With the beginning of the new year, I found myself in a number of conversations with friends about finding and pursuing passion.

  • How does one choose between a high paying job and the complete unknown?
  • How do you get started?
  • What if I fail?

From these conversations it seems the perception is that I am “doing it” and “living the dream”. If “living the dream” means I get to to wake up everyday and choose what I do, how I feel, and where my future might lead me…then yes! But this is attainable for everyone, not just people who quit their jobs and start a business.

My wish for 2018 (and beyond) is that everyone is able to live THEIR dream.

I’m currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it has inspired me to share a little bit about my journey so that maybe it offers some inspiration for you to begin exploring yours.

The Idea

Elizabeth Gilbert writes about how ideas are energetic entities, and that they’re driven by a single impulse to manifest. Ideas search for the perfect human partner to bring it into the world, but most people won’t notice a good idea because he/she is too consumed by his/her own dramas, anxieties, distractions and insecurities to receive inspiration.

In the summer of 2014, I was 24 years old and living in New York City. My life was complete bedlam: I was just let go from a startup that ran out of money, I was dating more people than I should have, and I was squandering my energy on things that didn’t serve me.

But then ideas started coming to me. I wrote them down, and didn’t pay any further attention to them until later. I still have this Note in my phone from September 2014 to this day:

These were things that kept coming back to me so I knew they meant something (I have no idea what I meant by “democratizing sushi” but hey it can still be a diamond in the rough for the future!).

Then my life looked a lot different in 2016. I had left the distracting chaos of New York City and moved to Denver with my boyfriend. I had a very comfortable job that I loved and felt fulfilled by. Unconsciously, the stability in my life eliminated all the invented drama that was in my head and created space for me to think and create. I was finally listening to the little voice inside me and pursuing activities and ideas that served no other purpose beside it being interesting to me.

Looking at this list gives me a little bit of hope that I’m manifesting the life I want. I wrote down “yoga” in 2014, and in 2016 I completed yoga teacher training. I wrote down “Bras for petite women – warby Parker” and now here we are with Pepper! (along with other bra competitors who have done the Warby Parker style model).

One important thing to note is that ideas are not yours. Just because you have an idea doesn’t mean someone else can’t have it. Ideas are just energy until you or someone else decide to make it real.

Questions to help find the idea:

  1. 1. Are you creating space for yourself to receive ideas as a daily habit? Could be yoga, meditation, writing, running, turning off your phone, anything that frees your mind from the noise.
  2. 2. Are you exploring things that serve no other purpose rather than to bring your curiosity and joy? Or are you spending your time on things that you feel like you should be doing?
  3. 3. What ideas or themes keep coming back to you? Is there a small activity you can do to explore one of them?

The Choice

Choices and decisions tend to come easy to me because I don’t assign much weight on them. It might be unduly optimistic of me, but I truly believe that no matter what happens, I will have the ability to figure it out. This is how I manage my fear.

What probably trips us up when we have a creative, passionate idea is that we make it into too big of a deal. Fear gets in the way.

There are so many interesting facets to our personalities — why do we feel like we must choose just one to explore? Well, because it’s scary.

Fear blocks choices that lead to an interesting, amplified life. We might think that a certain choice has a resounding effect on our identity, but it probably doesn’t. If anything, making the choice you think is risky is probably the right choice because it’s going to make you more vulnerable and more YOU.

Do we actually have to choose between our high paying job and living a creative life?

If ice skating brings you happiness, you can probably commit to finding the time to ice skate every day after work, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become an Olympic ice skater.

Let me reiterate: You don’t have to quit your day job to also do what makes you happy.

It took me 2 years to make the choice, but in 2016 I decided that I was going to explore this ‘bras for petite women’ idea. I didn’t quit my job and make extreme life changes, I just started taking baby steps to satisfy my curiosity. ‘Side hustles’ or ‘passion projects’ are perfect ways to ease into a creative life. Keep your day job, start saving at least a year’s worth of personal runway, explore the idea, and then when the idea is so consuming you can’t think about anything else…then leave your day job 🙂

Living in a binary black and white world where you have to define yourself as either/or seems so unnecessary. I think you can have it all if you make the choice to!

Questions to help make the choice:

  1. 1. What could you lose by taking the risk? Would you lose even more if you didn’t take the risk?
  2. 2. When you separate your identity from your career, salary, successes, failures and the temporary, what are you left with that defines you?
  3. 3. What do you feel like you have to choose between? Is there something deeper that each of those choices represents?


Would love to hear about your reactions and what you’re experiencing with pursuing your passions! Tweet me @jaclyn_fu


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