The inner voice has one arch enemy: money. At least for many, it seems to be so.
We’d love to follow where the inner voice is prodding us to go, but there’s no way right now. No way we can get the time or money to do it.
The problem is even more pronounced in today’s economy. It’s just too frightening to leave that job, even if you hate it. You may have already been laid off once, and experienced what it’s like to be unable to pay the next month’s bills. It’s not fun. In fact, it’s so traumatic that many people vow never to be caught in the same position again. That means getting a job, any job, and then doing whatever you have to do to keep it.
“Fear has changed the way I experience life,” writes one blogger at Fired for Now who lost his job and then found a temporary position with an ad agency. “I was grateful to find something, anything, after becoming an economic statistic. But it’s like having a 3-month-long audition and I manage fear on a day-to-day basis.”
When fear is in the picture, it’s difficult to hear your inner voice. Even if you are hearing it, you may feel you can’t afford to consider what it’s asking you to do right now. There’s just too much at stake. Start your own business? No way you can let go of your current position. Find time to write, paint, or go to school? Impossible. You’re exhausted already as it is.
And no wonder. Science has been telling us for months now that most Americans are sleep deprived. We’re working too many hours, with not enough time to get everything else done and get 8 hours of sleep, too. Who has time to even make headway toward a personal goal?
I’m always impressed when I hear stories like that of Rob Thomas, the lead singer of Matchbox 20 and today, a lauded solo artist. He’s sold millions of albums and won almost as many awards, but before he got going on his career, he spent over three years without a home. He crashed with friends, on park benches and at the beach. He says he was lucky to have people who watched out for him, but admits that time in his life was tough. It was during those years, however, that he focused on his music and his composing and created his signature sound. Sometimes I wonder: Is that what it takes? Are the rest of us, who are struggling to make it every day and somehow fit in our passions on the side, just kidding ourselves that we’ll ever do more than dabble?
At this moment in my life, I don’t have the answer to that question. (If you do, please write in!) What I do know is that any day where I find time—any time—to spend on my passion is a better day. I have more energy on those days, and I feel more at peace, like I’ve fulfilled my purpose just a little bit. Maybe the same idea could work for you. Just a little time. A couple hours on a Sunday, maybe, or 45 minutes on your lunch hour. Surely there’s somewhere you can start to make room? For if you don’t, then what? Where will you be ten years from now?
There’s still that nagging voice telling me to do more, and who knows, I may take some bigger risks in the future. I’ve done so in the past. Most of those risks turned out to be the right ones, too. But it’s tougher in today’s economy, there’s no doubt. The fear is there. So for now, I’m treading water and waiting for the right time.
I’m hoping my inner voice will tell me when that is.