How I Learned Passion Was the Most Important Thing in Life

I am writing this in the height of the English summer, which in reality means that I am cosied up in several layers of clothes, watching the rain pelting against the windows. Even with the ceaseless rain, I am extremely happy, & that is huge.  

Around this time last year, I was running my last company, & by all appearances had a successful, fulfilled life. In reality, I was absolutely, 110% miserable.   

I founded that particular company as a means of supporting my 2 children as a single mum. It fulfilled that aim admirably & did extremely well, but just as the children grew & left home, my motivation diminished in tandem. Much as I tried to keep the passion alive, my heart was just not in that business anymore.

As a result, for the last six or seven long & wretched years, I reaped all the downside of running your own business, the appallingly long hours, the worry, the stress, the staff issues, the red tape, with absolutely zero upsides in balance. I was doing it all because I felt I should, & “should” is never a good enough reason to do anything in life. Should is not a motivation. We can only ever succeed when we do things with genuine love & passion.

If You're Going to do Anything Do it for Passion

Working Hard, But I'm Not Sure Why

I was a typical baby boomer, believing utterly that the harder I worked the greater would be the success. As a generation, we were brought up to see hard work, including overwork, as one of life’s great virtues.  

Countless scientific studies have now proved this thinking to be faulty. Overwork results in a decline of productivity & morale, higher sickness, less sustainability & a lack of self-care. That is without mentioning the sheer misery of doing a job you really don’t enjoy anymore.   

Despite the truth of this, I had still stubbornly limped on for years before finally I realised that I had the sense to decide “should” is not enough.

Should is Not Enough

The biggest shock was how instantly, ecstatically happy I was. I had expected to feel like a “quitter” & a “failure”. Instead, I felt released. While others might have perceived me as successful before, I felt instantly that I was living a far more successful life having something called time! It can be very dangerous to live life to other people’s definition of success. 

Real success is to do what makes you personally feel happy & fulfilled.  

Walking away, from an award winning business I had created felt absolutely like the right thing for me to do from day one. I slept huge amounts to catch up on a decade’s of sleep deprivation. I was able to look after myself, meditate again, take long walks. I rediscovered the joy of tiny, everyday things, from catching up with long-neglected friends, to walks on the beach.

Rediscovering The Little Things

I re-discovered the simple fact that creating the life we want is entirely within our own power. 

I still work hard, both at writing & coaching but, I do it because I love doing it. Now, I have down time in the evenings & on weekends when I do not check my emails. If someone asks for something on an unreasonable timescale, I will only offer what I can do & not sweat about it. 

I have learned that the world does not cave in if I say I can’t do something.  

I take time for me, every day & every week. I have a great routine every morning, with a bit of meditating, saying some positive affirmations & having a bit of a boogie to get my somewhat ancient body going. 

I smile a lot – it lets off positive endorphins that actually make you happier. 

Finally Doing What I Love 

I absolutely love my work, helping people get more out of their lives, as I have learned to do. I love my writing & I love to travel around, sharing my experiences with people. It is just absolutely awesome.  

The millennials generation are so much better at self-care than us boomers ever were. Studies are showing that they spend twice as much on diet, therapy, workout classes & the whole self-care thing. Millennials are reminding the rest of us what used to be accepted wisdom. 

The ancient Greeks were huge on self-care, believing that while meaningful work is an essential component to life, overwork is damaging in every single way.  They believed that self-care makes for a more honest & more democratic society.

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It is a total change of mind-set. I used to believe that spending time on myself was selfish. Now I believe it is essential, in order to be less selfish. We can only give our best to those who employ us, to our families & friends & to our societies if we take care of our own mental & physical health & find that calm, happy place within ourselves that we operate best from.   

The best companies are now backing the necessity of ensuring their employees have the best possible work life balances & that in turn is the best possible news for all of us. We owe it to ourselves & the people we care about to make sure we do the same.

If you have any questions or comments about the dangers of overworking yourself, make yourself heard in the comments. You can also reach us via email at info@TheEssentialLife.org. We would also like to invite all of our readers to make their mark on The Essential Life by becoming one of our contributors. If you would like to share your story, your words & your wisdom with The Essential Life, please submit your articles here

The Essential Life Contributor

About The Author - Jan Cavelle

Jan is an English entrepreneur, writer & business coach. Over a long career, she founded several businesses in diverse areas from music, catering & manufacturing. Her brand & furniture designs are still being sold worldwide through the new owner.

Jan has always been involved in promoting entrepreneurship. She was chosen as one of Britain’s first 50 Female Entrepreneurial Ambassadors in Europe & has a long speaking career to schools, colleges & business groups on Entrepreneurship. She also talks on sales or on the particular issues that hold back women in business. She writes for several publications & is also writing a book.

She loves helping other business people fulfil their potential & now has more time to devote to both speaking & coaching worldwide. She is able to offer her own experience in building & running businesses, but also now helps others find the peace & work life balance that she herself finally achieved - which she says makes her a far more useful, & more importantly, happy human being.

You can learn more about Jan on her website & you can connect with her on Twitter & LinkedIn.