“If you want to experience joy or fulfillment in the big events and adventures of your life, you must first find happiness and contentment in the simple moments of your life.”
One of my gifts is the ability to see things from all angles and perspectives. I’m open-minded and understand that many things in life are not so black and white. There’s not always a right and wrong answer. Everyone is different and there’s not always a right way to do things. It’s finding what works for you, your goals and your values. Read this post with that in mind and I would love to know your thoughts!
I have to be honest. This post feels a little scattered and I hesitated to post because of fear. Fear it didn’t make sense or fear that my ideas would not be captivating or seen in a positive light. Fear of sharing my personal life. As I begin sharing more about my story and personal parts of my life through this blog experiment, I can’t help but be afraid of negative things people may say. Even so, someone once told me, “If you’re not pissing people off or getting negative feedback, you’re trying to do everything “right” and you’ll never create change.” Or something like that.
I’m not looking to create change (at this exact moment, with this post), but I do want to get you thinking. I want to open a conversation about what people think about starting businesses around passion as well as how you find happiness in your daily routine. It may seem like two different topics, but it all ties in with this story. Well…sort of.
I am curious!
Do you think you should turn your passions into a business? Are you trying to follow your passion to start a business? Are we killing hobbies and passions? Do you believe we should be happy in the daily routine and mundane first? Do we always need to share our gifts and passions with the world? Do you have a hobby you keep sacred? Are there times you feel pressure to quit your day job to live and create your dream life?
Want to tell me this is bullshit? Do it! Did reading this make you think and see things from a different perspective? Tell me!
A quick swing date
I can sum up the actual date I had with myself quickly because it was a short date. However, the story and thoughts behind how I got there is where the good stuff lies.
As I was rolling my sore leg muscles this morning, thoughts ran through my head about my daily routine and other simple acts I do in life. I thought about my Dad and how he enjoys the simple things in life, like swinging on a swing. So, I got up and took myself on a swing date in honor of my Dad.
I packed my lunch and computer to head out for a walk to the park. I wanted to eat, swing on the swings and write if I felt inspired.
If you haven’t swung on a swing in a long time, I suggest you go do that today! It’s a quick activity that has the guarantee to make you smile and not take life so serious for a couple minutes.
I began swinging carefree and leaning back to look up at the sky. I was happy….
We all want to be happy. We all know it’s easy to feel happy when things are going great. It’s ridiculously easy to find moments of happiness on vacations, during exciting events, and even during a busy fulfilling workday.
But what about the daily routine? What about the small, yet simple joys of life?
I began asking myself questions. How happy am I with the simple things in life? How content am I as I cook dinner for my family or as I take a walk to get the mail? How happy am I when I’m grocery shopping, making the beds, washing my 100 pairs of yoga pants, or sitting on a park bench? Can I find contentment by sitting outside, doing nothing but enjoying the mother nature? Am I content swinging on a swing?
Can I authentically smile while doing my daily routine and in the quiet moments?
This leads me to my Dad. My Dad is a simple guy. A simple guy who enjoys the simple, beautiful things in life. He finds contentment in what some would call the daily routine or simple life.
After making a “swing workout” yesterday with my daughter, I recalled a memory of my Dad on those same swings. I pictured my Dad swinging on the swings during his last visit. I remembered him being content. His contentment is so innocent and real, I don’t even know if he realizes how content he is. He just is. It’s inspiring! He is content sitting on the porch watching the birds and squirrels play around in the trees in our front yard. He is happy pulling a record from his collection and listening to the music play from the vinyl on his record player.
My Dad and I have developed a closer relationship over the years. We connect more now because we understand each other more. We let each other be who we are. That may seem simple in a parent/child relationship, but it’s not, and it wasn’t how my childhood was. Parents push their kids into what they want the child to be all the time. Children judge their parents too, thinking they know more about life.
Growing up, my Dad and I didn’t always have a close relationship. I was always pushing the limits and going against the grain. Not to mention, there were 4 kids in the house which left my parents outnumbered. We butted heads on most things, and that inevitably created some distance between us as I entered high-school.
