Like most new things (material possessions, relationships, promotions, etc) the initial excitement wore off for my job writing for the newspaper.
And once that faded, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed took over.
I was content and happy in the beginning but then I was asked to double my output. With that request I felt like I was losing control and anxiety crept in. My long list of potential stories grew and was a never ending list. When I would scratch off one thing from the list two more came my way.
When I would leave work, I wasn’t leaving it mentally. It would stress me to the point that I would wake up sweating in the middle of the night.
My left eye began to twitch all day.
At times I just wanted to pull my hair out. I was even stressing out about Mondays when I would leave work on Friday for the weekend.
“For the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘if today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ ” -Steve Jobs
It took me a few days to build up the confidence to talk to my boss. I had no plans on what I was gonna say either.
I didn’t know if I was gonna say I’m done, or that I’m putting in my two weeks notice or what. But at the last second before I got up from my desk I realized maybe I just needed help.
“You got a minute?” I asked him poking my head in his office.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
A sat down and took a deep breath.
“I’m feeling super stressed and feel like a want to pull my hair out.”
“How do you think I got this way,” he said as he leaned his balding head down towards me.
“This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me. And the amount of stories I need to produce each week has me overwhelmed,” I told him.
Then I added, “it’s hard too because I don’t really care too much about the things I have to write about. Like board meetings and city council meetings.”
“I can give you the tools to help with time management and give you tips to help write stories faster, but I can’t help you love the job any more. This job is a constant cycle. If you feel stressed now then you’ll probably feel stressed each week. And if you don’t love this industry it will always just feel like a job to you,” he said.
“I want you to read something.” He got up and searched for a book on his bookshelf. When he found it he blew the dust off and then handed it to me.
“Read the first 5 chapters. If this doesn’t give you an erection…”
I busted out laughing!
“I’m serious. If this doesn’t give you a fucking hard on about writing for a newspaper, then this job just isn’t a great fit for you. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not for everyone.”
After I left his office with the book in hand, I really felt better. I took his advice he gave me and wrote a few stories that day and felt accomplished.
I crossed those off my list. Then by the end of the afternoon I was asked to add a load of new stories to the list and the mountain just got higher in front of me it felt like and the sense of accomplishment I felt earlier was washed away.
We decided I would read the book and we would talk again in a week or so.
The book was actually well written and almost sparked a flame in me….but it didn’t.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly successful is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs
Before I talked with my boss again I was given more assignments that I had zero interest in, which resulted in me staring at my computer all day with a blank mind not knowing how to write on them.
It all just started to feel like a waste of time. It wasn’t something I loved to do.
Nothing came naturally to me and everything felt forced that I wrote about. I wasn’t writing with my heart like I do here.
“Nope,” I said when I went into his office again as I handed the book back to him.
“You said something like ‘this job will just feel like a constant cycle each week and will just feel like a job’ the last time we talked. And I believe it will be like that,” I added.
“Fair enough. Well we’ll come up with an exit strategy for you and I can help you get your next job too,” he said.
I felt so much better. He even mentioned that he could see the relief in my face after we talked.
I did feel like a giant weight was lifted off of me. The stress melted away.
But there were moments when I wondered if I would regret this decision. Did I make the right choice?
Then I thought that I would rather have regrets than to feel completely stressed out and caged in every week.
I didn’t love the job. I was almost willing to lie to him about the book just because I needed the money. But that would be a horrible and shitty way to live life I think.
I would rather be happy and penniless than to be worried and rich.
I honestly have no idea what the future holds. But I do know what it is that I love to do. (Read my last post if you haven’t already)
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs
I’m going to live each day just how I want to. I’m gonna train my ass off for the Bighorn 100 and spend time writing about running and working on a book.
I will be open to opportunities that come my way but I will be careful to pick something only that relates to my lifestyle.
This could be my only chance to go all out with my passions.
Who knows, maybe next year or next month, certain life circumstances might arise and this opportunity I have right now, to live exactly how I want and run as much as I want might be gone.
I want this badly and I don’t want anything to get in my way of achieving my potential and greatness.
This is my moment and I’m taking it.