Most of us have been given advice like “follow your passion,” or “pursue what you love.” But is this always the best advice for everyone? Or is there more to choosing a career than just doing what you love?
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: Today we wanna talk about, some very common advice that is given to young people. I know it was given to me when I was growing up, and this is advice that people like to bring up. When you’re talking about what you’re gonna do, people say, what are you gonna do when you grow up? What’s your career gonna be? And, I’ve heard this a million times, it’s, follow your passion, or this is the other one is do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. And I think at face value, both of those statements, you know, yeah, they’re true. Like it’s good to do the things that you’re passionate about and it’s good to do what you love and it’s good to love, you know, the work that you do every day. That definitely makes you happier. but Brittany, I’d be curious to hear if you ever heard these things growing up and kind of what your immediate take is on both of those.
Brittany: Yeah, I did. And I tend to be a little bit like hippier and like the universe wants you to do what you wanna do. That being said, I do think, you know, we’ve talked about specialization in here we’ve talked about knowing what you’re good at. But there is one thing to, kind of go opposite of you for a second. There is one quote I love from one of my favorite authors, Joseph Campbell. And, this is kind of contrary to what you said, but I’ve always used it, so I’m gonna read it anyway.
Emma: Do it.
Brittany: And discuss It. So he says, when you follow your bliss doors will open, where you would not have thought there would be doors and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else. But I also think that ties in with specialization. So, I totally agree with you, with like, do what you love. It’s like, all right, but not all of you are gonna be ice skaters. Right. Or not, you know, because there’s not a demand for that. Yeah. And maybe you’re not good at it, but, you know, for me, writing was a dream of mine and I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. And when I just kind of set myself out to do it, I did it. But that came with a lot of hard work. It wasn’t like I snapp my fingers and was totally. So I definitely think we agree for the most part. I just kind of like the whole like follow your bliss like type of language.
Emma: Yeah. Yeah.
Brittany: But I think you’re right. Like some things you’re good at, some things you’re not.
Emma: Yeah. And I, think there’s just more of a balance that’s needed, right? Yes. Where it’s like, that’s good. You, it sounds like you, growing up, you had the talent to be a writer, and then you took the time to develop the talent. And writing is a skill that so many people, like, they’re looking for people with that skill. It’s something that has a lot of value because we always need good writers, good communicators. it’s something where you can have some talent, but you have to put the work into developing it and turning it into, you know, a specialized skill. Yes. Like you were talking about. And I think there is a huge difference between doing that versus, you know, maybe you have a passion for, you know, the silly example people always use is underwater basket weaving. I don’t know what the heck that is but, So I’ll use a different one. Maybe your passion is making chocolate chip cookies. Like maybe that is what you wanna do all day long. That’s your favorite thing to do. You’ve got a great recipe. There are some people in the world who have made that their job. There are people who their job is making chocolate chip cookies and it’s awesome. And maybe that’s their passion, but maybe it’s not, you know, there are certain things that you can do with your life to make sure that you have space to do the things that you’re passionate about. And that’s the thing that I wanna clarify here, is you can make room in your life to do the things that you’re passionate about every day. Or at least like, be involved in them in some way every day. Like if you’re super passionate about music, like I grew up really, really loving to play guitar, play piano, like sing. That was what I loved. It was what I was passionate about. And I played in the worship team at my church. I did a lot of, any, any sort of music extracurricular at school, I would do. And I even had my own band, and we would play it like.
Brittany: That’s cool.
