“What the heck is wrong with me?!”, I wondered, tears streaming down my face as I curled up on my bed in the tiny single room I was renting in North Acton.
To the outside world, I was living my dream. I had moved to London a year before to pursue a career in freelance writing. Within 3 months, I landed a job as chief editor of an upcoming lifestyle publication and had an article published in one of my fave online magazines.
Inside, I was miserable. I hated the whole pitching game and having to find shocking angles to sell a story. I was tired of being asked to write a 1000 words article in two days and being paid months later (if ever!).
When I thought about becoming a freelance writer, I had envisioned only the good bits. Now reality was setting in – and it wasn’t pretty.
Oh, I knew it wouldn’t be all fun and games (nothing in life is), but I didn’t find this particular game fulfilling. I didn’t love freelance writing enough to put up with all the worst aspects of the job.
That was the day when I decided to slowly transition out of freelance writing and become a coach instead. In my heart, it just felt right.
Coaching is the best job ever. I get to help people heal the limiting beliefs that keep them from doing the work they’re meant to do in the world, have full location and time freedom, and there’s no ceiling to how much I can earn.
But I’d lie if I said it doesn’t have a dark side, too. The constant pressure to find new clients, the unpredictability of my income, the tiredness of having to do admin tasks I don’t enjoy to keep the business afloat…
Nothing’s perfect. But this time, dealing with the dark side doesn’t make me want to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out. This time, the dream’s worth the sacrifice.
Do you feel the same about your dream? Do you love it enough to pursue it no matter what?
Here’s a framework that’ll help you answer this question:
Everything Sucks (Some Of The Time)
Mark Manson came up with the Shit Sandwich concept in one of his blog posts. What does it mean?
In Manson’s words: “Everything sucks, some of the time.”
In my own words, “Nothing is 100% good all the time. If you really want to do something, you have to take the bad along with the good.”
- If you want to be a teacher, you must accept the never ending paperwork and rigid school rules.
- If you want to be an actress, you have to be willing to be apart from your family for months at a time while you’re shooting a new movie.
- If you want to be a web designer, you have to put up with unpredictable income and always looking for new clients.
You get the idea. No dream job is a dream 100% of the time. Everything has a cost. Everything involves a sacrifice.
That’s your shit sandwich.
TAKE ACTION NOW
What are the most boring and unpleasant parts of your dream business? Get clear on them, so you’ll know if you’re willing to eat that shit sandwich.
Are You Passionate About What You Do Enough To Eat The Shit Sandwich That Comes With It?
It’s easy to think that when you follow your passion, everything else will seamlessly fall into place.
You’ll get to work from a beach in Bali, make 6 figures in your first year, and wake up happy and excited every single day.
Take it from someone who’s spent her entire life chasing one passion or another: that’s NOT how it works.
Oh, there are going to be lots of high moments. The day you land that first client. Being interviewed for your local magazine. Selling out every single space in your online coaching group.
But those are moments are rare. Most of my days as a coach, for example, are spent putting out fires, going to networking events to develop the connections I need to move forward, sitting down at my desk to create blog posts, courses, and all kinds of content…
There are days when it feels like it’s not going anywhere. I’m putting in all this work, but the business isn’t growing as fast as I’d like. And now a new plugin has broken my site and I need to figure out a way to fix it… Argh!
It’s when the frustration sets in and you feel like giving up that you need to ask yourself:
Are you passionate enough about your work that you’re willing to eat the shit sandwich that comes with it?
For me, the answer is yes. As frustrating as coaching can be, there’s nothing else I’d rather do. All the sacrifices that I’m making are worth the prize.
When the answer is yes, your shit sandwich becomes your competitive advantage. You’re willing to do things other people aren’t – that’s the secret to success.
But what if the answer for you is no?
Related: What To Do When You Feel Discouraged While Chasing Your Dreams
What Do You Do When You Don’t Like The Shit Sandwich You’re Eating?
Let’s face it: whether you’re running your dream business or are stuck in a cubicle doing soul-sucking work, you’re already eating your shit sandwich.
But what if you really, really, really don’t like it? What if deep down you feel all these sacrifices aren’t worth it?
Most people just complain about it. They eat their shit sandwich every day and then tell everyone who’ll listen how much they’re suffering.
“I want to be a writer, but I don’t want the hassle of finding an agent and sending my manuscript to publishing houses.”
“I want to change my job, but I don’t want to go to another interview ever again.”
“I want to become a coach, but I don’t want to spend money to get my qualification.”
They don’t like their current situation, but the alternative doesn’t appeal to them, either. They’re just stuck.
There’s only one way out: make a choice and commit to it. If you really want to become a writer, either accept that you’ll have to deal with agents and editors or decide that being a writer isn’t that important to you after all.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Now that you know what your shit sandwich is, it’s time to make a decision:
- Are you willing to eat your shit sandwich? Great! Get to work.
- Are you NOT willing to eat your shit sandwich? Acknowledge this isn’t the right fit for you and quit. There’s something better waiting for you just around the corner.
Related: How To Make The Right Decision When Your Head And Your Heart Don’t Agree
It’s Ok If You Don’t Want To Eat Your Shit Sandwich
If you decide you don’t want to eat your shit sandwich, don’t feel guilty about it.
You won’t know if you’re building the right business until you get started. If, somewhere along the line, you know this isn’t the right idea, there’s no shame in quitting.
Not wanting to eat this particular shit sandwich doesn’t make you lazy, selfish, or whatever. It just means this business isn’t the right one for you. Give yourself permission to quit and do something that excites you more.
Related: Why It’s Ok To Change Your Mind About What You Want To Do With Your Life
Wrapping It Up
It doesn’t matter what you do in your life, you’re gonna get served a shit sandwich. So, get one you don’t mind eating.
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