By the time high-school started, I had my drivers license and was anxious to start working. I had three jobs by the time I was 17 because I liked to work and enjoyed having my own money. It felt controllable and measurable. The more I worked, the more money I made. I kept track of every tip and every paycheck in a self-made ledger. I found it thrilling to see what hard work could do and watch the numbers change.
My Dad, not so much. He worked very hard for our family and always provided, but he had no desire to rack up the ‘Salesman of Year’ plaques. My Dad was the opposite of me when it came to hustling. When friends asked me what he did for a living, I would tell a story of how my Dad would describe a potential sale he was bidding on.
He’d shrug his shoulders and tell me, “Well Anna, if I get the sale, I get the sale. If I don’t, I don’t. They know my price.” And that was that.
It was a concept that I didn’t quite understand. Didn’t he have the ambition to want more? I was a go-getter and seeker of adventure. As I entered the corporate world at age 21, I was all-in when it came to business. I wanted to share my passion for business and tried to push it on Dad. I wanted him to go after his dreams of having a full-time career in the music/DJ/radio world. I was trying to sell him and “Live your Dream Dad!” was my MLM product. (Come’on, that’s funny).
I have since realized, I was pushing my own desires on my Dad. When the reality was, I could have been taking notes from him.
Is hustle really necessary?
I believe it all depends on your goals, as well as what you want your quality of life to be for you and your family. If you’re hustling because you think more money is going to make you happier, then I believe you’re lying to yourself.
My Dad was happy taking a walk or talking to us kids as he read the paper on the front porch. He’d gaze out into the yard and say, “Isn’t this amazing? How lucky are we? I mean, Anna, look at that grasshopper. Can you believe the intricacies each animal has? God made that. It’s amazing.”
That may sound like something someone would say at a Grateful Dead concert, but it wasn’t like that. It was how my Dad found moments of fulfillment and how he learned to be still in the happiness he felt when enjoying his front yard. As someone who has a hard time sitting still, I admire that immensely.
There’s some truth that my dad needs a push here and there, but don’t we all? We get to choose whether we want to hear that push or not. We may think people need a push, which many times they do, but if they aren’t complaining about their situation, then maybe they don’t need a push! They could be happy with most of their life (no one has a perfect life!) and sometimes that’s hard to understand how that’s possible because we are unhappy in ours.
My Dad choose contentment and for the most part, that made him happy. I second guessed him and his way of life because I wasn’t happy or satisfied in my never-ending corporate rat race, trying to find happiness and fulfillment.
Dreams, Jobs, and Dream Jobs
My Dad has talked about his goal of being a radio DJ on public radio many times. The talk always ended with what most of us are afraid to admit is holding us back. Fear and excuses. Those are the two biggest culprits that tend to hold people back from starting. Whether it’s possible or not to do the thing you want to do, you never know if you’ll fail or succeed unless you START.
With anything in life, there’s always another side to things. I know he has some regret around not fully pursuing a career as a radio DJ, but I’m opening the conversation to look at the other side. I know for a fact he could quit his job tomorrow and become a full-time music-loving, oldie spinning DJ and radio personality. He has the talent and gifts to be amazing at it. But what if it was a good thing he didn’t go after his dream job?
And here is where perspective comes in at its finest.
What if not pursuing your dream job actually saves the passions in your life?
Seeing the consistent joy that music and DJ’ing brings my dad, I have to wonder, has it been a blessing that he never gave it all up to pursue his passion? He got to keep his love. He got to keep the happiness and pleasure he finds in vinyl.
My Dad started DJ’ing when he was 13 and was DJ’ing in clubs the minute he turned 21. Having something that brings you purpose and makes you happy for over 50 years is amazingly special! Don’t you think? It makes me happy thinking about my dad being happy playing music for people.
That hobby, which is also his side job to this day, gave him an abundant amount of joy. He was a better Dad because of the happiness he felt in his passion. It brought him to life. I can now relate to finding “that something” that brings you to life. It’s a beautiful feeling.