Emma: Fairs and festivals around town. And it was really fun. And I had so many people tell me, oh, you should follow your passion and you should do this professionally. And it sounds weird to say, but I’m actually really glad that I did not do that. I’m really glad that I ended up kind of taking a different path. And there that’s for a couple of reasons. The first one is that I think if I had taken that thing that I really enjoyed and turned it into, you know, the way that I provide for myself and the way that I make money, it might have taken some of that enjoyment out of it. because then it would be a lot more like practical. And it wouldn’t be like, oh, I’m gonna have fun. I’m gonna, you know, mess around with my guitar a little bit and like, learn a new song. It would be nine to five day in, day out. You know, you are working on this. This is what you’re, this is what you’re doing. But the other element of it was, you know, I am not the best guitar player. I’m not the best singer. And in fact, I’m not even probably in like the top 10%. And I’m totally okay with that. Like, I’m willing to admit that, because it’s not something that I necessarily need to be doing. But I do think, you know, if it was up to me and I could change the advice that everyone gets, I think it would be don’t just follow your passion. Like yeah. Look into the things that interest you and like learn more about them. Because like Brittany said, you never know what kind of door is gonna open when you start, you know, learning more about the things that get you fired up and the things that you enjoy, but also look at where it overlaps with what the world needs and what there’s a market for and what skills are highly valued. And 99% of the time you’re gonna be able to find something that has some overlap there. Like, maybe you’re not gonna be doing your favorite thing all day long, but maybe you’ll have a job that allows you to be sort of involved in that kind of a thing. Or maybe you’ll have a job where, you know, you have the time and you have the freedom and the financial freedom to pursue what you love in your free time. So that’s kind of what I would change if it were up to me. Brittany, I don’t know if you have any like, direct advice that you would give to young people who are maybe starting to figure out like, all right, here’s what I like to do. Here’s, here’s where people are pushing me to go. But like, how do I figure out how to navigate it all?
Brittany: Well, there’s something, I’m gonna answer that, but I wanna go back to something you said, cuz I think this is interesting. You mentioned that when you do what you love, it makes it a little bit weird because then all of a sudden the thing you love doing is now your source of income. And that’s something I struggle with, writing all the time. Now. Writing has become a chore. I love writing. it is what, you know, fuels me. But it’s really hard for writers to write. There’s like an infamous joke that the hardest part of our hardest part about writing is writing. Yeah. And that sounds silly, but it’s because you do this thing where, you know, when I was in high school and college, it was writing blogs for fun cuz I wanted to share my opinion. or writing poetry or songwriting or doing all these things. And then all of a sudden it became my career and I’m like, do I have to write another blog? Right. Like, and then I write a blog for a living. So Totally. It’s so, it is something you have to be careful of. It’s almost like a double-edged sword sometimes I’m like, oh my goodness, I get to do this for a living and I’m just blown away that I’ve been able to do it. And other days I’m like, I don’t wanna do this. Yeah. So one thing I think that’s important, let’s say you do end up doing what you love, is to do something similar to it in your free time. And you mentioned that with music, and I do music as well, but the thing that I’ve really done is I write standup. So I’m trying to become a standup, a comedian. Now it’s easier for me because I have a real job. Not that standup comedy is not a real job. That being said, if I were to work hard enough at standup and become, you know, get to a point where I could become famous and get paid to do it, I would take it in a second, right? Yeah. But it’s easier for me to pursue that dream because I’ve already pursued something more practical. I’m really good at talking about legal and economic issues that normal people can understand instead of a lawyer or an economist talking about it. And so that’s how I’ve made my living. But when I wanna have fun with that, I turn it into me writing comedy. You know, I’m writing a TV show just for fun. I don’t know if it’s ever gonna make it on the air, but it’s something I can do for fun. So you can do both. You know, there is a, there is a time where you can do both, but you do sometimes, you know, they say, be careful what you wish for. There are days where I have to remind myself like, you wanted to be a writer, but this isn’t the most fun right now.
Emma: Totally. Yeah. An that’s the thing too is, you know, whatever it is that you do day in and day out, there will be times where you don’t wanna do it.
Brittany: 100%. And that’s why the whole doit you or love and you’ll love it. Like that’s like, there are days, no, you’re just not gonna wanna do it.
Emma: Yeah. And I don’t think anyone ever goes and their entire life without working a day. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I think, and learning to push through those days when you don’t feel like doing it, or maybe you’re just struggling to have like inspiration. Like, I know I do a lot of writing in my job as well, and there are days where it’s just like, man, I do not know what I’m doing here. Like, I feel like I’m not saying anything worth reading. And it’s tough. You have to learn how to push through that. but yeah, it’s like this balance because you don’t have to just choose like, okay, my favorite thing is writing, but I don’t wanna ever have to write and ruin it, so I’m gonna go become an accountant even though I hate math. And accountants are basically people who help you file your taxes.
Brittany: Yeah, it sounds terrible.
