Do you ever feel guilty for wanting more?
“You should be grateful to just have a job in this economy.”
“This isn’t the time to raise your prices or move to a bigger house. Just be happy with what you have.”
“I can’t believe you’re thinking of buying another pair of Gianvito Rossi heels. We’re in the middle of a pandemic!”
If you’re honest with yourself, they have a point. Just the fact that you’re reading this means that you have an internet connection. A roof over your head. Food on the table. All stuff so many people on the planet don’t have.
You should feel grateful for what you have. But, you feel guilty. Guilty for wanting a better job. A better house. A better life.
Why can’t you just make do with what you have? Why do you always have to want more, more, more?
I’m a huge fan of being grateful for what you already have in your life. But gratitude isn’t an excuse to settle. Here’s what I mean:
Being Grateful Doesn’t Mean Settling
In 2015, I moved to London to pursue a career as a freelance writer. I couldn’t think of anything better than getting paid to write all day long.
Within a year and a half, I had a steady stream of clients and was making enough money to quit my side gig as a personal assistant… And I was crying myself to sleep every night.
I HATED being a freelance writer…
I’ve never felt more guilty in my life. Here I was, living in my dream city and making money from my biggest passion… and I still wasn’t happy.
I told myself I was just being an ungrateful, selfish brat. So many people never get to pursue their passion.
So what if I didn’t like the type of articles I was commissioned?
So what if my clients were calling me in the middle of the night to fix a typo in a blog post they had published months ago?
So what if I had to constantly chase late invoices?
I was still pursuing my passion, so I should be grateful for that and forget about the rest. Except, I couldn’t.
Because being grateful for all the sucky parts of the job meant settling for a career and life that didn’t light me up.
Real gratitude is about appreciating what you have, not settling for what you don’t want.
Don’t know what your passion is? Download the Passion Finder Worksheet below to find out today (plus weekly tips on how to pursue it):
You Can’t Make An Impact When You’re Settling
I stayed in my freelance writing career too long because of the guilt. I told myself that I already had more than most people had, that it was selfish to want anything more.
You know what? It was selfish NOT wanting anything more.
Because during those months that I forced myself to suck it up and be grateful for a job and life I didn’t want anymore, I was miserable… and I made everyone around me miserable.
I brought the stress home and was short-tempered with my partner. I started to slacken on the job and deliver lower-quality articles a few minutes before the deadlines ended. And whenever I met up with a friend, I spent the entire evening ranting about how awful my clients were.
How was that helping anyone?
It wasn’t helping my relationships. My partner and friends were pretty fed up with me and my constant temper.
It wasn’t helping my clients. They had hired me for a job and I wasn’t doing it that well anymore.
It certainly wasn’t helping all those people who didn’t have the opportunity to pursue their passion. They were still stuck in a miserable job. And now, I had joined them, too.
We act like there’s a limited amount of success, dream jobs, and wealth in the world. As if pursuing your passion means that you’re taking that chance away from someone else.
That’s a lie.
Related: The Danger Of Tolerating An OK Life
The More You Have, The More You Can Give
You not pursuing your passion doesn’t help anyone else pursue theirs. You’re all just miserable together.
But when you stop settling and go after what you really want, you inspire others to do the same.
When you quit your soul-sucking 9-5 job to start your dream business, you show others what’s possible for them, too.
When you make more money, you can employ more people and give them their dream job, send your kids to a better school, and donate more cash to a charity close to your heart.
When you’re happy and satisfied in your life, you’re spreading positivity and good vibes to everyone you meet.
Asking for more than what you have – especially when you don’t like what you have – isn’t selfish. It’s the only way to improve your life and, as a result, help others do the same.
You Can Be Grateful And Want More At The Same Time
Feeling grateful for what you have and wanting more aren’t mutually exclusive. You can totally feel them both at the same time.
Back when I was working as a freelance writer, I was grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion, the clients who allowed me to pay my bills, and all those hours I spent writing.
I was even grateful for the lesson that experience taught me: following your passion alone isn’t enough to feel fulfilment. There are other pieces, like values and life purpose, that you need to take into consideration when figuring out what business to start (I teach all my clients the exact process when we start working together).
But, I still wanted more. Because without that desire, you stagnate. You don’t evolve. You’ll never fulfil your full potential.
Gratitude and desire go hand in hand. Feel grateful for everything – good and bad – you have in your life AND trust your desires enough to follow them wherever they lead you.
Because you wouldn’t have that desire, if it weren’t meant for you and you didn’t have what it takes to make it happen.