In addition, by staying true in his passion, he gave all four of his kids the gift of music. All four of us continue to share this same passion my Dad has for music, and continue to carry that love into the next generation of Dutko’s. I already see how much my daughter loves music and makes it a part of her life. He has given us the ability to appreciate music and understand its capability to transform any situation. I can hear music while it’s flowing through my body and hum to the beat whether I know the song or not. I can pick up a rhythm and chorus faster than I can pick up a dumbbell.
Should we turn our passions into a business?
I can be hard on myself when I think about how I could be doing so much more with my passions and gifts. Always wanted to do more, be more.
In a generation of millennials and unsatisfied Gen X’ers, we have a society that is pushing us more and more into “do what you love” and “pursue your passion.” Those words are followed by “Hustle 24/7” and “Do more.”
I begin to contemplate.
What if the pressure to turn all our gifts and passions into businesses squashes those gifts, robbing us of the simple pleasures we enjoy? As a true Gary V fan, I find this question intriguing.
What if my Dad had it right all along? He had a passion and stayed true to keeping his music and DJ’ing as a hobby/side job. He still shared his gift with the world, but he didn’t hustle his hobby to turn it into a thriving business.
To this day, he has the same sales job, with the same company, for over 30 years. As amazing as that is, he’s close to retirement and talks about leaving his job all the time. But he hasn’t quit.
He never quit his job to pursue his passion, but what’s more important to see is, he never quit his passion. He worked to provide for our family of 6 and at the end of the day found fulfillment in his hobbies and simple life.
In this day of age, entrepreneurship is glorified as living the life of your dreams and turning your passions into profit. But what about being passionate about your off time? Is it even possible to have “off time” when you’re hustling? Are you living the life of your dreams outside of work and passionate about that other life that is just about you?
“Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I see and hear this quote all the time. I call BULLSHIT. I’d like to debate that quote and rebuttal with, “Love who you are and what you’re doing in life and you’ll be less likely to dread a work day.”
I believe we need to know why we want to hustle and why we are choosing to turn our passion into a business. Hustling is not bad, it makes shit happen. But there’s a lot of unhealthiness behind hustle. And if we’re not working 15-20 hour days, we’re casted as lazy or don’t really want it that bad. It’s just not that simple. Yet it is.
I have pulled back on my “hustle” as I get clearer and clearer about my goals, values and what I want my life to look like. I’m not afraid of hard work, but I am afraid of hustling for the wrong reasons. I had to get clear and honest with myself about what works and what will suffer when I’m in the zone and want to conquer a goal.
What if we’re ruining our hobbies and passions?
What if our hobbies and passions should remain just that? Hobbies. Hobbies that are sacred and our own. Our own connection to loving and enjoying our life with zero expectations. When something is sacred and for only us to enjoy, there’s pleasure in that. The minute we have any expectations and hope for a particular outcome is the minute we lose the authentic joy of that experience.
One of the reasons I started my business, is because fitness has been the most consistent thing in my 37 years of life. I knew I was good at business, therefore it made sense to start a business around something I obviously loved. That’s the dream, right? We’re told our passion will drive the business. Although that can be true, I’m calling bullshit, …again. You don’t have to be passionate about your business, you must be passionate about the outcome. There must be passion around your drive and what you want.
Great salespeople will tell you, “I can sell a red popsicle to a woman in a white suit.” There’s truth to that statement. It doesn’t matter what they are selling, they are passionate about the sale.
In my experience of owning a business that started with a passion, it certainly can drive you forward in success. Similarly, it has taken away a piece of my love for fitness. It has stripped a part of me that has been with me my entire life. Working out was MINE. My thing. No matter how many people were around in a gym or the outdoors, it was for ME. It was my time, an hour where I felt at home and fit in. It was where I knew I could be happy.
That same passion I speak of comes out clear in my videos and when I’m training people because it’s authentic. I love working out! However, it’s now become my work and how I make a living. It’s no longer a hobby. It’s become a huge part of my life instead of part of my daily routine.
