Following Your Passion feels like one big sugar rush, according to Katrina Kibben, Recruitment Marketing Consultant at Three Ears Media. Why is she comparing passion to eating three sticks of cotton candy? And why should you even care? Katrina did something many of us fantasize about — becoming our own boss! Not only does she love dogs, tweets like it’s her day job, she loves taking risks — her latest one might be her biggest yet. Katrina took the plunge and created her own recruitment marketing agency in February of 2018. What? That means she left the seat of security and swapped it out for the throne of the unknown–and she couldn’t be happier!
Nando: How did this happen? You took such a risk! Was it all about following your passion?
KK: I’m starting to listen to my gut instead of a list — it’s been awesome. I feel like more myself ever since I started working for myself.
The “list” she’s referring to is the checklist of life. As humans we get too caught up in the next step (of whatever) and we spend the rest of our lives checking things off as if our goals were pieces of Ikea furniture and we’re making sure all the chunks are present before we invest in the next move. How many of you know of a couple who just got married? It’s like a crowd of monkeys gathers around them as they slice their 3-tiered wedding cake but instead of flinging feces, they fling things that are just as stinky like questions asking, “When are you planning on having kids?” The poor couple hasn’t been allowed to savor the raspberry lemon creme because there’s something already present in their mouth which is the taste of “what’s next off the checklist?”
There’s a sense of urgency and timelines that create a world of chaos for us when we aren’t passionate about the things we do — especially when it comes to our careers. And then there’s the roadmap we create for ourselves that we aren’t willing to let go of which then ignites our internal dialogue which takes over and says things like, “I can’t leave this job, I’m an X and there aren’t many X jobs out there! If I don’t do X at the next job, what will people think — that I failed and couldn’t make it as an X!” And so we spend many years of our lives being an X and being unhappy.
In reality, you can be whatever you want at any given moment! I know what you’re thinking, but that type of person comes across as flaky and weird and who’s going to hire them? That way of thinking exists because there’s a fallacy when it comes to careers.
Nando: Were you scared of what people might think of you?
KK: There is not one clear path for me — and so many people have one and that’s fine, but it wasn’t working for me — and you can follow their career from AE to VP of sales and it makes sense on paper, but I kept following my own path. There is a fallacy that you can’t quit a job after you reach a certain level or when you’re on a career track and part of the fallacy is also that your job titles have to make sense and you have to have a speciality.
Because we identify with our job titles in America, oftentimes we collapse the success we create at work with what’s happening in our personal life. If work is bad, our personal life is bad and if work is great then life is wonderful despite the fact that your wife just filed for divorce, but it’s okay because at least you’re a VP at work. Yay!
When we collapse our professional and personal life into “one’s working so then the other must be working too,” there’s a flavor of “fitting in” that we’re trying to fall into. We don’t want to be the only person at work getting yelled at. We don’t want to be the person at work who lost the big account — yet, it’s okay to be the person at work who’s marriage just fell apart because marriages do that — everyone knows that, right? It’s when we collapse work and personal that we lose sight of what’s really happening in our lives – because we are just trying to fit it to chase “what’s next!”
Nando: Have you always fit in at work? Ever feel like a fraud?
KK: I felt that itch that i didn’t fit into the corporate structure and that I didn’t fit into the typical picture of work. I was unhappy with the work I was doing and I wasn’t being fulfilled. It’s a part of how I value myself and if my work isn’t going well — my relationships aren’t going well. So I created a pro/con list and listed going to work or starting my own business and for the first time I allowed emotions into the list.
Nando: What do you mean?
KK: Where do I put joy? There was no joy in my life. When you start to include feelings — you start to see how tangible things are and what’s missing. If you are happy — with the work that you do– think about how much better you are about your partner, kids, etc. I’m willing to fall and scrape up my knees now knowing I’m creating joy and impact.
Let’s bring it back to following your passion — shall we? Passion is important and I believe in it — but I believe passion is fleeting. It’s a emotion — one day it’s there alive and kicking and the next day we just want to stay in bed and Netflix episodes of Nurse Jackie. A distinction I bring to my coaching clients is integrity. Integrity will never fail you — passion will because you can’t rely on passion but what Katrina beings to light is that her passion for recruitment marketing gave her the insight to understand what she wants to do career-wise and without identifying that passion — she would probably still be at her previous job “fitting in.” Following your passion, discovering what you’re passionate about it vital it will give you access to a new world where you too can create a business/life that includes joy, dogs and a paycheck.