I’ve observed a few different types of people, when it comes to work, career, avocation, and the like:

  • Some just seem to inherently know they were born for a certain thing, and continue doing it to this day with passion.
  • Others seem to choose something – perhaps dispassionately – and then go down the path with contentment.
  • A third camp chooses or falls into a career, ultimately disliking it but grinding their way to retirement.
  • One last group seems to always be searching for that passion.

Also, from what I’ve observed, and from a bunch of articles I’ve read (not sure I trust the media’s take on it, but…), it seems the majority of people I’m around tend to fall into the bottom two groups.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned some of the writing will be uncomfortable, particularly for myself.  This is one of those times:  I fall squarely in the last group.

The things I do for work?  Not passionate about them.  Mind you, I do them well, and out of integrity, I make sure my employers/clients/anyone I’ve committed to gets more value than they were expecting.  But not passionate, not content, and not prepared to grind to retirement.

So, what do I think is the source of my confusion?  I’m not sure about everyone else in that last group, but I just think I’m weird.  I’m not just saying that flippantly.  Let me prove it.  Read on.

First off, what am I passionate about?  Here are a few things:

  • I’m passionate about exposing a disconnect between what we are fed in society versus what’s actually beneficial, real, good, and so on.  Example:  Sugar has almost zero human benefit, but food producers add it to nearly everything – even things that aren’t supposed to be sweet.  (I have a litany of similar examples – I’ll probably post about some in the near future.)
  • I’m passionate about playing good music.  By that, I mean music that has its own soul, that evokes passion, that took actual thought and creativity to write.
  • I’m passionate about travel and exploring.  Read about that here.
  • I’m passionate about quality goods, and “less is more” when it comes to possessions.  If I could get away with it, I’d much prefer to have a single, finely hand-crafted hardwood table than an entire house furnished with Ikea.

Interesting, right?  I don’t think anything there is strange in its own right.  The three don’t necessarily dovetail perfectly into an obvious path, but you can probably see some possible paths with part of the above, and if I dug deeper, I could find others to talk about.

What about my strengths?

  • Music – Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been making music since I was a kid.  I’m rusty currently, but a bit of effort gets me where I need to be.
  • Strategy and vision – Whether business or philosophy or (fill in the blank), I can grasp the subject, craft a big-picture vision, and then in the next sentence, start diving in to put together a functional roadmap to get to that vision.
  • Writing – I’m not Maya Angelou, Shakespeare, or even Robert Ludlum, but I do a decent job stringing together words into sentences into paragraphs to get a point across.
  • There are others, but this isn’t meant to be an inventory.

So, what’s the problem?  How am I actually weird in this way?  Well, there are a few hitches where I basically get in my own way:

I’m weird when it comes to relationships with people.  I have an intense need to feel accepted by them, which makes things like self-promotion, marketing, and sales very difficult.  Even posting the things I write is very difficult, because I worry so much about perception.  (In case you’re wondering, this is very different from being concerned about effectiveness with writing.  Effectiveness just means it’s clear enough to communicate your intent, and styled in a way that keeps the reader going.)  Will people like my writing (or me, for that matter)?  Will anyone care or read it?

Speaking of people, I see myself as horrible in social settings.  Put me at an event where I don’t know anyone, and I’m lucky to talk to 2 or 3 people.  I honestly feel it’s only the grace of other people, the grace of God, luck that’s gotten me as far as I am socially.

Long-term execution can be a slog for me.  You know that strategy and vision thing from above?  I’m stellar at figuring those things out and getting them going, but have no interest in maintaining them.  I’m not sure if this is a psychological defect or just a yin/yang aspect of my INFJ personality.

I’m not independently wealthy.  I don’t have the resources to hire promoters or others to fill my weakness gaps.  I don’t have the runway to sustain myself while pursuing a music career.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  OK, that’s probably not entirely true, and many people have hit their strides on the back half of life, but changing the wiring in our brains is easier at age 2 or 22 than where I am today (age not disclosed…).

What now?

First off, I know I’m weird.  I’ll bet there are a bunch of other people out there who are weird in their own way, and have their unique version of a similar struggle.  If that’s you, I’d love for you to comment.  Share your story.

Second, I’m not giving up.  Not to say I’ve figured it out, but I’m going to keep pulling on various threads to see where they go.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find that magical spot where passion, talent and skill, and societal need overlap for me…