Since it’s my work, I feel the need to share what I do in the gym and be the pillar of physical fitness. The truth is, I’m not always working out, I don’t always have tons or energy and I’m not the perfect pillar of physical fitness.
The blessing is, I love sharing what I do! It comes natural and it’s fun! I genuinely love making workout videos or sharing my goofy take on fitness. I’m happy that I enjoy my work! Keyword being, work.
I no longer had “my time” in the gym and little by little, I no longer wanted to go to gym or workout. The gym became my office and it all became “work.” Please understand this is not me bitching and complaining about the life I have created for myself. I’m grateful for my journey and everything I have accomplished. I am speaking up and being honest about the realities of starting a business around your passion and what can happen. I can only speak from my experience and yours may look completely different.
The Biz. The Solutions.
Unless you have a mentor or someone in your corner telling you the truths about starting a business and what it takes, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about something, you must still WORK. I don’t plan on leaving the fitness industry. Not at all. I feel l have a message to share. But I’m not a personal trainer, I’m a businesswoman with a passion around living a healthy lifestyle, working out, and empowerment. There is so much contradicting information about how to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to share how fitness is just the starting point to living a fulfilled life. It’s not about the perfect body or lifting the most weight or pushing yourself to the max and throwing up. It’s about learning how to implement movement into your routine and watch how it can transform other areas of your life. I want to bring the act of “play” back into our oh-so-serious adult lives.
There have been many times, including recently, I have had to adjust to find fulfillment in my everyday life while feeling fulfilled in my work. Sorry, you can’t have both at 100%, all the time. My home life is important to me and there have been times it has suffered because of my urge to hustle and want more. That’s the nature of the game. You can’t have it all at once. It’s push and pull and constant adjustments.
I evaluate and make changes in my business and home life based on my personal values and goals I have set for myself and my daughter. It’s not easy, and it comes with adjustment periods and growing pains.
I recently had pulled back on my 1-on-1 personal training and shifted my focus more to online training in exchange for a more stable home life. I also joined a gym over the summer that has organically become MINE. I set up boundaries around this gym for myself. I promised myself I would not shoot videos or be on social media when I was at MY gym. I realized I needed that outlet. I needed my hobby and a place to keep sacred as my happy place. A hobby I am passionate about and makes me feel good. Just like music and DJ’ing made my dad feel.
This started as a conversation around being happy in your everyday life, the daily routine, and the mundane. I believe that is important. I believe it starts with being content in your home life or at least somewhat fulfilled. (No one is going to be happy every single time they are changing diapers, raking leaving, peeling carrots, or getting the oil changed, come’on now). Feeling content opens our brain and gives it room. It can help us find the courage to start something new, whether it’s a business or new venture.
Finding peace at home allows us to connect to our family instead of finding ourselves escaping, buried in our phones or numbing our boredom.
The rebuttal would be, it takes some form of discomfort or dissatisfaction to create change. That is true. But what if we didn’t get to that desperate state in the first place? What if, our dreams and drive to start a movement or to create change starts with the courage to find happiness in the mundane first and build from there? There will be ups and downs when starting a business and all kinds of highs and lows when you’re working hard towards something. Your home life will go to shit at some point because it’s the reality of life. Having a baseline to remember what simple things make you happy and bring you joy, gives us the gift to clean that shit up and put it all back together when it falls apart.
Business takes resilience and the certainty that no matter what, I won’t give up. No matter how many times I make a mistake, or do something stupid, or make the wrong move, or fall flat on my face, or write a blog post that makes no sense, (I’m having that fear with this post!) I will get back up. I’ll pick myself up and fu#king try again.
Because, even though I’m still figuring things out in my journey, what makes me happy continues to get clearer. With 13 dates to go, I can confidently say… I don’t have the final answer on what makes me happy, what I want, or what I like to do for fun. Yet, I sure do know a lot more than I did 2 months ago, and I’m learning a shit ton along the way!
I think Puff Daddy summed it up nicely back in 1997, “Can’t nobody hold me down…ohh no, I got to keep on movin’!”