“What the heck is wrong with me?!”, I wondered, tears streaming down my face as I was curling up on my bed, in the tiny single room I was renting in North Acton.
On the outside, it looked like 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.
On the inside, I was dying. 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 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 find their life purpose and do the work they’re meant to do, can take a break in the middle of the day to have lunch with a friend, and work from anywhere in the world.
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 wear 10 different hats to keep the business afloat…
Nothing’s perfect. But this time, dealing with the dark side doesn’t make me want to curl 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:
The Shit Sandwich (Or 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 doctor, you must accept the gruelling 80+ workweeks and intense study courses for years.
- If you want to be a rockstar, you have to be willing to tour extensively and spend months on the road every year, even if it means you don’t get to see your family often.
- If you want to be a big corporate executive, you have to put up with office politics and the toxic environment they can create.
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.
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! When I will make it?!
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 that 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 and that alone will make you go much further.
But what if the answer for you is no?
Not sure what you’re passionate enough about? Sign up for the newsletter below and receive the Passion Finder worksheet to find out:
What To Do When You Don’t Like The Shit Sandwich You’re Eating
Let’s face it: whether you landed your dream job 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 go into debt to get my qualification.”
They don’t like their current situation, but the alternative doesn’t appeal to them, either. They’re just stuck. And so, the complaints start.
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.
But no more whining and complaining. That’ll just leave you at square one and you’re miserable there.
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.
I know you’ve probably been told you’re lucky to have a job. Or maybe you took the plunge to pursue your passion and now you’ve found out you don’t like it that much (been there, got the t-shirt).
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Not wanting to eat the shit sandwich that comes along with your dream job doesn’t make you lazy, selfish, or whatever.
It just means you don’t want it bad enough. That’s ok.
What’s not ok is to stick to something that’s not right for you out of fear.
Life is too short to waste on things you don’t really want to do. Cut that cord. No regrets.
What Shit Sandwich Do You Want To Eat?
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. Bonus points if it comes with an olive, too.
Over to you now. What are you passionate enough about to be willing to eat the shit sandwich that comes with it? Let me know in the comments below.