Are you running a business, doing what you love, but miserable?
Turns out, this is a pretty common thing. Artists and technicians are the very best, super passionate XYZ that this town has ever seen, so they think they want to open up an XYZ store.
For me, it was martial arts. Man do I love teaching martial arts. I mean... I love-love it. I remember very specifically one time where I had a leg injury, and someone at a family gathering offered me cheesecake, and I debated getting up and turned it down because my leg was sore. Cheesecake!
But then a few minutes later, I saw someone trying to do a martial arts move and they weren't quite getting the movement down. I was up out of my chair and helping them in an instant.
That's when my Mom mentioned I might want to think about teaching it professionally. Clearly, it was a passion of mine.
And it still is.
But man, running a dojo is a lot of other stuff, too. There's the building maintenance, the rent, dealing with the landlords, the staff, the government for health benefits and GST, there's the entire "invisible morale" you have to monitor, toxic students or staff to contend with, theft, vandalism, marketing, debt machine scams, website redesigns, equipment orders... signs that fall down, lights that need changing... blah! The list goes on, and on, and on.
Pretty soon, I, and most other business owners are left with the startling realization:
In order to be a successful business, I'm going to have to hire someone to teach while I tend to all this other bullshit... or hire someone else to handle all this other bullshit so I can teach!
If you haven't read The E-myth revisited, I highly suggest you do so three to four times before considering opening your business.
So, here's what I learned from that little extravaganza:
Passions can be split. What do I mean by that? Well, let's look at my example: For me, the passion wasn't teaching martial arts, not exactly. The real passion was switching someone's mindset from "I can't" to "I just did."
GOD I love that moment. It's why I do this.
Okay, so, martial arts is a faaaaaaantastic way to create that moment, and teaching it basically ensures I'll see it more often than as a good training partner, simply because I have creative control over the class, and the sheer number of students to apply that mastery towards.
BuuUuuut, passions can be split. Once I discovered that my passion wasn't martial arts, martial arts was just the best modality for my passion to be expressed that I had found...
Well, then I had a rather decent sized epiphany.
I realized that I could find a new passion.
A passion so exciting that I would want to raise my standards in its arena every day.
So, I chose writing.
Writing was my ikigai.