Emma: And that’s a lot of math. Yeah. They make sure that all of the numbers are right for businesses and organizations and stuff. So you don’t have to go the complete opposite way because you’re so scared of ruining what you love. Like there are ways that you can work it into your life. Like I really care about preserving liberty in this country. And I was not planning on going into politics and a passion for these kinds of ideas is what got me into my current career field. And I basically ended up in, we call it the liberty movement because I went to a conference just for fun and met a bunch of people on campus.
Brittany: Which conference was it?
Emma: It was the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado. So, yeah.
Brittany: So that’s like another thing is you can find ways that the passion and the opportunity align. And I would always encourage young people, especially because if you’re listening to this and maybe you’re not even in high school yet, or maybe you are in high school, that is the perfect time to explore those things. And I will just tell you right now, you’re gonna have things that you try out that you think you’re really gonna love. And you will probably find that at least on one occasion, it’s not what you thought it was gonna be. And that’s totally okay. Like, learning the hard way can actually be a really amazing growth experience. And that’s another reason why I don’t necessarily recommend that you just go pursue, you know, only one thing and it has to be this one thing that you’re passionate about. Like be open to different possibilities. Yes. And be open to creative ways to bring in those passions into your career. So, that would be sort of my advice. but also you can make space in your day-to-day life to still do the things that make you happy and that you’re passionate about. Oh yes. So Brittany, I’m, it’s like you have your standup stuff that you’re working on, and I’m sure you do writing that that has nothing to do with, you know, legal stuff and economics because that’s, you know, that’s what you’re passionate about and it’s one of your talents. And I think it’s actually really important to make space for those things. Like, I take time to play my guitar even though I’m not gonna show up at work the next day and, you know, be better at my job because I was playing guitar. It can be really good to have those outlets and like engage in those passions. And maybe it’s a cause maybe you care a lot about a certain, like charity or a cause or something like make time volunteer. Especially as you get into your career, it’s really great to have those outlets. It can be so easy to get stressed and all you’re doing is just working and trying to get by, but those passions exist for a reason and it’s good to engage those parts of your brain. but you know, I don’t think we should all just be like, all right, what’s my passion Now I’m gonna build my whole life around that. So that’s kind of, my 2 sense, on the whole follow your passion thing. Brittany, do you have anything else to add here as we’re getting ready to wrap up? Yeah. And one thing, and this is something in fact in a couple of episodes, Connor and I are gonna talk about this again, but this is why I don’t always think college is the right venue. And I promise this all tie together is because you decide to major in something and then that becomes your world, right? So this is why apprenticeships are so good. And there’s a school called Acton Academy in Texas where they let kids apprenticeship because that way like I knew of a young girl who decided she wanted to be in the fashion industry. So at 10 years old, she went and she had an apprenticeship where she got to shadow people in the fashion industry. You know what she found out? Yeah. She didn’t want to be in the fashion industry. Yeah. And so it’s really cool to figure that out when you’re young, right? Because you haven’t committed to this career yet. There are so many different things you can do. And you know, I was once an event planner before I started pursuing writing and I hated it. Yeah. So some of this is figuring out what you want to do and what you don’t wanna do. And you might figure out that maybe doing music, if you love music, you might find out that doing music as a career is really hardworking. You don’t like it. So yeah. So I think the point is to figure out, you know, try a lot of different things. Don’t lock yourself in a corner. And eventually, you’ll find that thing that just fits for your career.
Emma: Totally. Yeah. I love that. Being open and flexible to change and adaptable and ready to, figure it out. You know, sometimes the hard way that can be a really great thing. And we talk a lot about resilience on this podcast. That is an awesome way to build resilience and going into things with an open mind and, you know, explore those passions, look into those things that you care about and that you get fired up about. But don’t make that the be-all and all of whether or not you’re gonna be happy in your life and in your career. Cuz there’s so much more to it than that. one thing that I found helpful as I was starting to look into career fields, was the Myers-Briggs test. Oh,
Brittany: I love it. Oh, we could do a whole episode on that. Cause I could talk, we’re going do.
Emma: We should 100% do that. but I would recommend checking that out. I’ll drop a link. It’s a pretty easy quiz and you might be able to have your parents help you take it or maybe take it on your own. But that can be a really great way to start just maybe getting ideas for stuff you wouldn’t have thought of before when it comes to your career and maybe what you might do for a living one day. So I’ll drop a link to that and I hope you guys have a good time exploring that. We’re gonna wrap it up here. Brittany, thank you so much for chatting with me and we will talk again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you later.