never "work" (as you currently understand that term) a day in your life. And the idea of "retirement" also gets turned on its head (but that's a discussion for another day). And please, please, please, look at me as an example. I am no different than you. If I can do it, you can do it. It takes WORK. It will be HARD. But it is so, so possible. There is no instant gratification here. Nothing worth having gets handed to you on a silver platter. If you stick with it, you can change the way you perceive work.
When you change your perceptions around work, that's when things really start to shift. You start to become a magnet for work that feels good, because that's where your mindset is. Work is supposed to feel good. Don't get me wrong, every day is not a walk in the park in a fantasy land. But overall the way you spend 40+ hours per week should be satisfying on a number of levels. You should feel like you're contributing your gifts and talents to the world. You should feel like you're learning and growing as a person. You should feel like you're earning a living by contributing what you have to offer. It's a beautiful exchange when you think about it: to give your gifts and get currency in return to pay for your life's expenses. I love the word "currency" instead of money because it conveys the energy behind it.
And several years, after things have changed for you, you'll look back and you'll be able to see exactly why you attracted those jobs you hated. I see it now, with myself. I know exactly why I was attracted to being a lawyer, and why I allowed myself to remain there for so long even though I hated it. In short, I was a straight A's at school perfectionist who went to an Ivy League college and a top 25 law school and got all of my internal worth and self-esteem from being validated at school and work. That's where I excelled. So as I kept excelling and excelling and excelling at school and work, I felt "better" about myself. But it was really a false sense of self-esteem I was building that eventually came crashing down but that's a journal entry for another day. And then, when I got into the legal profession, some unhealthy personality traits I developed as a child living with a bipolar father served me extraordinarily well in my profession. For example, when you're a child living with a bipolar parent who is not managing his or her disorder, all of your effort goes into "not making dad or mom upset." And by default, you learn that your needs and wants don't matter. Of course, as a child you don't understand that you aren't the one making dad or mom upset. You don't understand its their disorder. Well, fast forward to the legal profession where you are asked to work all hours of the day and all days of the week, and bend over backwards for your clients. Your needs don't matter. Your clients always come first, no matter what. I can remember a wedding I missed because of work. I can remember missing out on seeing my grandmother before she passed because I had a legal brief due in court the next day. Awful. Awful. Awful. This is not acceptable. But of course at the time, my clients' needs were more important than my own no matter what the price tag and that made me a great lawyer. Ironic, isn't it? As you can imagine, there were some deep-seated issues that needed to be healed and I used the help of a therapist. Your journey may be similar. When people used to ask me at the beginning of my business ownership journey - are you scared you'll have to go back to being a lawyer someday? My answer has always been a resounding "no." You know why? I have healed the junk that made me a match for that job. That situation is no longer acceptable to me, for various reasons. I am now a match for doing work I love, having personal freedom to prioritize the events that matter to me, having boundaries at work, and earning a living by offering my gifts and talents to the world.
So, if you're in a job or career you don't particularly like right now, I hope that you too will no longer be a match for it someday soon. With some hard work and some time, it's guaranteed. The choice is yours.
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!