Coffee Chat Rewind: When the Day Job Isn’t Enough
I know that for me there are many days when I feel like I couldn’t possibly do one more thing. As working professionals holding down careers, kids, businesses – and hopefully some me-time – the hours quickly fill up. However, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a spark deep inside waiting to be ignited. At this month’s “Like a Boss” Coffee Chat, we heard from three powerhouse women who have not only built exceptional careers, but also turned their individual passion projects into full-fledged initiatives that benefit the greater good. Thanks again to Megan Bigelow, Sunny Sea-Gold and Amber Zupancic-Albin for sharing your insights and inspiring us all to just go for it. Here are a few of the A.wordsmith team’s favorite takeaways:
A common theme I noticed among the three panelists was that they each used their own struggles as motivation to start their passion projects – and once they put it out there, they realized just how influential and inspiring it can be to others. I loved Megan’s advice on speaking out for what you believe in and using failure as fuel to keep pushing harder.
Hearing each of their stories made me think, “what is something I’m so passionate about that I could expand into more than just a hobby?” While I haven’t been able to come up with something quite yet, you’ll have to ask me again later. Megan, Sunny and Amber definitely sparked a fire in me!
“Don’t apologize for whatever your passion is.” – Amber Zupancic-Albin
I loved Megan Bigelow’s sage advice about how best to pursue your deepest passions – start somewhere, start small, start one step at a time. Don’t afraid to be vulnerable. Break goals down into small, manageable steps to ensure success. And finally, filter out self-doubt.
My collective takeaway was the overarching theme of vulnerability in the workplace and breaking through the rough exterior of the business world. I’ve experienced the first-hand need to divorce yourself from your own identity to make it. I’m not austere by nature, but I’ve had to force it to get by in some situations, and it’s exhausting. It was extremely empowering to hear the three speakers talk about the trials and tribulations they’ve had to go through in their professional lives as women, and what they’ve done to pave the way for a better future for all of us.
While I’m still unclear on how to make time for a passion project in my own life (I can’t seem to find time to unload the dishwasher some days), I have been thinking about the notion of what it might look like to pursue an interest or curiosity that is far and away from my daily career skills and pursuits. Hearing Amber’s description of her passion project as a huge stress-reliever and an opportunity to play in a totally different space from her career reminded me that a passion project should start as something that is 100% interesting and fun. It may morph over time, but it shouldn’t be another thing on the to-do list…it should call to you. Well, I’m all ears. (And I suppose the dishes will have to wait.)
The advice from the panelists about ignoring self-doubt really resonated with me. It’s easy to think you’re not smart/funny/creative enough and let it stop you from pursuing your passion.
Just get started.