I was fascinated by a comment from a fellow guest at the Girl Geek Dinner networking lunch last week about one’s choice of career being primarily about the lifestyle one chooses. She’d done a master’s degree in an obscure field then figured out how to turn it into a consulting gig. Only 12% of her graduating class had found jobs in the two years since they’d graduated.
I saw this theme repeated throughout FITC and then noticed a wider theme throughout my week in Toronto as I talked to other colleagues and friends about their career / lifestyle choices.
We talked about where we lived; how much we worked or spent time on hobbies, with friends and family; whether we were satisfied, happy, challenged. I listened, questioned, reflected.
I met-up with a friend from high school, an artist working & living in Toronto with her husband and son. They’re not famous but they certainly seem happy, spending time with family, doing what they love, and taking time to travel.
The commonality amongst all the young entrepreneurs in the film was an unrelenting passion and focus on the one thing they were doing. There was some tension in the film about whether or not it was even possible to do anything other than THAT ONE THING. Most did not have any work-life balance at all; choosing instead to trade-off a few years of sleep, friends, relationships, and even their families to see if they be a huge success (some even seemed content with huge failure as it at least meant they were doing something huge). An admirable focus but could I do that?
One of the things I heard repeatedly from the speakers at FITC was to do what you love and sometimes money followed. Lots admitted to working all day for clients then working all night on their personal projects. Most had not amassed great wealth but they derived so much pleasure from creating something out of nothing! I was (and am) envious of their talent, creativity, and drive. But again, unsure of the balance in their lives.
Personally I get very cranky when I don’t sleep, eat or exercise. Unbalance is not for me. My joy comes from connecting with others, with nature, with myself. And for now, I have that. At least, I have the opportunitiy for that; it’s always a struggle to balance, to resist, to take time out, to slow down, to reflect, to not get caught up in doing, to just be. But that’s my goal and the path I’m on. That’s good enough. For now.