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The Dreaded Question

It happened again yesterday. The most dreaded question you can ask me.

We were out for coffee (from a distance) with two friends from back home who moved to Victoria in July. We made our way around the table. D, who worked for the government in Saskatchewan, got a good job with the government in BC. L just got a promotion and a raise with the international company where he can work remotely. Cindy talking about her time working as an educational assistant at the school near the beach. Talking about another couple retiring to their beach house in Mexico.

Then all eyes turned to me and I got the question.

What about you, Mark? What are you up to?

I started stammering. hmmm , coaching a bit, mutter mutter, storytelling workshop, um, ah podcast, Baker community, ummmm a new seminar before Christmas, errr, I'm writing more, y'know ...

I shrank to two inches tall. Again.

Maybe it's because I lived that life already. Careers, job security, steady paycheques, running my own business, etc. You know, normal stuff.

With my old friends, what I do now is not normal. For one thing, it's creative and quite often self directed work. It's what I choose to do, not what someone hired me to do.

The other thing is that much of what I'm building doesn't pay money. Not directly at least. The #1 question I get when I say how I spend my days is 'how do you make money from a podcast?' But the podcast doesn't exist to make money. It's a creative act, not a job.

As she always does, Cindy helped me reframe this as we walked home. Folks ask me what I'm doing not because they think I'm playing around, but because they think it's interesting. Cool and different, even. It's only 'playing around' because I don't share how exciting this work actually is.

So that's my objective next time I meet old friends. Unleash the energy and excitement of my current projects.

It's OK to let the old crew in on my new work and show them how much I love it. Because this really is some of the best work I've ever done.

It's OK to share your passions too. What are you working on?