What’s Your Wheelhouse? Rediscover the Mojo.

Have you ever been so focused on the minutiae of making your living that when you come up for air, you discover you’ve veered off-course?

Choosing your direction

Set your course for passion.

It happens to the best of us. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right? But hell isn’t a good place to be. Especially when we only have so many minutes to live.

I’ve always been a believer in following passion because I believe passion is a clue into our God-blessed life direction. Think about it. If everyone worked where their heart sang, our world could be full of happier, more fulfilled people.

Haters say it isn’t possible. You gotta do the dirty work. You gotta pay your dues. You gotta suffer on your road to greatness. I’ll give you that. Mother Teresa might agree that no one said passionate work is easy. But passionate work makes you want to wake up each day, despite the challenges and bumps.

Loving what you do isn’t self-indulgent. It simply means you’ve found your wheelhouse, but even in our wheelhouses, we can make subtle yet inaccurate heading errors.

That’s where I found myself in June. A year into serious freelance writing and I was doing all those things that are supposed to bring in business yet I still felt like a hamster on a wheel. Lots of spinning, not a lot of traction. And no change in scenery. Bleh.

My husband, who invariably mops up my meltdowns, asked, “What’s your wheelhouse, Honey? Are you working there?”

Um. No.

So ensued a month of redefinition and, wouldn’t you know, getting back on course led to a series of new jobs–all of which I love.

I had to ask myself a few key questions:

  • Where was I spending my time? Was it effective?
  • What are my favorite topics to discuss? How and where could I write about those?
  • What do I not want to do?

Through these questions, I discovered I can opine endlessly on parenting teens, launching young adults, emerging educational concepts and empowering women to up their cycling game. Paring my focus allowed me to deepen my prospect lists and stave off the overwhelming possibilities and bunny trails I have a tendency to chase.

I also realized that though I can help small businesses define their marketing vision through copywriting, I’d rather not (define their visions). I’d much rather work with companies who are a little further along, have recognized the value of marketing and copywriting and know their direction but need help communicating their vision. I’m not a consultant. I’m a writer (with the insight of a consultant).

Just knowing where I wanted to be and where I didn’t made me happier. Giving up jobs was scary but alleviating the parasitic stress was liberating.

And since then, I’ve worked on some cool projects. Among them:

Where Arts & Earth Collide: Rethinking School Structures for Getting Smart, to be published (TBP) 9/26. How an eco-collision between Redding School of the Arts and green construction led to a platinum LEED certification and sustainable learning environment.

Planning for a Successful and Creative Future and Helping Students Plan for Successful Artistic Futures for NextStepU and Link, publish dates to be announced. For parents, students and high school counselors, respectively. Being creative doesn’t have to lead to dead-end jobs and starving-artist syndrome. How creativity can lead to lucrative professional careers.

CSI for the Squeamish: Forensic Careers that Don’t Involve Blood for USA Today College, TBP 9/21.

When Your Child Won’t Fail: Keeping Gap Kids from Falling for GreatSchools.org. Publish date TBA.

Contributing writer for Girl | Bike | Love.com:

Things Your Bike Shop Probably Didn’t Tell You: Sex in the Saddle and Other Unmentionables

Virtual Coach Pushes Rider to Higher Elevations

Don’t Be Such a Girl :: Joining the Group Ride

What Women Want: Getting Women to Ride for Freeplay magazine. TBP October/November 2012

Not only that, I saw my first cover story hit the stands (It’s Not About the Gold for Clubhouse Magazine), continue to write occasional features for Enjoy magazine, signed on to help launch an exciting educational product start-up and wrote copy for a cutting-edge blast engineering firm, based in San Francisco.

All in all, a good adjustment. How about you? Have you had to make adjustments to find passion in the pay? What questions did you ask yourself? How did you find your way?