For the past few years, since I struggled with post-traumatic anxiety, I have not been honest with myself. I’ve not been aligned with my true passions, loves or dreams, especially when it comes to work.
I’m a self-employed, work from home, financial trader. I’m self-taught and began learning during my second bout of anxiety, purely because it was something I didn’t have to leave the house to make money from!
My dream was always to make it my sole source of income but those goals have changed since my spiritual awakening of 2016. I finally admitted to myself that it was never going to fulfil me because it’s not something I love.
At times, I would say I even hated it.
However, I feel as though I have come so far with it, I can’t give up. And I need to pay the bills somehow. But I refuse to settle for second best now.
I believe we should all be trying to do work that we love.
In this internet era, where the whole world is our market and almost any passion you can think of can be turned into a source of income, there is no excuse for any of us to be doing something for 8+ hours a day that we don’t enjoy.
So it’s time I started moving towards adding another income source, something that will fulfill me.
When I was a kid, I was a member of my primary school football team. I also was editor of the school newspaper. Well, the one and only edition of the school newspaper!
I actually wrote an article for that paper, which my Mum still has tucked away somewhere, which was an interview with all the squad members. When asked the question:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
All but 2 of the 15 squad members replied “Footballer”. The only anomalies were my best mate Lee, who said “Truck driver” and a 10-year-old me, who said “Author”.
Not even “writer”. Author!
I would’ve replied the same even 5 years before then.
Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve killed to be a footballer. I was an ultra speedy winger, always the fastest kid on the pitch. But I had more confidence in my writing ability. I knew I had a talent for that which outstripped most kids.
Football, I was good at but I didn’t know if I was good enough to be a pro. I always knew I was good enough to be a writer. The problem was, my anxiety.
By the time I’d got to university, I felt I’d already blown my chance to be a writer.
I flunked college because I barely attended in my final year. Purely down to social anxiety.
I felt like the odd one out and whilst everyone else had built friendships in year 1, I was struggling. I didn’t get the grades for the English courses I wanted to get on at university, so ended up doing a second-rate geography course.
I basically gave up writing. I felt it was over for me (even at 21!) and I should try to find something else.
Only problem is, I didn’t know what. I got a good grade in geography but had no clue what to do with it.
By the time I’d left uni, I was so far in the grip of anxiety that I didn’t have the balls to go for any kind of graduate job. I felt that those jobs were for people with more confidence than me. I was way too fearful to even try to compete with bright, savvy, confident youngsters and felt more experienced peers were more competent than me.
All I wanted to do was hide away. Get a job that didn’t require much brain power. That way, I wouldn’t fuck up and embarrass myself.
In all seriousness, I saw myself in a dull, 9-5 office job, doing nothing more than faxing and photocopying. For 50 years. And that was fine with me. I just wanted to get my head down, interact with as few people as possible and live for the weekend.
As for writing – I barely picked up a pen for at least 5 years. I didn’t see the point. I’d found a new passion in DJ-ing and music. I didn’t have time for something which was never going to be my profession any way. I was too old to get started in that industry now, I had no relevant degree and no idea where I’d even start.
After I recovered from social anxiety, I did briefly start to write again. Firstly for music magazines and then a blog I kept when I went travelling for a year. It rekindled that old passion.
My soul was calling out for a return to what the 10-year-old me so loved. I was all set to do that when I was assaulted and post-traumatic anxiety took hold.
I made a half-hearted attempt to begin freelance writing during my recovery but I never had enough belief and put all my energy (what little I had, sedated on anti-anxiety pills!) into learning trading instead.
Then came my spiritual awakening……
My awakening helped me get rid of the limiting beliefs spiralling around my mind that I am too old or under-qualified to make it as a writer.
I know that just isn’t true and there are ways and means that I can make a living from my passion. I do feel as though I was put on this planet to write. The problem is, I just didn’t know what to write about! But if there’s one thing I do know about, it’s anxiety; living with it and overcoming it.
So here I am!
Blogging doesn’t pay the bills……………but I love it!
My only aim is to be read. To get eyes on my writing. To elicit emotion from my readers. To give them some value. To help them, especially the readers with anxiety.
Other than that, I’m not really sure what I’m doing!
It’s a bold strategy really. To just write. To not worry about how many followers I have. To not care about how “perfect” every article is. To not spend all my time being strategic and focused on “the market”. You could say my strategy is really to have no strategy!
So how do I turn my passion into my career?
I’m gonna stick to my routines, ingrain those good habits so I become healthier, stronger mentally and physically and develop into the greatest version of myself.
That, twinned with a new-found, stronger work ethic and self belief, I hope will lead to opportunities coming my way with my writing. Until then, I just have to keep trading and hoping it picks up soon!
I believe that these fairly simple steps, once they become fully ingrained, will lead to big changes in my circumstances, so that one day I can be truly fulfilled with my work.
One thing I’ve really learned during my spiritual awakening, is that you can’t and shouldn’t try to plan out your entire path to success or happiness.
Life doesn’t work that way.
What you must do is SOMETHING. Make it something you love. But DO IT. Don’t sit around procrastinating and hoping for some luck. Take a risk and go for it.
If it doesn’t work out, make sure you learn from it but NEVER GIVE UP.
Expect ups and downs.
That’s why it’s so tough to plan your way in detail. But also, over-planning can lead to you not being open to something even better coming along that might take you somewhere you didn’t foresee. Get moving but DON’T try to control the direction.
Let things naturally pan out and see what arises. Stay tuned to see how this works out folks!
Tim, I’m fascinated by how much you wrote in such a short time – you’re a writing machine! Great to see your passion finally coming to life. Sorry for still not replying to your last email, I’ve been swallowed by other work and I’m hardly keeping up with blog related stuff. But I’ll be back and will get back to you soon (and publish the article of course)!
Hi Barbara, I don’t have a social life so made the decision that I should be filling any spare time with blogging, rather than what I was doing – wasting time on dating sites, binge watching boxsets and getting drunk! That’s the secret 😉
Well, I still congratulate you for such a great decision and for the self discipline it takes to keep it up! I think self discipline is one of the hardest things to master, or maybe that’s just me, I’ve been struggling with it my whole life even though it got much better in the past few years!
Btw, having no social life can be an advantage if you use your time wisely and you seem to be doing that 😉
Self discipline is arguable the most important thing a person can learn. Without it, you can’t build good habits and without them, you can’t make serious, lasting change. Master that and you can get anything you want in life!