When I decided to start this blog, a few things went through my mind. Some thoughts were exciting and inspiring ones, while others were more critical and judgmental. You can probably guess which ones were the loudest (hey, Ego! what’s up?!).
What stuck out the most was a repeating block I’ve run into a number of times throughout my life: Another venture? Really? Brianne, why can’t you stick to one thing?
Maybe you can relate.
If you read my resume, here’s what you’d see:
- (terrible) Server
- (equally awful) Catering staff
- Actress (who hated auditions and self-sabotaged a lot)
- Hot dog vendor (for real)
- Grass cutter (yeppppp, don’t get me started on litterbugs and dog shit)
- Usher (not the singer, but an actual usher at an off-Broadway theatre)
- Dog walker (I walked a wiener dog while I was also working the hot dog stand…it was a phallic moment in my life)
- Playwright/independent theatre producer (True story: I once wrote a play about John Mayer)
- Wannabe screenwiter (I think this will still happen at some point)
- Magazine editor (It’s not what TV shows will have you think it is)
- Personal trainer & healthy eating coach (loved it)
- Airline front desk clerk (ugh waking up at 1am to work is a sin)
- Retail salesperson (I wasn’t good at selling stuff people couldn’t afford or need)
- Grocery store cashier (memorizing produce codes isn’t easy — 4011 is the only I remember — bananas!)
- Freelance writer (still love this)
- Communications specialist (learning so much and loving it!)
- Author (my FAVE title thus far)
When I was in my early-to-mid twenties, I was bent on pursuing an acting career. I went to NYU and Lee Strasberg for training, and stayed in NYC for many years, chasing that dream. However, it wasn’t really working for me. I hated auditioning, and something just felt “stuck.” It wasn’t until I started writing my own plays and shifted to creating my own projects when things started to feel more aligned. Suddenly, I was less interested in acting and more excited about writing. Despite this new feeling of belonging, authenticity, and awesomeness, I still felt embarrassed that I didn’t “hack it” as an actress. When I made the difficult decision to move from NYC back home to Toronto to recalibrate and focus more on writing, I was drowning in shame. I didn’t know how to process the letting go of a dream that I thought I was “meant” to do. Was it okay to release one dream to say YES to another? Or did that mean I was a failure?
The respective answers: Yes, and absolutely not!
It’s taken me a while to get here — lots of self-acceptance and surrendering — but as my work/life experience has taught me, it’s this: I don’t think we’re here to “do” one thing if that doesn’t feel true to us. Yet…we’re conditioned to think exactly that. Stick to that one job, that one goal. Follow it through no matter what — that’s what “winners” do. Cling onto stability. Do the SAFE thing. If you’re not moving forward it’s because you’re not working HARD enough. You can only truly invest and focus on ONE thing to be a true success. You can only have ONE passion, ONE purpose in life. And never, ever quit!
I call bullshit on alll of that.
I don’t think we’re here to be or do ONE thing. We’re multi-dimensional energetic beings. We’re not meant to cling onto commitments out of obligation. We’re meant to commit only to who we *soulfully* are. And that’s going to change constantly — if we allow it. We’re meant to evolve. We’re meant to follow our soul’s calling on multiple paths. We’re meant to follow our curiosity. We’re meant to allow life to show up for us rather than us telling life what to do and when to do it and HOW to do it. We are meant to flow rather than force.
And sometimes that means surrendering an old dream for a new one that feels more authentic to you. Sometimes that means taking a risk without a backup plan. Sometimes that means taking a bunch of shitty survival jobs so you can figure out the next step. Sometimes that means saying NO to things to which you’ve always said yes. Some people might say that’s “giving up” or “quitting” but I don’t know why “quitting” gets such a bad rep anyway. I can’t tell you how many jobs or opportunities I’ve quit/left because my heart/soul wasn’t into it. Because I knew there was something else I was meant to do. Quitting isn’t bad. Quitting is brave. Quitting is saying to yourself, I don’t deserve to do something that makes me feel like shit; I deserve to put my attention and energy onto things that make me feel ALIVE.
Because when we feel alive and connected to our passion/soul’s work, we ALL thrive.
But also…when you quit something…then you allow yourself to BEGIN again. You allow yourself to change and create something you’ve never experienced before, and how exciting is that?
I know it doesn’t always feel exciting. As you can see from that ridiculously eclectic resume above, my “career” has criss-crossed across different industries, I’ve worn a lot of different hats, and I’ve worked at a lot of jobs that made me feel like shit. I felt like shit because I wasn’t listening to what I was meant to do, and deep down I knew this. I used to feel a lot of shame around this topsy turvy period of my life. Mainly I was caught up with the Q: How come I wasn’t more “settled” like so many of my peers?
But here’s another thing: settling is overrated. What is settled anyway? Settled is defined as “to resolve something” or “to pay a debt” and I don’t know about you but I don’t want to spend my life feeling like I need to resolve something or paying a debt in order to feel fulfilled. That doesn’t sound very fulfilling to me.
I want my life to reflect who I am even if that doesn’t look like everyone else’s life: free, flexible, creative, adventurous, soul-stretching. I’m more okay with that.
Some people might want the routine. The stable job. Staying put in one place. Being really, really good at one amazing thing. The consistency that an expected life (if there is such a thing) can bring. Cool. I respect that. That’s probably what their soul needs in this lifetime. That doesn’t mean they’re settling — it means they’re doing what feels good to them.
But if you’re someone who thrives on change and freedom; who likes to mix things up; who has a lot of interests, then I want you to know that’s okay too. You don’t need to do one thing in this lifetime. In fact, you can probably integrate all of those passions into one totally unique creation/purpose of your own OR have them make up the beautiful different ingredients of your life’s pie. The thing is, YOU get to decide.
Life is meant to be non-linear with dips and turns, plateaus and summits, and ever-changing seasons. There isn’t just ONE path just as there isn’t just ONE destination.
And, P.S., if you need to serve hot dogs and cut grass while you figure out how to go from point A to point B, that’s more than totally okay too. No shame. We must do what we can to survive in order to thrive. Sometimes we need time to process, to purge, to accept the end so we can embrace the beginning. But never doubt that you can DO what your heart desires. And if it looks different than everyone else? Then, good. That means you’re more aligned with your soul and doing YOU. And that’s way better than settling.
If there’s something you want to do that might feel out of the ordinary for you, then allow yourself to experience something extraordinary. If you’re holding onto an old dream that you’ve outgrown, let go. If you feel like you want to pursue a new wish, then jump with your whole heart and soul and expect some magic to catch you.